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Shirley Cullum
Nueces Co. Coordinator

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Nueces County Courthouse, Corpus Christi, Texas

My name is Shirley Cullum and I am the Nueces County Coordinator. This site is a proud part of The TXGenWeb and USGenWeb Project. If you have information you would like to contribute or have reference material concerning Nueces County and would like to volunteer to do look-ups, please contact me. All information on this site is FREE for your personal use. All information on this site is under copyright by contributors.

Thank you to all, previous Nueces County Coordinators, for their dedication to this site!

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Early History of Nueces County

Nueces County was formed in 1846 and was once part of San Patricio County.
The county seat is Corpus Christi, and was incorporated in 1846. Nueces
County is bordered by San Patricio County (north), Jim Wells County (west), Kleberg County (south) and by Corpus Christi Bay, Laguna Madre and Redfish Bay (all east). The county was named after the Nueces River which flows through the county.

The first known inhabitants of Nueces County was a culture known as Aransas. The Aransas campsites have been found by archaeologist in Copano Bay, Aransas County, Baffin Bay and Kenedy County; some of these campsites are 4,000 years old. The region has also been occupied by Coahuiltecans, Karankawas, Lipan Apaches, and Tonkawas Indian tribes. These tribes were split into smaller groups to form the Atakapa, Borado, Cavas, Capoque, Emet, Kohani, Kopani, Malaquite, Payaya, Sana, Tamique, and many groups (Handbook of Texas Online).

The French established a colony in 1685 under René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle. The Spanish later raced to the region following the French under Alonso De León, the governor of Coahuila (Handbook of Texas Online). On February 26, 1747, Corpus Christi Bay was finally discovered by Prudencio de Orobio y Basterra, captain of the presidio at La Bahía. A settlement, Villa de Vedoya, and mission, Nuestra Señora del Soto, was established under the proposal of José de Escandón, governor and captain general of Nuevo Santander. (Handbook of Texas Online).
Source: Christopher Long, "NUECES COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hcn05), accessed November 09, 2011.

Corpus Christi History
Col. Henry L. Kinney

Henry Kinney came to the Corpus Christi area in 1839 and built a store called Kinney’s Post. Kinney is considered the founder of Corpus Christi and worked hard to attract settlers to the area.

Henry Kinney was a self-promoting land speculator and trader who is credited with founding the town of Corpus Christi. His land speculation and business methods were often controversial. Kinney arrived in the Brownsville area in 1838, after a failed business venture in Illinois. He began to use the title of "Colonel" based on his alleged service during the Black Hawk Indian War.

Kinney established a store in partnership with William B. Aubrey in Aransas. They smuggled military supplies for the Mexican Federalist army, which was waging a war of independence from the rest of Mexico. In 1839, Kinney built a local "jacal" on the Bluff overlooking Corpus Christi Bay. By 1844, Kinney's Trading Post controlled virtually all the Mexican trade. Kinney hired his own gunmen to protect the store from bandits and Indians. General Zachary Taylor chose Kinney's Post for his campsite on the eve of the Mexican-American War. Kinney served as Quartermaster for Taylor's troops in 1846 and sold town lots to some of Taylor’s soldiers.

After the War, Kinney returned to a small town, but he had big ideas for Corpus Christi’s future. He bought war surplus wagons, mules and horses at little cost and then promoted Corpus Christi as the ideal jumping off place for the California gold fields. When the 49'ers began to arrive, Kinney sold the wagons and livestock for huge profits, but the Corpus Christi route proved too hazardous, and the venture went bust.

Kinney began to buy up large tracts of land with the idea of promoting Corpus Christi to new immigrants. His promotional scheme involved organizing the first Lone Star Fair in 1852. Kinney expected 30,000 visitors, but only 2,000 came. Still, the Fair was considered successful, even though it did not attract large numbers of settlers. Several other schemes Kinney tried to promote including a camel corps to transport goods from Corpus Christi to San Francisco and an army military hospital in Corpus Christi never got financial backing. Another scheme to establish an independent colony in Nicaragua failed when financial backing disappeared and the United States Government opposed the scheme. He returned to Corpus Christi in 1858.

Kinney tried his hand at politics, representing Corpus Christi in the state legislature on four different occasions from 1846 until 1861. When the Civil War broke out, Kinney opposed secession. He wrote to President Lincoln offering his services as foreign minister to Mexico. He made that same offer to Jefferson Davis. Both Presidents declined to take him up on the offer. He resigned from the Texas State Legislature in 1861 and moved to Matamoros. He was shot and killed there in 1862, allegedly in a skirmish between two rival factions. Henry Lawrence Kinney, colorful and controversial trader, speculator and founder and promoter of Corpus Christi, is buried in an unmarked grave in Matamoros.

Texas Muster Rolls 1835 and 1836

1891 Adjutant General's Report
List of Fugitives From Justice

1878 Adjutant General's Report
List of Fugitives From Justice

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Page last updated: April 13, 2014

Shirley Cullum
Nueces County Coordinator

TXGenWeb State Coordinator:
Shirley Cullum

Assistant State Coordinators:
Christina Palmer
Carla Clifton

Copyright & copy; 2009 to date. Shirley Cullum for the TXGenWeb Project & . All rights reserved.
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