All the King’s Men
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Your article “The Next Frontier” captured the essence of the King Ranch, its history, family, finance, and future [August 2007]. And the black and white photos by Kurt Markus were perfect; color would have ruined them. I felt as though I were there.
I can appreciate your work in condensing what would be a four-volume tome down to a mere long magazine article. But I don’t think you gave Leroy Denman his due with just one sentence. He was the longtime attorney for King Ranch and had another key duty: being the intermediary between Mr. Bob and Mr. Dick, who were not on speaking terms for many years before their deaths. Mr. Denman’s regular Saturday included meeting first with one for lunch at his house, then meeting the other at his; carrying messages in between; and sometimes retracing steps if there was a decision to be made. Denman always joked that he’d probably go bust if the Klebergs learned to like each other.
John M. Hays
S. C. Gwynne’s article on the King Ranch was wonderful, especially the ending, which talks about the challenges of the sixth generation, a group of forty or so for whom someone years ago made a golden investment. To hear the story in Mr. Gwynne’s article, their ancestors built the King Ranch empire not so much to have assets to make their great-grandchildren comfortable but because building a monument as grand as this was an end in itself, the power of creating. It seems inevitable that the heirs who have grown more distant from the land will eventually want to cash in and move on. Hopefully, when that time comes, perhaps their sense of philanthropy could turn the King Ranch properties into a jewel of the National Park System.
As a seventh-generation Texan who had ancestors around South Texas in the 1850’s and 1860’s, I like to think they might have crossed paths with Captain Richard King.
I “study” Texas history, mostly by poring over archival records or nonfiction sources, but a little romantic flair about possible exploits on the King Ranch seems to creep in when I read about the place.
Karen R. Thompson
Sam Gwynne treated our family’s ranch—as it continues into the twenty-first century—with equanimity. One clarification I would make is that the chairman and president positions have never been one. When my cousin Jim Clement became president in 1974, following Bob Kleberg’s death, my father, Richard Kleberg Jr. (“Mr. Richie”), was chairman of the board and remained so until his death, in 1979, when Leroy G. Denman Jr., the first non-family member to serve as chairman, succeeded him. John B. Armstrong served as president for one year following Jim’s tenure before Darwin Smith succeeded him in 1980, and Leroy remained on as chairman until his retirement, when Abe Zaleznik succeeded him. Given the complexity of the family relationships, it is reasonable to expect some confusion with the players when retelling a long history covered in a few pages.
Likewise, I would argue with Evan Smith, in his Editor’s Letter. Bill Broyles’s 1980 article on the ranch was highly regarded by most members of the family. No one’s treatment of the story will likely ever measure up to Tom Lea’s two-volume history, which is being reissued this year on the one hundredth anniversary of Lea’s birth.
Editors’ Note: In “The Next Frontier,” the photo of the King Ranch Kineños at the memorial service for Richard M. Kleberg Jr. should have been credited to Janell Kleberg. We regret the omission.
Finally someone has written an article that shows the human side of Dr. Ron Paul and his family and also the human side of his supporters [“The Elephant in the Room,” August 2007]. We are not just techno-nerds and spammers (I’m 65-plus and computer challenged). We are just ordinary citizens who are tired of being lied to and taken for granted. Dr. Paul has a long voting record to prove that what he says is the way he votes. This is refreshing, and the message of liberty and a return to our Constitution are catching on.
If Mr. Paul is a traitor to his party, then we need more like him. It’s so refreshing to listen to his ideas, instead of the drones that make up the Republican party and, for that matter, the Democratic party too.
“The Elephant in the Room” reminded me of the modern-day conservative movement’s founding father, the late Arizona senator and 1964 Republican presidential candidate Barry Gold-water. Goldwater believed that what consenting adults consume, inhale, perform, read, or view in the privacy of their own home or private social club isn’t the concern of government. Individual economic and civil liberties prosper best when government stays out of both the bedroom and the marketplace. Limited government meant that taxpayers’ dollars should be spent prudently, with the least amount of confiscatory taxation, accompanied by real balanced budgets, no deficits, and actual surpluses. He would never support the massive deficit spending that has resulted in today’s $9 trillion long-term debt. He would also have opposed the thousands of congressional earmarks supporting tens of billions of dollars in pork barrel spending each year. He was no fan of corporate welfare or spending billions on useless weapons systems supported by Congress but not requested by the Pentagon. Remember Goldwater’s stand concerning gays in the military? He said, “You don’t have to be straight to be in the military; you just have to be able to shoot straight.” About the so-called Moral Majority: “I think every good Christian ought to kick [Jerry] Falwell right in the ass.” If alive today, Goldwater would say, “In your heart, you know Dr. Ron Paul is right!”
Great Neck, New York
Praise Be to Yolanda Adams
Thank you for the article on Yolanda Adams [Reporter, The Horse’s Mouth, August 2007]. As a native Houstonian living in Washington, hope is definitely what keeps me going. No matter where I am, Houston is in my heart and Yolanda’s voice is in my CD player.
Lake Forest Park, Washington