Robert Justus Kleberg, rancher, son of Robert Justus and Rosalie (von Roeder) Kleberg, was born on December 5, 1853, in DeWitt County, Texas. After receiving schooling in private institutions, he attended the University of Virginia and graduated with a law degree in 1880. He began a law practice in Cuero and later moved to Corpus Christi, where Richard King became one of his clients. After King's death, Henrietta King asked Kleberg to assume control of the King Ranch. Expansions of the ranch under his administration included the drilling of artesian wells, the introduction of Hereford and Durham shorthorn cattle, and the acquisition of land. Kleberg also set aside the site for the town of Kingsville and was a leader in the fight against the Texas fever tick. From March 1899 to March 1901 he was president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. He was married to Alice Gertrudis King, daughter of Richard King, in 1886; they had five children, one of whom, Robert Justus Kleberg, Jr., was manager of the ranch in 1950. Kleberg died at the King Ranch headquarters on October 10, 1932.
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Cattleman, November 1932. Lewis E. Daniell, Personnel of the Texas State Government, with Sketches of Representative Men of Texas (Austin: City Printing, 1887; 3d ed., San Antonio: Maverick, 1892). Frank Goodwyn, Life on the King Ranch (New York: Crowell, 1951).
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
“Kleberg, Robert Justus [II],”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 30, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 2, 2021