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Hynes Bay, Battle of

Stephen L. Hardin General Entry

The Battle of Hynes Bay, in 1852, was supposedly the last engagement between Texans and the Karankawa Indians. After killing settler John F. Kemper in November 1844, most of the Karankawas had fled the country. By 1852, however, they had returned to the campsites on the shores of Hynes Bay in Refugio County. They soon began to slaughter local livestock and engage in petty theft as in the old days. In response to these acts, the citizens of Refugio County resolved to rid the community of the Karankawa nuisance. William Kuykendall happened across the Indian campsite and reported its presence to John Hynes, who mustered about thirty volunteers. Among the settlers who served in Hynes's militia company were Thomas O'Connor, William Kuykendall, Carlos de la Garza, Walter Lambert, James W. Byrne, and John R. Baker. The Texans surrounded the Indian camp near Hynesville and took the Indians by surprise. The Karankawas offered a stiff resistance, but most were ultimately killed. The fifty-nine men, women, and children who survived the attack agreed to leave the country never to return, and retreated across the Rio Grande to refuge in Tamaulipas.

Hobart Huson, Refugio: A Comprehensive History of Refugio County from Aboriginal Times to 1953 (2 vols., Woodsboro, Texas: Rooke Foundation, 1953, 1955).

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Stephen L. Hardin, “Hynes Bay, Battle of,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 04, 2020,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.