La Salle County, Texas
La Salle County, located in South Texas, is bordered by Frio County to the north, McMullen County to the east, Dimmit County to the south and Webb County to the west. Cotulla, the county’s largest town and the county seat, is located about 90 miles southwest of San Antonio.
Cities, Towns and Communities
Artesia Wells | Cotulla – county seat | Encinal | Fowlerton | Guajoco | Iuka | La Salle | Los Angeles | Stuart’s Rancho
More than twenty-five ranches were established in La Salle county during the 1870s, including the La Mota Ranch, run by William and Amanda Burks. In 1870 the census taker found only sixty-nine people residing in La Salle County; in 1880 the population was 789.
La Salle County was formally organized in 1880 with Stuart’s Rancho, near Guajoco, designated its first seat of government. The political organization of the county closely coincided with other developments that helped to change La Salle County from a collection of isolated frontier settlements and ranches into a more stable environment for economic and social development. The last Indian raid in the county occurred in 1878. In the early 1880s the International-Great Northern Railroad extended its tracks into the county.
The arrival of the railroads marked a turning point in county history. Places like Iuka and Guajoco disappeared as their inhabitants moved to new towns along the tracks. The railroads also encouraged landowners to undertake development projects. Joseph Cotulla, a Polish immigrant, arrived in LaSalle County in 1868 and gradually established a large ranching operation. After learning in the early 1880s that the I-GN intended to run tracks into La Salle County, Cotulla worked to bring the railroad to a townsite he was developing. In 1881 he donated 120 acres of land to the railroad to encourage it to come his way, and by 1882 a railroad depot had been built and town lots had begun to be sold. While Cotulla continued to develop his town, a competing project was underway just across the tracks, where Jesse Laxton (Laxson, Laxon), the postmaster of Iuka, was establishing the town of La Salle. In 1881 La Salle was granted a post office, and in 1882 Laxton seemed to have won an important victory when his town was designated the temporary county seat. In a special county election held in 1883, however, voters chose to make Cotulla the county seat, and La Salle began to fade away. Though saloons and gunfights gave Cotulla a reputation as a tough frontier town for many years, domestic institutions also evolved. By 1886 the town had a school and a debating society, and by 1892 it was described as a “prosperous town” with a hotel, four general stores, three saloons, a meat market, and two grocery stores.
Cotulla, TX 28° 26′ 12.9624″ N, 99° 14′ 6.1152″ W
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