La Salle Co

Origin of the Millet Community

The Cibolo Valley in 1881

By Stanley D. Casto

March 8, 1980

 

In January 1881 the Valley of the Cibolo was uninhabited except for wild animals and tray cattle from ranches to the south and east. Theis peace and tranquility was t be forever changed by the announcement in February 1881 that the I&GN Railroad would soon begin construction from San Antonio to Laredo.1 In the next few months, survey parties marked the right-of-way and the locations for waterstops and depots. It was apparently determined at this time that a depot would be constructed just south of the Cibolo Creek crossing.

Construction proceeded rapidly and by late May or early June of 1881 the grading crews had reached the Cibolo Valley. By June 15th the grading was about finished as far south as the Nueces.2 Work on the Frio River bridge temporarily slowed the construction trains and it was not until about August 4th that track was laid through the Cibolo Valley.3 By August 25th the Nueces bridge was completed and construction trains were running 4-5 miles south of the river.4

In early 1881 much of the land in the Cibolo Valley was being purchased by the Millet & Lane Cattle Company. Realizing the value of rail transport, Millet & Lane deeded the railroad a 100 foot right-of-way and all the "earth, material, timber, and rock" which could be used for construction purposes. In addition, another 300 foot tract on the west side of the right-of-way was released for the construction of a side track and loading dock at Cibolo Station.5

The depot was apparently constructed in early August 1881. The diary of William A. Waugh notes that on August 4th he contracted to supply lumber to the I&GN at the Cibolo Depot. In another diary entry on August 24th, Waugh recorded that he spent the night at Cibolo before going on to San Antonio to buy supplies which he then had shipped back to the depot at Cibolo Station.6

In order to fulfill his lumber contract, Waugh had to clear a wagon road from his ranch to the railroad. This road was apparently completed in early November 1881 at which time Waugh’s diary notes that he "started teams on the new road to Cibolo."7

At the end of 1881 the Cibolo Valley presented a greatly altered landscape. Stretching in both directions were the railroad tracks bordered by the new cleared and graded right-of-way. Additional evidences of construction included the bridge over the Cibolo Creek and the depot to the south of the bridge. Leading to the depot was the narrow wagon road from the east over which Bill Waugh freighted lumber. Omce a day the silence of the countryside was broken by the lonesome whistle of an approaching train. Only a single permanent resident, the depot agent, was to be found in the entire valley. Around the railroad depot grew the community which would first be know as Cibolo Station and later as Millett Station and finally, by postal designation, as Millett, Texas.

1 San Antonio Daily Express, Feb. 8, 1881, p. 4, col. 2.

2 "The International," San Antonio Daily Express, June 15, 1881, p. 4, col. 2.

3. A report filed from La Salle on August 8, 1881, indicated that the track was then four miles north of the Nueces and was being laid at a rate of 1-1/2 miles per day. Calculating backward, the track would have been laid at Cibolo Station about August 4th. "From La Salle," San Antonio Daily Express, Aug. 13, 1881, p. 4, col. 4

4. "Railroad Business Item," San Antonio Daily Express, Aug. 25, 1881, p. 4, col. 3.

5. La Salle County, Deed Record, Vol. A, Aug. 21, 1882, p. 574.

6. William Alexander Waugh, Diaries, Vol. I, 1858-1862; Vol. II, 1877-1883. University of Texas Archives. The period from 23 March 1859 until 27 April 1860 is missing from Vol. I of the diaries.

7. Diary entry for 9 November 1881.

 

 

La Salle County Historical Commission


Mail to Tom Graham: wm1@historicdistrict.com

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