Henry L. Kinney, born in Pennsylvania in June 1814, came to this area about 1858 and established a fort-like trading post (across Broadway). The building, enclosed by a stockade, contained his home, store, and quarters for armed men. The bulk of Kinney's trade was with Indians and smuggling for Mexican Federalists who were in constant conflict with Centralist forces. The city of Corpus Christi grew up around the post.
In 1845 Kinney's business boomed as Gen. Zachary Taylor's army camped in the area until March 1846, when it moved to the Rio Grande. Kinney enlisted with Taylor as a quartermaster and served in the U.S. War with Mexico until Oct. 1846. Upon returning from Mexico, Kinney won election to the state legislature, representing this district until 1853. When business began to falter in the early 1850's, he organized the "Lone Star Fair" in an attempt to attract settlers. The venture failed and forced him into bankruptcy.
Kinney then attempted, unsuccessfully, to gain control of the "Mosquito Kingdom" in Nicaragua. After returning to Corpus Christi in 1858, he again won a seat in the legislature, from which he resigned in 1861, to resume international intrigues. Kinney was killed in the early 1860s in Matamoros under unknown circumstances.