The location of Real County lies at the southern edge of the Edwards Plateau along the Balcones Escarpment, an area of rugged mountains and canyons named for the Frio, Sabinal and Nueces Rivers. The county line between Edwards County and Bandera County ran directly through the center of a settlement in the Frio Canyon later called Leakey. When Edwards County organized in 1883, Leakey was elected as the county seat. Eight years later, however, the county seat was moved to Rocksprings, forcing the citizens of Leakey to travel great distances over mountains, canyons and rivers to file official documents.
In 1895, the citizens of the Frio Canyon petitioned the Texas Legislature to organize a county to be called Bulah from parts Of Uvalde, Bandera and Edwards counties but the petition was rejected. In 1913, a bill was introduced to create a new county from parts of Edwards, Kerr and Bandera counties to be called Murphy.
The bill passed on April 3, 1913 with an amendment to name the county for rancher and Texas State Senator Julius Real. The first election was held on July 26, 1913 to elect county officers and the location of the county seat. After a disputed election, Leakey was declared the county seat and in 1918 a limestone courthouse including a jail was erected.
Pioneers subsisted on farming and ranching,
and Real County remained primarily rural until the highway system emerged in the area beginning in the 1930s. Now commemorating the centennial of its creation, Real County boasts an economy largely based on tourism, wild game hunting and businesses which support these industries.