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Historic Ft. Ringgold

Brief History

A brief history of the City of La Joya and surrounding communities on the United States border with Mexico.

Part 3:
Soldiers Go West & Southerner Joins Union

Soldiers & Priests Go West

The Mexican American War created a need for the U.S. Army to regularly move troops and supplies along the international boundary from east to west.  This dusty route was established as the Military Road connecting U.S. Army forts along the newly established United States-Mexico border.  The road passed through Tabasco and Havana on its way west to U.S. Army Fort Ringgold in Rio Grande City.

Beginning in 1849 Havana residents would be visited by the Oblates on their travels from Port Isabel to Laredo.  A small schoolhouse was constructed from rock and adobe in Havana to teach children from Abram-Perezville (Ojo de Agua), Penitas, Tabasco, Havana, Los Ebanos and Cuevitas.

The weathered stone of a simple one-room building remain in Havana today.  Its use unknown. The dilapidated structure arguably remains the oldest building in Hidalgo County.

Inter-Racial Family Finds Freedom

In 1857 Nathaniel Jackson, wife Matilda Hicks, their inter-racial children and formerly enslaved people fled Alabama to the Rio Grande Valley in search of freedom from racial discrimination.  They ranched and farmed land near Pharr, Texas and helped enslaved people along the lesser-know, southern branch of the Underground Railroad to Mexico.  Jackson descendants would be among the founders of La Joya.

Havana historic building

A Southerner Fights for the North

Union Army Sgt. Patricio Perez

When the U.S. Civil War broke in 1861, Texas joined the Confederacy and most locals followed or acquiesced in the state’s official action.  Patricio Perez was defiant.  The Havana resident rode to Brownsville and enlisted in the U.S. Army’s Second Regiment of the Texas Cavalry when it arrived in 1863.


Sergeant Perez would serve in Brownsville and later in New Orleans before he was discharged in 1865.

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