As South Texas gradually evolved from the “Wild Horse Desert” into a land of ranching and oil-rich empires, the Kenedy family was instrumental in the economic development of the area. Beginning with river trade on the Rio Grande and moving on to the construction of railroads, Mifflin Kenedy understood that reliable transportation was the key to business growth. His wise investments in land and his success in dealing with the challenges of ranching in an often unforgiving territory ensured a comfortable life for his family and provided steady work for the many vaqueros and their families who became known as Kenedeños.
Mifflin’s son, Don Gregorio, expanded the Kenedy empire through land development and new towns sprang up throughout South Texas. With the discovery of oil, the Kenedy fortune grew still larger. Today, with no family surviving, the legacy lives on in The John G. and Marie Stella Kenedy Memorial Foundation and The John G. Kenedy Jr. Charitable Trust, which provide generous financial support for many worthy South Texas causes.