THE TXGenWeb PROJECT
The Twentieth Century was just beginning. Richard King and his wife,Henrietta had gradually developed vast land holdings in South Texas which they called King Ranch. Henrietta, left a widow, but being a very inergetic, intelligent woman, she took over the management of the ranch. It was her desire to establish a town near the ranch home. She donated land for a townsite when an attempt at building a railroad was finally successful in 1904. She constructed the First Presbyterian Church building, and donated land for Baptist, Catholic, Episcopal and Methodist churches. Henrietta King was not just interested in helping religious groups, she also helped bring education to this South Texas area. She built a high school and presented it to the town, and provided land for South Texas State Teachers College. By 1913 the town, now called Kingsville, became the county seat.
The growth of the town was synonimous with that of Kleberg County. The coming of the railroad brought many rail workers but it also brought people looking for a warmer climate to make their homes at farmers or as merchants. Kingsville became the trade center for these farmers and ranchers. In 1911 the Kingsville community was incorporated. In 1913 the town became the county seat for Kleberg County.
The next large grown in population was during World War II when the U.S. Navy opened Kingsville Naval Auxiliary Station. It later became the Naval Air Station, Kingsville). There was a Celanese Corporation placed in operation a few miles north of Kingsville in 1944. Most of the employees who moved from elsewhere chose to live in Kingsville. The naval base was closed in 1946, but in 1951 it was reactivated.
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