Kinney County, Texas

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Kinney County
The Kinney County Courthouse was built in 1910 and is an example of Beaux Arts Classicism architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
The Kinney County Courthouse was built in 1910 and is an example of Beaux Arts Classicism architecture. It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2004.
Map of Texas highlighting Kinney County
Location within the U.S. state of Texas
Map of the United States highlighting Texas
Texas's location within the U.S.
Coordinates: 29°21′N 100°25′W / 29.35°N 100.42°W / 29.35; -100.42
Country United States
State Texas
Founded1874
Named forHenry Lawrence Kinney
SeatBrackettville
Largest cityBrackettville
Area
 • Total1,365 sq mi (3,540 km2)
 • Land1,360 sq mi (3,500 km2)
 • Water5.1 sq mi (13 km2)  0.4%%
Population
 (2020)
 • Total3,129
 • Density2.6/sq mi (1.0/km2)
Time zoneUTC−6 (Central)
 • Summer (DST)UTC−5 (CDT)
Congressional district23rd
Websitewww.co.kinney.tx.us

Kinney County is a county located in the U.S. state of Texas. As of the 2020 census, its population was 3,129.[1] Its county seat is Brackettville.[2] The county was created in 1850 and later organized in 1874.[3] It is named for Henry Lawrence Kinney, an early settler.

Kinney County's self-proclaimed biggest issue since the 2010s is undocumented immigration from Mexico through the county. The county claims it does not have the resources to deal with the large number of migrants, and in 2021 proclaimed a State of Emergency.[4]

History[edit]

Native Americans[edit]

The first inhabitants were 6,000–10,000 years ago and later came to include Lipan Apache, Mescalero Apache, Coahuiltecan, Jumanos, Tamaulipans, Tonkawa, and Comanches. These tribes settled in rock shelters in the river and creek valleys, leaving behind artifacts and caches of seeds, implements, burial sites, and petroglyphs.[5][6]

Early explorations[edit]

Saltillo Alcalde Fernando de Azcué in 1665 passed through the southeast corner of the county on an expedition, becoming the first European to cross the Rio Grande.[7] Franciscan Brother Manuel de la Cruz explored the county in 1674. In 1675, Fernando del Bosque traversed the area on an expedition up the Rio Grande from the city of Nuestra Sra. de Guadalupe. He was accompanied by the Franciscan Friars Juan Larios and Dionisio de San Buenaventura.[8] Alonso De León in 1688 discovered French explorer and La Salle expedition deserter Jean Henri in a somewhat confused state of mind, among the Coahuiltecan Indians near the site of present Brackettville, generally believed to be at Anacacho Mountain.[9] During the latter eighteenth century, several Franciscans established a settlement on Las Moras Creek near the center of the county.[10] In 1834, while the area was still under Mexican control, English land speculators John Charles Beales and James Grant attempted to establish an English-speaking colony called Dolores at the site. Streets were laid off and 59 colonists were brought in, but the project was abandoned.[11]

County established[edit]

The state legislature formed Kinney County from Bexar County in 1850, five years after Texas statehood, and named it for Henry Lawrence Kinney.[6] 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.[12] 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.[13] 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[edit]

In 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.[14][15]

County organization and growth[edit]

The county was organized in 1874. County government followed in 1875. In 1876, Brackettville was designated county seat after the final boundaries of the county were set by the legislature.[13] In 1870, the county had 14,846 cattle, and large numbers of cattle were driven north during the great drives of the middle 1870s. By 1880, sheep outnumbered cattle 55,597 to 7,966, and Kinney County became an important source of wool.[6] The construction of the Galveston, Harrisburg and San Antonio Railway (later part of the Southern Pacific Railroad, and today part of the Union Pacific Railroad)[16] through Spofford 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.[17] 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.[6]

James T. “Happy” Shahan constructed Alamo Village on his ranch near Brackettville during the late 1950s, for filming of the 1960 John Wayne epic The Alamo. Preserved as a tourist attraction, Alamo Village continued to serve as a set for hundreds of movies and documentaries. In 1969, Happy Shahan hired 18-year-old Johnny Rodriguez to sing at Alamo Village, an opportunity that rocketed Rodriguez to stardom.[18] Kickapoo Cavern State Park, 6,400 acres (26 km2) in both Edwards and Kinney Counties, opened to the public in 1991. It was formerly a private ranch.[19] The Kinney County Groundwater Conservation District was approved by the voters in 2002.[20]

Undocumented migrants[edit]

Kinney County's southwest border is for 13 miles (21 km) the Rio Grande and the border of Mexico. It is on the route for undocumented border crossers heading for San Antonio, the closest city. According to the Kinney County official Web page, "Our county is being bombarded by hundreds of illegal aliens on a daily basis. Our local law enforcement is overwhelmed with illegal alien smuggling activity".[21] In April 2021, Kinney County Sheriff Brad Coe, County Judge Tully Shahan, and Kinney County Attorney Brent Smith jointly issued a declaration of a state of disaster in the county.[4] The State of Texas, under Governor Greg Abbott, has been moving state police and the Texas State Guard into Kinney and adjacent Val Verde County. As they cannot enforce federal immigration laws, they arrest migrants for trespassing on private property (ranches).[22]

Geography[edit]

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 1,365 sq mi (3,540 km2), of which 1,360 sq mi (3,500 km2) are land and 5.1 square miles (13 km2) (0.4%) are covered by water.[23] The county is separated from Mexico by the Rio Grande, and drained by numerous small tributaries of that river.[24]

Major highways[edit]

Adjacent counties and municipios[edit]

Demographics[edit]

Historical population
Census Pop.
186061
18701,2041,873.8%
18804,487272.7%
18903,781−15.7%
19002,447−35.3%
19103,40139.0%
19203,74610.1%
19303,9806.2%
19404,53313.9%
19502,668−41.1%
19602,452−8.1%
19702,006−18.2%
19802,27913.6%
19903,11936.9%
20003,3798.3%
20103,5986.5%
20203,129−13.0%
U.S. Decennial Census[25]
1850–2010[26] 2010–2014[27]
Kinney County racial/ethnic composition[28][29]
(NH = Non-Hispanic)[a]
Race Pop 2010 Pop 2020 % 2010 % 2020
White (NH) 1,496 1,489 41.58% 47.59%
Black or African American (NH) 39 36 1.08% 1.15%
Native American or Alaska Native (NH) 19 21 0.53% 0.67%
Asian (NH) 10 10 0.28% 0.32%
Pacific Islander (NH) 0 2 0.0% 0.06%
Some Other Race (NH) 6 15 0.17% 0.48%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 24 86 0.67% 2.75%
Hispanic or Latino 2,004 1,470 55.7% 46.98%
Total 3,598 3,129

As of the 2020 United States census, there were 3,129 people, 1,475 households, and 782 families residing in the county.

As of the census[32] of 2000, 3,379 people, 1,314 households, and 940 families resided in the county. The population density was 2 people per square mile (1/km2). The 1,907 housing units averaged per square mile (1/km2). The racial makeup of the county was 75.8% White, 1.7% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.1% Asian, 18.6% from other races, and 3.4% from two or more races. About 50.5% of the population was Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 1,314 households, 27.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 61.8% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 28.4% were not families. About 26.6% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.55 and the average family size was 3.10.

In the county, the population was distributed as 25.7% under the age of 18, 5.3% from 18 to 24, 21.5% from 25 to 44, 23.1% from 45 to 64, and 24.3% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 43 years. For every 100 females, there were 99.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 99.0 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $28,320, and for a family was $32,045. Males had a median income of $26,422 versus $16,250 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,350. About 19.2% of families and 24.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 33.0% of those under age 18 and 16.1% of those age 65 or over.

Communities[edit]

Politics[edit]

United States presidential election results for Kinney County, Texas[33]
Year Republican Democratic Third party
No.  % No.  % No.  %
2020 1,144 71.37% 446 27.82% 13 0.81%
2016 936 65.45% 458 32.03% 36 2.52%
2012 880 61.75% 522 36.63% 23 1.61%
2008 907 58.48% 633 40.81% 11 0.71%
2004 1,051 65.69% 542 33.88% 7 0.44%
2000 932 64.54% 486 33.66% 26 1.80%
1996 650 51.75% 503 40.05% 103 8.20%
1992 634 41.20% 598 38.86% 307 19.95%
1988 771 53.17% 669 46.14% 10 0.69%
1984 774 61.28% 486 38.48% 3 0.24%
1980 543 51.91% 472 45.12% 31 2.96%
1976 318 37.72% 516 61.21% 9 1.07%
1972 425 64.39% 234 35.45% 1 0.15%
1968 198 33.06% 333 55.59% 68 11.35%
1964 155 26.09% 439 73.91% 0 0.00%
1960 211 37.08% 358 62.92% 0 0.00%
1956 368 55.76% 289 43.79% 3 0.45%
1952 384 55.65% 306 44.35% 0 0.00%
1948 175 30.43% 370 64.35% 30 5.22%
1944 200 33.22% 401 66.61% 1 0.17%
1940 156 27.04% 418 72.44% 3 0.52%
1936 175 32.89% 357 67.11% 0 0.00%
1932 89 11.59% 678 88.28% 1 0.13%
1928 182 47.64% 200 52.36% 0 0.00%
1924 158 50.16% 144 45.71% 13 4.13%
1920 137 55.47% 98 39.68% 12 4.86%
1916 201 45.48% 233 52.71% 8 1.81%
1912 97 34.77% 76 27.24% 106 37.99%


Education[edit]

All of Kinney County is in the Brackett Independent School District.[34]

The designated community college is Southwest Texas Junior College.[35]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Note: the US Census treats Hispanic/Latino as an ethnic category. This table excludes Latinos from the racial categories and assigns them to a separate category. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.[30][31]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "QuickFacts: Kinney County, Texas". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved March 27, 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  3. ^ "Texas: Individual County Chronologies". Texas Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. 2008. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Croix, Vanessa (April 21, 2021). "Kinney Co. officials issue disaster declaration, calling on state leaders for help. County leaders said criminal activity is surging as a result of the influx of migrants crossing into the U.S." KENS-TV.
  5. ^ "Mescalero Apache History and Culture". Mescalero Apache Telecom, Inc. Archived from the original on July 14, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d Long, Christopher. "Kinney County, Texas". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  7. ^ Chipman, Donald E. "Fernando de Azcue". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  8. ^ Chipman, Donald E. "Fernando del Bosque". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  9. ^ Chipman, Donald E. "Alonso De León". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 13, 2010.
  10. ^ "Las Moras Creek". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  11. ^ Riser, Carl Coke. "Beale's Rio Grande Community". Handbook of Texas Online. Texas State Historical Association. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  12. ^ Hudnall, Ken and Sharon (2005). Spirits of the Border V: The History and Mystery of the Lone Star State. Omega Press. pp. 266–267. ISBN 978-0-9626087-9-7.
  13. ^ a b "Brackettville, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes – Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  14. ^ Eckhardt, C F. "Lt. John Lapham Bullis and the Seminole Negro Scouts". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  15. ^ Harvey, Bill (2003). Texas Cemeteries: The Resting Places of Famous, Infamous, and Just Plain Interesting Texans. University of Texas Press. p. 72. ISBN 978-0-292-73466-1.
  16. ^ Orsi, Richard J (2005). Sunset Limited: The Southern Pacific Railroad and the Development of the American West, 1850–1930. University of California Press. p. 22. ISBN 978-0-520-20019-7.
  17. ^ "Spofford, Texas". Texas Escapes. Texas Escapes - Blueprints For Travel, LLC. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  18. ^ Haenn, Bill and William F (2002). "Filming The Alamo and Creation of Alamo Village". Fort Clark and Brackettville: Land of Heroes. Arcadia Publishing. pp. 115–129. ISBN 978-0-7385-2063-6.
  19. ^ "Kickapoo Cavern State Park". Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept. Archived from the original on February 20, 2011. Retrieved December 14, 2010.
  20. ^ Schreiber, Colleen (March 2, 2004). "Kinney County Another Field Of Battle In Texas Water War". Livestock Weekly.
  21. ^ Kinney County, Texas (2021). "Defend Our Borders". Retrieved December 12, 2021.
  22. ^ Goodman, J. David (December 11, 2021). "Helicopters and High-Speed Chases: Inside Texas' Push to Arrest Migrants. Texas is using state law enforcement in an unusual way in an attempt to stem illegal border crossings. The tactic is raising constitutional concerns and transforming life in one small town". The New York Times.
  23. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  24. ^ Ripley, George; Dana, Charles A., eds. (1879). "Kinney" . The American Cyclopædia.
  25. ^ "Decennial Census by Decade". US Census Bureau.
  26. ^ "Texas Almanac: Population History of Counties from 1850–2010" (PDF). Texas Almanac. Retrieved May 2, 2015.
  27. ^ "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on October 18, 2011. Retrieved December 18, 2013.
  28. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  29. ^ "Explore Census Data". data.census.gov. Retrieved May 19, 2022.
  30. ^ https://www.census.gov/[not specific enough to verify]
  31. ^ "About the Hispanic Population and its Origin". www.census.gov. Retrieved May 18, 2022.
  32. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved May 14, 2011.
  33. ^ Leip, David. "Dave Leip's Atlas of U.S. Presidential Elections". uselectionatlas.org. Retrieved July 26, 2018.
  34. ^ "2020 CENSUS - SCHOOL DISTRICT REFERENCE MAP: Kinney County, TX" (PDF). U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved June 30, 2022. - Text list
  35. ^ Texas Education Code: Sec. 130.200. SOUTHWEST TEXAS JUNIOR COLLEGE DISTRICT SERVICE AREA.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 29°21′N 100°25′W / 29.35°N 100.42°W / 29.35; -100.42