In January 1918 a heavily armed group of Texas Rangers, ranchmen and members a troop of U.S. Cavalry descended upon the tiny community of Porvenir, Texas on the Mexican border in western Presidio County. After rounding up the inhabitants of the village and searching their homes, the vigilantes selected fifteen Mexican boys and men ranging in age from 16 to 72 years and marched them off into the darkness. A short distance from Porvenir, the prisoners were lined up against a rock bluff and shot to death. In January 1919, the Porvenir massacre came under the scrutiny of the Texas House and Senate Investigation of the State Ranger Force. The following is a sworn statement taken from Rosenda Mesa describing the massacre.

According to the transcript, Rosenda Mesa was 47 years old and an American citizen born in Fort Davis, Texas. That he was at Candelaria, Texas, on January 25, 1918, where he heard that on the 24th of said month, had been perpetrated on the El Porvenir Ranch, by a party of armed men, composed of about 40 individuals, consisting of American soldiers, Rangers, and Texas ranchmen, at about one o'clock on the morning of January 24th, who proceeded to take from their homes, all the inhabitants of Porvenir, and after they had been gotten together, about 30 in number, they were taken about on-fourth mile below said ranch without any explanation of the cause, and without asking anything, and after arriving there, they were told they could return to their homes, with the exception of Eutemio Gonzales, Roman Nieves, and Manual Fierro, who they took away as prisoners and held them two days in the mountains, making terrible threats, but allowing them at last to return to Porvenir, Tesas where on the last day of the assault, the first named two were killed, and where Manual Fierro was saved, because he was not in Porvenir on January 28th.

He (Mesa) was then asked under his oath, according to law what he knew about the assault and people killed at Povenir. He went to Porvenir where the families of the victims told him that about one or two o'clock AM of that day, an armed group assaulted them on the 24th and they also made another assault about one or two A.M. on January 28th, in the number of about 40 men, the same being soldiers, Rangers, and Texas ranchmen. That as soon as the ranch was surrounded, the rangers proceeded to take the inhabitants from their houses, and from that number selected 15 and took them about one-quarter mile from said ranch, and then in a very cowardly manner, and without examining any of them, shot them. On January 29th, permission was obtained from the military commander at Candelaria, Texas, and also from Colonel Eduardo Porcallo of Porvenir, Mexico, to pass the dead bodies of the victims to the Mexican side for burial, which was done in the company of the friends and families of the victims.

"The bodies were found about one-quarter mile below Porvenir, Texas on the ground in a parallel line and had wounds in bodies, and also a shot in the head of each one, the bullets passing through the heads of many of them (sic). Their bodies were examined, and that in life, the names were as follows: Manuel Morales, Antonio Casteneda, Pedro Herrera, Biviano Herrera, Sibriano Herrera, Ramon Nieves, Longinio Flores, Tiburcio Jaquez, Alberto Garcia, Macadonio Huerta, Ambrocia Hernanez, Sieapio, Jiminez, Juan Jiminez, Pedro Jiminez, and Eutemio Gonzales. Longinio Flores, one of those killed was my father-in-law, and in whom I had great faith, and with whom I have traded for many years. Being asked if he knew where the inhabitants of Porvenir had participated in the assault upon the Brite Ranch, and hand not been in connivance with any of the bandits that had operated on the frontier, and that they were people living by their hones and work, as can be testified to by and American school teacher Enrique N. (Harry Warren), and another American citizen by the name of John Bill (John Bailey), who resides near Porvenir, Texas and that all having in their homes necessary gain for their families, also their work and domestic animals, and that some of the had been a long time in the United States, and had about one section of land sown with wheat. Being all that he could say, this declarations was terminated by the Judge and witnesses assisting, signing same, but not by this witness, as he could not write.

For more on the Porvenir massacre, see Chapter 8 in my "Little Known History Of The Texas Big Bend". Order online:



manuel casas 
thank for the information.my dad was born in the Provenir ranch in 1924. and some of his kinfolks were Herrera and Flores

Alexa Nieves Saucedo 

Thank you for the information on on the Provenir Massacre. I have been researching accounts of what happened at that time. Roman Nieves was my great grandfather and although my family knows some of this history it was nice to actually have the specific details to pass on to other family members. Thank you again.

Alexa Janine Saucedo (Nieves)

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