The Karnes County area was originally part of a royal Spanish grant. In the 19th century, rancher Mifflin Kenedy purchased land to found the city of Kenedy, becoming part of the route taking cattle to northern markets along the Chisholm Trail. Today, the area east of Kenedy is the 33 Ranch, a 10,000-acre operation active since the 19th century. With more than 25 miles of scenic trails, the ranch is a popular place for visitors to hike, ride horseback, camp and experience ranch life.
Kenedy saw homefront action during WWII. Shocked by the Pearl Harbor attack, the U.S. government rounded up thousands of foreign nationals residing in the U.S., the territory of Hawaii and several Latin American countries. Suspected as security risks, they were held in internment camps nationwide, including three in Texas — at Seagoville, Kenedy and Crystal City. Most internees were Axis nationals, but many were U.S.-born citizens of “enemy ancestry.”