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County
Kenedy
Region
Gulf Coast
Population
2010 Census - 238
2000 Census - 185
Nearby
Towns
Sarita, Texas
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Sarita Texas History:
Miffin Kenedy met Richard King in the early 1840s while working as a captain on steamers in the Ohio, Missouri and Mississippi Rivers. In 1860, Kenedy and King purchased the Santa Gertrudis Ranch is South Texas as full partners. When the partnership dissolved, they spent 13 months rounding up and dividing their sheep, cattle, goats and mules, which were spread out from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande River. After selling his share of the partnership, Kenedy purchased the Laureles Ranch which was located 22 miles from Corpus Christi. River trade was more profitable than cattle during this time, so from the beginning of the Civil War to 1874, Kenedy and King focused on using their 26 steamboats to ship cotton on the Rio Grande River. Miffin was among the first Texas ranchers to fence his land which he expanded to 242,000 acres. In 1882, he sold the Laureles Ranch to the Scottish owned Texas Land and Cattle Company. He then formed the Kenedy Pasture Company and purchased ranch land in Kenedy County. He named this ranch the La Parra Ranch. He also fenced this ranch. In 1904, his son John G. Kenedy founded Sarita as the ranching center for the Kenedy Ranch and Kenedy Pasture Company. He named the town after his daughter Sarita. Many of the town’s original settlers worked for the Kennedy Ranch or grew cotton on land leased from the ranch. The St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway established a depot in Sarita. In 1905, the town was moved a mile east when a section of the railroad was rerouted. The Sarita post office was established in a local store in 1904. By 1907, the town had a lumberyard, a cotton gin, a one room schoolhouse, two stores, and a section house and a water tank for trains. Artesian wells provided the town’s water. A phone line ran from the company town store to the Kenedy Ranch (La Parra) Headquarters six miles east. After the 1916 hurricane, many of the town residents abandoned their farms causing the land to revert back to the Kenedy Pasture Company. Sarita became the Kenedy County seat in 1911. In 1944, John Kenedy’s children, Sarita East and John G. Kenedy, Jr. controlled the 400,000 acre ranch. Upon her brother’s death in 1948, Sarita and her sister-in-law, Elena Suess Kenedy became sole heirs of the ranch. Sarita East Kenedy also owned the San Pablo Ranch near Hebbronville and a Colorado Ranch. Sarita was very involved in philanthropy, especially Catholic charities. She was named an honorary member of the Franciscans and the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Sarita’s 1948 will bequeathed the La Parra Ranch headquarters and 10,000 acres of land to the Oblate fathers, and 13,000 acres to the Diocese of Corpus Christi. The remainder of her estate was divided among relatives and ranch workers. In 1948, she met Christopher Gregory, a Trappist monk who had taken the name Brother Leo. He became her advisor and traveling companion. In 1960, she, Peter Grace of New York, and Leo established the John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation, with herself as the sole member. Upon her February 1961 death, sole control of the foundation went to Brother Leo. South Texas relatives and the Catholic Diocese of Corpus Christi contested the 1960 will. The relatives regained control of the foundation and a large portion of the estate’s lands and monies. The foundation owns most of the land in Kenedy County. The ranch headquarters went to the Oblate fathers, and is now the Lebh Shomea House of Prayer. Between the 1930s and 2000, Sarita’s population has remained between 185 and 200; in 2010 it peaked at 238. Sarita is a ranching and oil center. The Kenedy Pasture Company building now houses the Kenedy Ranch Museum. The town has a Catholic church, a post office, the Sarita Elementary School (Pre-K -6) and several residences. A Border Patrol Checkpoint is located on U.S. 77 near Sarita; all northbound vehicles must go through this checkpoint.Sarita is located at the intersection of U.S. 77 and La Parra Avenue, 4 miles south of Riviera, 20 miles south of Kingsville, and 54 miles north of Raymondville, Texas. 
 
Kenedy County Courthouse, 1917:
The brick courthouse was designed in Texas Renaissance style by architect Henry Truman Phelps. The courthouse served as the Willacy County Courthouse until Kenedy County was created in 1921, and the Willacy County seat was moved to Raymondville and the Sarita courthouse became the courthouse for Kenedy County. Kenedy County borders the Gulf of Mexico. Ranching is the main industry. The 2010 Kenedy County census was 416. (361) 294-5224. 151 North Mallory, Sarita, Texas 78385
 
Kenedy Ranch Museum of South Texas:
The ranch was started by Mifflin Kenedy when he purchased the 400,000 acre La Parra Ranch in the early 1880s. He organized the Kenedy Pasture Company. The museum is located in the restored Kenedy Pasture Company building. Exhibits depict the history of Mifflin Kenedy and his family, and the history of the ranch. Sculptor Kim Crowley created the life sized sculptures located within the museum. Daniel Lechon created the murals telling the story of South Texas and the Kenedy family’s influence on the history of the area. Open Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, noon to 4pm; closed Mondays and major holidays. Call to see if they are open. An admission fee applies. Group tours and school tours are available by special arrangement. Open Tue-Sat, 10am-4pm; Sun, noon-4pm. (361) 294-5751. 200 E. La Parra Avenue, Sarita, Texas 78385. Email   
 
Robert J. Kleberg Public Library, 1927 Building:
This library is the closest public library to Sarita. The library was founded in 1909 by the Woman’s Club of Kingsville. The library provides traditional library programs, children, youth and adult programs, summer programs, genealogy resources, adult and children’s computer labs, public access computers with internet connections, and free Wi-Fi. Open Tue-Fri, 8am-6pm; Sat, 9am-1pm; closed Sunday and Monday. (361) 592-6381. The library is located at 220 N. 4th Street, Kingsville, 22 miles north of Sarita.
 
Santa's Texas Workshop & Christmas House:
For over 30 years the Minton sisters have been offering tours of the Santa’s Texas Workshop beginning in the fall and lasting through March. The store is open the remainder of the year by appointment only. Call if you want to shop for Christmas items. (361) 325-2068. (800) 276-4339. 1188 East Jim Wells County Road 401. CR 401 is located midway between Falfurrias and Premont on U.S. 281. When driving north out of Falfurrias watch for the U.S. flag painted barn and the Blue and gold La Gloria I.S.D. Home of the Eagles sign on the right side of the highway; CR 401 will be the next right turn. After turning onto CR 401, drive 2.5 miles to Santa’s Texas Workshop. The workshop is located approximately 35 miles from Kingsville, Texas.
 
Kings Inn Restaurant, Loyola Beach, Texas:
This is the best seafood restaurant in South Texas if not in Texas; it is a great stop on the way to SPI. All seafood is fresh and is lightly battered; choose from fish (drum and others), shrimp and oysters. The tartar sauce is delicious. The onion rings are very, very thinly cut and lightly battered; they are delicious and somehow escape being greasy. French fries are ok. The salad we order is outstanding. It consists of a plate piled high with chopped iceberg lettuce mixed with chopped tomatoes and a wonderful light dressing; the mound is covered with sliced avocados (always great tasting). They have other menu items, but I don’t know what they are; I haven’t looked at their menu in 30 years. The restaurant is located in Loyola Beach on Baffin Bay. Open Tue-Sat, 11am-10pm; closed Sundays and Mondays. The restaurant is packed on Friday and Saturday nights so consider making reservations. (361) 297-5265. 1116 E. CR 2270, Riviera, Texas 78379. From Kingsville drive south on .U.S 77 for approximately 8 miles until you see the large Kings Inn sign on the east side (left) of the highway at FM 628. Go left on FM 628 and drive a few miles until the road curves to the right, and there is a street going to the left. Go straight ahead on the driveway road to the large parking lot you see in the distance. From Riviera, take U.S. 77 north approximately a mile or two; look for the Kings Inn sign on your right. Reviews