Friday, November 2, 2012

Texas Traveling This Friday...!

First of all, let me say a big "Thank You" to everyone for the good birthday wishes to Mom yesterday! She had a good day and got a lot of company, even into the late evening!

For our Friday travels to day, I wanted to visit an event in Texas' past! Normally I wouldn't consider something like this for our travels, but considering the size of the ranch involved I think it qualifies for a visit!

Nov 2, 1912:
XIT Ranch sells its last head of cattle

On this day, the XIT Ranch of Texas, once among the largest ranches in the world, sells its last head of cattle.

Despite the popular image of the cattle rancher as an independent and self-reliant pioneer, big-city capitalists and stockholders owned many of the most important 19th century ranches. The Chicago capitalists behind the XIT—also known as the Capitol Syndicate Ranch—were trying to get rich by catering to the growing American passion for fresh western beef. They received the land in exchange for financing a state capitol building in Texas.

Given the aridity of the region, the Chicago capitalists determined that ranching would be the only profitable use for their new land. They quickly built up a massive but highly efficient cattle-raising operation that stretched over parts of nine Texas counties. At its peak, the XIT had more than 160,000 head of cattle, employed 150 cowboys, and encompassed nearly 3 million acres of the Texas panhandle—an unusually large tract of land even by western standards.

As land prices increased in Texas and cattle prices fell, the owners of the XIT realized they could make more money by selling their land. By 1912, the XIT abandoned ranching altogether with the sale of its last herd of cattle. The corporate managers gradually sold the remainder of their property to farmers and smaller ranchers throughout the first half of the 20th century. By 1950, the once-mighty XIT had control of only 20,000 acres.

Another day in the neighborhood and everything is back to normal...or what passes for normal around here! Once again, I appreciate everyone wishing Mom a "happy birthday"! I know it made her feel good, getting so many good wishes from folks that she really doesn't know. It made it an even more special day for her!

Coffee on the patio again today! Several choices for snacks this morning, like vanilla cake, key lime pie, and some pretty good banana nut cake!

7 comments:

linda m said...

Sorry I missed you Mom's birthday yesterday - Happy belated birthday to her. I can't even begin to imagine a ranch of that size. Wow!! Good thing I like beef. Coffee outside sounds good to me -it is 33 degrees here. I'll have some banana nut cake please!

HermitJim said...

Hey Linda...
A ranch that size would sure grow lots of hamburger! I just wouldn't want to pay the taxes!

I'm ready for a couple more days of cooler weather! Summer came back here with a passion!

Thanks for coming by today!

Craig Cavanaugh said...

I wonder how long it will be before the King Ranch is eventually divvied up and sold off...

HermitJim said...

Hey Craig...
To tell the truth, I'm surprised it hasn't already been done! I remember Dad taking us on a short tour of it way back when I was a kid! Of course, we were only allowed to see a small part of it!

Thanks, buddy, for coming over today!

JO said...

Now that was a spread indeed. We had some really large ones here to but I doubt any of them came close to that size.

glad mom had such a wonerful birthday and lots of good eats too.
I'll have a slice of the banana nut cake please and of course a refill.

JMD said...

Hermit, after coming from the grocery store...I am prepared to try my hand at cattle raising. Sigh, higher than last week, again. Any sweet treats left?

Beatrice P. Boyd said...

Belated birthday wishes to your mom, HJ. Glad to read that she had a nice birthday, thanks to your helping out too. The treats today sound great, especially banana nut bread.