History

Kerr County History: Best Forgotten Facts & Unusual (Camel) Tales

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Kerr County history includes the expected tales of immigrants settling the area and unexpected stories of camels breeding there. While thousands pass through the county each year as they drive through Texas, few appreciate the rich history of the towns within the county. It’s time to change your view of Kerr County with a little history lesson.

Early Life Along the Guadalupe River

The Guadalupe River played a major role in Kerr County history

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

The Guadalupe River draws wildlife to its edges, but this source of fresh water in the Hill Country also brought people to its banks. The first people to live in Kerr County included Native American tribes such as the Lipan Apache, Comanche, and Kiowa. The tribes that lived in this area were hunters and gathers, moving on to the next grounds without building settlements. Though evidence of humans in the area exists in the form of pottery shards and arrowheads, dating to between 6,000 and 10,000 years ago, the Native Americans of Kerr County never built long-standing settlements.

European Settlers

Kerrville was founded along the banks of the Guadalupe River and originally called Brownsborough

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Though a few Spanish missions existed in Texas, Kerr County was overlooked, aside from one naming the Guadalupe River. Only a handful of Mexican troops passed through the county as they attempted to defend nearby San Antonio from Native Americans. The first European settlement in Kerr County was established in 1846, at present-day Kerrville. A group of mainly German and other European settlers led by Joshua D. Brown founded a site along the Guadalupe to harvest cypress trees for Brown’s shingle business. Apache raiding parties made the area too dangerous to settle, and the original group left, only to return two years later, calling the place Brownsborough and building sawmills and other industry along the river.

The U.S. Camel Corps

Who would have thought camels would be in Kerr County history
Photo: Wikimedia Commons

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