By the late 1800s the Texas Panhandle was known for its sandstorms, mirages, sweeping prairie fires and rolling, treeless plains. It was also the home to thousands of the Southern Plains buffalo herds which supported native Indian tribes, such as the Comanche. Explore the the past 150 years of Ranching History in the articles below. You will find our Ranching History to be fascinating and educational in understanding the culture of the Texas Panhandle.
Early Ranching In Hemphill County
Ranching HistoryBy the late 1800s the Texas Panhandle was known for its sandstorms, mirages, sweeping prairie fires and rolling, treeless plains. It was also the home to thousands of the Southern Plains buffalo herds which supported native Indian tribes, such as the Comanche. In the 1870s, numerous buffalo hunters arrived which spelled the doom for these enormous herds.
Cresswell RanchCresswell Ranch (or Bar CC) Ranch was established in 1877 by the Cresswell Land and Cattle Company of Colorado. This syndicate was formed when O. H. P. Baxter and the brothers J. A. and M. D. Thatcher, owners of bank stocks, mines, and farms, decided to back Henry Cresswell, who was enthusiastic about building up a ranch in the Panhandle of Texas.
Laurel Leaf RanchThe Laurel Leaf, or Horseshoe, Ranch had its beginning in 1878, when Frank Karrick first brought cattle to the Lake Creek range in southeastern Hemphill County, between the Canadian and Washita rivers. Karrick established the Horseshoe Ranch, but by 1879 he had sold it to J. V. Andrews.
Texas Land & CattleTexas Land and Cattle Company was a syndicate in Dundee, Scotland, organized to take advantage of the American Southwest's "Beef Bonanza" in the early 1880s. Robert Fleming was among its wealthy British shareholders.
G.W. (Cap) ArringtonThe G.W. (“Cap”) Arrington family has been in Canadian since the 1890's. “Cap” Arrington was in Brown County in 1875 when he enlisted in Company E of the newly organized Frontier Battalion of Texas Rangers. The following year Arrington was made captain of Company C and stationed at Coleman.
CC Ranch HQ E.H. (Ed) Brainard went to Colorado in 1880s to work for the Pollard and Piper cattle firm. He accompanied the Pollards to the Texas Panhandle and worked for a time on Robert Moody’s PO Ranch. After Henry Cresswell added the Triangle to his Bar CC range Brainard went to work for him, and in 1887 Cresswell promoted him to range foreman.
Charles Henry ShallerCharles Henry Shaller and his wife Ida, arrived in Canadian in 1887 before the Santa Fe railroad completed construction of the River Bridge. Their oldest son Claude was born before their arrival and was one of the earliest children in Canadian. Charles and Ida Shaller had eleven children, nine of which survived to be adults.
Alexander RanchReverend Clifton Alexander, wife Mary Jane, and family came to the Texas Panhandle in 1884. He was a Presbyterian Minister serving in Sherman, Texas in 1884 when he left for Mobeetie. Rev. Alexander died of pneumonia in 1886 and his widow, Mary Jane elected to stay in the Panhandle with her five children.
Cabin Creek RanchCabin Creek Ranch began in 1892 when Joseph O. Forgey came to Hemphill County to work on the Laurel Leaf Ranch and to file on his own land. Jeanie Cooper, daughter of neighboring ranchers, George and Janet Cooper, married Joseph Forgey in 1898. They spent the rest of their lives on Cabin Creek, gradually accumulating more land and raising four children.
W J Todd Sr. RanchWJ Todd Sr. established the Todd Ranch in northwest Hemphill County in 1895 and spent several years in building it to its current size of 17,500 acres. WJ Todd Sr. owned and managed the ranch until his death in 1921.
Springer RanchThe Springer Ranch was the first ranch in the Texas Panhandle, but due to its brief life, the still-extant JA Ranch of Charles Goodnight also claims that honor. In the spring of 1895, AG (Jim) Springer appropriated a spot of land in Hemphill County on Boggy Creek just north of its junction with the Canadian River.
Conatser RanchConatser Ranch, founded by William Jasper Conatser (1863-1940), known as W. J. or “Cobb,” who came to Hemphill County from Tennessee in 1885. He initially worked for the Laurel Leaf Ranch and subsequently was a partner in the cattle business with J. H. Hopkins on Spring Creek, now known as the Big Bull Ranch.
Robert Moody The PO Ranch was established by the brothers Milton and Hammond Pollard of Pueblo County, Colorado, from whose name the brand was derived. Having known Charles Goodnight in Pueblo, the Pollards wanted to raise cattle in the recently opened Panhandle.
Sam Isaacs Home ISAACS BROTHERS William C., Sam, and John Childress Isaacs, Panhandle settlers and ranchers, were the sons of Joseph C. and Mary (Jack) Isaacs, who moved to Bosque County, Texas, from their Alabama in 1857. Will, the oldest, was born on December 4, 1853, in Alabama and moved to Bosque County with his parents at the age of four. There Sam was born on January 26, 1864, and John in 1866.
John Robert WrightThe present day Wright Ranch was started by Wiley W. Wright in 1927. Wiley’s interests, like his father’s, John R Wright, were in ranching. John Robert Wright was born on November 16, 1854. He came to New York City from London, England before moving west and settling in the Texas Panhandle near Mobeetie.