The Free Range Era of Ranching

The Free Range Era of Ranching (HM2HXV)

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N 33° 35.481', W 101° 53.027'

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Northwest Texas, 1878-1885

After Indians and buffalo were removed in 1870s, several hundred cattlemen with small herds came to rolling plains near site of later Lubbock, to graze free range. Vital natural water sources were found east of the Caprock, where springs and streams were fed from the Ogallala Formation of the High Plains.

Here, with good years and rising prices, the free rangers prospered until 1884, when syndicates began purchasing land and enclosing large blocks with barbed wire. Free range men had to sell their herds to the syndicates or move farther west.

The Spur Ranch alone acquired over 500,000 acres of land and bought cattle and brands from 37 of the free rangers. Similar ranches were developed by the Curry Comb, IOA, Jumbo, Long S, Magnolia, Matador, Pitchfork, Square and Compass, T Bar and Two Buckle interests. By 1885 all free range operations were transformed into large, enclosed ranches.

Some free rangers exchanged cattle for stock in syndicates, others were employed by syndicates, and a few moved to Arizona, New Mexico or Wyoming. A few—including the Edwards, Long and Slaughter Families—acquired land and became sizable operators.
Year Placed1970
Placed ByState Historical Survey Committee
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Wednesday, June 19th, 2019 at 11:02am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)14S E 232376 N 3720575
Decimal Degrees33.59135000, -101.88378333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 33° 35.481', W 101° 53.027'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds33° 35' 28.86" N, 101° 53' 1.6200000000001" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Which side of the road?Marker is on the right when traveling East
Closest Postal AddressAt or near , ,
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