Rich grasslands attracted Canary Island immigrants here in the 1730s. A state historic site recalls that era at the stabilized ruins of Rancho de las Cabras, a ranching outpost that served one of San Antonio’s missions. Once called Lodi, the town was named Floresville in honor of an early Canary Island family and became the seat of Wilson County. The 1884 Italianate courthouse designed by noted architect Alfred Giles sits on the downtown square, along with a huge peanut statue honoring the local agri-product.
Chisholm Trail history was made here by John Oatman Dewees, a leading cattleman during the trail driving years, Dewees owned a prominent ranch in Wilson and Atascosa counties. He partnered with James F. Ellison in 1869, and together they moved a total of more than 400,000 cattle up the trail by 1877. The ruins of Rancho de las Cabras are four miles south of Floresville, at the junction of Picosa Creek and the San Antonio River. The ruins, originally a colonial ranch associated with Mission Espada near San Antonio, are now part of San Antonio Missions National Historical Park.