King ranch catalog

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King Ranch

Largest ranch in Texas

United States historic place

King Ranch is the largest ranch in the United States. At some , acres (3,&#;km2; 1,&#;sq&#;mi)[3] it is larger than the state of Rhode Island.[4] It is mainly a cattle ranch, but also produced the Triple Crown winning racehorse Assault.

The ranch is located in South Texas between Corpus Christi and Brownsville adjacent to Kingsville. It was founded in by Captain Richard King and Gideon K. Lewis. It includes portions of six Texas counties; most of Kleberg and much of Kenedy, with portions extending into Brooks, Jim Wells, Nueces, and Willacy counties.

The ranch does not consist of one single contiguous plot of land, but rather four large sections called divisions. The divisions are the Santa Gertrudis, the Laureles, the Encino and the Norias. Only the first two of the four divisions border each other, and that border is relatively short.[5] The ranch was designated a National Historic Landmark in [2][6] The Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame inducted the ranch in [7] King Ranch was one of the very first ones to be added to the National Register of Historic Places on October 15, because of the National Historic Preservation Act of which was signed that same day.


Richard King (–) was a river pilot, born in New York City to Irish immigrants. He was indentured to a jeweler at age 11, but later ran to sea,[1] eventually attaining a pilot's rating. In , King first met his future business partner in the King Ranch, Mifflin Kenedy (–), captain of the steamboat Champion. Both served under General Zachary Taylor (later the 12th US president) operating steamboats from Brazos Santiago Harbor in Texas, USA, to Matamoros in Mexico, and on up river to Camargo, Tamaulipas, in support of the U.S. invasion of Monterrey and Saltillo. After the Mexican–American War, King made a good living hauling merchandise on the Rio Grande, as far up river as Camargo, and Rio Grande City. In the meantime, Kenedy was able to make money by carrying goods overland into Mexico. By March 1, , King, Kenedy, Charles Stillman, founder of Brownsville, and James O'Donnell entered into a business partnership (M. Kenedy & Co.) to transport Stillman's goods from Brazos Santiago Harbor on the Gulf of Mexico and up the Rio Grande. The enterprise required two types of steamers — the Grampus and Comanche. During the American Civil War, the steamboat fleet was reflagged under the name of the Matamoros, Mexico citizen Francisco Iturria and the Mexican flag. As Mexico was a neutral country, the steamboats could not be stopped by Union blockaders, and engaged in a lively commerce of transporting Texas cotton to many deep-water ships anchored offshore Matamoros, on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande. Stillman sold his share of the enterprise after the Civil War; the new firm operated as King, Kenedy & Co. until

King first saw the land that would become part of the King Ranch in April as he traveled north from Brownsville to attend the Lone Star Fair in Corpus Christi, a four-day trip by horseback. After a grueling ride, King caught sight of the Santa Gertrudis Creek, &#;mi (&#;km) from the Rio Grande. It was the first stream he had seen on the Wild Horse Desert. The land, which was shaded by large mesquite trees, so impressed him, when he arrived at the fair, he and a friend, Texas Ranger Captain Gideon K. "Legs" Lewis, agreed then and there to make it into a ranch.

The King Ranch LK brand, still in use today,[when?] stands for partners Lewis and King.[citation needed]

King and Lewis established a cow camp on Santa Gertrudis Creek. During this time, Richard King purchased the Rincón de Santa Gertrudis grant, a 15, acres (63&#;km2; &#;sq&#;mi) holding that encompassed present-day Kingsville, Texas. It was purchased from the heirs of Juan Mendiola of Camargo on July 25, , for $ King sold Lewis an undivided half-interest in the land for $2, At the same time, Lewis sold King undivided half-interest in the ranchos of Manuel Barrera and of Juan Villareal for the same sum, on November 14, In , King and Lewis purchased the de la Garza Santa Gertrudis grant from Praxides Uribe of Matamoros for $1,, on the condition of a perfected title (complete documentation of the land grant) on May 20, to 53, acres (&#;km2; 83&#;sq&#;mi). As the years passed, more land was added, growing to million acres (1,&#;sq&#;mi, 4,&#;km²) at its largest extent, until reaching its current total.

In , Lewis was killed by the husband of a woman with whom he had been having an affair.[2] On July 1, , a court sale of Lewis' property (including the undivided half-interest in the land of the Ranch) was held. King had arranged for Major W. W. Chapman (died ) to bid on the Rincón property, which Chapman acquired for $1, Chapman had been the quartermaster of Fort Brown in Brownsville, and regulated the steamboat contracts to supply Fort Ringgold, up river in Rio Grande City. Chapman's heirs published the letters home from his wife in the book The News From Brownsville.[8]

King interested Captain James Walworth in acquiring the entire de la Garza grant, which Walworth completed on December 26, , for $5, paid to Praxides Uribe. King thus retained operational control of the Ranch, with Walworth as a silent partner who held title to the land, and who paid taxes on it.[3]

King and Walworth's livestock brand was registered June 27, along with his earlier brands. (see below)

When King and his partners began hiring people to staff the ranch, they hired a number of Mexican hands. In one notable case, King traveled to the village of Cruillas, Tamaulipas, Mexico in the early months of (the village having been decimated by a severe drought) and purchased the village's entire cattle population. But shortly after leaving the village, King realized that, by solving the village's short-term problem (providing needed income to survive the drought), he created a longer-term one (now the village had no source of future income). King thus returned to Cruillas and offered the entrada of villagers the opportunity to work for him, in exchange for food, shelter, and income. Many of the villagers accepted King's offer and relocated to Texas.[9] As the ranch grew, its hands came to be called kineños, or "King's men". Over time, some original grantees returned to their land. King once said he "could not have kept on and held on if Andrés Canales had not been adjoining."[4]

Records show a Mexican range cow cost $6 in , a mustang horse cost $6, and a stud horse cost $–[5] In sum, in , King paid $12, Lea estimated the expenses were smaller. The first brand was the ere flecha (an R with arrow through it).[6]

In , the ranch recorded its first official brands (HK and LK). In , the ranch registered its "Running W" brand, which remains the King Ranch's official mark today.[10] At the time, the ranch grazed cattle, horses, sheep and goats. By the mids, though, the ranch's hallmark stock had become the hardy Texas Longhorn. The ranch also boasted several Brahman bulls, as well as Beef Shorthorns and Herefords.

The Brahmans, which were native to South Asia, were well adapted to thrive in South Texas' hot climate; they were crossed with the ranch's Beef Shorthorns to produce the ranch's own trademark stock — the Santa Gertrudis cattle, which were recognized as a breed in

Lea portrays King's purchase of the Ranch as motivated by his wooing of Henrietta Maria Morse Chamberlain (–), whom he married in the First Presbyterian Church, Brownsville, on Sunday, December 10, The King Ranch HK livestock brand stands for Henrietta King.

In the United States Civil War, initially, the disruption of the flow of cattle to market caused a drop in beef prices. In , the price of cattle dropped to $2 a head, rising to $11 per head by August

The – winter pushed uncounted cattle south toward the Nueces River and Rio Grande. By the end of the Civil War, the Texas Rangers were disbanded by the following reconstruction of the United States. It became too tempting to simply herd cattle across the Nueces or Rio Grande.

Even in this time of loss, by , King was able to round up 48, of an estimated 84, head of cattle. Allowing for 10, remaining, King claimed a loss of 33, head from to

To handle depredations (rustling), the ranchers formed the Stock Raisers Association of Western Texas in ; Mifflin Kenedy led the first meeting.

By , the Texas Rangers were re-established, and were a factor in controlling the depredations.

By , , head of cattle made their way from the West to the railroads of Kansas, and thence to the stockyards of Chicago. On a Texas ranch, a steer worth $11 would bring $20 from a buyer in Abilene. The buyer in turn could ask $ at the Union Stock Yards. King could drive his cattle for a hundred days to the railheads of Kansas.

By , though, , head of cattle caused a market glut, which King avoided by personal negotiation in Abilene.

King managed to avoid the September 19, , 'Black Friday panic' by selling early. During the lean year that followed, King continued to fence his land, and manage his cattle, horses and sheep.

One technique King used to manage costs was to make his trail bosses the owners of the herd. The bosses would sign a note for the cattle, which they would begin to drive to market in February of each year, for the day drive. The bosses were also the employers of the outfit. Upon the sale of the herd to the northern buyers, the trail bosses could relieve their indebtedness, and earn a profit greater than their ordinary wages.

At the death of Henrietta King, the appraiser's Statement of Gross Estate, Mrs. H. M. King listed a net total of $ million, as the owner of , acres (4,&#;km2), which did not include the Santa Gertrudis headquarters, nor did it include the Kleberg's Stillman and Lasater tracts, which were not of the estate. Her son-in-law, Bob Kleberg, Sr., said "A valuation of four to five dollars an acre ($/km²) on a million acres (&#;km²) of raw ranchland was about right, but it took a long time for the Government to admit it."[7] By , the taxes ($,) had been paid up, in installments, but the trustees had to borrow money, so by the market crash of , Henrietta King's estate was in debt $3,,

In , Bob Kleberg, Jr., the son of Kleberg, Sr. and Alice Gertrudis King, leased the exploration and drilling rights on the ranch to Humble Oil of Houston, Texas for $,, in exchange for the usual royalty of 1/8 of every barrel (20 L) of oil pumped from the property.[11] Humble Oil loaned enough money to pay the debts of the H.M. King estate, secured by a first mortgage on the land. Humble struck oil and gas by During all of this, the Ranch was a going concern, with a net profit of $,, as early as [8]

Lauro Cavazos, who served as the first Hispanic United States Cabinet officer, was born on the King Ranch during his father's service as a ranch foreman in January,

On November 18, , Luther Blanton and his son, John, trespassed on the ranch by crawling through the fence surrounding it. They had intended to hunt ducks and nearby residents reported hearing shots fired. Shortly thereafter, locals organized a group to force their way onto the ranch around the area where they were known to have gone hunting. However, neither Blanton nor his son were ever seen again. A subsequent police investigation resulted in no arrests. Although most residents suspected them being murdered by ranch guards for trespassing, it remains a long-standing unsolved mystery.[12]

In , the Ford Motor Company began using the King Ranch brand on its vehicles. Over the years there have been King Ranch versions of the Ford F, Super Duty, Explorer, and the Expedition. The vehicles include dark brown leather seats, and the badges show the King Ranch 'Running W' brand.[13]

In popular culture[edit]

Edna Ferber's novel Giant of the ranches of Texas was turned into a film of the same name. Many of the events of the King Ranch, such as the discovery of oil on the property, are also in the film. Working-class millionaires can still be found in the oil towns of Texas, as well.[citation needed]

In the James Michener novel Centennial, the Venneford Ranch was said to be patterned after the King Ranch.[citation needed]

The historical fiction novel Lords of the Land by Matt Braun is based on the King Ranch and its founder, although names and some circumstance have been altered.[citation needed]

A cowboy's perspective on the King Ranch subsidiary in Australia, the cattle station Brunette Downs, is captured in the autobiography by Nick Campbell-Jones Don't Die Wondering. Campbell-Jones was a jackaroo (Australian cowboy) who started at Brunette Downs in and worked his way up to overseer and assistant manager before leaving in [14]

See also[edit]


  • ^ Lea, p.&#;2: For King's biographical details, Lea cites Richard King's sworn deposition before F.J. Parker, U.S. Commissioner, Eastern District of Texas, April 11, , filed with the U.S. and Mexican Claims Commission, Washington, D.C., August 30, —Records of Boundary and Claims Commission and Arbitrations, Claims vs. Mexico - , Claim No. , RG 76 GSA, National Archives and Records Services, Washington, D.C.[9]
  • ^ Lea, pp–9. Notes from the King Ranch vault in Henrietta King's handwriting.
  • ^ ,^&#;: Reminiscences by Henrietta King to members of her family.


  1. ^"National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9,
  2. ^ ab"King Ranch". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Archived from the original on November 13, Retrieved July 27,
  3. ^"Hunting". King Ranch. Retrieved July 27,
  4. ^Cartwright, Gary (January ). "Showdown at Waggoner Ranch". Texas Monthly. Retrieved July 27,
  5. ^"Map of King Ranch". King Ranch. September Archived from the original on February 22, Retrieved February 7,
  6. ^Note: A National Register of Historic Places Inventory-Nomination document should be available upon request from the National Park Service for this site, but it appears not to be available on-line from the NPS Focus search site.
  7. ^"King Ranch". Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame | Fort Worth Texas. November 20, Retrieved March 8,
  8. ^Chapman, Helen (). The News from Brownsville: Helen Chapman's Letters from the Texas Military Frontier, . Barker Texas History Center. ISBN&#;. Retrieved April 11, &#; via Google Books.
  9. ^"Los Kineños". King Ranch. Retrieved July 27,
  10. ^"The Running W". King Ranch. Retrieved April 11,
  11. ^"Oil Reigns at King Ranch". American Oil and Gas Historical Society. Retrieved July 27,
  12. ^The Battle of the Fence. LIFE Magazine by Time Inc. December 14, pp.&#;18– Retrieved August 15,
  13. ^"History of the Ford King Ranch – Blue Oval Trucks".
  14. ^Campbell-Jones, Nick (). Don't Die Wondering (First&#;ed.). Australia: Self Published. p.&#; ISBN&#;. Retrieved July 27,

Further reading[edit]

  • John Cypher, Bob Kleberg and the King Ranch: A Worldwide Sea of Grass, ISBN&#;
  • Don Graham, The Kings of Texas: The Year Saga of an American Ranching Empire, ISBN&#;
  • Groves, Helen Kleberg (April ), Bob and Helen Kleberg of King Ranch. San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University Press. ISBN&#;
  • Tom Lea (), The King Ranch. Two volumes. pages. Index. Maps and drawings by the author. Boston: Little, Brown. Library of Congress catalog card

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to King Ranch.

Return to the Remuda Sale

Date(s) - 10/01/ - 10/02/
All Day

Four Sixes Ranch


Return to the Remuda Sale Sets New All-Time Record, breaking the $3 Million Dollar mark

Guthrie, Texas, October 10, – The Annual Return to the Remuda sale was hosted at the Four Sixes Ranch in Guthrie, Texas on October 2, where horses were sold to the public and saw the highest gross in the history of the sale.

The sale experienced the largest crowd ever on hand to preview and purchase from the legendary ranches of Beggs Cattle Company, Four Sixes Ranch, Tongue River Ranch, Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company, King Ranch, and Wagonhound Land & Livestock.

“I thought last year’s sale would be hard to beat, but this sale surpassed all of our expectations! Our buyers came from all over the country, California to Florida and 21 states in-between,” said Horse Division Manager and Resident Veterinarian, Dr. Glenn Blodgett.

The sale gross exceeded $3,, with an overall average of more than $18,, a 32% increase over “The two-year-old geldings and yearlings stayed consistent with last year’s sale, and we saw a considerable increase with aged geldings, weanlings, and older filles. The biggest gains were with the broodmares and stallion prospects, having above average offerings in those categories,” commented Blodgett.

Congratulations to the connections of the top 10 sellers:

  • Sixes Smart CatHip #90 SIXES SMART CAT “Jackie Chan” sorrel gelding (WR This Cats Smart – Sixes in Vegas, by Sixes Pick). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch – $, (pictured right)
  • Hip # KINENAS BANDIDA brown mare (Kinenos Moon – Badges Bandida, by Playboys Badge). Consigned by King Ranch – $,
  • Hip #81 BULE BONNET BLUE gray filly (Sixes Pick – Blue Gunpowder Ms, by PG Gunpower). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch – $75,
  • Hip # HESA SELECTION “Flocki” gray filly (Bet Hesa Cat – Cowgirl Selection, by Paddys Irish Whiskey). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch – $50,
  • Hip # KINENOS RAINY MOON “Hombre” brown colt (Kinenos Moon – Rainy Koko Shadow, by Peppys Shadow). Consigned by King Ranch &#; $50,
  • Hip # W PASTURE “Old Spice” sorrel gelding (Rockin W – Pickin Tivio, by Sixes Pick). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch &#; $48,
  • Hip #94 BECACO SON TWOONE sorrel gelding (CD Son of Magnolia – Ms Becaco Exhodun, by Doctor Echo). Consigned by Beggs Cattle Company &#; $42,
  • Hip #85 SLICK BROW CAT “Chisum” gray gelding (Cash And Cat – Slicks Lil Angie, by Smart N Slick). Consigned by Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company &#; $40,
  • Hip #98 MS BECACO PISTOL sorrel filly (CD Son Of Magnolia – Ms Becaco Gun, by Playgun Olena). Consigned by Beggs Cattle Company &#; $40,
  • Hip #77 TRR PASEOS BLUE GIN “Gator” sorrel gelding (Medicinal Mecom Blue – TRR Ms Paseos Gin, by Paseos Paisano). Consigned by Tongue River Ranch &#; $35,
  • Hip #7 SIXES COOK bay filly (Guthrie City Limits – Paddy Ginnin Lady, by Paddys Irish Whiskey). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch &#; $35,
  • #46 SEE HIM SMILE blue roan colt (Bet Hesa Cat – Haythorn , by Snickelfritz Mickey). Consigned by Four Sixes Ranch &#; $35,
  • Complete results

All the ranches appreciate everyone who participated in the Return to the Remuda Sale and look forward to seeing everyone again in the Fall of “The success of the sale acknowledges our efforts in producing horses that are sought after for ranch use and in the arena. There is nothing more satisfying than to see sale graduates thrive under new ownership, we wish all the buyers’ success with their new purchases,” concluded Blodgett.

HIGH SELLER #90 Sixes Smart Cat, sold for $,!

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Please view the map below for accommodations within miles of Guthrie, TX. For options broader than the distance displayed select &#;View larger map&#;.


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King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management

Clay Mathis, Director and Robert J. Kleberg, Jr. and Helen C. Kleberg Endowed Chair
Kleberg Agriculture Building + , MSC Extension

Niki Kaiser, Administrative Coordinator
Ashley Patterson, Web and News Media Coordinator
April Everett, Administrative Assistant

Endowed Chair
Mathis, Machen

The King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management was inaugurated in commemoration of the th anniversary of the King Ranch in In keeping with their long history of leadership and philanthropy, the King Ranch and its family and friends endowed the King Ranch Institute for Ranch Management for its operation and in support of its students.

The vision of the institute is to educate leaders who will make a positive difference in ranching and ensure that our hard earned heritage is not lost. Its mission is to teach graduate students using a multi-disciplinary, systems approach to ranch management, and provide the highest quality lectureships and symposia to stakeholders in the ranching industry. We serve the ranching industry by empowering graduate students and outreach attendees with skills that will enable them to strategically manage complex ranching operations and successfully lead our industry.

The program is designed for a higher level of study, and emphasizes the recruitment of mature and experienced students, who will be trained for the complexities of managing ranches. A system approach is used to provide students with a broad background in business, animal science, wildlife management and range management. The curriculum is enhanced with a series of lectureships on special topics such as the oil and gas industry, wildlife habitat management, law and current issues. An annual symposium with world class speakers is presented that will further students’ education and training. King Ranch and other large ranches are used as teaching laboratories. Each student is given the opportunity to spend extended time on two internships with cooperating ranches.


King Ranch Saddle Shop


During your visit to Kingsville, be sure to stop by the King Ranch Saddle Shop.

Captain King demanded saddles of great structural integrity, constructed of the very highest quality leather available that could withstand the harsh conditions of the South Texas Rangelands. Unable to find saddles and tack that met his rigorous specifications, Richard King addressed this problem the way he approached many others – he decided to solve it himself. Captain King assembled a group of first-rate craftsmen at the ranch who made saddles of such fine quality that news of their superiority spread quickly. Within a few years of the end of the Civil War, the King Ranch Saddle Shop was providing saddles and tack not only for King Ranch, but for many others throughout Texas.

Today, the King Ranch Saddle Shop is located in the historic John B. Ragland Mercantile Building that’s located in the heart of Kingsville and a few minutes away from the King Ranch Museum and King Ranch Visitor Center. Built in and listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building housed the most preeminent department store south of San Antonio for many years.

At the King Ranch Saddle Shop, you can find exquisite leather goods and quality outdoor gear for your next adventure. Additionally, you can watch a saddle being hand-made by our master saddle maker who continues to follow the spirit and tradition of the craftsmanship and timeless techniques that King Ranch has been long known for.


Visit the King Ranch Saddle Shop Website


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Welcome to The Saddle Shop

In the same spirit and tradition of the craftsmanship and timeless techniques that King Ranch has been long known for, the Saddle Shop at King Ranch Texas Kitchen in Uptown Houston is an intimate look inside of the original King Ranch Saddle Shop in the heart of Kingsville. During your visit to the King Ranch Texas Kitchen Saddle Shop, you will find our specially curated selection of exquisite leather goods, quality housewares, and authentic sauces and seasonings.

Shop in-store today or order online at the links below:

To purchase in-store:  

Click the link below to buy while you dine and take home today!
Saddle Shop Specials

 Shop Online:  

Shop additional items online:
Texas Kitchen Catalog

Shop Customizable Gifts:
Shop King Ranch Texas Kitchen

Gourmet Gifts

Make someone’s day with our Roasted Pecan Bag, Custom crafted Jellies and unique seasoning blends.

Gourmet Gift for all

Rough Out Leather Collection

A discerning hide selection, robust construction, and understated luxury. Vintage inspired and classically treated with a water resistant coat. Perfect for all seasons and travels.

Explore the collection

King Ranch Classics

Add an extra special touch to your next group dining event or holiday gift selection with our customized business gift options.

Shop Customizable Gifts
My Cheap King Ranch is Finished! Here's how much it Cost!

Images taken by HRMG.

After taking over four of their social media platforms, including Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn, our first job was to begin interacting with followers and repair the damage done concerning engagement. Using algorithms that tout relevancy and engagement, the Saddle Shop’s previous efforts included simply posting product photos, which lacked engagement and in turn hid the page from many users. Using strategies that included historical photos, product previews, behind the scenes images and “Q&A” posts to help spark a dialogue with users. To date, HRMG has helped the Saddle Shop increase its Facebook audience by nearly 6, followers and its Instagram following by 2, followers in one year.

In addition to social media, our team was also instrumental in giving the Saddle Shop a convenient and easy to use new e-commerce website on NetSuite that is SEO-friendly and fully responsive on all devices. Working on a grueling turnaround schedule, our technical team had to quickly learn how to build the site for the NetSuite platform, while also working with companies such as MyBuys and Magnetic to implement third-party solutions. The website also helped lay the foundation for targeted email marketing campaigns via weekly emails to approximately 60, subscribers.

Our graphic design team was also instrumental in establishing a more refined visual aesthetic for the Saddle Shop throughout the year with custom advertisements for social media and in publications such as Ranch & Riata Magazine as well as Texas Monthly. The design team also worked extensively on several direct mail campaigns in the form of postcards for the Saddle Shop’s holiday pop up location in The Woodlands Mall, as well as promoting the Shop’s corporate gifts program.

As social media and content marketing call for an abundance of interesting content, our creative team also spent a large amount of time utilizing our photography and media services capturing professional photos, merchandise, and a complete video production highlighting some of the Saddle Shop’s master craftsmen who have used leather and saddle making skills that have been passed down for over years.


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