|The La Joya Post
TE photo, 2002
a Pecan Shell
Jewel" is said to be named after a small natural lake once nearby.
The town sits on land that was once known as Los Ejidos de Reynosa
The settlers of Reynosa Viejo shared grazing lands here called ejiidos
in Spanish. Settlement began in 1749, when José de Escandón brought
the first settlers here. Even today, many residents are descendants
of the original colonists. Francisco de la Garza, had founded a
community called Tabasco, on this side of the Rio Grande
in the early 1900s. It prospered briefly after being abandoned (for
higher ground) because of severe flooding in 1908 and 1909.
In 1926 a land developer from Houston named J. H. Smith arrived
and coaxed the locals into incorporating - which they did that same
year - officially naming it after the lake west of town. In 1930
the town was still in its infantcy, with just two businesses and
a few houses.
Development was curtailed due to the Great Depression and by 1940
the town only had 175 people living there. Nothing much happened
in La Joya until the mid 1950s when a man with the redundant name
of Leo J. Leo organized the townspeople to hold an election. In
1965 Leo Leo became the town's first mayor.
By 1972 the town had over 1,200 people which doubled over the next
High School (detail)
TE Photo, 2002
200 W. US 83
This school's roots
lie in the former town of Havana
(2 mi. S), where between 1890 and 1944 area children, most of whom
lived on nearby ranches, attended classes in a one-room schoolhouse.
Nellie Leo Schunior (1878-1920), who later became the first superintendent
of Chapin (now Edinburg)
schools, taught in Havana from
1913 until 1916. Several years after her death, persistent flooding
of the Rio Grande caused Havana residents to relocate their town to
this area. They renamed the town La Joya, and built a new school
in 1926 which they named in Schunior's honor.
|Nellie Leo Schunior
of La Joya, Texas
first settler of La Joya Texas was the family of Hilario Silva. La
Joya was called La Joya because the ranchers of Rio
Grande City would take thier cattle to the watering hole (called
jollancas) in La Joya. Not because the water glistened like a jewel.
New people that have come to live in La Joya think they know the history
of La Joya, and get their facts from people that have lived there
a very long time although were not of the actual descendants of the
1st settlers. When actually they should get their facts about La Joya
from the descendants of the original La Joyans which was my family.
There are people like Vicente Garza, Roberto Gonzalez Jr. Aurora G.
Cavazos, who is 96 years old who was the granddaughter of Hilario
Silva, Manuel Gonzalez, Gonzalo Gonzalez Sr. who also happened to
be a direct descendant of Hilario Silva. I, myself am an Hilario Silva
descendant but I have learned my history through those people aformentioned."
- Yolie Flowers, September 27, 2009
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Texas, asks that anyone wishing to share their local history, stories,
landmarks and recent or vintage photos, please contact