Batesville is on the Leona River at the intersection of U.S. Highway 57 and Farm Road 117, fifteen miles east of La Pryor in northeast Zavala County. The first settlers in the area were ranchers Mont Woodward in the mid-1860s and the Bates family around 1869. By 1870 the Bates brothers, Elijah, Felix, and Finis, had developed a large ranch in the area; it spawned the development of a small community known as Bates Ranch.

Elijah Anderson Bates chartered the Comanche Irrigation Company in 1876 in partnership with his two brothers to develop the region's first irrigation project on two sections of land granted to them by the state of Texas. To comply with provisions of the state-subsidized project Bates proceeded to dam the Leona River and channel its water through a canal system to over 500 acres of farmland. The Bates brothers sold the irrigated area in two-acre plots. The farm complex matured as a community and was thereafter known as Bates Ditch. With the organization of Zavala County in 1884, Bates Ditch became the county seat, and its name changed to Batesville. The Zavala county courthouse was built in Batesville in 1884 from bricks made of Leona River soil on land donated by Elijah Bates. It was the county's first rock structure and became the social center for the surrounding area. The same year a post office was established in the community. Throughout the 1880s residents of Batesville joined with those of Loma Vista for camp meetings at the Leona River; these early summer religious meetings were the social event of the year.

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Ruben E. Ochoa | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Batesville is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Batesville is classified as a Town

Associated Names

  • [Bates Ditch]
  • [Bates Ranch]
  • [Bates Switch]


Latitude: 28.95108150
Longitude: -99.61782870

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


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