Donley County Ranches
HALF CIRCLE K RANCH
DIAMOND TAIL RANCH
QUARTER CIRCLE HEART RANCH
PANHANDLE STOCK ASSOCIATION
The RO (Rowe) Ranch was named for its founder, Alfred Rowe. It began in 1878 when the adventurous Englishman erected a dugout on Glenwood Creek, just above its junction with the Salt Fork in Donley County, and began buying cattle.
His first herd, which he branded with the RO, consisted of longhorns trailed up from South Texas by James Hughes, Joe Horn, and a man named McCormick. Charles Goodnight helped Rowe choose his first cattle and, as a favor, also lent him an employee, Green McCullum.
In 1880 Rowe located his foundation herd on Skillet Creek and built a two-room adobe headquarters. After forming a partnership with his brothers Vincent and Barnard, Rowe negotiated with neighboring ranches for the purchase of additional grazing lands with choice water supply.
Gradually he extended his range over an area of about thirty square miles, parts of four counties, most of which was eventually fenced. Beginning in July 1887 the Rowes leased sixty-three sections in northwestern Collingsworth County for two years. In 1898 the partnership was terminated, with Alfred retaining sole ownership. By 1900 the RO covered 100,000 acres (200 square miles) and ran 15,000 cattle, which had been improved with the purchase of Hereford and Durham bulls.
By 1885 a seven-room frame ranchhouse had been constructed just north of the adobe, which was subsequently used as a messhall and bunkhouse. Jasper Stevens, the range boss who hauled the lumber in by oxcart from Dodge City, and his bride were the first occupants of this house.
Later L. C. Beverly, formerly of the JA Ranch, and his wife resided there after his appointment as manager of the RO. A garden provided vegetables not only for RO employees but also those of neighboring ranches. About 1894 Rowe bought from R. B. Edgell another ranchhouse within five miles of Clarendon overlooking the Salt Fork of the Red River. He enlarged it into nine rooms with lumber hauled from Wichita Falls.
After its completion Rowe set up the "River Ranch" as a second RO headquarters and guest house, furnishing it with solid pieces from England, old clocks, and hunting prints. It was to this new headquarters that Rowe took his bride, Constance Ethel Kingsley, in 1901. Corrals, sheds, barns, and a new bunkhouse were added to this isolated bit of England.
Bob Muir and Matthew (Bones) Hooks were among the notable cowboys who worked for the RO. William Beverley, Joe Williams, and Jim Christal served successively as foremen.
After Rowe's death in the Titanic disaster of 1912, the family continued to run the ranch. W. H. Patrick, Rowe's banker in Clarendon, administered the Texas properties until the appointment of Bernard Rowe as permanent administrator of the estate. By that time the RO range had been reduced to 72,000 acres in Donley and Gray counties.
In 1917 William J. Lewis, a former top hand for the RO, arranged to purchase this acreage and the cattle from the Rowes for $595,113.26. The deed, which was formally signed on July 1, 1918, required $565.50 worth of revenue stamps.
Lewis and his son, Will, Jr., continued to use the RO brand and Rowe's policies over the years. By 1936 the ranch covered 62,289 acres and ran more than 8,000 cattle. After the younger Lewis's death in 1961 the family sold much of the ranch.
The large, rambling English-style ranchhouse, built by Rowe in the 1880s and backdropped by gaunt cottonwood trees planted by Jasper Stevens, stands near Skillet Creek about five miles south of McLean, which Rowe helped found at the turn of the century.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Laura V. Hamner, Short Grass and Longhorns (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1943). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). Willie Newbury Lewis, Tapadero: The Making of a Cowboy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972). Estelle D. Tinkler, "Nobility's Ranche: A History of the Rocking Chair Ranche," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 15 (1942). J. N. Weaver, History of the Rowe Ranch (MS, Interview Files, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas, 1934).
H. Allen Anderson
HALF CIRCLE K RANCH
The Half Circle K Ranch, known originally as the Bar O, was bought and patented by Thomas Richards and J. W. Sacra in 1882. It was a comparatively small outfit, 31,000 acres sandwiched between the ranges of the JA, the Diamond F, and the Quarter Circle Heartq on the Salt Fork of the Red River, eighteen miles northwest of Old Clarendon in Donley County.
Richards soon sold his half to E. C. and J. W. Suggs (or Sugg) whose land and cattle holdings included a vast range in the Indian Territory. The Sugg brothers and Sacra continued to use the Bar O brand. Fred Patching, a bronc-buster known by the sobriquet the Bar O Kid, was the ranch's most famous employee.
Other Bar O cowhands included Pat Gormley, Dave Buchanan, Ed Johnson, Art Sherrod, Barr Brown, Don Blaylock, Clint Phillips, Boney the cook, and a black race jockey named Billy Freeman. Although the Half Circle K's life was brief, it was the proving ground of William Jenks Lewis, who gained valuable experience there in his gradual climb to success as a wealthy cattleman and eventual owner of the RO Ranch.
In September 1885 the Bar O brand was discontinued by Bill Koogle, who bought the ranch in partnership with his brothers-in-law. A native of Maryland, Koogle at the age of seventeen had left Gettysburg College to hunt on the buffalo plains in Kansas.
From there he moved to Colorado, where he became involved with his older brother's tannery and was put in charge of its freighting operations. After making his way into the Panhandle, Koogle made the acquaintance of Charles Goodnight, who reportedly outfitted him to kill buffalo on the Palo Duro range.
In 1882 Koogle and a partner were contracted by Goodnight to build the first barbed wire fences for the JA. After they ceased their partnership and divided their earnings, Koogle invested his half in the Sacra and Suggs Ranch. His brothers-in-law, whom he invited to move to Donley County, became his new partners in the venture.
Charles J. Lewis arrived from Maryland with his wife, Hallie, and their children, and Ralph Jefferson came with his wife, Em, from Washington, D. C. Koogle stocked the Donley County spread with cattle bought in Tyler and the Half Circle K brand, chosen in his honor, was registered in the name of the three partners.
Late in the summer of 1885 Koogle hired trail drivers but failed to hire a man to supervise them. Some of the yearlings were stolen on the way, and several calves died from neglect on the part of the trail drivers. The drivers also abducted a small black boy named Birl Brown, who had wandered from his home hear Tyler. Brown was subsequently adopted by Boney the cook, and he grew up to become a permanent cowhand. Koogle kept Fred Patching and other Bar O cowboys.
Koogle built a comfortable stone ranchhouse for his wife Carrie, from Kansas City. They had two children. Flamboyant and adventurous, he often drove a team of eight oxen yoked as one, whenever he was not traveling by his own Pullman railroad car. His partners differed from each other, as well as from him.
Ralph Jefferson, who grew up in the high society of Washington, D.C., was a noted linguist, actor, and dilettante, and Charlie Lewis was a quiet, scholarly man who had done well as a merchant; neither possessed many of the qualities usually associated with frontiersmen.
With such diverse personalities running it, the Half Circle K had its share of dramatic events. However, the venture was doomed to failure because of mismanagement and the elements. Although the ranch was an abundant grassland crossed diagonally by the Salt Fork, a severe drought in the summer of 1886 and blizzards the following winter took their toll.
Moreover, Koogle's infant son died in January 1886, causing the griefstricken Carrie to spend most of the next two years in Kansas City. Bad investments and loans, plus a tendency to gamble, caused Koogle to go heavily into debt. The ranch declined after 1886.
By 1890 Charles Goodnight and Johnnie Martin had purchased the Half Circle K and operated it as the Goodnight-Thayer Cattle company until 1900, when they sold it. Koogle, who was almost penniless and a heavy drinker, spent his remaining years in Clarendon, where he died around the turn of the century.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Harley True Burton, A History of the JA Ranch (Austin: Von Boeckmann-Jones, 1928; rpt., New York: Argonaut, 1966). J. Evetts Haley, Charles Goodnight (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). Willie Newbury Lewis, Tapadero: The Making of a Cowboy (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1972). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).
H. Allen Anderson
The Spade Ranch actually was two separate ranches in West Texas, each under different ownership, but whose histories are linked by barbed wire and a distinctive brand. The first ranch was begun in the Panhandle by John F. (Spade) Evans, who formed a corporation with Judson P. Warner, an agent who sold Joseph F. Glidden's barbed wire.
On August 25, 1880, J. F. Evans and Company purchased twenty-three sections of land in Donley County near Clarendon from J. A. Reynolds. Although it is not known who originally designed the unique brand, which resembles a shovel or spade, it was first used on a herd that Evans and Warner gathered in Lamar County.
The partners trailed these cattle to the abundant Panhandle grasses and turned them loose on open range near Saddler Creek. Their first camp was established on nearby Glenwood Creek, but later they erected a log house on Barton Creek, which they designated as permanent headquarters.
Since neither Evans nor Warner had much time from other business interests to spend in Donley County, they turned active management of the Spade over to such capable men as Baldy Oliver and Dave Nall. Alfred Rowe worked briefly with the Spade outfit when he was starting his own operation, the RO Ranch, in 1880-81. Warner supervised the fencing of the Spade pastures. During roundup time the Spade men worked in cooperation with the neighboring RO.
Meanwhile J. Taylor Barr was operating from the headquarters of his Renderbrook Ranch near Renderbrook Springs in Mitchell County, twenty-five miles south of Colorado City. In 1882 brothers Dudley H. and John W. Snyder bought him out and enlarged the outfit so that by 1887 it consisted of more than 300,000 acres in four counties.
After the terrible droughts and blizzards of the late 1880s, Isaac L. Ellwood, co-owner with Joseph F. Glidden in the barbed wire patent, bought the Spade Ranch, including the brand and some 800 cattle, from Evans and Warner. Seeking to establish a new market for his product, Ellwood also purchased the Renderbrook Ranch from the Snyders and stocked it with the Spade cattle.
Although the Donley County land was sold out piecemeal over the following year, he continued to use the Spade brand on all subsequently acquired cattle. In 1889 Ellwood obtained the 128,000-acre north pasture of the Snyder brothers' ranch and named it the Spade Ranch. He had the brand registered in Mitchell County in 1889 and in Hale and Lubbock counties in 1891.
In 1902 the Spade was enlarged by the addition of adjacent tracts to a total of 262,000 acres, extending eight to ten miles in width and fifty-four miles in length. The main headquarters was located in southeastern Lamb County, while the South Camp, nucleus of the Spade's south pasture addition, was in eastern Hockley County near the site of present Smyer.
Ellwood made his oldest son, William Leonard, manager of his Texas ranches. In 1910, after Ellwood's death, W. L. and a younger brother, Erwin Perry Ellwood, jointly inherited the Spade and Renderbrook ranches. Both ranches were enclosed with six-wire fences, and five-wire cross fences divided them into pastures averaging forty sections each.
The water problem was solved by the use of wells and windmills placed at intervals of four miles. The Spade and Renderbrook were stocked with about 15,000 cattle each. Although the Ellwoods first used Red Durhams, they soon found that Hereford cattle were better suited to the dry South Plains environment and so changed to Hereford bulls in 1919.
The Renderbrook, being farther south, was used principally as a breeding ranch, and the young steers were transferred to the Spade to graze. Each year prior to 1908 from 3,000 to 5,000 four-year-old steers were freighted to market in Kansas by the nearest railroad, usually at Bovina or Amarillo. From 1908 to 1912 Spade cattle were driven to Abernathy.
Then in 1912 the Santa Fe Railroad built through the ranch to Littlefield, enabling the Spade to ship its cattle from a switch without having to drive them long distances. J. Frank Norfleet was the first foreman of the Spade Ranch in 1889. He was succeeded by D. N. (Uncle Dick) Arnett in 1905. This marked the beginning of the Spade's "Arnett Dynasty," during which Arnett relatives ran the ranch.
In 1924 W. L. Ellwood put the northern acreage on the market as farmland. That October 6,200 three-year-old steers were shipped. The following spring a second roundup brought in 5,200 more cattle. By 1926 about 80 percent of the northern division land had been sold, and the town of Spade had sprung up near the old headquarters.
Subsequently the ranch headquarters was moved to the South Camp. Three Santa Fe Railroad branches across the Spade gave rise to the towns of Anton, Ropesville, Wolfforth, and Smyer. By 1938 Ellwood Farms, as the enterprise was called, had sold approximately 189,000 acres, most of which had been placed under cultivation. Of the 914 original purchasers, 84 percent were Texans.
Nearly half of the buyers secured Federal Land Bank loans, and during the 1930s a federal government model farm rehabilitation project was located on former Spade land. By 1947 colonization of the old Spade Ranch lands was completed, with the Ellwood estate retaining only 21,754 acres in Hockley County. Spade cattle were still being run in the 1980s on the Renderbrook Ranch by some of the Ellwood heirs.
In 1970 the Ellwood estate gave the old Renderbrook-Spade blacksmith shop to the Ranching Heritage Association in Lubbock; it was one of the first buildings to be reassembled on the grounds of the Ranching Heritage Center. Over the years the Spade Ranch has been praised for its innovative use of modern technology.
During the early twentieth century, ranch managers installed a telephone system and used automobiles on the ranch. In the 1970s they used embryo transplantation in breeding practices.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Lillian Brasher, Hockley County (2 vols., Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1976). Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Richard C. Hopping, "The Ellwoods: Barbed Wire and Ranches," Museum Journal 6 (1962). Steve Kelton, Renderbrook: A Century under the Spade Brand (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1989). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). Evalyn Parrott Scott, A History of Lamb County (Sudan, Texas: Lamb County Historical Commission, 1968). Jesse Wallace Williams, The Big Ranch Country (Wichita Falls: Terry, 1954; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1971).
H. Allen Anderson
DIAMOND TAIL RANCH
The Diamond Tail brand was first used in the late 1860s, when Mose Dameron of Jack County began running cattle on land now in De Baca and Roosevelt counties, New Mexico. In 1870, however, Dameron sold it, along with his herd, to the brothers Jim C. and William R. Curtis in Jack County.
After securing a government contract to supply beef to the Fort Reno and Fort Sill Indian reservations, the Curtises were allowed to graze their herd along Cache Creek near Fort Sill. When the contract expired, the brothers established their first Diamond Tail headquarters, on the Big Wichita River in Clay County, near Cambridge.
To this range they drove from the Indian Territory 13,000 cattle in one herd, the largest trail drive ever reported in Northwest Texas. Soon the range was crowded. After his brother's death Bill Curtis formed a new partnership with Tom J. Atkinson. In 1878 they moved the Diamond Tail herd north to Groesbeck Creek, near the site of what is now Quanah, and set up a headquarters built from native stone.
Even then, Curtis had already cast eyes on the Panhandle and its abundant grasslands; early in 1879 Dave Bowers drove the first of the Diamond Tail cattle to a new pasture in southeastern Childress County. A small rock-walled dugout in the shelter of a bluff at the mouth of Gypsum Creek served as his headquarters, though it later became part of the Shoe Nail Ranch.
A drift fence was erected fifteen miles to the south and extended west to the site of Parnell, in Hall County. Later, Curtis moved his headquarters to Doe Creek in Collingsworth County, near the creek's junction with Buck Creek. There he and his men occupied a two-room shack with a kitchen nearby.
They built dugouts and picket shacks as line camps on various sections of the Diamond Tail range, which at its peak covered portions of Childress, Collingsworth, Donley, Hall, and Greer counties. A supply store was maintained at the headquarters to sell to bullwhackers freighting north from Gainesville, and a stage stand was established there when a stage line from Wichita Falls to Mobeetie started.
The Diamond Tail headquarters, at a site four miles north of the place where Memphis was later established, soon became known as Six-Shooter Camp or Pistol Palace, after one of the ranch employees, Scott (Six-Shooter) Ferguson. Bob Butterworth served as ranch bookkeeper, and other notable cowboys included John Dodson, Sam Bean, George Lewis (Tex) Rickard, Town (Timberleg) Embree, John Maddox, and Jim (Pie-Biter) Baker.
Pat Wolfarth, Hall county sheriff, served also as foreman of the Diamond Tail until he shot Eugene de Bauerenfiend, publisher of the Hall County Herald, at Memphis on August 10, 1891. Wolfarth was later tried and given a fifteen-year prison sentence for second-degree murder, but Curtis subsequently obtained a pardon for him from Governor Charles A. Culberson. In the meantime, George Wilks succeeded Wolfarth as range boss.
Unlike many large Panhandle ranches, the Diamond Tail was never sold out to British capital during the height of the "Beef Bonanza." After the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway built through in 1887, the stage stand was discontinued, and the town of Giles became the Diamond Tail's leading shipping point and social center.
In the lean years of the late 1880s, the ranch went bankrupt. It was then put into the hands of a receiver, Sam Lazarus, who within a few years put the enterprise back on a sound footing. The Diamond Tail herd was saved from the terrible blizzard of February 11, 1893, when Curtis cut his fences to let the cattle drift southward.
To build up the blood of the Diamond Tail herd Curtis and Atkinson purchased fine cattle from Charles Goodnight of the JA Ranch. Throughout the peak years the partners branded from 10,000 to 15,000 calves and ran average herds of 60,000 head. From 1890 to 1895 nesters came to the ranch to claim school sections, with the result that the Diamond Tail reduced its operations, sold its cows, and operated as a steer ranch only.
Curtis began moving his cattle to Chavez County, New Mexico, after 1895, keeping only 16,000 acres in Hall and Donley counties for blooded stock and a few fine bulls purchased from Charles W. Armour of Kansas City. Bill Curtis's oldest son, Jim, went with his bride to New Mexico to manage the Diamond Tails there; he gathered a large herd by buying out the DZ, the 9R, and other ranches. It took over two years to receive and brand all the cattle then belonging to the ranch.
Jim Curtis and his brothers continued ranching in New Mexico for some time. Bill Curtis was accidentally killed in December 1901, and his heirs retained interest in twenty-five sections of Panhandle property until 1905, when they sold the land to John M. Browder.
Browder, who continued the Diamond Tail brand, later divided the ranch among his children. In the 1970s his heirs were still using the brand.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Laura V. Hamner, Short Grass and Longhorns (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1943).
H. Allen Anderson
QUARTER CIRCLE HEART RANCH
The Quarter Circle Heart Ranch was established when Lewis H. Carhart, the founder of the original Clarendon colony, invested part of his fortune in cattle. Since his colonization scheme occupied most of his time, Carhart initially ran only a few hundred head. The success of other large cattle companies, however, prompted him in 1883 to extend his own operations.
His brother-in-law, Alfred P. Sully, of the New York investment firm of Austin and Corbett, visited Clarendon to arrange for a syndicate and then returned east to begin foreign negotiations, while Carhart worked to increase the herd and improve the ranch properties. The ranch had been under the temporary management of J. C. Murdock, but with its enlargement Carhart sought out an experienced cowman.
He found him in Al S. McKinney, an Irishman who came highly recommended after having worked for the Spade Ranch. Early in 1884 a debenture company was founded in England, and Carhart sailed there to sell company stock to prospective buyers. Organization of the Clarendon Land Investment and Agency Company followed.
After returning to assume the managerial responsibilities, Carhart registered his Quarter Circle Heart brand and added to his original holdings (343 sections) those of Frank Houston and S. V. Barton on McClellan Creek. Foreman Al McKinney took charge of the increased herds. Archie Williams, an elderly English veterinarian, was chosen to manage the new horse ranch that Carhart had established on the former Houston property.
A dugout on Carroll Creek served as the first company headquarters; nearby was a two-room bunkhouse constructed of rock and sod. When McKinney was married, the ranch office was moved to the front room of his new house on an adjoining section. In addition, the ranch contained three division line camps. At its peak, the Quarter Circle Heart range covered 250,000 acres of land, in the center of which lay the town of Clarendon.
Its longhorn cattle numbered from 15,000 to 35,000 head. Neighboring ranches included the JA, the RO, the Half Circle K, and the Diamond F. As the only settlement in their midst, Clarendon became the supply center and social hub. Noted cowboys who worked for the "Hearts" included Jesse S. Wynne, Frank Groves, Tom Martindale, Al Gentry, and Henry W. Taylor.
The prosperity of the Quarter Circle Heart was short-lived, especially after 1887, when Clarendon moved its townsite five miles south to the Fort Worth and Denver City Railway tracks. The drought and blizzard of 1886-87, the "Big Die-Up", had taken their toll.
Increasing dissatisfaction among the company's British stockholders, many of whom had never received a dividend from their investments, prompted the executives to send the company secretary, Count Cecil Kearney, to the Panhandle for an on-the-spot investigation.
Carhart and McKinney, upon learning that Kearney would arrive on a certain day, both resigned without notice and left Clarendon. Kearney's inspection tour revealed conditions worse than he had suspected. On the range where 35,000 head of cattle had grazed, he could find only a fraction of that number.
Signs of gross mismanagement in all areas of the enterprise led to a complete reorganization, with Henry Taylor as range boss and Charles O'Donel, Kearney's nephew, as manager. Over the next few years, the Quarter Circle Heart range was divided into farms, school land, and settlements. By 1895 the brand had been discontinued.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Virginia Browder, Donley County: Land O' Promise (Wichita Falls, Texas: Nortex, 1975). Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945).
H. Allen Anderson
PANHANDLE STOCK ASSOCIATION
During the late 1870s, as more settlers and cowmen moved into the Panhandle, cattle rustling became a constant menace despite the efforts of Capt. George W. Arrington and his company of Texas Rangers. In addition to outlaws, Texas fever, brought on by ticks carried by cattle driven from downstate to Kansas, decimated many Panhandle herds.
To combat these problems, Charles Goodnight discussed the idea of organization with other large cattlemen, including Thomas S. Bugbee, Orville H. Nelson, and H. W. (Hank) Cresswell. Employing cowboys as messengers, they sent word of their proposed meeting to various area ranches as far south as the Matador. In March 1880 the ranchers convened at Mark Huselby's hotel in Mobeetie and elected Goodnight president.
Within the following year the Panhandle Stock Association of Texas had been formally organized and its bylaws drawn up after a threeday session. As Goodnight remarked, its purpose was for the mutual benefit, cooperation, and protection of the ranchmen.
A $250 reward was posted for the apprehension of anyone stealing cattle belonging to association members, and as it grew the organization hired inspectors, detectives, and attorneys to arrest and prosecute rustlers operating against area ranchers, both large and small. Whether he had one cow or thousands, any Panhandle settler was welcome to join the association on an equal footing.
Membership guaranteed him the use of association lawyers for legal battles and its inspectors for keeping tabs on his cattle brand everywhere, even at distant markets and shipping places. In 1881 the association sent John W. Poe to join Pat (Patrick F.) Garrett in tracking down Billy the Kid (Henry McCarty), whose gang had been rustling Panhandle cattle from their base in New Mexico.
Not even large cattleholders, whose drovers sometimes killed association beef to eat as they passed through on drives, were immune to prosecution. In 1882 John F. (Spade) Evans and other association leaders lobbied for formation of the Thirty-fifth Judicial District. Temple Houston, as its first attorney, gained the first conviction on behalf of the organization.
Besides protection from rustlers, the Panhandle Stock Association was responsible for building the great drift fence across the northern Panhandle in 1882, and it also imposed the "Winchester Quarantine" to control the movement of tickinfested herds from south Texas.
Furthermore, it played a primary role in the organization of Donley County in 1882 after Goodnight suggested Clarendon as a more central location for meetings. When Benjamin H. White, the first county judge, mentioned the need for a school, the association, spearheaded by its secretary, T. R. Dickson, provided necessary funds for the establishment and maintenance of the Panhandle's first public school, primarily for the benefit of poor nesters' children.
During its six years of separate existence, Spade Evans, O. H. Nelson, and Robert Moody succeeded Goodnight as presidents of the association. These men, in addition to Nick T. Eaton, T. S. Bugbee and Hank Cresswell, also served intermittently on the executive committee.
As more counties were organized, the activities of law-enforcement units like Pat Garrett's LS Home Rangers, plus the election of responsible public officials, served to lessen cattle theft considerably. Rustlers increasingly found their occupation hazardous, and were compelled to either flee the Panhandle or operate on a much smaller scale.
In 1886 Charles Goodnight left the association to join the Northwest Texas Cattle Raisers Association, founded at Graham in 1877. This association eventually became the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, whose field and market inspectors continue to render effective service in the war against cattle rustling.
The loss of Goodnight, combined with drought, depression, and the close of the open range, led to the demise of the Panhandle Stock Association by 1889.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: J. Evetts Haley, Charles Goodnight (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1949). Willie Newbury Lewis, Between Sun and Sod (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1938; rev. ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1976). John R. Wunder, At Home on the Range: Essays on the History of Western Social and Domestic Life (Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1985).
H. Allen Anderson
(information from The Handbook of Texas
a multidisciplinary encyclopedia of Texas history, geography, and culture.)