A major South Texas way-station on cotton road, lifeline of southern states in the Civil War. Had water, food, mules, oxen and bunks for drivers of wagons hauling cotton to trade for war goods. Also bivouacked Confederate troops in war marches. Founded 1853 by Capt. Richard King, who by 1861 had-- in partnership with Mifflin Kennedy and James Walworth-- 20,000 cattle and 3,000 horses. Walworth was a delegate to Texas Secession Convention.
In wartime, King managed ranch and salt works on coast, to benefit Texas and the Confederacy. Kenedy ran the partnership's 22 boats from Gulf to Rio Grande City; ferried cotton from Texas to Matamoros, Mex. , where it was exchanged for guns, factory goods, ammunition, medicines and coffee, scarce in the Confederacy; and took cotton from Bagdad, Mex. , out to ocean vessels riding high seas to dodge the Federal blockade. King and partners were supply agents for the Rio Grande military sub-district. With concentration of goods here, ranch tempted bandits and was target of Federals seeking to break up cotton road activity and get beef, cotton and horses for their planned Texas conquest. After Federal raids, was patrolled by the Confederate cavalry of Col. John S. (RIP) Ford.