Source: The Handbook of Texas Online
The first ranch in Ochiltree County was established by
Thomas Connell and J. D. (Dee) Eubank, both of whom came
from Burnet County. In 1876 Connell and Eubank drove
cattle from Winters, in Runnels County, to seek a
suitable ranch site.
They initially attempted the valley of the Purgatoire
River in Colorado, but two successive hard winters there
decimated their herds. With about thirty cattle left, the
two young cowmen headed south from Kansas. They camped at
a small playa near the site of present-day Perryton on
December 20, 1878.
They decided Wolf Creek was the most promising location
for their ranch, herded their longhorn cattle into the
creek draw, and occupied the dugout recently vacated by
their friends Alfred H. and D. Wilborn Barton, who had
moved into the abandoned Jones and Plummer stockade
farther downstream. Another neighbor was Charles A.
Dietrich, who helped them round up wild mustangs and
often cooked for them.
Within two years Connell and Eubank had increased their
individual herds and established their own ranches,
Eubank in eastern Ochiltree County and Connell two miles
to the east in Lipscomb County. Just before this
separation, Dee's letters had prompted his brother, Henry
T. Eubank, to move his family to Wolf Creek from
McCulloch County, where he had served as county sheriff.
In 1887 Henry Eubank registered a Triangle F brand.
Two years later, when Ochiltree County was organized, he
was elected a county commissioner. From 1894 to 1900 he
served as county judge. Dee Eubank helped establish
Ochiltree County's first school, known locally as
"Raw Hide College," across Wolf Creek from his
homestead. In later years the Eubank heirs leased the
ranch property and eventually sold it to Carl Freeman.
Tom Connell, who recorded a D brand in 1881, built a
comfortable ranchhouse with a stone fireplace on Wolf
Creek in western Lipscomb County. The county line was his
property's western boundary. In 1886 he erected a fence
along a strip two miles wide and eight miles long and
connected it with the old drift fence to the south. In
1885 Connell married Jannie Watson at Mobeetie; they had
two sons and two daughters.
When Lipscomb County was organized in 1887, Connell was
elected its first county judge. He also established a
mercantile and butcher shop in Lipscomb. Business was
conducted there in a way most unusual, even for the
Connell would hang a fresh beef carcass in his shop,
place a pencil and tablet near the meat block, go away,
and leave the door unlocked. Each customer would cut off
the portion of meat he wanted, weigh it on Connell's
scales and write his name and the amount of purchase on
the pad. At his convenience the customer looked up the
judge and paid him.
Connell ran this meat business successfully for several
years before selling it and moving in 1905 to Canadian,
where he and his wife spent their remaining years. The
Eubank and Connell ranches were never large like that of
their neighbor, Henry W. Cresswell. They have remained
basically intact, although under different brands and
owners. The site of Connell and Eubank's original dugout
on Wolf Creek is now on the Walter Daniel ranch.
Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers
(Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945). 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 Cresswell (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 W. Cresswell, who
was enthusiastic about building up a ranch in the
Accordingly, Cresswell drove a herd southward and
selected as headquarters a site in Ochiltree County on a
small tributary of the Canadian known as Home Ranch
Creek. He marked his cattle with the Bar CC brand he had
first registered in Colorado and cropped their left ears.
Another Colorado herd trailed to the area in 1878
increased the Bar CC cattle to 27,000 head.
Soon Cresswell expanded his range and became a favorite
personality among his neighbors, including Robert Moody,
Joseph Morgan, Dee Eubank, Tom Connell , and the Cator
brothers. When Morgan died of smallpox in 1883, Cresswell
aided the family and bought the Morgan Triangle cattle
from the widow.
Eventually the Bar CC range covered 1,250,000 acres that
extended from the Canadian north to the state line. The
great Panhandle drift fence was erected across this
range. In order to move his headquarters to a more
central location, Cresswell bought from Alfred H. Barton
the old picket stockade and storehouse built by Charles
Edward Jones and Joseph H. Plummerq on Wolf Creek in
eastern Ochiltree County.
In 1882 the Prairie Cattle Company offered to buy out
Cresswell,whose herd by then was estimated to be over
31,000 head. Although that deal fell through, some of the
Prairie stockholders succeeded in joining the Bar CC
operation in 1885.
A new syndicate, composed of these English investors
along with the old cattle company, was formed and called
the Cresswell Ranch and Cattle Company. It bought the
ranch for $1.5 million, and Cresswell retained $20,000
interest. This transfer took some time, and it proved a
time of troubles.
The Cresswell Ranch was plagued in 1885-86 by a slump in
the market, the "Big Die-up" that winter, a
prairie fire, and wolves. Nevertheless, Cresswell
doggedly overcame his financial losses by purchasing
11,000 cattle from Charles Goodnight and fattening them
in Indian Territory. The new company retained Cresswell
as head of the ranch, and he remained with the Bar CC
until 1889. James McKenzie, a Scot from Kansas City, was
named general manager, and W. J. Todd, who had counted
cattle in the transfer, became superintendent.
Laura V. Todd recalled how she and her infant son
traveled by train to Dodge City from Trinidad, and then
for two days by horse-drawn buggy from Dodge to the ranch
headquarters, where she lived in a tent until a new frame
house was completed. Mrs. Todd brought potted plants and
had furniture shipped in by mule freight. She tells of an
infestation of bedbugs and the death of her baby in 1886.
By Christmas she had a second son, Jep, and joined in
efforts to give the cowboys a real celebration, complete
with a dance, wild turkeys for the feast, and a
multitiered cake decorated with store-bought candles.
Jack Meade, Dave Pope, Archie King, Dave Lard, O. R.
McMordie, and Edward H. Brainard, who was later made
range foreman, were among the Bar CC cowhands who helped
host that memorable Christmas gathering.
In January 1894 the Barcee post office was established at
the ranch headquarters with Laura Todd as postmistress.
Until then mail had been left there for distribution to
area settlers. The office lasted only until May 1895,
when mail was routed to Ochiltree. By then the Cresswell
company had more than 25,000 cattle, including purebred
shorthorn and Hereford bulls, and 300 saddle horses.
However, fluctuating cattle prices and pressures of
settlers caused the company to decline. Around 1900 it
closed its operations and divided the ranch. Snyder and
Sears of Kansas City bought the last of the original Bar
CC herd. The brand, made with two irons, was used until
1937 by the ranch of Mrs. John Jones and her son-in-law,
F. C. McMordie, located on Home Ranch Creek, the site of
Cresswell's first headquarters.
Laura V. Hamner, Short Grass and Longhorns (Norman:
University of Oklahoma Press, 1943). Arthur Hecht, comp.,
Postal History in the Texas Panhandle (Canyon, Texas:
Panhandle-Plains Historical Society, 1960). A History of
Lipscomb County, Texas, 1876-1976 (Lipscomb, Texas:
Lipscomb County Historical Survey Committee, 1976).
Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty
Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876-1887
(Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). Wheatheart of the Plains: An
Early History of Ochiltree County (Perryton, Texas:
Ochiltree County Historical Survey Committee, 1969).
was last updated March 17, 2003.