In the heart of the Texas Hill Country, on the banks of a tributary of the Pedernales River where the trail west from San Marcos crosses the road between San Antonio and Austin, is a town called “Whiskey River.”
In the late 1800’s, a tired and thirsty Irishman from a mercantile family in Galveston stopped at the tiny trading post for the night. Finding nothing worth drinking, the enterprising Ronan “Booze” Kelly decided to begin importing fine whiskey. He made the town the center of his business operations, establishing a mercantile, a church, a bank and a school. The town was named “Kelly’s Crossing” in his honor, until in 1892, the bridge over the river failed, sending three wagonloads of Kelly’s best Irish into the water. The barrels wrecked on the rocks, flooding the river with a bonanza of whiskey. The incident inspired the residents to re-name the town “Whiskey River” and prompted a yearly festival commemorating the event, a tradition which, along with the dynasty “Booze” Kelly began, continues to this day. For the stories of “Booze” and his descendants, read on…
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