San Roque church lies in the center of La Grulla, Texas. According to Raul Longoria the San Roque Catholic Church was built in 1891 by Juan and Yrinea Longoria in memory of their son Eugenio who was killed in 1870. Longoria mentions that Eugeino never came back after leaving to go visit some friends and relatives in a nearby Las Cuevas (present day Cuevitas). He was found weeks later near Penitas Texas (about 10 mile further than Cuevitas) with his horse having three bullet holes, but his cause of death was never determined.
|San Roque Catholic Church (Abandoned historic church) La Grulla
Tx. Photo is a personal photo of Moises Garza taken in 2003.
This is the same church which can be assumed with certainty that my wife’s great-grandfather Francisco Perez Lozano and family attended to. The certainty comes from the fact that they were Catholic and that this was the only church near where they resided. Also his son Vicente worked in constructing the roof on the new church.
San Roque Church Video by Jimmy Martinez
I want to thank my friend Jimmy Martinez for allowing me to add his video to this page. You can check out his other YouTube videos using the link bellow.
I’m so excited to know about this little church on the Oblate Trail. I wonder if Father Keralum designed the church for the Longoria family. It looks so much like the Gothic Revival style of so many of Keralum’s tiny churches.
It would be nice to find out so that we could give him proper credit. This church and the now abandoned longoria homes seem to have the same type of brick which probably was from Camargo, Mexico.
The brick from the Ponciano Longoria home had an “H”. I have always wondered if the “H” stood for Heinrich Portscheller, a brick mason who worked in Rio Grande City, Roma and Mier.
Heinrich Portscheller was a German who supposedly fought with the Russian Army, deserted and wound up in Mexico fighting for Maximillian, deserted again and somehow ended up in Rio Grande City around 1866. He began working as a brick mason at Fort Ringgold and in Rio Grande City, Roma and Mier. He married Leonarda Campos in Mier in 1879 and moved his family to Roma in 1881 where he established a brickyard and became a successful architect and builder.
The book “The Real Stories of Starr County” by Jesus Correa makes the following statement: “In Roma, Portscheller, in partnership with a Mr. Margo and a Mr. Prudencio Perez Gonzalez, established a brickyard for the manufacturing of a very attractive salmon buff, sand struck, large (2-3/4 by 4-1/8 by 8-3/4 inches) brick.” The description of the brick seems to fit the brick used in the Ponciano Longoria house.
Raul the book “Mexican Brick Culture in the Building of Texas, 1800s-1980s” might provide a clue. Heard it contains a catalog of bricks but can’t tell anything else until I check it out.
Juan Longoria built the church in memory of his son Eugenio who died in 1870. Father Keralum died in November 1872 so it is possible he designed the church. However the church was not completed until 1891 or 1892, and was inaugurated on October 4, 1892 by Bishop Verdaguer (according to article in November 1, 1994 issue of The Monitor of McAllen).
The Gothic repitition, as in the case of the church in Roma, such as it was, indicates that Father Pietre Keralum very, very probably had either supervision of the plans, or drew them personally. He was, undeniably, a genius and a Christian star, That was my brother’s opinion,,,,He wrote a very thorough “political history of Starr County” for his master’s thesis at Texas A and I. It covered much of what came forth from the Jurisdicciones de Reynosa, Camargo, y Mier de la Provincia de Nuevo Santander.
Hey, nice to meet you…..how can I track down that Thesis?
Who has a copy of it?
Who wrote it? I would love to read that thesis. Please respond to Fred Garcia.
Check out my blog “Oblate Father of the Rio Grande” at http://tinyurl.com/869nejn
i helped remodel the church in the mid 90s along with several others, it sits south across the street from my grandparents home Enrique & Bertha Cantu. it is trully a piece of history, it used to have a giant catus growing on the north east vally of the roof, Jimmy should remember it… thanks for the memory lane buddy
Thanks for your comment, I do remember the cactus also. I just hope this church lasts longer for future generations to admire it and wonder.
Hello!…my name is javier galvan longoria…i live in brownsville ,tx…..my mom is josefina longoria….desendant of the longorias from “la grulla, tx.”….i would love to visit that place very soon!!!…
Nice to meet you Javier, to keep up to date with La Grulla check out their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/LaGrullaTexas
Juan and Yrinea Longoria were my great great grandparents (my great grandmother was Martina Longoria. Also, my grandfather Pioquinto Zamora was born in La Grulla and he and his parents Juan and Martina L. Zamora lived in Penitas. I would love to visit the church and correspond with relatives and be able to access records sometime, somewhere. Fannie Cavazos Hewgley.
You can call me if you like . I am also a g/g grandson of Juan and Yrinea . I was born in LA Grulla and grew up in McAllen . 509-630-9517
This photo of the San Roque Church was sent to me about 14 years ago by someone who found it in the Catholic Archives. The back of the photo had a note indicating it was built in 1881 (which I think is in error) and has the names of Father Pitoye and Father Deckert. Unfortunately, I do not have an image of the back of the photo.
Here is an enlargement of the photo, with a little editing to make the dark areas lighter so that perhaps someone can identify some of the individuals in the photo.