J.P. Rodriguez Settlement
The J.P. Rodriguez Settlement is located in the central part of the state in Southeast Bandera County Texas which in the Balcones Escarpment, 92deg longitude and 29.8 deg latitude. San Antonio, Texas is the nearest metropolitan city 31 miles southwest of it. The settlement is in the beautiful and lush Privilege Creek Valley; also know as Elm Valley, filled with running creeks, abundant oak and cedar and limestone outcroppings.
Prehistoric Indians and their 19th century descendants had always roamed these fertile valleys in search of the migrating buffalo. In addition, other plentiful game and predators have always been a part of this area. Also, the Indians relied on the constant waters of the Privilege Creek and Medina River to sustain their camps. Both ancestral hunting grounds and final Indian resting places are evident in this same area.
In the 1700’s, during the early days of Nueva Espana, Spanish explorers and soldiers came to this area to establish their forts and defenses. Their initial efforts were to contain the French from taking possession of this area known as La Provincia de Tejas. The remains of stone made Presidios and roads can still be seen throughout this area. Although, towns like San Antonio, Goliad, Laredo, Nacogdoches and Victoria are established in the early 1700’s, sustained hardships and the constant attack by hostile Indians were more than the isolated military forts could take.
By the early 1800’s most of the early towns of Texas had been founded by men and women know as Tejanos. Texas had its own capital, San Antonio de Bexar, its own laws, ranching economy and culture. By 1821, the Republic of Mexico was formed and Tejas continued until 1824 when it was joined with ‘Coahuila” and the new state of “Coahuila Y Texas” was formed. It is interesting to note, that for almost 150 years before the Republic of Texas was born many of the frontier families of the states of Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaluipas, that bordered the Rio Grande, had sent their sons and daughters to help develop Texas.
The subject of our pioneering settlement builder, Jose Policarpio “Polly” Rodriguez, was born in Texas in 1829 when it was a part of Coahuila, Mexico. His family had been a founding family of the frontier town of Zaragoza, Coahuila in 1721. The rest of this story is about his life in Texas and his eventual move to Bandera County and the creation of the J.P. Rodriguez Settlement.