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In the year 1830 the Republic of Mexico granted a tract of land in the "vacant lands" of Texas to a Mexican lady by the name of Marie de la Concepcion Marquez Turrean de Linevals. This land grant is described as "eleven leagues of Land on either side of the Navasota River extending north from the San Antonio Road". This took place six years before Texas declared its independence from Mexico. This land grant was approximately 63,000 acres, and became known as "The Marquez Eleven Leagues". Today the town of Marquez is located within the Marquez Eleven Leagues and takes its name from the Mexican woman who once owned this land.

Marquez Post OfficeAt that time the only occupants of this area of Texas were a few scattered Indian tribes. Tejas, Cherokee, and other tribes were nomadic throughout this sparsely settled area. Comanche, who roamed the lands of western Texas, often raided into this area. A few white settlers came into this area and established settlements. Ft. Boggy, 20 miles east of Marquez, and Ft. Parker, 35 miles northwest of Marquez, were established in the 1830's. (Note: you may want to read the story of Cynthia Ann Parker, the white girl who was kidnapped by the Indians and became the wife of a great Comanche chieftain).

After the Texas Revolution (1836) more white settlers trickled into this area, but settlement was slow. Following the Civil War many settlers moved into central Texas. The growth of the railroads made much of this settlement possible. The International and Great Northern Railroad began at Galveston and extended its tracks north into central Texas as far as the Navasota River. In 1871 it built a crossing over the Navasota River and extended its tracks an additional 7 miles and stopped. This "jumping off place" soon boomed with traders, cattlemen, farmers, settlers, and outlaws.

This "jumping off point" was called "Marquez", and soon became the town of Marquez (pronounced Mar-Kay). By the turn of the century Marquez was the center of a booming agriculture community.

Carrington CompanyThe depression did great damage to Marquez. The "Marquez State Bank" failed and was closed. Many farmers and ranchers lost everything and moved away. In the 1930's Marquez burned. Many businesses were destroyed by this fire, including 3 hotels. Between WWI and WWII the population of Marquez fell from over 1,000 to less than 500.

The severe drought of the 1950's also did much damage to the Marquez area. Many farms failed and many who derived their livelihood from agriculture were forced to move away. The Marquez School roles dropped from several hundred students in the 1930's to less than 100 in the 1950's. In 1958 the Marquez School was closed. In its final years there were a total of 26 students in the upper 4 grades. By 1960 the population of Marquez had fallen to about 250 people.

Today Marquez is growing again. The cattle industry now dominates the countryside and very little row-crop farming is done. Ranching is now the primary source of income and Leon Country is one of the biggest beef producing areas in Texas.

Marquez is located at the juncture of two primary Texas highways. Texas Hwy 7 is a primary east/west route and US Hwy 79 is becoming one of the heaviest traveled highways in Central Texas as a result of NAFTA activity between the US and Mexico.

Modern Day Marquez, TexasToday there is a population shift from large Texas cities into the rural areas of Texas, and the countryside around Marquez typically reflects this shift. This population shift, and the wealth and business activity that is also being shifted into rural Texas, is in large part brought about by new technology. The internet has enabled many types of businesses to flourish without large urban areas to support their activity. Coming years will see more and more business growth in rural communities throughout Texas.

Those of us who live in Marquez area know that this is a wonderful place to live. This is beautiful country blessed with ample water, scenic woodlands, and rich soil. We have excellent schools, good people, and expanding business opportunity. We look forward to a bright and prosperous future.

This was written by MW Bourne in 2003


Marquez is on the Missouri Pacific Railroad at the intersection of U.S. Highway 79 and State Highway 7, sixteen miles west of Centerville in western Leon County. It was laid out as a station on the International-Great Northern Railroad in 1871 and named for MarĂ­a de la Marquez, on whose land grant the town was platted. The following year a post office was opened in Marquez. In the early years of the town the one-room Shilo Church also served as a schoolhouse. The Marquez Masonic Lodge was organized in 1875, and a Woodmen of the World chapter was organized in 1883.

Old Train Depot in Marquez,TexasBy 1884 the community had 150 inhabitants, a cotton gin, a gristmill, a saloon, two general stores, and a hotel. In 1896, the population was estimated at 350, and the community had Baptist, Christian and Presbyterian churches, 2 hotels, 4 general stores, a brick factory, a saloon, and one mill and gin.

In 1898 the community was served by the weekly Marquez Times. In 1900 the population was 482. Telephone service was introduced in 1902. A private school, Leon Academy, was opened that same year with an enrollment of 166. A fire destroyed an entire block of seven businesses in December of 1920. In the late 1920's a new brick school was built.

Old Gas StatioinIn 1925 the population of Marquez was reported to be 700, but it had declined to 381 by 1950 and to 194 by 1960. The number of businesses also declined, from twenty-two (22) in 1931 to fourteen (14) in 1960. In 1958, due to declining enrollments, the Marquez and Jewett schools were consolidated, and the Leon school was built between the two communities. After falling to a low of 131 in 1968, the population of Marquez slowly revived to 270 in 1990. By the 1980's trailer parks and mobile homes were common in some areas of the community, and the development of Lake Limestone and the opening of the nearby Nucor Steel works were providing new jobs for the community. In 2000 the population was 220.

Courtesy Waco Tribune-Herald reported on June 20, 2004

"Meteor left big mark in Texas"

Several miles outside of Marquez, TX there is a part of history and in a pasture lies the "Marquez Dome". This was first believed to be a salt dome but scientists say this site about 60 miles southeast of Waco is really a "complex impact crater." It is where a massive chunk of cosmic debris known as an asteroid blasted the planet somewhere around 58 million years ago.

Scientist believe shallow seawater or marsh probably covered Marquez when it was struck by an asteroid. The hole left was about a mile deep, though it was filled in with rock over time. Erosion gradually created a dome-like uplift. The crater was discovered in 1989, which was about 150 years after Maria de la Concepcion Marquez, the town's namesake, purchased 48,000 acres from her native Mexican government.

Oil speculators looking for the next big discovery of crude believed as far back as 1930 that a salt dome was the reason for the uplifted ground. Oil prospectors hoped to find the pools of oil that can lie below salt domes, such as in Southeast Texas.

Some oil and gas wells were brought in but more intense scientific testing eventually determined that the dome was not a salt dome but an impact crater.

The crater is located on private property and not easy to find. It requires a trek of several miles down gravel-covered Mill Creek Road, just north of Marquez. The journey continues through several gates on the land.

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