Photo courtesy Mary M. Meszaros 2011
a Pecan Shell
Vance was originally
called Bullhead, after nearby Bullhead Mountain, but was renamed
after a settler (Xavier Wanz) who was one of Henri
Castro's Alsatian colonists.
1874: Henry Wells became the first settler
1875: Bullhead's first church was established
1878: the Bullhead Post Office was granted
1883: the townsite was laid out and Edwards
County was also established. Bullhead served as county seat until
1884, when an election relocated the Edwards County seat to Leakey.
1886: the town was renamed after an Anglo spelling of Wanz's name.
The population of Vance has stayed below 50 persons for the entire
20th century. The post office closed in 1955.
Currently only a church, cemetery
and scattered dwellings make up Vance, Texas.
Cemetery & Historical Marker
Photo courtesy Mary M. Meszaros 2011
( On RR 335 8 Miles from Barksdale)
One of the earliest
settlers of this area was Henry Wells (1850-1923), who first came
to the Nueces Canyon in 1866. He founded the town of Bullhead in 1873.
The name was changed to Vance in the mid-1880s. In 1875 a guest in
the home of the Wells Family, C. J. Fowler, died and was buried on
the family's farm. The land surrounding Fowler's grave became known
as Vance Cemetery. Henry Wells often worked as a coffin builder for
members of the community. Rancher Z. H. Pannell (1862-1925) donated
additional land in 1909 for the cemetery and a church. The Vance Baptist
Church was built in 1917, the same year Henry Wells gave more land
to enlarge the cemetery. In addition to the graves of Fowler and Wells,
the Vance Cemetery is the burial site of many early pioneers of this
area. Six Civil War veterans are interred here, as well as Veterans
of World War I and
World War II.
Epidemics of diphtheria and influenza in the early 20th century claimed
the lives of many area citizens who are buried here. The Vance Cemetery
Association was organized in 1952 and is responsible for maintenance
of the graveyard, which is still in use by descendants of pioneer
Photos of Vance TX
We just got back from our second visit to Hill Country and I snapped
these two pictures of the Vance Baptist Church and the cemetery
(show above). - Mary M. Meszaros, Lititz, PA, September 06, 2011
tid-bit on Vance, Texas:
In February 1905, a bank was held-up in Rio Gallegos, Santa Cruz,
Argentina, by two young men, both described as English-speaking.
Mr. Allsop, a patent-medicine salesman in Rio Gallegos, said his
father-in-law had a ranch near Vance, and that some years earlier
he (Allsop) had known one of the bandits, whom he called Brady,
at the ranch. He said that Brady had a sister in nearby Punta Arenas,
Other writers have identified the two bandits as Henry Thompson
and Lewis Nelson, or William Wilson and Robert Evans. Wilson, we
know from other sources, was born 17 August 1885 in Texas Wilson
and Evans, who were both bandits, were killed in 1911 in a gunfight
with the Argentine Frontier Police.
Source: "Wild Bunch Bank Holdup in Argentina," Daniel Buck & Anne
Meadows, National Outlaw-Lawman History Quarterly, vol. XII, no.
3, Winter 1988.
I'm passing along
this information in the hopes that perhaps one of our readers might
know something additional about Allsop's father-in-law's Vance ranch,
or about Brady himself. - Daniel Buck, September 02, 2005
I lived in Vance for about 10 years. I heard all the stories about
one of the men who robbed that bank being buried with his treasure
around where our house was. I explored everyday for about 5 years
looking for anything out of the ordinary. My great-uncle claimed
that he actually located a wealth of treasure but was forced to
leave it and never returned for some reason unknown to us. I did
locate a fenced off area that was about the size of a grave, metal
detectors didn't indicate anything. I did however find a ton of
The cemetery is pretty old and very interesting to walk through.
I am glad you are doing this. Keep Up the Good Work - C Mitchel,
December 01, 2005
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