El Polvo: Redford, Texas:
A Hamlet Under Siege
I first became aware of Redford, Texas when my Grandfather Esteban Lujan entered it as his place of birth in my infant’s Baby Book. Back then the notion of visiting that little dot on the map seemed very remote indeed. It would be years before I learned that my ancestors had anything to do with the founding of El Polvo—future Redford. The story goes that Secundino Lujan (my great grandfather’s brother) was approached by Don Luis Cardiz. Cardiz was a Texas government representative who invited families to settle across the river on U.S. territory. Those willing to accept the offer began to clear the land, which they dubbed “El Polvo” (The Dust). Sometime around the mid 1800s they proceeded to build a canal by which to transport water onto their fields. All went well until they hit a big boulder! Secundino then made three-day trips to Chihuahua for an ingredient needed to blow up the blockage. In 1870 the project was completed and Governor Coke gave out 160-acre land grants to the colonizers. Among them were Lujans, Acostas, Zosas, and Carrazcos. Anglo settlers were awarded 350, to 650 acres each.
Redford (El Polvo) boasts a high rate of highly educated professionals, PhDs and teachers that are scattered throughout the state of Texas and beyond, a far cry from the current insinuations that Redford is nothing more than a drug-infested Hamlet. Today its 100 or so residents are under the steady vigilance of Drones in search of Drug-Dealers. The Legal Entry that once transported residents via a canoe from El Mulato across the river to El Polvo is closed. It was the bridge that kept extended families in touch.
Since 1997, Washington has seen fit to send Marines to patrol the area in search of drug traffic, a move that resulted in the killing of young Eziquiel “Junie” Hernandez, who was doing nothing more than tending to his goat herd. Yet it totally disregards the result of devastating flooding that left Redford’s community in ruins. Today sandy fields lie dormant. Production that once contributed to the economy of nearby Presidio packing houses is no more. What was once a source of pride, and independence, to my extended family: Lujans , Acostas , Carneros, Nietos , Zosas, Carrascos, Madrids, and Redes … to name just a few, is gone!