By ice rivers
According to Merle Seton and Wikipedia, legend has it that in 1519, on the Roman Catholic Feast Day of Corpus Christi, Spanish explorer Alonzo Alvarez de Pineda discovered a lush semi-tropical bay on what is now the southern coast of Texas. The bay, and the City that later sprung up there, took the name of the feast day celebrating the "Body of Christ."
Corpus Christi was founded in 1839 by Colonel Henry Lawrence Kinney as Kinney's Trading Post, or Kinney's Ranch, a small trading post to sell supplies to a Mexican revolutionary army camped about 25 miles west, just three years after Texas declared independence from Mexico.
Some folks define Texans as Mexicans on their way to Oklahoma. That's quite the reversal from the 1840's when Americans decided that this part of Mexico belonged to them, eventually sending Davey Crockett and a bunch of volunteers to San Antone to be slaughtered at a place called the Alamo. Later John Wayne, Fess Parker and Walt Disney decided to flip the script and sell a lot of coonskin caps and Bowie knives.
Mexico had other ideas. These gringos were just a bunch of freeloaders who weren't going to pay any taxes. Taxes and Texas have a long and sinister history.
Corpus Christi was located in the disputed territory south of the Nueces River. In July 1845, U.S. troops under future President General Zachary Taylor set up camp there in preparation for war with Mexico, where they remained until March 1846, when they marched south to the Rio Grande to enforce it as the southern border of the United States.
Soon after the heroics of Steven Austin, Texas was on the map.
Because it was on the map by 1860, Texas was gonna have to choose sides for the war between the states. Texas was good at war. Undefeated.
Texas Officially Seceeded from the Union in March 1861. The Secession Convention reassembled in early March, declared Texas out of the Union, and adopted a measure uniting the state with other Southern states in the newly formed Confederate States of America. As the war progressed the threat of attacks on Texas’s frontier by Comanches and Kiowa Indians greatly increased. As soon as the federal troops pulled out of Texas in 1861, these tribes quickly stepped up their raids on frontier settlements across the state. The Federal troops evacuated.
Corpus Christi was bombarded twice during the Civil War in an attempt to stop trade, and was finally occupied by Union forces in 1863. The end of the war put an end to the city's occupation, with swift economic recovery aided by a market for wool and the growth of ranching in the region.
This would be the first of many evacuations for Corpus Christi.
Texas had been a main source of supplies for Confederate forces during the American Civil War. Union naval operations to blockade the Texas coast began. Despite being in a Confederate state, Corpus Christi was home to both Confederate patriots and Union sympathizers.
After backing the wrong horse in the War Between the states, Texas was in need of reconstrruction. Who better to lead this effort than George Custer. Custer was fresh from Appamatox where the South surrendered. As a gift, Grant gave Custer the table upon which the uncondtional surrender was signed. Custer gave the table to his wife Libby who usewould bring it to Texas to spruce up the living room in their Lone Star domicile.
Custer reconstructed in Texas aling with Libbie and her table. Eventually, Hurricane Custer rode off to Little Big Horn where he and his men were deconstructed.
Meanwhile in Corpus Christi, reconstruction was a period of marked irregularity for Southerners as they tried to gain readmission to the United States and rebuild a devastated economy while suffering the emotional, psychic burden of defeat and the "Lost Cause".
Certainly Reconstruction was abnormal for the people of the South. Slavery was abolished and blacks were given some limited rights. Reconstruction governments, imposed by the North, pursued active government policies that resulted in higher taxes. Reconstruction governments were relatively powerful in comparison to the weak, inactive antebellum governments Southerners had always preferred. The traditional political leaders of the South were temporarily disfranchised and blacks temporarily enfranchised.
Yet, when considered unemotionally from a historical perspective, the Reconstruction experience was very moderate compared to what it could have been. There were no mass executions of rebel leaders or ex-Confederate soldiers. There was no nationalization or appropriation of plantation lands by the victors. The North declined to force reparation payments on the defeated South.
All in all, Reconstruction, while exceedingly unpopular in the South, was quite moderate. The myth of Reconstruction arose from the emotional burden of defeat, the abolition of slavery, and the recognition that the North, because of population increases and industrialization, now was the strongest section of the nation. The South was no longer an equal partner.
In the late 19th century, Corpus Christi history saw a cattle boom and this ensured massive growth, with the city becoming a major shipping destination for cattle drives from the southern plains, especially after the dredging of the port to allow steamers to dock. By 1885, two railroads served the town, which before the end of the century had mostly paved roads, a municipal water system and a population of around 4,200.