713 816 7211
These high water photos taken 02 / 18 / 12 note water over slab bridge
WARNING - The Llano River running along the camp can flash flood with little or no warning. The water in the river can rise from a placid stream to a raging torrent in a few minutes. If you are in the river area and notice the water beginning to rise, you should leave the river area immediately. Flash flooding is a common phenomenon in the Texas Hill Country, and camp visitors are encouraged to be alert to weather conditions. As an example shown are a before photo of the Pedernales River and a 5 min. later photo, so be careful!
A little history of our town Kingsland, Texas
K Kingsland, Texas was a popular resort town during the peak of recreational railroad travel, then a fire destroyed most of its buildings.

Kingsland, Texas is an unincorporated town located in Llano County at the junction of the Llano and Colorado Rivers. It is nestled between the majestic Lookout Mountain, Long Mountain, the Riley Mountain chain and Packsaddle Mountain, and is surrounded by live springs, creeks, and rivers. In addition to its picturesque beauty, the small town of Kingsland is also rich with history.

Early Residents of Kingsland, Texas

The Paleo Indians were the first residents of Kingsland, hunter gatherers who traveled across North America and settled on the banks of the Colorado River where there was easy fishing and plenty of edible plants and game. Later, the Kiowa, Apache, Aztec, Tonkawa, Comanche and other tribes also lived in what is now Kingsland, taking advantage of the rich soil and abundant wildlife. Kingsland harbors a great wealth of historical information in their former camps and hunting grounds. Unfortunately, treasure hunters destroyed many of these ancient camps searching for spear heads. There is, however, a camp site on Lower Colorado River Authority land and the current property owners fenced the camp grounds and installed other security measures, then archeologists from the University of Texas and the Llano Uplift Archeological Society worked together to uncover more than 20,000 artifacts. The site is now known as The Nightengale Archaeological Center.

King and Trussell Families Arrive from Alabama

In 1877, Martin D. King traveled from Alabama with his wife, seven children, and a small herd of cattle. King and his brother-in-law, James Trussell, purchased property in the area and cleared the land of trees and brush with the intention of building a town. Unfortunately, Martin King died in 1883. King’s wife, Nancy Jane Trussell, unwilling to allow her husband's dream to die with him, formed the Pacific Survey Company then platted, laid out, and named the original streets of Kingsland. The town was named after Martin D. King. In 1884, Kingsland had a population of forty, including the King, Fowler, and Yetts families. It also had a trading post, a cotton gin, a saloon, of course, like most towns in the Old West, and fifteen houses. A post office was established in 1885.

The Railroad Attracts Tourists to Kingsland

According to the Handbook of Texas Online, the Austin and Northwestern Railroad arrived in Kingsland in 1892. Railroad vacations were popular at that time and the railroad started work on The Antlers Hotel in 1900 to accommodate vacationing passengers, many who traveled up from Austin to enjoy the great beauty of the Kingsland area. The hotel was completed in 1901 and was considered very modern because of its gas lights and the telephone in the lobby. In addition to railroad travelers, it also catered to traveling salesmen and cattlemen. By 1907, Kingsland had a population of 750 residents.

A Town Fire and the Automobile Slow Growth

According to Families of Early Kingsland Texas, the popularity of the automobile brought an end to railroad vacations as travelers preferred the privacy of their own vehicles to more public forms of transportation. Ironically, according to Families of Early Kingsland, Texas, the first automobile in Kingsland—a 1915 Maxwell--was owned by Martin King, Jr., the son of the town’s founder. The decline in railroad travel also brought a decline in the success of many tourist-based businesses in Kingsland. The Handbook of Texas Online also reports that in 1922, the City of Kingsland experienced a major fire that destroyed many of its buildings as well as its resort-like atmosphere. The Antlers Hotel closed its doors in 1923. By 1925, the population of the town of Kingsland dropped down to 150.

Local Dams Bring Work to Kingsland Residents

In 1935, Texas Congressman James Paul Buchanan introduced a bill to Congress for a series of dams from Kingsland to Austin to help mitigate the losses from the horrific onslaught of constant flooding--the State of Texas leads the nation every year in flash flood-related deaths.. The first dam and the lake it contained are named after Congressman Buchanan in honor of his efforts to mitigate the flood damage. These projects attracted workers and residents to the area and once again, Kingsland was revived. The construction of the nearby Inks Dam also brought more work, but when the dams were finished, the workers moved on.

Great Beauty and Wildlife Revives the Town as a Retirement Haven

Kingsland was a sleepy little railroad stop for many years. A few businesses remained, along with many of its original loyal families. However, in the 1960s, Kingsland began to see a revival as passing travelers recognized the great beauty of the area and the possibility for creating a comfortable retirement community with opportunities for fishing, boating, camping, and sightseeing. And as it did in the days of the first settlers, the Kingsland area once again appeals to hunters, particularly deer and dove hunters.

Antlers Hotel Reopens its Doors

In 1993, The Antlers Hotel was sold and renovated in a way to preserve its historic importance. It has since reopened and now has an additional unique attraction as a reminder of Kingsland’s origins as a railroad tourist stop--three train cabooses and a coach, all fully furnished to accommodate guests. The Antlers Hotel is a historic landmark and is included on the National Register of Historic Places. The restaurant on the property has a unique history of its own. It was used as the house in the original 1974 film Texas Chain Saw Massacre. The house was moved from its original location to Kingsland where it now serves as an elegant restaurant for guests of The Antler’s Hotel.

Kingsland Thrives Once More

The many lakes and rivers surrounding Kingsland continue to attract retirement and recreational businesses and Kingsland is experiencing a revival. In 1986, it had a population of 1,500. In 1990 the population was 2,725, and the current population is approximately 4900.


Heckert-Greene, James B. "Kingsland Texas". The Handbook of Texas Online. Retrieved November 10, 2009. http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/KK/hjk5.html

Jackson, Muriel Barnett. Ed. Kenyon, Colleen Moore. Families of Early Kingsland, Texas and Nearby Communities in Llano and Burnet Counties: A Collection of Family and Community Histories, Photographs and Documents. Kingsland Genealogical Society. Kingsland, Texas: 1998.

Llano River crossing in Kingsland Pluton, aka "The Slab"

It's located on FM 3404 that runs from Kingsland west to Rte. 71. I've only been to the place twice, and the really remarkable thing is the number of xenoliths there. Other than that it's a fairly typical example of a coarse-grained porphyritic (Town Mountain) granite from the Llano Uplift. It's also a fairly typical example of what we call in Texas "a low-water crossing." There should also be some interesting pieces of the various rock types of the Llano Uplift in the river bed.

That's what it looks like, upriver is to the right.Technically, the state only owns the river bed and the road right-of-way, so be careful about trespassing.

And this would be the reason to go there. The xenoliths are pieces of amphibolite. In some cases the granitic material has invaded the xenoliths along foliation. By the way, those aren't my feet, so the xenoliths aren't quite as big as you were thinking.

Extreme close-up of that area.

A little info on the early people of the area...thanks  
wpeC7.jpg (4782 bytes)

Kings of the Texas Hills:
The Elusive Chanas of the Llano Uplift  
by Jerry C. Drake

wpeD2.jpg (17081 bytes)

It is a tradition of popular folklore in the Texas Hill Country
that the name of the Llano River was derived from a little-known
Indian tribe called the Chanas. Not very much is known about the Chanas
as a culture. Time has chosen to forget this once proud people, leaving us
with only a few passing memories recorded in rare and ancient texts.
But the Chanas were very real... a living chapter of Texas history
who's story deserves to be told. Who were these elusive people,
these former kings of the Texas Hills?


wpeD1.jpg (1182 bytes)

        If you go to most any guidebook on North American Indian tribes, you will probably not find a listing under the name Chanas. Most historians and anthropologists know this tribe as the Sana or Zana people. However, the name of the tribe was pronounced "Chanas". The Spanish and French travelers who explored Central Texas in the 17th and 18th centuries used numerous variations on the spelling of the tribe's name, but we can be sure that they were all referring to the same group of Indians.

    It is quite likely that the Llano River really did get its name from the Chanas people. The word llano, in Spanish, has a very specific meaning: plain. Anyone who has ever driven through the Riley Mountains, in the heart of the Llano Uplift, can tell you that the Llano River certainly does not flow through a plain! Some historians disagree that the Llano River was named for the Chanas, as it has often been assumed that these people tended to inhabit an area further south and east than the Llano country. However, the Chanas appear to have been a wandering people, roaming across the hills and arroyos of Central and South Central Texas, following the diminishing herds of bison. As well, population pressures from the invasion of the larger Lipan-Apache and Comanche tribes in the Llano Uplift more than likely pushed the Chanas people permanently out of the region by the early to middle 1700's.

    It was sometime shortly after the year 1716 that the Llano River first became known as the Río de los Chanes. In 1756, when Bernardo de Miranda y Flores entered the Hill Country in search of the fabled Los Almagres Mine (later known in legend as the San Saba Mine) he referred to this river as the Río de los Chanas. By 1789 it was known as the Yanes, then in 1796 as the Llanes, and finally by 1808 it had received the name Llanos. However, the region was traveled infrequently and some explorers were referring to it as the Río de los Llanos as early as 1772 and as the Río de los Chanas as late as 1796. It is important to remember that the word llano, in Spanish, is pronounced "ya-no". With this in mind it is easier to understand how the river, and the modern city and county, all received their name.

    The Chanas people were a sub-group of the Indian tribe that would be known, by the close of the 18th century, as the Tonkawa. In order to understand the culture of the Chanas people one must look to what we know of the Tonkawas for guidance. It is believed that the Chanas spoke a variation of the same language used by the Tonkawas in more recent times. This language is largely unrelated to any of the others found in the area of Central and South Central Texas. At least one prominent historian believes that this language is akin to that of the Coahuiltecans, a larger tribe who lived further south on the Texas Gulf Coast. However, as we have a limited knowledge of the Coahuiltecan language, this theory is little more than a guess. It has been suggested, as well, that the Tonkawa languages are related to the Hokan linguistic family found on the Pacific Coast! It is for this reason, among others, that the Chanas and their other pre-Tonkawa kin are believed to be the direct descendents of some of the earliest people to enter the New World from Asia. In view of one Tonkawa myth, which states that the ancestors of the tribe were separated, in long ages past, from another group of mysterious kindred that lived "on the other side of the big water" further south, this is a compelling idea. Who were these kindred, known as the Yakwál or "Drifted People"? Perhaps they were the Aztecs or Toltecs, or perhaps a race of people even more ancient.

    Europeans first encountered the Chanas in the year 1690 when Father Damián Massenet discovered a band of them living, along with some other Tonkawa groups, about 25 miles northeast of San Antonio in the vicinity of a streambed known as the Arroyo del Cibolo. The homeland of these peoples was referred to by the Coahuiltecans as Xoloton, and as Bata Coniquiyoqui by the tribes of the east. The significance of these names have long since been lost to history.

    While the Chanas seem to have been a relatively peaceful people, who got along quite well with the Spanish invaders, it is interesting to note that they did not seem to be on good terms with everyone. In 1716 Domingo Ramón reported that the Chanas were considered to be enemies of the Tejas people. The Tejas are the tribe of Indians from whom the state of Texas gets its name--and they were famous during Spanish Colonial days for their friendliness!

    The Chanas built up a rather close relationship with the Spanish. In 1721, it was delegates from the Chanas tribe who reported on Louis Juchereau de Saint Denis' activities in Texas. Saint Denis was the French commandant of Natchitoches in Louisiana. He had called a meeting of thirty of the most prominent regional Indian tribes just a few miles away from San Antonio. When the Marqués de San Miguel de Aguayo passed through San Antonio, shortly thereafter, he gave the Chanas presents as a reward for providing this valuable information regarding a possible threat. Aguayo also reported that, at the time, many of the Chanas were living in the area of what is modern-day San Marcos.

    By the year 1740 members of the Chanas tribe had begun to take up residence in San Antonio. They chose as their home what would become the most famous mission complex in all the United States: Mission San Antonio de Valero, better known as the Alamo. It is reported that many of these Chanas people had been mingling and intermarrying with other Tonkawa bands before entering into mission life. Up until around the year 1749 the Chanas continued to drift into the Valero. By 1793 the Chanas were listed as one of the most prominent tribes at the mission. They are referred to in the mission records under the name "Zana", but these are none other than the Chanas.

    By the time Spanish rule ended on this continent the Chanas were known collectively, along with other bands who shared their culture, as the Tonkawa tribe. The word Tonkawa, itself, is a Waco word that simply means "they all stay together". The Tonkawas referred to themselves as the Tickanwatic or Titskanwatitch, which means something like "the most human of the People". It seems that pressure from other tribes, namely the Comanches and Lipan-Apaches, along with decimation of the bison herds and a decreased population due to European diseases, created a need for these tribes to form a more intimate alliance. Not all of the Chanas culture seems to have faded with the organization of the larger Tonkawa tribe, however. The Tonkawas utilized a system of totemic kinship. That is to say, they organized themselves into clans based on descendency from some mythical creature or other legacy. One of these clans was the Sanux. It is quite likely that Sanux is simply a variation on the Chanas-Sana-Zana theme, and that the members of this clan were the direct descendents of the Chanas people.

    The descendents of the Chanas people, as members of the Tonkawa tribe, went on to blaze a colorful trail in the annals of Texas history. The Tonkawa were noted ritualistic cannibals. They performed several ceremonies in which they consumed the bodies of conquered enemies. They also venerated the scalp of the fallen victims as especially prized trophies.

    Although fewer in numbers than many of the other Texas tribes, the Tonkawas were able to distinguish themselves in battle. Some of them even fought on the side of the Texas forces during the Mexican War of the 1840's. As well, Tonkawas were noted Indian scouts for the United States military throughout the latter 19th century. Many Tonkawas chose to live in the vicinity of Federal installations during this time period.

    In 1859 about 245 Tonkawa were relocated to Fort Cobb in Indian Territory (Oklahoma). They were sent to live on the Wichita Reserve along with several other unrelated tribes. Sadly, in 1862, many of these Tonkawas were murdered by other tribes during what has come to be known as the "Great Massacre". After this wholesale decimation of the tribe, many Tonkawas wandered throughout Texas, some choosing to settle at Fort Belknap. The Tonkawas had mingled heavily with the Lipan-Apaches since about 1820, and the group at Fort Belknap was a mixture of these two tribes. Finally they were assigned their own reservation lands in northeastern Oklahoma in 1884. They settled there, establishing a governing body and other social systems common to self-determinate reservation life. However, the tribe was but a mere shadow of its former self. Descendents of the tribe are still active in the community of Tonkawa, in Kay County, Oklahoma, namely through the Tonkawa Tribal Committee. As well, a separate band of "Great Massacre" survivor descendents was reported living north of Sabinas, Mexico in 1927. However, this author has been unable to determine the present-day status of these people.

    It has been estimated that as many as 40,000 Texans living today can trace their ancestry to the Tonkawa tribe. Needless to say, this is a diffused mix of people, most of whom are more Anglo or Hispanic than Tonkawa. This author is one such descendant, tracing ancestry from the Lipan-Tonkawa mix. So in essence, the legacy of the Chanas people, as well as the other members of the Tonkawa tribe, lives on in many of us today. Our Xoloton or Bata Coniquiyoqui--our homeland--may very well lie somewhere deep within the Texas Hills. If you feel an especial kinship to the grandeur and beauty of that place then, just maybe, the spirit of the Chanas lives on within you too.

This article is warmly dedicated to Gary and Eric of the Dabbs Railroad Hotel, Llano, Texas,

and to the brothers and sisters of the Titskanwatitch Tribe of Texas.



     EMAIL: kingslandslab@yahoo.com