Kinney County


Kinney County Courthouse - 1910
National Historic Register - 2004

The state legislature formed Kinney County from Bexar County in 1850 and named it for Henry Lawrence Kinney. The United States Army established Fort Clark in June 1852 on Las Moras Creek, and named it after John B. Clark, who had died in the Mexican War. Brackettville was founded in 1852 originally as the town of Brackett and named for Oscar B. Brackett, who came to set up a stage stop and opened the town's first dry-goods store. Brackett became a stop on a stage line from San Antonio to El Paso, but the settlement grew very slowly because of continuous Indian attacks. The town received its first post office in 1875. On February 18, 1861, on orders from United States Army General David E. Twiggs, Fort Clark was surrendered to the Texas Commission. Twiggs was dismissed by the United States for the act, and subsequently joined the Confederacy. The fort was evacuated by federal troops on March 19 and occupied by Confederate troops under the command of Confederate Colonel John R. Baylor. It remained in the hands of the Confederates until the end of the war, but was not garrisoned. In December 1866 it was reestablished as a federal fort.

Black Seminoles

In the early 1872 a number of Black Seminole Indians living along the border were organized into a company of scouts and brought to Fort Clark. Others joined them, and by the mid-1870s they numbered some 400 or 500. For the next quarter century they lived on a reservation along Las Moras Creek. In 1914 the Black Seminoles were removed from the Fort Clark reservation, but some of their descendants still live in the county. The Seminole Indian Scouts cemetery was founded on Fort Clark in 1872.

County Organized and Growth

The county was organized in 1874. 1875 saw the first county government in place. In 1876 Brackettville was designated county seat after the final boundaries of the county were set by the legislature. In 1870 the county had 14,846 cattle, and large numbers of cattle were driven north during the great drives of the middle 1870s. By1880 sheep outnumbered cattle 55,597 to 7,966, and Kinney County became an important source of wool. The construction of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway in 1883 gave the wool and mohair industry access to markets. At the same time it also helped to bring in numerous new settlers. In 1925 a branch line of the Texas and New Orleans Railroad was built from near Spofford to connect with the Mexican National Railroad at the Rio Grande. A large Civilian Conservation Corps camp constructed adjacent to Fort Clark helped to employ some people during the Great Depression. With the onset of World War II wool and mohair were in demand for the defense industries. Fort Clark was closed in 1946.


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