History of DDRS

Indigenous People  

Artifacts from the area reveal at least a transient population of native people.  The majority of the information comes from the areas near the junction of the Rio Grande and the Rio Conchos.  Even though anthropologists have attributed different tribes as occupying the area, including the Pueblo culture and the Anasazi, the Jumano had a continuous record from the 15th to the 18th century. 

Toward the end of the 18th century the Jumano culture disappeared.  What happened to them is still speculation.  It could have been from interbreeding with the Lipan-Apaches, or the Jumano could have been killed by the Apache, and there is evidence that the disease epidemics introduced by the Spaniards could have contributed to their demise (Thompson, 1985).

 Land Ownership

This area along with the majority of Trans Pecos of Texas was originally claimed by the Spanish and then the Mexican governments.  After the Texas War of Independence in 1836 much of this area of the state was in dispute.  The United States acquired Texas by annexation in 1845, but the Rio Grande as a boundary was not confirmed until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed in 1848 (Nelson and Preston, 2006). 

In 1850 the Chihuahuan Acquisition consisted of areas A, B, C, and D.  A – C dealt with land that became New Mexico and D covered land that established the following Texas counties:  El Paso, Hudspeth, Culberson Jeff Davis, Presidio and parts of Brewster, Pecos and Reeves (Bowden, 1971).   The DDRS is a part of both Presidio and Brewster Counties.  After the Chihuahuan Acquisition of 1850, all the property was owned by the State of Texas. 

In 1910 – 1912 Tom Rawls obtained much of the region including sections 541 and 542 from the State.  In 1916 these two sections were a part of a large land purchase by Mr. Pearl Andrew Jackson from Mr. Rawls.  The two sections remained property of his heirs until Dr. Dalquest purchased them in 1968.  Midwestern State University purchased 680 hectares (1,680 acres) of adjacent land from the State of Texas in 2004 to bring the total to approximately 1,200 hectares (3000 acres).

The majority of the site has had little human influence; in fact, the previous owners fenced the canyon lands to keep the cattle from getting into the area.