XIT Ranch (Texas)
Photograph Collection, 1880-1920
229 copy prints, 2 photos
SWCPC 117 E1-E9
Consists of photographs of the XIT Ranch (1880-1920), and bulks with general photographs of the ranch (1900-1920). The collection also contains photographs of the 125-foot windmill tower on the Yellow House Division and a photograph of a map of the XIT Ranch lands.
Charles B. and John V. Farwell formed the Capitol Syndicate of Chicago to operate the XIT Ranch on 3,050,000 acres in the Texas Panhandle, which they received for building the Texas state capitol. Organized in 1885, the XIT ran 150,000 head of cattle in Dallam, Hartley, Oldham, Deaf Smith, Parmer, Castro, Bailey, Lamb, and Hockley counties of Texas. The ranch took its name from the fact that it covered ten counties in Texas--'X' for "ten", 'I' for "in", and 'T' for "Texas". The brand created by John and Abner Blocker was adopted because it could be made with one bar of iron and was difficult to change. The ranch operated out of divisional headquarters known as Buffalo Springs, Middle Water, Rito Blanco, Ojo Bravo, Alamositas, Escarbada, Spring Lake and Yellow House. Beginning in 1901, the Capitol Syndicate sold the ranch lands by division, creating many smaller ranches and farms. By the 1930s, only 320,000 acres remained of the original XIT Ranch. The last parcel of XIT land was sold in 1963.
Photograph Collection, undated
4 B/W copy prints and 5 B/W negatives
SWCPC 117 E1
This collection consists of photos of the ranch house and windmill at the XIT Ranch, Las Escarbadas Division. These are early images, ca. 1930 or before.
In 1879 the Sixteenth Texas Legislature appropriated three million acres of land to be sold to finance the construction of a new state capitol building. In 1881 the old capitol building was destroyed by fire in 1881 and the building of a new capitol became a priority. An Illinois firm accepted the land in return for the contract. They organized the Capitol syndicate, which in turn organized the XIT Ranch in the wide unsettled panhandle of Texas. The group hoped to sell and settle the land, but ran cattle in the early years. The ranch was Texas' largest, covering portions of ten counties.