Business founded by Capt. Richard King to advance economic recovery after the Civil War had ended in 1865. The King Ranch beef herds were money on the hoof, but cull animals also had value if by-products (hides for leather, tallow as a soap ingredient, etc.) could be salvaged from them. A slaughtering plant was built on Santa Gertrudis Creek, about two miles west of ranch headquarters and north of this marker. The tallow was rendered in round iron vats about 18 feet long and six feet in diameter. In service only a short time (plant closed within four years), two of these remained at the old site for 50 years. One of the two was later moved to the Kingsville oil field for use as a storage tank. When it proved unsatisfactory, it was returned and placed at sillo barro pens for water storage. Second vat was cut up for scrap iron during World War II. Site of the old plant is still called Matanza (slaughter) pasture. Descendants of the hide and tallow plant employees are working a century later as King Ranch cowboys.
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