This Day in Texas History:
Mexican Raiders Strike Texas Ranch
March 25, 1918
On this day in 1918, in what proved to be the last serious incident of the border troubles initiated by the Mexican Revolution, Mexican raiders attacked the Neville ranch in northwest Presidio County.
Edwin W. Neville’s isolated ranch stretched for eighteen miles along the Rio Grande, six miles upriver from Porvenir. Neville and his son Glen were discussing the rumors of an attack when they heard a disturbance outside. Neville looked out and saw fifty approaching horsemen who opened fire on the house.
Seeking protection, the Nevilles ran toward a ditch about 300 yards away. The older Neville reached the ditch uninjured, but the raiders shot Glen in the head and beat him with their rifle butts as he lay dying. The Nevilles’ housekeeper, Rosa Castillo, was also shot and her body mutilated. As Neville wandered in the darkness, the raiders stole horses, clothes, bedding, and supplies. U.S. cavalry arrived soon after the raid and followed the trail of the bandits across the Rio Grande.
In a gunfight at the village of Pilares thirty-three Mexicans were killed and eight were wounded. One American, private Carl Alberts, was also killed. The American soldiers destroyed all but one house in Pilares and recovered some of Neville’s stolen property.
It is likely that the Neville ranch raid was not a simple act of robbery, but retaliation for the Porvenir Massacre, which had taken place two months before. It is also likely that the raiders had Villista connections. In addition, soldiers found German-made Mauser rifles at Pilares, a fact that may suggest German involvement in the raid.