A soldier, colonist, Indian fighter, and explorer, Captain Enrique Villarreal at one time held title to most of the land that now constitutes Nueces County. The Rincon del Oso land grant, encompassing approximately 44,000 acres, was awarded to Villarreal by the Mexican government in 1831, although he had been using it as ranch land since 1810. Trouble with raiding Indians forced him off the land until peace was made in 1824.
As an officer in the Mexican Army, Enrique Villarreal participated in the Mexican War for Independence, the Texas War for Independence, and the U. S. -Mexican War. He was made commander of the troops at Fort Lipantitlan in 1830.
When Henry Lawrence Kinney established his trading post at the site of what is now the city of Corpus Christi, he did so on land that was part of Villarreal's Rincon del Oso grant. In 1841 the two men met, and Kinney purchased one "sitio" of Villarreal's land the following year. Kinney came to own all of the Rincon del Oso Grant after Villarreal's death in 1846. Captain Enrique Villarreal's significance to local history lies in his position as original title holder to most of what is now Nueces County, including the City of Corpus Christi.