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Kleberg and nearby counties were the scene of a little known drama in North American history. In 1568, English privateer John Hawkins suffered grave damage to his fleet in a raid on a Spanish coastal town in Central America. One of his ships sank, and the others were so badly damaged that there was not room aboard for the entire crew to make the trip back to England. The ever-resourceful Hawkins put 114 sailors ashore just south of the mouth of the Rio Grande. Most of the castaways were lost to history, but David Ingram, Richard Brown and Richard Twide walked first to Canada and then to the Atlantic coast, where they were picked up in October 1569 by a French ship and returned to England.

Kleberg County was created from Nueces County in 1913 and organized in that same year. It was named for Robert Justice Kleberg, an 1880 graduate of the University of Virginia, lawyer, friend of Capt. Richard King, and founder of the 825,000 acre King Ranch. After King's death in 1885, his widow, Henrietta King, asked Robert Kleberg to help run the ranch of her. Kleberg married Alice Gertrudis King, youngest daughter of Henrietta and Richard King. Their son, Robert Justice Kleberg Jr., managed the ranch after his father's death in 1933 until his own death in 1974.
 

The town of Kingsville was really the creation of Henrietta King. anticipating a railroad to Brownsville, just after the turn of the century, she designated a large piece of the ranch near the headquarters as incentive for rail construction. In 1903, when the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railroad was built along that line, the town of Kingsville was surveyed and laid out by the King Ranch surveyor. Lots were sold, and eventually the town became a cattle-shipping point, railroad repair facility and university town.

 

Cities and Towns

Kingsville

Unincorporated Areas

Riviera

Loyola Beach

Ricardo

Vattmann

 

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Website Updates:
February 2014: Texas World War I Hero's
January 2014: Weather Stories
October 2013: 1966-1969 Marriage Records

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