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Texas is divided into two hundred and fifty-four counties, more than any other state. Texas was originally divided into municipalities, a unit of local government under Spanish and Mexican rule. When the Republic of Texas gained its independence in 1836, there were 23 municipalities, which became the original Texas counties. Many of these would later be divided into new counties. The most recent county to be created was Kenedy County in 1921. The most recent county to be organized was Loving County in 1931

Karnes County, Texas

Karnes County Education, Geography, and History

Karnes County, Texas Courthouse

Karnes County is a county located in the state of Texas. Based on the 2010 census, the population was 14,824. Its county seat is Karnes City. The county is named for Henry Karnes, a soldier in the Texas Revolution.

Etymology - Origin of Karnes County Name

Henry Wax Karnes, a soldier in the Texas Revolution


County QuickFacts: CensusBureau Quick Facts

Karnes County History

Karnes County is a county located in the US state of Texas. Its county seat is Karnes City. Karnes County is named for Henry Karnes, a soldier in the Texas Revolution.

Handbook of Texas Online
During the early nineteenth century the area was gradually repopulated. The original Hern?dez and Menchaca ranches were divided up by heirs of the families, and some of the land sold to other families, including the Veramendi, Cassiano, Flores, Navarro, and Carillo clans. By the 1840s the first Anglo-American settlers began arriving in the region. The first Anglo-American settlement in the county was made in 1852 at Helena at the site of an earlier Mexican settlement called Alamita. Located on a bend of the San Antonio River at the intersection of the Chihuahua Trail and the wagon road from Gonzales to San Patricio, the town quickly developed as the focal point of Anglo settlement in the region. When a stage line began operation from San Antonio to the coast, Helena became the most important stop between San Antonio and Goliad. By 1853 Anglo settlers, led by Thomas Ruckman and Lewis S. Owings who had founded Helena, petitioned the state legislature to form a new county from portions of Bexar, Gonzales, DeWitt, Goliad, and San Patricio counties. On February 4, 1854, the legislature complied, passing a measure to establish a new county, named Karnes for Texas revolutionary leader Henry Wax Karnes, with Helena as county seat. The first elections for county offices were held on February 27, 1854, and a wood frame courthouse was erected soon thereafter. Despite the establishment of a county legal structure, Karnes gained a reputation as a hideout for rustlers and outlaws. It was one of the chief sites of the so-called Cart War of 1857, which pitted Mexican cart drivers against their Anglo competitors. Several of the attacks by Texans on Mexican drivers took place within Karnes county itself. A public meeting was held in Helena on December 4, 1857. The citizens of the county adopted eight resolutions, including one that stated that Mexican teamsters were "an intolerable nuisance," and calling upon the citizens of San Antonio to hire only Texans. On orders from Governor Elisha M. Pease the Texas Rangers interceded and quickly put an end to the Cart War, but lynchings and others forms of frontier justice remained a common feature of Karnes life until after the Civil War. During the mid-1850s new immigrants arrived in the county. A large group of Poles from Upper Silesia, led by Franciscan priest Leopold Moczygemba, settled at Panna Maria in 1854, near the junction of the San Antonio River and Cibolo Creek, establishing the first Polish colony in the United States. Subsequent groups of Polish immigrants formed communities at Czestochowa and Falls City. The Poles planted a widely diverse range of crops, including corn, melons, potatoes, cucumbers, and pumpkins. The mainstay of the Karnes economy, however, as in the prerevolutionary period, remained livestock ranching. In 1858 tax assessment rolls listed 50,000 cattle, valued at $6 per head, and 2,000 horses worth $2.50 per head More at
Christopher Long, "KARNES COUNTY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hck01), accessed January 24, 2016. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Geography: Land and Water

As reported by the Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 754 square miles (1,952 km2), of which, 750 square miles (1,943 km2) of it is land and 3 square miles (8 km2) of it (0.43%) is water.

Neighboring Counties

Bordering counties are as follows:

  • Gonzales County (northeast)
  • DeWitt County (east)
  • Goliad County (southeast)
  • Bee County (south)
  • Live Oak County (southwest)
  • Atascosa County (west)
  • Wilson County (northwest)


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