Sandoval Plaza


In 1876, Casimero Romero and Agapito Sandoval brought their sheep from Mora County, New Mexico to the Panhandle of Texas.    Supplies for a year were hauled in war surplus freight wagons, hitched in pairs and each pair pulled by three oxen.   There were twelve wagons plus Sandoval's two with their personal belongings.

The first winter, around 100 folks are reported to have camped in a cottonwood grove near La Rica Creek.   Reports have them on the South side of the Canadian River, but Rica Creek is on the north.      It is said that they stayed in their wagons with cottonwood limbs stacked against them to give protection from the wind. 

It the spring, the Sandovals drove their 1500 sheep to the east, where they settled.     Springs provided water both to the house and for irrigation.    They raised, vegetables, corn and melons.

The videos on this page show the remains of the houses, pens and barn in an idealic setting.   Reports are that homes were built from sun-dried adobe bricks and that might be true for the Romero buildings that have not survived.    Sandoval, obviously, built his from stone.   Cottonwoods were used for vigas and roofs were built from lumber freighted in from New Mexico and covered with sod.   

 Stone walls remain in the area both to keep the sheep out of the farmed area and in a  small canyon to the south to allow sheep to be held for sheering.    Sandoval's flock grew to about 10,000 sheep and he grazed an area as far north as the Big Blue south of Dumas.

The Sandoval family were the last pastors to remain in the Texas Panhandle and were said to have grazed the area until 1887.   Early historians reported that they moved back to New Mexico because they did not believe in land ownership.   Some of the family were reported to have stayed, becoming freighters.   They also are reported to have guided hunters.    There is one report of them netting a large number of blue quail on The Big Blue.


Photographs and videos were taken during a tour organized by the Center for the Study of the American West by Austin Allison.   They are large; so give them a while to load.

Sandoval HomeGood overview of main house showing spring.   Note the spring to the east of this three room home/   The area between the home and the creek was farmed. Aerial view
Aerial view
  Note the field where they farmed and the rock walls by the irrigation stream and above the settlement.
Sandoval Sinkhole
Note the sinkhole in the old field.   The irrigation ditch which took the water from the springs is protected by the rock wall.   Also, note the rock wall on top to keep the sheep from the settlement.
The large corral with a two room barn to the north.  


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