The Kenedy Ranch lies in what is known as the “Wild Horse Desert,” located between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande/Mexican Border. Mexicans had another name for it — the “Desert of the Dead.” In the 1800s, hostile native tribes and bands of lawless marauders roamed the area.
In 1867, Mifflin Kenedy chose the Laurel Leaf as the Kenedy brand. By the end of 1868, he made ranching history by completing 30 miles of fence across the throat of the peninsula that formed the Laureles Grant, enclosing 131,000 acres and becoming the owner of the first fenced range of any appreciable size west of the Mississippi. The fence was built of creosote posts and hard pine planks brought by ship from Louisiana and hauled inland by wagon.
In 1882, Kenedy sold Los Laureles to a Scottish syndicate for $1,100,000 and purchased the La Parra Grant in what was then Cameron County, and began acquiring adjacent land for what would one day become the 400,000-acre Kenedy Ranch. The Kenedy Pasture Company was formed with Mifflin Kenedy as president and treasurer, his oldest son Thomas as vice president, son James as general manager, and son John as secretary.