While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


John Minton

LEAKEY, TEXAS. Leakey, the county seat of Real County, is on the Frio River southwest of the confluence of the East and West branches at the intersection of Farm roads 336, 337, and 1120 and U.S. Highway 83, in the southeastern part of the county. Archeological excavations in the Frio Canyon and the surrounding region reveal Paleo-American, Archaic, and Neo-American occupations. In the historic period Lipan Apaches, Comanches, and Tonkawas inhabited or traversed the area. Anglo-Americans arrived in 1856, when John Leakey, for whom the town was later named, his wife Nancy, and five others settled near the site at springs that were later known as Leakey Springs. Shingles and lumber were produced from the abundant cypress trees lining area streams, which were processed at water-powered sawmills along the Frio. In 1883 A. G. Vogel moved a post office to the settlement from Floral, two miles north, and opened the town's first store. A Methodist church was erected in 1886. In 1884 Leakey became the county seat of Edwards County. The previous county seat was Bullhead, which later became Vance and is now in western Real County. Leakey remained county seat until 1891, when the government was moved to Rocksprings. When Real County was organized in 1913, Leakey was elected the county seat, although the town was not incorporated until June 11, 1951.

Although lumbering, freighting, and cultivating cotton and corn were initially important to the local economy, these activities were eventually superseded by ranching, and in particular the raising of Angora goats; tourism also provided an increasingly significant source of revenue. In 1904 Leakey was estimated to have 318 residents, though this figure was down to 150 by 1926. Estimates climbed to 700 in 1931 but dropped back to 150 two years later. Following these fluctuations, estimates show a steady increase to a peak of 762 in 1956, followed by a decline to 468 by 1982. The population was 399 in 1990 and 387 in 2000.

Beverly Ann Chiodo, "Real County," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 65 (January 1962). William W. Newcomb, The Rock Art of Texas Indians (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1967). Grace Lorene Lewis, A History of Real County (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1956).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, John Minton, "LEAKEY, TX," accessed July 06, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/HLL27.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...