Casimiro Pérez-Álvarez’s Portrait
Tejano rancher runs generations-old family ranch
Ranching in Texas traces its roots to what was the northern frontier of New Spain where land was granted to settlers who recognized its potential for raising livestock. Rancho San Juan de la Mulada was located in Porcion 74, a land grant given to Pedro Lugo by the King of Spain in 1767. In 1787 Lugo sold his land to his nephew Pedro Jose Pérez, who in turn passed the land down through generations of his family until it came to his great-great grandson, Casimiro Pérez-Álvarez.
Casimiro Pérez-Álvarez (1869–1936) inherited the ranch and all of the responsibilities and benefits that came with it. His ledger book, used by his father Enemecio Pérez before him, details some of those responsibilities as it recorded contracts with employees, including names, dates of hire, wages, and duties of those who worked there.
By the late 1800s, the livestock industry moved from open range grazing to fenced pastures and corporations and British investors started to buy up cattle and land rights. Newly constructed railroad systems connected Texas to markets and brought a wave of settlers to the area. As ranchers struggled to compete with economic swings and severe drought, many looked for other sources of income to supplement their cattle business. Casimiro Pérez-Álvarez, like many other ranchers, also operated businesses and worked in public service along with stock-raising at La Mulada Ranch.
Pérez-Álvarez was first a Field Deputy U.S. Marshal (1902–1914) where his duties as an armed law enforcement officer included service in Edinburg, Brownsville, Laredo, and Rio Grande City. He then worked as an Office Deputy U.S. Marshal from 1921 to 1923. Álvarez also served as a scout attached to U.S. military forces at Fort Ringgold (1915–1918) during the time of the Mexican Revolution.
Beyond public safety, he also served the community as a County Food Administrator regulating the production, distribution, and conservation of food in Starr County during World War I (1917–1918). Several years later, President Calvin Coolidge appointed Álvarez as U.S. Postmaster for Rio Grande City.
Museum of South Texas History
Time Period: 1866 - 1936
This artifact is currently on view.