A Family Affair

The ranch has endured because one family willed it to endure.

Richard King and his wife, Henrietta, founded the King Ranch. Their daughter Alice and her husband, Robert Kleberg — shown with their children in the turn-of-the-century photograph at the right — founded the family that sustained it. When Henrietta King died in 1925, the ranch’s 1.2 million acres were divided among her heirs. Alice and Robert Kleberg ended up with more than 800,000 acres, which they and their children incorporated in 1934 as the King Ranch. The five children pledged to stay together for twenty years after the incorporation, but since then the descendants of two of them have left the ranch. The children and their descendants all played important roles in the history of the ranch. From left to right in the picture, the Kleberg children are:

Alice, who is the only survivor of the five and perhaps the most fiercely independent of the bunch. When the 1934 corporation dissolved in the fifties she was the only one to leave the ranch. Now 87, she and her children run a former division of the King Ranch called the Santa Fe Ranch, in Hidalgo County.

Sarah, who grew up a tomboy and wanted only to ranch. Her first husband, a cowboy, died shortly after the birth of their only child, Belton Kleberg “B”

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