Manager of the largest cattle rail ranch in the world; he made improvements such as drilling for water, fencing pastures, extending railroad track to the ranch and designing the first cattle dipping vats to combat Texas Fever Tick.
1896-1932 | Artist: Robert Wadsworth Grafton (1876-1936)
Impact & Accomplishments
The Klebergs - father and son - were operators of the King Ranch, a one-million-plus-acre cattle and horse ranch in South Texas.
Robert Kleberg, Jr., was an attorney who represented Captain Richard King, the founder of the ranch. When King died in 1885, Kleberg took over the management of the ranch, working with King’s widow.
In 1886, he married their daughter. Kleberg was responsible for many improvements that made the ranch much more profitable: drilling for artesian water, fencing pastures, and extending railroad track through the land.
He designed the first cattle dipping vats to combat the devastating Texas Fever Tick. During his tenure, the King Ranch became the largest cattle rail operation in the world. Kleberg was president of the Texas Cattle Raisers Association.
Did You Know?
Among the many innovations for which he was responsible on the ranch, perhaps foremost among them were his efforts to drill for artesian water. These efforts paid off as Mr. Kleberg brought in a gusher of a water well in 1899, and then another and another – discovering a river of water running under the drought-prone rangelands. This discovery was a welcome end to a decade that started with a drought so severe it was known as “the great die-up.”
1899 - The area's first successful artesian well drilled, speeding the development of agriculture, railroad construction and small communities. Photo courtesy of King Ranch.
Courtesy of King Ranch.