The Castroville Pecan is a uniquely shaped tree. It’s located on the west bank of the Medina River which is about 25 miles away from San Antonio. The tree marks the approximate location where Henry Castro and a small group of colonists spent the night on September 3, 1844. Eight days later, on September 11, 1844, Bishop John M. Odin, who was the first Catholic bishop in Texas, said mass in the shade of the Castroville Pecan. He also dedicated a cornerstone which would become the first Catholic Church in the state.
Henry Castro is important because he was a Frenchman by birth and a Jew by faith. He, however, had a Spanish surname. He came to America as a consul for the kingdom of Naples in 1827. He loved this country so much that he became a citizen later that same year. Castro was only one of four men who successfully received a colonization contract from the Republic of Texas in the years 1841-1842. Why? Castro himself was responsible for bringing more than 1,200 immigrants to Texas. In addition, he founded colonies at Quihi, New Fountain, D’Hanis and Vandenburg. Castroville, which is named after Henry Castro, was the first permanent colony to be established between San Antonio and the Rio Grande.
Legal problems and delayed payments for his services as empresario of these colonies that he was instrumental in establishing cost Castro a personal fortune valued at more than $100,000 at the time. It also cost him much of the land he received under his colonization contract. During the War Between the States, Castro returned to France. He was hoping to raise additional funding for his colonization efforts. However, he got only as far as Monterrey, Mexico. He died there on November 3, 1865. His wife, Amelia Mathis, is interred in the Castroville Cemetery along with his daughter-in-law Augustine.
Castro’s contribution to the settlement of Texas was recognized in 1876. That year, the Legislature created and named in his honor a county in the northwest part of the state. As for the tree that bears the Castroville name, it died after a very cold winter in 1985. It has since been replaced by a young sapling raised from the original tree’s pecans. The tree was located behind the Landmark Inn in Castroville, Texas.
We hope you enjoyed learning about the Castroville Pecan, which is just one of the famous trees of Texas. If you have any questions about your trees, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Austin Tree Service. Our phone number is 512-341-8888. We look forward to working with you to keep your trees intact.