Reuben Holbein, mayor of Corpus Christi and manager of the King Ranch, was born in October 1826 in London, England. In 1846 he immigrated to Texas; he apparently landed in Galveston but moved on to Corpus Christi. He enlisted in the local ranging company headed by Mabry B. (Mustang) Gray and was introduced to the Texas frontier. He served as a deputy county clerk under Ephraim M. Haines in 1848. He became a notary public in March 1852 and county clerk in August. He held the latter post until 1861. In 1851 he acted as agent for Henry L. Kinney to bring several British families, chiefly from Wales, to Corpus Christi, including the Almond, Beynon, Evans, and Hobbs families. He was a member of the city council during 1854–55 and 1859–60 and worked for a ship channel through Corpus Christi Bay. He was elected mayor by the city council in an unprecedented action when Mayor H. W. Berry absented himself from the city in a dispute with the council. While Holbein was mayor, bonds were issued for dredging the ship channel, sent by fast packet to New Orleans, and sold. Holbein married Sarah Hobbs on April 13, 1857. They had three children. As agent for Richard King, he managed several large cotton trains to Brownsville during the Civil War. Subsequently he became a regular employee at the Santa Gertrudis Ranch. He was at King's deathbed in San Antonio and helped manage the great cattle ranch for Henrietta King. He died in Collins, Texas, on March 21, 1888, and left a will specifying that he be buried by Episcopalian rites as inexpensively as possible.
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Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols., 1929?).
Law, Law Enforcement, and Outlaws
Politics and Government
Ranching and Cowboys
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 11, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
February 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
October 31, 2019