In 1856, the citizens of today’s Eastern and Central Kerr County formally organized Kerr County. West Kerr County was not heavily populated, for many reasons, until years later. Among the drawbacks to settlers during this time were drought, outlaws, Indian raids and a rockier landscape than other parts of the county where the soil was more fertile. The major industry that led to the settling of Kerrville was the cypress shingle makers dependent on the huge cypress trees lining the Guadalupe and there were sufficient trees in the eastern and central parts of the county to meet their demand.
During the 1860s and 1870s, the number of settlers began to increase as early pioneers cleared fields for crops and banded together to battle the outlaws and protect against Indian Raids. By the 1880s and through the 1890s, the area around present-day Camp Stewart had grown with enough people to support a school, two stores, a wagon yard, a mill and two post offices and had been given the name Japonica.
Japonica remained the center of life in the area until the early 1900s when settlers moved south to where the North and South Fork on land originally deeded to Michael Short.
In 1839, Michael Short received a certificate from the State of Texas for 320 acres of land at the confluence of the North and South Forks of the Guadalupe River for his service at the Battle of San Jacinto. However, after the Battle of San Jacinto, Short settled in LaGrange in Fayette County where he died without ever living on his Kerr County land. Upon his death, the land transferred to his sons and over the next 25 years the land was bought and sold by multiple land speculators out of Dallas County. Ownership would continue to change hands until John DuBose purchased it in 1901. Dubose maintained ownership until 1911 when he sold the land to Robert Finley Hunt.
Hunt was born in Tennessee in 1868 and moved with his wife to Austin, Texas in 1890 and then to Choate in Karnes County, Texas in 1895 where he served as the Choate Postmaster. In 1908 Hunt’s wife died of an accidental gunshot wound suffered during a wedding and in 1910 Hunt relocated to West Kerr County.
In 1911, Hunt purchased 319 acres from John Dubose and quickly sold 4 acres to Lizzie and Alva Joy, 2 ½ acres to the local school trustees and 2 ½ acres to W. H. Page where the Page Store would operate.
Of the land purchased from Hunt by Lizzie and Alva Joy in 1911, a ½ acre was held as separate property by Mrs. Joy to open Mrs. Lizzie Joy General Merchandise. This is an interesting fact given women were not even allowed to vote during this time.
Another part of the Joy’s land was used to start a new Post Office by Alva Joy who became the first Postmaster and named the new town Hunt after his good friend Robert Finley Hunt.
In late 1912, after holding his Hunt land investment for just 18 months, Hunt sold his remaining acreage of approximately 310 acres to Tom J. Moore, future owner of T.J. Moore Lumber Yard in Ingram, for a 25% profit of approximately $1,560. After the sale, Hunt relocated to the east side of Kerrville near present day Flat Rock Lake.
Moore went on to develop the land he purchased from Hunt into subdivided lots that would form a new village complete with churches, schools, stores and homes. Moore donated the land of the present Hunt School, served as president of the school board, started the Ingram Telephone Exchange bringing telephone service to Hunt, led the effort to get the road between Ingram and Hunt paved and drove the construction of many of today’s river crossings on the North and South Forks of the Guadalupe River.