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Courthouse, Corpus Christi, Texas
My name is Shirley Cullum and I am the Nueces
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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
bordered by San
Patricio County (north), Jim Wells
(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
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
under the proposal of José de Escandón, governor
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.
Kinney came to the Corpus Christi area in 1839 and built a store called
Kinney’s Post. Kinney is considered the founder of Corpus
and worked hard to attract settlers to the area.
Henry L. Kinney
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,
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
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.
1891 Adjutant General's Report
1878 Adjutant General's Report
of Fugitives From Justice
of Fugitives From