Cattle pen reveals steps to Uvalde County’s past

Imagine Knippa resident Bob Reagan’s surprise when, while digging a pipeline in a cattle pen, the digger suddenly uncovered rock steps presumably leading to a cellar. The Reagans have long been aware that a man by the name of Jasper Wish once lived on their land as three Wish tombstones, enclosed by a small fence, are nearby, but only recently have they discovered more about this German born settler whom they describe as an early trailblazer, coming to southeastern Uvalde County in the 1870s from Bandera County.

Bob Reagan’s parents Cecil and Eula Reagan bought the old Wish property in late 1937 from a land bank as the property had been foreclosed upon. Bob was born there in February of 1938 and has lived on the place continually except for a brief army stint in 1956-57.

“Down on Blanco Creek, which is just to the east of the homesite, Bob has found a large smooth rock slab, which is man-made, and probably was used as a clothes washing or bathing site,” said Carolyn Reagan. “It all seems quite ingenious.”

Three Wish tombstones, enclosed by a small fence, on Bob Reagan’s farm, located south of Knippa. The tombstones mark the graves of Jasper Wish (1826-1888), his wife Nancy Teresa Kelley Wish (1834-1893), and their daughter Almeda Isabel Wish Price (1861-1890).

Even today, the Reagans still use Wish’s 50-foot hand-dug water well and a very well-built large cistern which is finished on the outside with large limestone rock, most likely brought in from the Texas Hill Country.

Jasper Wish, whose name on 1841 New Orleans immigration records appears as Caspar Wasch, arrived in Sabinal Canyon during the fall of 1852 with father-in-law Laban Kelley and his sons Chris and Joe. First settling a few miles north of Utopia, Wish and his wife, Nancy Kelley, started a family but had lost three children by 1877 as evidenced by their burials in the Waresville Cemetery.


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