Leakey, Texas

Leakey, Texas

Leakey, Texas, the seat of Real County houses the county courthouse. Photograph by Billy Hathorn.

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and cultivating cotton and corn were initially important to the local economy, these activities were eventually superseded by ranching, and in particular the raising of Angora goats; tourism also provided an increasingly significant source of revenue.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.

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John Minton | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Great Texas Land Rush logo
Adoption Status:
This place has been adopted and will not be available until November 4, 2024
Adopted by:
Wayne C. Wilson
Dedication Message:
In honor of Jack and Edna Rushing

Belongs to

Leakey is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Leakey is classified as a Town


Latitude: 29.72535760
Longitude: -99.76309800

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Leakey by the Numbers

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Population Counts

Pop. Year Source
315 2020 United States Census Bureau
504 2019 Texas Demographic Center
425 2010 United States Census Bureau
387 2000 United States Census Bureau
399 1990 United States Census Bureau
468 1980 United States Census Bureau
393 1970 United States Census Bureau
450 1960 United States Census Bureau
550 1950 United States Census Bureau
550 1940 United States Census Bureau
700 1930 United States Census Bureau
150 1920 United States Census Bureau
318 1900 United States Census Bureau