The Birth of Kimble County
by Frederica Wyatt
 

 

The Texas legislature, on January 22, 1858, enacted legislation to create Kimble County. Prior to that time, the area now known as Kimble was a part of Bexar County.

The new county was named for Lt. George C. Kimble who died at the Alamo. He was one of the "Immortal 32" from Gonzales, Texas.

In the interim between its creation and organization in 1876, the new county was attached to Gillespie County for judicial purposes.

Some historians believe the San Clemente Mission was located in the area now known as Kimble County. In the eighteenth century, Spanish explorers came in an attempt to Christianize the Indians and impress them with the strength of imperial Spain.

In 1739 Joseph de Urrutia waged a campaign against the Indians, and in 1754, Pedro de Rabago Teran explored the region. Five years later Diego Oritz Parilla crossed the area. In July, 1767, Marquis de Rubi made an inspection tour of the southwest frontier, and in 1808, Don Francisco Aman-gual crossed the eastern part of the county in his journey to establish a route between San Antonio and Santa Fe.

Seven years before the county was created. Captain Henry McCulloch (later a Civil War general) was commander of a ranger post a short distance below the junction of the North and South Llano Rivers. Two military roads, one from San Antonio to Fort Terrett, and one from Fort McKavett to Fort dark, crossed the county.

Few, if any, settlers came before the 1850s. One of the first pioneers was Raleigh Gentry who moved to Bear Creek in about 1857.

Other settlers followed, and during the Civil War, ranchers from Burnet and other counties, brought livestock to Kimble County for grazing. Indian depredations forced them back to their home territory, and years later they collected damages from the Federal Government for losses sustained in Comanche and Kiowa Indian raids.

After the war, the population steadily increased as word spread about the abundant water and lush valleys of the Llanos. According to census records, there were 72 citizens in Kimble County in 1870. By

1880 the figure had increased to 1343, and by 1890 the population was 2243.

The Frontier Battalion of Rangers drove most of the Indians from the region in the

1870s and the last white men killed by Indians in the county were Isaac Kountz and Sam

Speer on December 24, 1876.

The area was an ideal hideout for outlaws, and in 1877, Texas Rangers rounded up, many desperadoes to be tried at Kimbleville.

On February 28, 1882, the GALVESTON DAILY NEWS reported that immigration into

Kimble County was flowing at a great rate.

There were 18,516 head of cattle, 1,450 horses and mules, 19,670 sheep, 2,259 goats, and 1,562 hogs. Residents numbered approximately 1,800.

The paper further reported that Junction City had 300 in-habitants, a courthouse, jail, two stores, two churches and a good school.

Written by FREDERICA WYATT