King, Richard Portrait, n.d.


Portrait of Richard King, n.d.

Richard King (1824-1885), founder of the King Ranch, was the quintessential early entrepreneur of the Texas frontier. King was born in New York City on July 10, 1824, into a poor Irish family. He ran away from home at age eleven and made his way south. In 1846, after the outbreak of the United States-Mexican War, King managed steamboats that transported supplies to the United States army along the Gulf Coast and on the Rio Grande. After the war, King and his friend Mifflin Kenedy built up a monopoly on the steamboat business in the lower Rio Grande valley. They eventually started investing their profits in land in South Texas, where they became involved in the ranching industry. In 1853 and 1854, King purchased the lands that became the core territory of the King Ranch and the site of the main homestead. King’s son-in-law, Robert Kleberg II, took over the management of the King Ranch after his death. Portrait of King from Trail drivers of Texas: interesting sketches of early cowboys and their experiences on the range and on the trail during the days that tried men's souls — true narratives related by real cow-punchers and men who fathered the cattle industry in Texas, by John Marvin Hunter and George W. Saunders. Nashville: Cokesbury Press, 1925, p. 529.