Marker Text: Inhabited briefly by adventurer Cabeza de Vaca in 1530's and French explorer La Salle in 1680's. Site of 1720 Mission Espiritu Santo de Zuniga. Mission friars, sent here to Christianize and civilize the Karankawa Indians, laid foundation for the cattle industry of Texas, their stray stock forming nucleus for later vast herds of wild cattle. Presidio La Bahia, founded 1721 within present Victoria County, has been restored on a later site, in Goliad.
Civilian settlement began in 1824 with Martin de Leon's grant from the Mexican government to plant a colony on the Guadalupe River. Placido Benavides, son-in-law of De Leon, commanded Victoria militia, which as part of army of Gen. Sam Houston, opposed Mexican countrymen during the Texas Revolution.
After the establishment of the Republic of Texas, Victoria County was officially organized in 1837. Many settlers from the Old South immigrated to the area.
Navigation of Guadalupe River began 1854 with line of steamers between Victoria and Indianola. Kemper's Bluff was principal cotton loading point.
Known as "Cradle of the Cattle Industry in Texas", county remained principally agricultural and ranching area until oil was discovered in late 1930's. (1968)
Marker No: 13870
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 28.885027, -96.825012
Location: 12 miles east in rest area