sidebar menu icon


DEAD MANS CREEK (Val Verde County). Dead Mans Creek rises 1½ miles southwest of Dead Mans Pass in south central Val Verde County (at 29°46' N, 101°10' W) and runs southeast for thirteen miles to its mouth on the Devils River, a mile south of Dark Canyon (at 29°44' N, 101°01' W). Its course sharply dissects massive limestone that underlies flat terrain, forming a deep and winding canyon. Soils in the area are generally dark, calcareous stony clays and clay loams that support oak, juniper, grasses, and mesquite. The creek was named for a traveling peddler who was robbed and killed by outlaws in a pass on the stream in the 1880s. Reportedly the outlaws openly sold the stolen cloth and kitchenware to workers building the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway, and Judge Roy Bean refused to hear the case because the robbery occurred east of the Pecos River and out of his jurisdiction.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to:

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, "Dead Mans Creek (Val Verde County)," accessed November 22, 2017,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.