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Von Ormy, Texas
—  City  —
City of Von Ormy


Motto: Dios y Tejas
(Spanish for "God and Texas")
Von Ormy, Texas is located in Texas
Von Ormy, Texas
Von Ormy, Texas
Coordinates: 29°17.14′N 98°38.84′W / 29.28567°N 98.64733°W / 29.28567; -98.64733Coordinates: 29°17.14′N 98°38.84′W / 29.28567°N 98.64733°W / 29.28567; -98.64733
County Bexar
State Texas
Country United States
Founded 1836 by Blas Herrera
Incorporated May 30, 2008
Named for Count Norbert von Ormay
 - Type Type A General Law Municipality
 - Mayor]] Art Martinez de Vara
 - Alderman Sally Martinez
 - Alderman James Sweeney
 - Alderman Andrew Flores
 - Alderman Sammy Martinez
 - Total 1.88 sq mi (4.87 km2)
Elevation 608 ft (185 m)
Population (2000)
 - Total 1,300
 - Density 691.49/sq mi (266.94/km2)
Time zone Central (UTC-6)
 - Summer (DST) Central (UTC-5)
ZIP code 78073
Area code(s) 210

Von Ormy (pronounced /vɒn ˈɑrmi/) is a city located in southwest Bexar County, Texas, United States. It has been known as Von Ormy since the late 1880s. Prior to 1880, the community was known as Mann's Crossing, Garza's Crossing[1], Medina Crossing[2], and Paso de las Garzas. The former settlements of Kirk, Texas[3] and Bexar, Texas[4] were absorbed into Von Ormy by the early 1900s. Von Ormy lies along the Medina River at the crossing point of the historic Upper Laredo Camino Real. It is part of the San Antonio Metropolitan Statistical Area.



Von Ormy is located at 29°17.14′N 98°38.84′W / 29.28567°N 98.64733°W / 29.28567; -98.64733.[5]

Early history

Archeological digs by the University of Texas at San Antonio have revealed a pre-European settlement of Coahuiltecan Indians within the boundaries of present day Von Ormy. The Medina River and its tributaries were a source of food, flint, and other resources that drew native Texans to their banks.

European settlers, initially Franciscan missionaries and Spanish and mestizo soldiers, arrived in the region in the early 18th century, intent on subduing and proselytizing the natives. Canary Islanders arrived soon after to settle the nearby town of Bejar (modern day San Antonio). They began to raise cattle along the Medina River and were involved in the cattle trade between Spanish Louisiana and South Texas. Notable among these were the Ruiz and Casillas families. Early records of Von Ormians can be found in the baptismal, burial and marriage records of Mission San Jose and Mission Espada; they are usually listed as living "on the Medina" or simply "Medina."

By the early 19th century, Von Ormy was an established community, serving as the crossing point of the Medina along the Camino Real. During the Mexican War for Independence, the "Battle of the Medina" was fought nearby. Antonio López de Santa Anna served as a lieutenant and became familiar with the area during this campaign.

The Texas Revolution

During the War for Texas Independence, Santa Anna (now the Mexican President and General-in-Chief) camped in Von Ormy prior to making his final march on the Alamo. The spot is marked by the Santa Anna Oak, a large live oak under which the general encamped. Blas Herrera, the "Paul Revere" of the Texas Revolution, rode his horse from Von Ormy to San Antonio to warn the town of Santa Anna's approach. After the war, the doors to the Alamo were taken to the Herrera ranch, where they stayed until the Daughters of the Republic of Texas brought them back to the Texas shrine during their restoration of the Alamo.

The Ruiz-Herrera family cemetery located in Von Ormy is the burial place of Blas Herrera, as well as Francisco Antonio Ruiz, who was alcalde, or mayor, of San Antonio during the siege of the Alamo.

Republic of Texas and statehood

During the Republic of Texas era, the ranchos along the Medina began to flourish. The first Catholic Church in Von Ormy had been established on the Ranch of Blas Herrera between 1836 and 1841. In 1866 it was rebuilt by Bishiop Odin of Galveston as Santisima Trinidad Mission and was located at Garza's Crossing on the Medina River. Ruins of the church can be seen today and the historic cemetery is being eroded by the river. Santisima Trinidad was washed away by the Great Hurricane of 1919 and a new church was built by [Franciscan] missionaries[6] in the 1910s about a mile upstream along the new Laredo Highway's crossing of the Medina River. Against much local protesting, this old stone church was destroyed when the Laredo Highway was widened to created Interstate 35 during the 1930s. The current church was built in the 1960s and renamed Sacred Heart of Jesus.[7]

Leading up to the Civil War, San Antonio merchant Enoch Jones who was then the wealthiest man in Texas built a fortified ranchhouse, locally known as "the castle." Jones opposed secession and believe that his political views would hurt sales at his general store in Main Plaza, so he sold and dediced the remainder of his life to building the Caste on the Medina. He died in 1863, and his widow and sister-in-law lived in the Castle until the mid-1880s. In 1886, the "castle" was sold to Count Norbert Von Ormay, a Prussian count, for whom the city was named. Count Von Ormay arrived with his wife and servants from Prussia in the early 1880s. He registered a cattle brand at the Bexar County Courthouse, was often cited in the San Antonio Evening Light's gossip page, but little else is known about him and he disappeared soon afterwards. Many years later his son emerged in Brazil. The castle was sold to hotel magnate T.B. Baker.

During the 1900s, the Von Ormy Cottage tuberculosis Sanitarium was built in the city.

The Von Ormy school operated from the early 1900s until 1956 when it closed after the creation of the Southwest Independent School District.

The town's post office opened as "Garza's Crossing" on January 16, 1872, under postmaster William G. M. Samuel. It was closed May 7, 1874, but was reeastablished June 10, 1875, under new postmaster Robert J. Sibert. It was again discontinued August 16, 1875. On January 14, 1879, a new post office was reopened using the name "Mann's Crossing," with postmaster Anton F. Krause. This too was closed (November 9, 1880). It was again reestablished under postmaster Branson Bywater on September 13, 1886. On December 4, 1886, the post office changed its name to "Von Ormy," which has since remained the town's designation.[8]

In January 1906, the first bridge over the Medina River at Von Ormy was built by the International-Great Northern Railroad.

Recent history

In 1914, the town had two grocers, a general store, a cotton gin, and a population of 350. In 1946 the population was still 350. After World War II, the community declined; in 1965 nine businesses and 100 residents were reported. Since that time the population has grown slowly, and in 1990 Von Ormy had 264 residents and twenty businesses. Currently, there is a strong movement, led by the Committee to Incorporate Von Ormy (CIVO), to incorporate Von Ormy into a municipality.

Today, several pioneer families who settled in the region prior to the Texas Revolution still comprise a large percentage of Von Ormy residents, including the Ruiz, Herrera, Vara, Hernandez, Guzman, Flores, Mann, Reyes and Quintana families.

Von Ormy is served by the Jarret Volunteer Fire Department,[9] which was established in 1975 in order to provide fire protection for the upcoming bicentennial celebrations.

Von Ormy Day

Beginning in 2006, Von Ormy has held an annual parade and festival termed "Von Ormy Day." It is held on the second Saturday after Thanksgiving. Upcoming Von Ormy Day's will be December 1, 2007; December 6, 2008; and December 5, 2009. Von Ormy Day was established to commemorate the 120th anniversary of the town name being changed to Von Ormy by its postmaster. When it was created the community had not held a large-scale parade since the United States Bicentennial celebration in 1976.

On Von Ormy day the Von Ormy Historical Society crowns a Count and Countess.[10] This honor is given annually to persons who have contributed greatly to the historical preservation of the area or who have provided exceptoinal community service in the area. Recent Counts and Countesses include:

  • Count and Countess Von Ormy I, Peter and Amelia Torres (2006)
  • Count and Countess Von Ormy II, Joe and Mary Louise Castro (2007)
  • Count and Countess Von Ormy III, Charlie and Roxanne Brown (2008)

Incorporation effort

In the summer of 2006, a group of Von Ormy residents organized a series of public meetings in Von Ormy concerning the future of the community, the lack of basic public services and possible solutions to these problems. Overwhelming support for the creation of a City of Von Ormy was expressed by attendees at these three meetings. In order to pursue this community desire, the Committee to Incorporate Von Ormy, a Texas non-profit association, was organized. In addition to residential members, CIVO also includes over 20 commercial members representing nearly all local businesses.

CIVO has received written endorsements of County Judge Nelson Wolff, County Commissioner "Chico" Rodriguez, Congressman Ciro Rodriguez, State Rep. David McQuade Leibowitz, State Sen. Carlos Uresti, and San Antonio City Councilman Phil Cortez.

After confirming that it was in the best interest of Von Ormy to incorporate CIVO filed the necessary petition to the City of San Antonio to allow an election for incorporation within its extraterritorial jurisdiction. Following a series of negotiations with the City of San Antonio planning department, the petition was amended on August 15, 2007 to reflect an agreed upon City Limits. Von Ormy received the endorsement of the San Antonio Planning Commission on January 23, 2008. On January 31, 2008, the San Antonio City Council passed a resolution to allow Von Ormy to hold an election on incorporation.[11] On May 10, 2008 voters approved the proposition to create the City of Von Ormy by a vote of 88% in favor and 12% opposed.[12]

City of Von Ormy

The City of Von Ormy was incorporated on May 30, 2008. The first municipal election was held on November 4, 2008. Art Martinez de Vara was elected unopposed as Mayor. A total of seven candidates ran for the five Alderman positions on the city council. Those elected included Alex Quintanilla, Verna Lee Hernandez, J.M. Sweeney, Jr., Sebastian Martinez, and Leonardo R. Ruiz.[13]

Sister city

Famous residents


  1. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online — GARZAS, TEXAS". Texas State Historical Association.  
  2. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online — VON ORMY, TEXAS". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  3. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online — KIRK, TEXAS". Texas State Historical Association.  
  4. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online — BEXAR, TEXAS". Texas State Historical Association.  
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2000 and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2005-05-03. Retrieved 2008-01-31.  
  6. ^ "Franciscans". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  
  7. ^ "Sacred Heart of Jesus Parish - Von Ormy".  
  8. ^ "Jim Wheat's Postmasters & Post Offices of Bexar County, Texas 1846–1930". Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  9. ^ "Jarret Volunteer Fire Department".  
  10. ^ "Von Ormy Historical Society". The City of Von Ormy, Texas. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  11. ^ "Von Ormy seeks new era as a city". San Antonio Express-News. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  12. ^ "Von Ormy Officially Incorporated". Internet Broadcasting Systems, Inc.. Retrieved 2008-06-18.  
  13. ^ "4 cities OK tax increases; Von Ormy elects 1st council". San Antonio Express-News. 2008-11-05. Retrieved 2008-11-12.  
  14. ^ "Handbook of Texas Online — JONES, ENOCH". Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved 2008-06-17.  


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