Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The XIT Ranch For Western Wednesday...!

Ya know, sometimes the folks in Texas have a tendency to slightly exaggerate how big things are here. In some cases though, big really is big!

This story from tells of the biggest ranch in Texas. This place was BIG, even for Texas folks. No exaggeration needed here,'s all documented history!

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

The truly amazing thing is that they only had 150 cowboys working for them. That's not many to cover 3 million acres, if ya ask me! Lots of time in the saddle, I'm thinking!

Coffee in the kitchen this morning. Rain is still in the area!


Sixbears said...

That ranch was bigger than many countries. Wow!

Chickenmom said...

Must have been something to see all that cattle being rounded up! Coffee sounds good - I'll bring fresh biscuits.

linda m said...

That was one BIG ranch. With only 150 cowboys and no ATV's that must have been quite a job at roundup time. Coffee is sounding good right now. I'll bring some fresh local honey for the biscuits.

JO said...

That sure was mighty big. We had one here to and they had to start selling off much of the land when the beef industry started to sink. What was left was donated to the Nature Conservatory and host rodeo and other western events to raise money. It was very interesting.

Coffee in the kitchen will do nicely. We are going to get hit with the Odile storm today and tomorrow.

HermitJim said...

Hey Sixbears...
That must have been a heck of a job to survey!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Phyllis...
With that many cattle, I think you're right. Lots of saddle time!

Thanks for coming over today!

Hey Linda M...
One can only imagine what the dust cloud must have looked like!

I love a good honey when I can get it.

Thanks for dropping in!

Hey Jo...
Guess the taxes on those old ranches were sure something!

Thanks, sweetie, for coming over today!

Dizzy-Dick said...

I can't imagine one ranch taking up three million acres. That is 1562 square miles.

HermitJim said...

Hey Dizzy...
Guess that's what they mean when they say "BIG!"

Thanks for coming by today!

justastick said...

I think if you check it out that was partial payment to a contractor for building our state capitol. X is for the ten county's it occupied.