REFUGIO COUNTY HOLDS a very culturally diverse rich history that many are unaware of.
Many Indigenous tribes roamed the land of South Texas before the area was settled by Spanish and Mexican rancheros, followed by Irish Empresarios, famously, James Power from Ballygarrett, Ireland. On May 19, 1996 the Town of Ballygarrett dedicated a memorial acknowledging the connection between the two cities. Ballygarrett and Refugio officially twinned for cultural economic and tourism purposes.
One major historic feature Refugio County has to offer is the mission that used to stand on the south end of town - The Nuestra Señora Del Refugio Mission. Refugio was named after the mission, built in 1795 and was the final Spanish mission constructed in the State of Texas.
The mission served as a church to spread Catholicism as well as a refuge to the indigenous tribes for the years that it stood. It was abandoned around 1830 and was the site of The Battle of Refugio in 1836 during the Texas Revolution. It eventually crumbled due to the type of stone material used to construct it. Towns people contributed to its demise by taking rocks and repurposing them for other things around town.
In the days after Nuestra Señora Del Refugio was abandoned, it was described by travelers going through Refugio as “one of the most beautiful missions, even in ruin.”
Plans to build a replica of the mission are in works by a Non-profit Group called “Los Amigos de Nuestra Señora Del Refugio,” which translates to The
Friends of Our Lady of Refuge. The goal of Los Amigos is to build, promote and maintain a full size replica of Nuestra Señora Del Refugio, also to educate and tell the story of life in early South Texas.
Many people know the popular Texas history; Remember the Alamo! Remember Goliad! The aspiration is to remind everyone: Don’t Forget Refugio!