By Linda Minor © 2000

Isn't it intriguing that the voting boxes that determined LBJ's election were controlled by a man who worked for the interests that controlled our drug-running railroad in Laredo-- the Tex Mex?  Is it the same drug network in Florida that controls those Broward County boxes?

The same man was implicated in the death of the son of a South Texas attorney, alleged to have been killed by Mexican assassins mentioned in the Torbitt Document as having been involved in the Kennedy assassination.

DUVAL COUNTY. Duval County (Q-15) is in south central Texas about fifty miles inland from the Gulf of Mexicoqv and seventy-three miles north of the Rio Grande. It is bordered by Webb, La Salle, McMullen, Live Oak, Jim Wells, Brooks, and Jim Hogg counties. San Diego, the county seat and most populous town, is on the Texas Mexican Railroad at the intersection of State highways 44 and 359 and Farm road 1329, about fifty-two miles west of Corpus Christi and eighty miles east of Laredo.

Duval County's reputation for political corruption peaked with Lyndon B. Johnson's election to the United States Senate in 1948. The famous Box 13, which gave Johnson his eighty-seven-vote victory, was actually in Jim Wells County, but the manipulation of the returns was almost certainly directed by Parr. In the 1900 presidential election Duval County went Republican, but since that time, thanks largely to the efficiency of the Parr machine and the customary tendency of Hispanics to vote for Democrats, the county has delivered majorities to the Democratic party on the order of 94 percent in 1916, 98 percent in 1932, 95 percent in 1936, 96 percent in 1940, 95 percent in 1944, 97 percent in 1948, and 93 percent in 1964. In fact, only once between 1916 and 1972 did the Democratic candidate receive less than 74 percent of the vote in Duval County; that year, 1956, a mere 68 percent voted Democratic. Even after the demise of the Parr machine in 1975 Democrats continued to dominate. In the 1988 and 1992 presidential elections 82 percent of the county's voters cast ballots for the Democratic candidate. See:

The remainder of Parr's political career was highlighted by a seemingly
endless series of spectacular scandals, involving election fraud, graft on
the grand scale, and violence. His most celebrated scheme decided the
outcome of the United States Senate race between Coke R. Stevenson and Lyndon B. Johnson in 1948. With Stevenson the apparent winner, election
officials in Jim Wells County, probably acting on Parr's orders, reported an additional 202 votes for Johnson a week after the primary runoff and provided the future president with his eighty-seven-vote margin of victory for the whole state.

Amid charges of fraud, the voting lists disappeared. Even more sordid controversies followed. As strong challenges from the Freedom party, consisting mainly of World War II veterans, developed in several South Texas counties, including Duval, two critics of Parr's rule and the son of another met violent deaths. While denying Parr's involvement in two of the killings, his biographer, Dudley Lynch, concedes that the evidence against Parr in the shooting of the son of Jacob Floyd, an attorney for the Freedom party, was
both "highly circumstantial" and "highly incriminating."

After this third murder, Governor Allan Shivers, Texas attorney general John Ben Shepperd, and federal authorities launched all-out campaigns to destroy the Parr machine. Investigations of the 1950s produced over 650 indictments against ring members, but Parr survived the indictments and his own conviction for federal mail fraud through a complicated series of dismissals and reversals on appeal. In the face of another legal offensive in the 1970s and a rebellion within his own organization, he finally relented. While appealing a conviction and five-year sentence for federal income tax evasion, the Duke of Duval committed suicide at his ranch, Los Harcones, on
April 1, 1975. See also Boss Rule.

While you can't play "what-if" with any certainty, you have to wonder
whether the area from San Antonio and Corpus Christi south would have known the same emptiness that prevailed in the in-between sections of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León, Coahuila, and Chihuahua if the Anglos hadn't turned their particular talents and drives Valleyward. It started as a land of great
ranches, which in themselves invite sparse settlement, and it might have remained as untaken as the country between Del Rio and Fort Stockton if Colonel Uriah Lott had not perceived that with a railroad, the Valley could become a year-round fruit and vegetable garden for much of the United States.

Lott buttonholed B. F. Yoakum, who at the beginning of the twentieth century sent Captain J. E. Hinckley reconnoitering through the Valley into Mexico to find a way of tapping the riches-almost entirely potential-on either side of the border. He enlisted the irresistible enthusiasm of Theodore Roosevelt, who envisioned a road that would eventually extend all the way through Central America, where he had designs on the Panama Isthmus. Anglo American survey crews came in, built a steel bridge between Brownsville and Matamoros suitable for locomotives or buggies, and began planning other routes that would connect such diverse places geographically as New Orleans, San Antonio, Memphis, and Chicago. Down in Mexico, President Porfirio Diaz, who
welcomed yanqui development (translated sometimes as exploitation), encouraged Yoakum and his cohorts, and even offered to help underwrite the cost. Some of the Anglos backing Yoakum remain memorable names three-quarters of a century after the event-Robert J. Kleberg, Robert Driscoll Sr., John G. Kenedy, Caesar Kleberg, and John J. Welder--to name only a few. On January 12, 1903, they received their charter to do business as the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway, to extend from Sinton to Brownsville, with reticulation of future roads to branch northward and eastward from there.

The foundation of the paper work for connecting the Valley with the United States and Texas had been laid.

Actually, the Anglos had been in the Valley since the period of the War against Mexico. They had been slow to arrive because the area from the Nueces River to the Rio Grande was disputed. Mexico had refused to accept Santa Ana's cession of the region to Texas, which meant that an enormous region in truth belonged to no one. Or worse, to whoever could take and hold it. It would have been comparable to a modern Lebanon except that fortunately it was empty of people.

Then developers brought in the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico Railway. The year was 1903, two decades after Texas had shut down land grants to railroads. No help would come from that source. Rumors of incoming railroads had been spread before, but no rails or locomotives had been seen. But like the neglected maiden who suddenly has three suitors, Brownsville began to be courted by the Southern Pacific and the Frisco-Rock Island, as well as the St. Louis, Brownsville, and Mexico railroads. The town fathers voted to raise a bonus of 12,000 acres on either side of the projected road to the distance of four miles, plus $40,000 in cash, and forty to fifty acres within Brownsville itself for depot grounds plus twenty more acres for shops. The list of endorsers reads like a Who's Who of Texas for the first half of the twentieth century.

Up in St. Louis, another syndicate of almost a hundred business leaders were banding together to see that the railroad got underway. The bulk of the capital would have to come out of Missouri.

Ironically, the railroad that brought in the Yankees and the high-gear economy to the Valley went into receivership in 1913, a condition brought on largely by insufficient freight. When the Valley began its boom in the 1920s, the railroad came back, only to run into the growth of the trucking industry. See:

Dutch-born Uriah Lott, who had secured the financial assistance of Mifflin
Kenedy and Richard King in the building of the Texas-Mexican Railroad to Laredo, was also hoping to give the Lower Valley the same access to the "outside world." A railroad to the Lower Valley would also give Corpus Christi another rail outlet. In 1889, consequently, Lott received a charter to build the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. A.M. French, chief engineer on the project, ran several different lines to the river, but eventually agreed on a road that would join the Texas-Mexican Railroad some fifteen miles west of Corpus Christi at what is today Robstown. After sod was broken on the line on July 26, 1903, sweaty laborers set out hacking a right-of-way through the brush south toward the Lower Valley. See:

A native of New York and a steamboat pilot and captain by trade, King came from Florida to Texas and the Rio Grande in 1847 for Mexican War service. Commanding the steamboat, Colonel Cross , he served for the War's duration, transporting troops and supplies for the United States Army. He remained on the border after the Mexican War and became a partner in the Brownsville steamboat firms of M. Kenedy & Company (1850-1866) and its successor, King, Kenedy & Company (1866-1874). The principal partners were Richard King,
Mifflin Kenedy (1818-1895) and Charles Stillman (1810-1875). These firms dominated the Rio Grande trade, on a near monopolistic scale, for more than two decades. See:

Between 1862 and 1865 Stillman, King, and Kenedy transported Confederate cotton to Matamoros under contract for payment in gold. Stillman bought much of the cotton and sent it to his textile complex at Monterrey, but he sold even more of it in New York through his mercantile firm, Smith and Dunning. The United States government was a major purchaser. On one sale at Manhattan Stillman netted $18,851 on a gross of $21,504. His cotton buyers in Texas included George W. Brackenridge, and one of his major suppliers was Thomas William House [father of Col. E.M. House]. By the end of the war Stillman was one of the richest men in America. He concentrated his investments in
the National City Bank of New York, which his son James later controlled, and supplied Brackenridge with $200,000 in the 1870s in order to establish the San Antonio National Bank. Stillman married Elizabeth Pamela Goodrich of Wethersfield, Connecticut, on August 17, 1849. He built a notable home in Brownsville in 1850 and lived in Brownsville and New York City until 1866, when he moved permanently to New York. He died there in December 1875. See:

Henrietta King
In 1854, King had married Henrietta Maria Morse Chamberlain, a Presbyterian missionary's daughter. King Ranch Archives describe Henrietta King as mild-mannered with an iron will which carried her through the prolonged absences of her husband. She had been well-schooled, and was known to give polish and luster to her well-known, generous husband. She also proved she had fortitude, when, pregnant with her fifth child, she was present at the Ranch when the Union cavalry raided Rancho de Santa Gertrudis in 1863. Although the family moved to San Antonio following the raid, she moved them back in 1866 to continue the King family's ties to the land.

Upon her husband's death when she was 53, Mrs. King controlled a vast area of South Texas and a business that was immensely successful, but not without problems. She immediately turned to Robert J. Kleberg Sr., a young lawyer who had been involved in the Ranch's legal business for several years. She appointedhim business manager on Jan. 1, 1886; six months later, he became her son-in-law when he married the youngest King daughter, Alice Gertrudis.

Under Mrs. King's and Kleberg's guidance, cross fences were built to divide the sprawling acres into manageable pastures. They embarked on a brush control program. They suffered through South Texas' most crippling natural occurrence, drought. They helped to build the town of Kingsville in 1903-04. And continuing Captain King's prowess in diversifying, the Ranch became involved in banking, lumber, leather goods, newspapers and publishing, retail businesses and dairy farming.

Under her leadership and that of Robert Kleberg, the Ranch's South Texas holdings had grown to 1.2 million acres, 94,000 head of cattle, 4,500 horses and mules, and 1,000 sheep and goats. Estate taxes, operational debt and lawsuits challenging the estate's division caused uncertainty. In her will, she stipulated a 10-year trust to give her heirs time to settle differences and arrange her affairs and assets. Her ultimate goal was to preserve the King Ranch as a single entity according "to my wishes and the wishes and views of my late husband, Captain Richard King."

In response, Alice King Kleberg, Henrietta's youngest daughter and Robert's wife, consolidated much of King Ranch by buying out other heirs. Thus, in 1934, Mrs. Kleberg created King Ranch, Inc., and it was this entity that inherited Alice's part of the Ranch as well as the other property which she had purchased. She sold stock in the new corporation to her five children, and descendants of Robert and Alice Kleberg are the 60-some shareholders of today's King Ranch.

From a Family Business to a Corporate Environment.
The last quarter of the 20th Century has brought further changes to King Ranch. Since 1977, all overseas ranching operations except for that in Brazil was sold. The King Ranch's Corporate History statement credits James H. Clement and his successor John B. Armstrong with guiding the Company to eliminate debt and "...through the difficult Texas business environment of the 1980s and (they) oversaw the painful, and sometimes stormy, transition from a family business enterprise to the present corporate structure with outside directorship and professional management." Since 1988, the King Ranch Chief Executive Officer has not been a King family member, although the corporate board of directors still includes some descendants.

By the early 1970's, King Ranch holdings totaled, worldwide, approximately 11.5 million acres. In 1974, with the death of Bob Kleberg and Dick, Jr., in poor health, the Family selected James H. Clement, Sr., the husband of King's great granddaughter Ida Larkin, as President and CEO. Together with successor John B. Armstrong (husband to King's great granddaughter, Henrietta Larkin), Clement steered the Ranch though the difficult Texas business environment of the 1980's. They also oversaw the transition from a Family business to a modern corporate structure -- based primarily on the
lines of business established in the early years. Eventually, many of the foreign operations were liquidated as the focus shifted back to the traditional domestic lines of business. See:
See: (Wedding Announcement - Henrietta Kleberg Larkin to Thomas Reeves Armstrong)

Armstrongs mix gentility, old-fashioned Texas ranching Cowboys and candidates, princes and presidents have visited over the years
By Mary Lee Grant © July 13, 1999

ARMSTRONG - In the brush country south of Sarita, a few miles east of U.S. Highway 77, sophistication and political power have mixed with the independence of Texas pioneers.

Here, 6-foot-4-inch Tobin Armstrong, the descendant of a Texas Ranger and a Yale scholar, and the petite brunette, Anne Armstrong, former U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, hold court.

Guests at the 50,000-acre ranch have included former president George Bush; his son and presidential candidate Gov. George W. Bush, the Rockefellers and Prince Charles.

Armstrong Ranch still is an old-fashioned Texas ranch, run by Tobin Armstrong, who oversees it by Suburban and mobile telephone. A colony of cowboys who live in houses surrounding the big house work the 2,500 Santa Gertrudis cattle while riding thoroughbred horses, the Armstrong version of cow ponies.

"One of the best things about this ranch is that it is a grandchild magnet," said Tobin Armstrong, who has five children and 12 grandchildren, who visit the ranch frequently.

The Armstrong Ranch was purchased in 1852 and settled in 1882 by John Armstrong III, a Texas Ranger from Tennessee. He had come to South Texas to clean up the border and became famous for capturing the notorious outlaw John Wesley Hardin.

His sons combined the sophistication of an East Coast education with the ruggedness of a ranch upbringing. Charlie Armstrong, Tobin Armstrong's father, graduated from Yale in 1908 and returned to South Texas to manage the ranch. Charlie's brother, Tom Armstrong, graduated from Princeton and Harvard Law School before going to work as an executive for Standard Oil Co.

The Armstrongs were instrumental in bringing polo to South Texas, and when Prince Charles came to visit, Tobin arranged a match for him on the ranch's polo field.

"I never rode a bought horse," Armstrong said. "I raised and trained my
own thoroughbreds."

Tobin Armstrong was tutored at home until he was 9, when he was sent to private school in San Antonio. He attended the University of Texas and Texas A&M University.

Ties between the Armstrong Ranch and the King Ranch always have been close.

Tobin's older brother, John Armstrong, married the King Ranch's Henrietta Kleberg, and his uncle, Tom, married her mother, Henrietta Kleberg Larkin. John Armstrong was the last family member to serve as president of the King Ranch.

Despite the international circles in which they move, the Armstrongs are still ranchers to the core, talking of weather and rainfall as readily as business and politics.

 "Look how green the grass is,'' Anne Armstrong said on a recent hot day. "We haven't had it like this for several years. It will be good for the cattle."

Staff writer Mary Lee Grant can be reached at 886-3752 or by e-mail at


Armstrong, Anne Legendre (1927-...), was the first woman to serve as United States ambassador to Britain. President Gerald R. Ford appointed her to the office, which she held in 1976 and 1977. She had previously been the first woman to hold the Cabinet-level post of counselor to the president. She was named to that position by President Richard M. Nixon in 1972 and served under both Nixon and Ford.

Anne Legendre was born in New Orleans and graduated from Vassar College. She married Tobin Armstrong, a Texas cattle rancher, in 1950. She served as vice chairman of the Texas Republican Party from 1966 to 1968. In 1971 and 1972, she was cochairman of the Republican National Committee. As counselor to the President, Armstrong was a member of the president's Domestic Council, the Council on Wage and Price Stability, and the Commission on the Organization of Government for the Conduct of Foreign Policy. Source:

CURRENT SEC FILINGS RE: ANNE L. ARMSTRONG:$/SEC/Name.asp?X=anne+l%2E+armstrong
"Anne L. Armstrong"
Latest Filing:  3/29/0 as Signatory

As:  Signatory  (Director, Officer, Attorney, Accountant, Banker, Agent, etc.)
List All Filings as Signatory

Search Recent Filings (as Signatory) for "Anne L. Armstrong"
"Anne L. Armstrong" has been a Signatory for the following 11 Registrants:
American Express Co
American Express Co Capital Trust I
American Express Co Capital Trust II
Boise Cascade Corp
Boise Cascade Trust I
Boise Cascade Trust II
Boise Cascade Trust III
General Motors Capital Trust D
General Motors Capital Trust G
General Motors Corp
Halliburton Co

ANNE L. ARMSTRONG, 71, Regent, Texas A&M University System; Member, Board of Trustees, Center for Strategic and  International Studies; Member, National Security Advisory Board,      Department of Defense; former Chairman of the President's Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, 1981-1990; former Ambassador to Great Britain; joined Halliburton Company Board in 1977; Chairman of the Health, Safety and Environment Committee and member of the Management Oversight and the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees; Director of American Express Company and Boise Cascade Corporation.

1931. Following his election to the House of Representatives in November 1931,
Congressman Richard Kleberg asked Johnson to come to Washington to work as
his secretary. Johnson held the job for over three years and learned how the
Congress worked.


by Linda Minor © 2000