Unlucky Scots Snookered in Texas

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377. [MAP]. TEXAS LAND & CATTLE COMPANY. Map of the Lands Belonging to the Texas Land & Cattle Co. Situated in Wharton, Matagorda and Jackson County, Texas. W.C. Moore & Co. and C.C. Duson, Exclusive Agents, Houston and El Campo Texas. Lands Indicated in Red for Sale. Lithographed Maps and Prices Furnished upon Application. Parallel Black Lines Designate Artificial Drains, All Distances are Expressed in Feet and Tenths. [above lower neat line, at right] Goes Litho Co. Chicago. Chicago, n.d. [late 1800s-very early 20th century]. Lithograph map showing company lands for sale in coral, neat line to neat line: 55.2 x 74.2 cm; overall sheet size: 60 x 96 cm. Professionally stabilized, flattened and mounted on acid-free tissue. A few minor losses at old folds, otherwise fine. No copies recorded in OCLC or other standard sources.

     First edition. After the old cattle barons were gone, thousands of acres of their ranches were turned into plowed fields. Farmers from the Midwest bought subdivided ranchland and moved to South Texas. The great land rush began with the Coleman-Fulton Pasture Company, and the Texas Land and Cattle Company and King Ranch soon followed suit. In 1895, the Texas Land & Cattle Company began selling acreage around Flour Bluff. Handbook of Texas Online (Texas Land and Cattle Company):

The Texas Land and Cattle Company, Limited, was a syndicate in Dundee, Scotland, organized to take advantage of the American Southwest’s “Beef Bonanza” in the early 1880s. Robert Fleming was among its wealthy British shareholders. Its promoters in the United States were Frank L. Underwood and William A. Clark, who set up their business firm in Kansas City and handled the company’s records. Early in 1882 the syndicate purchased Mifflin Kenedy’s Laureles Ranch, south of Corpus Christi, for $1.1 million. It also bought the Horseshoe Ranch, on Lake Creek in southeastern Hemphill County, and a portion of the Gunter-Munson survey along the Canadian River valley. By 1883 the Texas Land and Cattle Company controlled 80,000 acres of land. In addition to the “lower ranch,” it held vast acreage from Lake and Cat creeks in Hemphill County to Cheyenne, in Indian Territory. This northern Panhandle Range was used primarily for steers, which seldom numbered above 10,000. The cows and calves, numbering around 80,000, were kept on the range downstate. The cattle on both ranges carried the Laurel Leaf brand, which the syndicate purchased and registered in 1883. At its peak the company owned at least thirteen ranches in Texas and Indian Territory. However, its prosperity was short-lived. The price of beef fell. Also, range records revealed discrepancies in the inventories of purchasing agents, and the investors actually owned far fewer cattle than was supposed. Although new agents were sent from Scotland to try to mend the situation, that action came too late. New land laws likewise led to the company’s demise; in 1885 the state of Texas billed the properties in Hemphill County a lease fee of three cents an acre. In the winter of 1886–87, after several thousand cattle had been driven to the Panhandle from South Texas, severe blizzards destroyed close to 75 percent of them. Consequently the syndicate gradually sold out all of its Panhandle lands by 1888, and the Laureles property went back to the King and Kenedy families by 1906. By 1910 the Texas Land and Cattle Company was ended.


Sold. Hammer: $650.00; Price Realized: $796.25.

Auction 23 Abstracts

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