“In 1746 Jose de Escandon (El Conde de la Sierra Gorda) was selected to conquer and colonize the land known as Seno Mexicano. This area including the Rio Grande Valley. By 1767 all the land from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande had been surveyed.
In 1781 the San Pedro de Carricitos Grant was adjudicated to Pedro Villarreal for services rendered to the crown of Spain. Pedro Villarreal brought his family and laborers to settle on his grant. When they arrived at Rio Grande they selected the highest ground for their settlement. This portion of land was bordered by the Rio Grande on the south and surrounded by an estero (old river bed) which made it easy to defend. The high ground protected it from the floods, the estero made it easy to defend from bandits and Indians (Lipon and Karankawa). On this land they found a freak of nature in a grove of Sabino (Jupiter) trees. This type of tree had not been seen in the northern part of Mexico and it is of special significance to Spaniards. Sabino groves are considered enchanted so the settlement was named La Encantada (The Enchanted).
Here Pedro Villarreal had three children, one of whom was named Jose Maria. Jose Maria married Concepcion and they also had three children, one whom was named Felicidad. Felicidad Villarreal married Pedro Esparza and they inherited a large portion of land of San Pedro de Carricitos Grant from Don Pedro Villarreal, grandfather of Felicidad. Pedro Esparza and Felicidad had eight children born and raised at La Encantada Ranch.
One of Pedro and Felicidad’s children was named Carlos. He married Francisca Garcia, they inturn had eight children who were born and raised at La Encantada Ranch. Their oldest child was named Jose Esparza who inherited land from his father.
By 1910 all the people that were living on La Encantada Ranch had moved about one half mile north along the Military Road and named their new ranch El Ranchito. Along the Military Road there were five other ranches, El Calaboz, El Naranjo, La Paloma, Las Flores, and El Ranchito. These ranches each had a one room school.
In 1910, a committee of prominent men of the community, headed by James L. Landrum, met to discuss the educational needs of the area. Those present at this meeting were J.E. Keller, Jose Esparza, James L. Landrum, Antonio Esparza, Pedro Zepeda, Jr., Enrique Zepeda and others. The committee agreed to form a school district and it was named Cameron County Common School District No. 3 (Landrum School District). At this meeting it was also decided to join three of the ranch schools on one campus. El Naranjo, El Ranchito, and El Calaboz agreed to unite their schools. The committee chose El Ranchito since it was the middle ranch.
Don Jose Esparza said he would donate the acre of land along the Military Road in the middle of El Ranchito. He deeded the land to the school district and expressed the wish that it be named La Encantada School in honor of La Encantada Ranch, where his ancestors and family had been born and raised. His wish was granted at this meeting.
By 1958, the enrollment of the school had increased so much that the old campus and buildings were no longer adequate. The school Trustees decided to move the location of the school. The district bought ten acres of land on the Rice Tract Road and spent about $70,000 of the taxpayer’s money for land and school buildings.
San Benito News (08/30/70)