History of Howard's Spring near Ozona, Texas
About 22 miles southeast of Ozona, Texas, is the location of what once was Howard's Spring aka Howard's Well. First known to outsiders in the 18th century, when, according to legend. Franciscan Padre Alvarez prayed for water to ease his thirst, put down his staff, and saw a spring gush forth from the ground, this landmark of western travel was named for its re-discoverer, Richard A. Howard of San Antonio, an ex-Texas Ranger. Howard and other men, along with 15 Delaware Indian guides, made up an expedition sent out in 1848 under Col. John Coffee Hays to map a wagon road from San Antonio to El Paso. Although aided by the discovery of the well, the expedition failed, turning back in a state of near-starvation. In 1849 the U.S. Army made its maps of the route, with Howard along as a guide. Many forty-niners went past the spring on the way to the California gold rush. In 1853 the first regular San Antonio-to-El Paso mail line was routed by way of the well. So were many later ventures. Although white travelers seldom caught sight of them, Indians also frequented the well. There, on April 20, 1872, Comanche and Kiowa surprised a large wagon train led by a man named Gonzales, and killed 16 persons.
Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.