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County
Duval
Region
South Texas Plains
Population
2010 Census - 2,818
2000 Census - 3,241
Nearby
Towns
Freer, Texas
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Freer, Texas History:
This area was originally called Las Hermanitas for two hills located south of the present town site. In 1876 U.S. Calvary troops dug a well on the property of A.J. Wiederkehr north of Freer, and the area became known as Government Wells. In 1867 Norman G. Collins purchased 35,000 acres in Duval County and later became the county’s leading sheep rancher. The future townsite became part of his Rancho Americano. The townsite changed ownership several times before Houston real estate promoter C.W. Hahl purchased the land in 1912. Hahl divided the land into 80 acre sections and advertised the sale of these lots in newspapers; many settlers purchased the lots and constructed houses. Daniel Freer purchased 160 acres. In 1919, Freer applied for a post office, submitting the names Riley, Wendt, and Freer; the first two names were already in use so the name Freer was selected. The first postmaster was Minnie Freer, wife of Charles Freer. In 1928, three wildcatters struck one of the nation’s largest oil reserves turning Freer into what Life magazine called “the last of the tough frontier oil towns.” Shortly after the discovery of oil, Hahl sold the townsite section of land to D.L. Tipton who platted the townsite with lots fronting north and south. Tipton then sold the property to A.H. Compton who had built a nearby hotel, barbershop, and café in 1927. In 1930 Compton sold the townsite to Charles Freer who laid out the townsite with lots facing east and west, and the town began to grow rapidly. The discovery of oil in the East Texas Oil Field put an end to the first oil boom in Freer, but the discovery of the Heller-Suttle Number One well in the spring of 1932 set off an even bigger second boom in Freer. By 1933 Freer was the second largest oilfield in the United States. Today the oil and gas industry is still a large part of the town’s economy with deer hunting coming in second. Like Sweetwater the town holds an annual Rattlesnake Roundup in March. The town also annually hosts the famous Muy Grande Deer Contest. Freer is located near San Casimiro Creek at the intersection of U.S. 59/SH 44 (Riley Street) and SH 16 (Norton Avenue), 61 miles northeast of Laredo, 25 miles northwest of San Diego, 35 miles northwest of Alice, approximately 72 miles north of Hebbronville, and 77 miles northwest of Corpus Christi, Texas.  
 
John C. Duval, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“(1816 - 1897) First Texas man of letters. Wrote history not as a visitor, but a participant, and wrote to entertain and inspire. His "Early times in Texas" tells of days when, by bringing news of the outside world to the lonely settlers, a man could travel from the Sabine to the Rio Grande and spend not a cent for board. It also gives a personal account of Palm Sunday 1836 at Goliad, when Santa Anna's men shot down disarmed Texas prisoners of War -- a massacre from which Duval himself escaped, though an older brother was killed. His books, including "Early Times," "Bigfoot Wallace" and "Young Explorers," were not widely distributed at the time of publication, but made history live. As a young Austin citizen, the renowned O. Henry was influenced by Duval's work; so was J. Frank Dobie, dean of 20th century Texas writers. Duval was born in Kentucky; son of a territorial governor of Florida. Graduate of the University of Virginia. Civil engineer. First came to Texas in 1835. Fought in the Texas Revolution. Was a Texas Ranger and made a career of surveying frontier lands. Fought in the Mexican War and in the Civil War. This county was named for him and for two of his distinguished brothers. (1965).” The marker is missing.
 
Barronena Ranch, Texas Historical Marker Text:
“The Barronena Ranch is an important reminder of early South Texas ranching. Named for a creek (now called Los Machos) which traverses the property, the ranch was part of a larger tract owned by Diego Hinojosa, who received a grant of five leagues from the Republic of Mexico. In 1856, Hinojosa received a state of Texas patent for 2237 acres of this land. James O. Luby (1846-1932) later owned a part of the ranch. A native of England and a Confederate veteran of the Civil War, Luby became the first county judge of Duval County in 1876. Barronena Ranch was purchased by J. M. Bennett (1831-1920) in 1905 and has remained in the Bennett family since that time. The nucleus of the ranch is a 19th century adobe house, reportedly a stage stop between Goliad and Laredo. Other structures include a native rock water trough and storage tank; a native rock wall more than one mile long; remains of a dipping vat and smokehouse; and rock foundations of other buildings, including a blacksmith shop. Richard King, grandson of the founder of the King Ranch, leased the Barronena Ranch in the 1920s. Santa Gertrudis cattle, developed by the King Ranch, were introduced here following World War II.” The marker is located 27 miles south of Freer SH 16. The marker is not visible on the highway.
 
Freer Branch of the Duval County Library & Freer Civic Center:
The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. Open Mon-Fri, 3pm-7pm; closed weekends. (361) 394-5350. The library is located in the Freer Civic Community Center at 608 Carolyn Street.
 
Annual Muy Grande Deer Contest:
Considered the “Grand Daddy Deer Contest” of them all, it was founded in 1965 by Leonel R. Garza, manager of the Center Circle Gas Station in Freer. Hunters enter the contest from all over Texas. (361) 394-5383. 116 W. Riley Street.
 
Annual Venado Macho Deer Contest:
This contest is a favorite because it offers many categories. It is sponsored by the Freer Deer Camp. Entry fee is $25; all entry fees are given back in prizes. (361) 394-5586.
 
Annual Freer Livestock Show & Fair, 2nd Weekend in March:
Activities at this three day event include arts and crafts, food vendors, animal shows and auctions. This event is held at Cactus Coral on SH 44 East. 
 
Annual Freer Rattlesnake Roundup, Last Weekend in April:
Events include a rattlesnake roundup, nationally known country western and Tejano musicians, a carnival, a parade, an arts and crafts exhibit and show, stage shows, a dare devil snake show, fried rattlesnake meat, a talent contest and a BBQ cook-off. BBQ categories include chicken, pork spare ribs, fajitas, brisket and beans. Prizes for the snake roundup are given for the longest and smallest rattlesnakes, and for the most pounds turned in; snakes must be alive and hissing. (361) 394-6891. Open Friday, 5:30pm to Midnight; Sat, 10:30am-1am. Email 
 
Liberty Café:
They serve breakfast and good Mexican food. Waits may be long during hunting season. (361) 394-7663. 420 Carolyn Street. Reviews