Thursday, April 26, 2012

Santa Gertrudis

The King Ranch is known for its own specific breed of cattle called the Santa Gertrudis. These cattle were officially recognized as a breed in 1940 by the United States Department of Agriculture as an authentic and distinct breed of cattle (Akerman). Bred on the King Ranch by the Kleberg family, Kleberg was looking to raise superior beef cattle that could resist insect pests, disease and plagues, and feed off of land with recurrent drought while keeping a weigh suitable for market. The English Shorthorn cattle could not withstand such conditions, for example, the sun caused them to run a temperature that would effect their grazing, this could not make the profit needed to keep the ranch alive.

A neighboring rancher, Thomas M. O'Connor, gave the King Ranch a half-Brahman, half-shorthorn bull. It had jumped in with the herd of shorthorn heifers, and one of the offspring from this incident proved to be successful in such conditions of southern Texas. Robert Kleberg found great interest in this mishap and continued with furthering the blood lines to achieve the ideal breed.The Kleburgs imported Brahma cattle from India to develop the satisfactory breed for their ranch In 1919 Kleberg mated a Brahman bull, Vinotero, obtained from A.P. Borden, with a blood-red Shorthorn cow of one-sixteenth Brahman cattle blood, a descendant of the original O'Connor bull (Akerman). The offspring from this combination proved to be the Santa Gertrudis breed the ranch was looking for. The genetics turned out being three-eighths Brahman and five-eigths Shorthorn blood, their color includes a solid cherry-red with only mirror markings on the underline, and may be horned or polled (Akerman). As for branding these cattle the Running W appeared in the 1860s an was registered on Febuary 9, 1869 as the official brand for the King Ranch-a mark still used today.

               Shorthorn Cow                                                                  Brahman Bull

Once Kleberg made such accomplishment they started making money from it and held the first public sale of Santa Gertrudis bulls in 1951, when twenty-nine bulls brought $99,000. After the sale Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association was formed. By mid-1953 the Association had 400 members and listed 25,000 head of certified pure-bred Santa Gertrudis cattle in the herds of its members (King). In 1952 the King Ranch entered into a partnership with Australian cattlemen and developers looking for cattle to suit their comparable conditions. King Ranch ended up shipping 272 Santa Gertrudis cattle to northeastern Australia in an effort to upgrade there own breeds of cattle (Ashton). This effort continues to open up the foreign beef field for the King Ranch. April 7, 1952 the largest ranch in the United States extended its beef cattle operations to Cuba and Australia in an effort to increase world's beef supply (Blair).In 1952 the King Ranch bought ranches in Cuba and Australia to develop and promote the Santa Gertrudis cattle in the beef industry.

With a normal run of 85,000 cattle in the early 1900s called for managers of the ranch who specialized in the production of cattle, and for Mexican labor for the proper upkeep of production (Dawson). The use of Mexicans to work for the ranch was because they were a natural born herder. Of all the jobs a vaquero could have, working with the cattle could easily be the most dangerous because the cattle were often more similar to wild animals that domestic milk cows (Herbert). With much needed skill the vaquero can dodge and   endure the thorns from the cactus, which one would encounter in the region, better than anyone else. He rides all over his horse, on top, or on the side, but never allows the cattle to escape. The Brahman cattle are extremely swift and as a result a new and faster type of cow horse would allow for easier management.

Vaqueros doing ranch work in 1907.

Before railroads were popular the cattle were drove to other states for efficient weight gain in order to make maximum profits from the beef cattle markets. These round-ups were held in the spring and autumn and cattle were moved from trap to traps on different vegetation. Thus, cattle would arrive at markets without much extra feeding which would enlarge profits. In general, the Santa Gertrudis have a larger bone structure than most other breeds and can be heavily fattned. Cattle reaching  2,300 pounds, with a 71.9 percent of meat dressed out when a figure about 60 percent was considered excellent proved the ranch management was building themselves towards success (King).  The King Ranch was gradually evolving and thriving which made it superior. They used six strands of barbed wire on mesquite posts, and a steer could neither go through it or over them. Introducing barbed wire into the early ranching industry controlled rustlers and cattle from other herds being mixed with those of the King Ranch.These fences  posed an offense to free grazers because trips would take longer, and cattle could not "unmistakably" find its way in another herd.

In transporting the cattle to market the management of the ranch has shown its same genius for action and skill. With the introduction of railroads in the late 1800s this gave an idea to King to present Col. B.F. Yoakum's syndicate with 80,000 acres to bring the Missouri Pacific railroad to the heart of the ranch (Dawson). The coming of the railroads made transportation of cattle to leased pastures in Kansas or Philadelphia, a 4,300 acre fattening range bought in 1946, easier and cattle could be grazed there until a rise in market and then sold to the ranches best advantage. Production on the King Ranch is where the most outstanding efficiency is shown. When Kleberg saw that ticks cause fever and screw worms he invented a "dip," a liquid preparation into which he submerged his cattle. This process proved to be so successful that it has been required by state law of all cattle raisers below quarantine line (Dawson).


Akerman, Joe A. The Handbook of Texas Online, "Santa Gertrudis Cattle." Accessed March 29, 2012.

Ashton, John and Sneed Edgar P., “KING RANCH,” Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 28, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

Dawson, Joseph Martin. "The Cattle Range Goes Modern." Nation's Business. 19. no. 11 (1931): 82.
Hibbard, Bill and Edith 1993. King ranch: Much more than cattle like Texas itself, this spread is big bigger than all of rhode island. Milwaukee Journal, Aug 15, 1993. (accessed March 31, 2012).

King, Seth S. Special to THE NEW,YORK TIMES. 1953. Vast king ranch marks 100th year. New York Times (1923-Current file), Oct 20, 1953. (accessed March 30, 2012).

The JA Ranch

The JA Ranch was first begun by Charles Goodnight in 1876 when he moved approximately 1600 head of longhorn cattle into the Palo Duro Canyon region of the Texas Panhandle. It was the first ranch of the Texas Panhandle and is still functioning today. After getting the men and cattle settled on the new ranch, Goodnight returned to Colorado to move his wife to the Panhandle. While he was in Denver, he met John Adair who had an interest in getting into the cattle business. Adair and Goodnight began a partnership together where Adair would supply the money and Goodnight supply the brains of the outfit. In 1877, the Adairs and Goodnights set off for the ranch with 100 head of Durham bulls. John Adair took inventory and made sure everything was up to par. Before the Adairs return to Ireland, the partners drew up a five-year contract. The contracts stipulations were that Adair would receive two thirds of the property and profits and Goodnight would receive the remaining third. Goodnight also received a $2,500 salary from Adair. Goodnight suggested that the brand and ranch name would be John Adair's initials. As the years went on, more land and cattle were added to the JA ranch. In 1878, Goodnight had his first JA ranch trail herd and drove them to Dodge City, Kansas. The contract was renewed for a second term. John Adair died in 1885 prior to the end of this term. Mrs. Adair then took over the remaining time of the contract. In 1887, Charles Goodnight decided not to renew the contract and go off on his own with his one third of the property. Descendants of Mrs. Adair kept the ranch in the family and continue to manage the ranch today.

Left-the JA brand, Right-Hired hand and horse taken in 1908

Ties to Lonesome Dove

Many of you may know the story of the movie Lonesome Dove. What you may not know though is that the story is based on one of Charles Goodnight's trails. Goodnight and Oliver Loving formed a cattle trail together leading from Fort Belknap in Texas to Fort Sumner, New Mexico where they would sell cattle to the Army for Indians on a reservation. In the movie, Gus is depicted as Loving and PI plays the role of WJ Wilson. They are sent ahead to scout the area out. It is said that they were attacked by 500 Comanches. They took refuge in a ditch on the river bank and held off the Indians for hours. Loving was hit in the side and in the wrist by arrows. Wilson was sent to find help and Loving remained for 2 days and then set off to find help himself. He was picked up by three men and taken to Ft. Sumner. Captain Call plays the role of Goodnight and goes to Ft. Sumner to find his best friend on his death bed. Loving made Goodnight promise to take care of his family and return him to the home cemetery in Texas. Loving died on September 25, 1867 and he was returned to Texas on February 8, 1868 was taken back to Weatherford and buried. In December of 1868, Goodnight returned to Weatherford and paid Loving's family his half of the trail earnings which equaled out to about $36,000. In the movie Lonesome Dove, the character of Deets is based on a real African American cowboy that worked for Loving during Loving's and Goodnight's partnership. This cowboy's name was Bose Ikard and he became good friends with Goodnight and remained with him after Loving's death. Unlike the movie however, Ikard died in 1929 at the age of 85. Goodnight had a granite gravestone made for him. Goodnight is quoted after Ikard's death and a reference is made to his words when Deets is buried in Lonesome Dove. I find it very interesting of where this story comes from because Lonesome Dove in my mind is one of the best movies of all time.

Davis, Joe Tom. Legendary Texians. Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982. 123-146. Print

Education for the future

While the 6666 Ranch is in the business of marketing cattle and horses, the ranch finds importance in the future education about the ranch and ranching itself. 6666 Ranch is a well known contributor to the Texas Tech National Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas as well as the education of students. The NRHC houses one of the original iconic red 6666 barns, as well a library named in the honor of Burk Burnett. The library also offers an elementary curriculum focusing on the ranch and it's history. In an effort to insure the future education of equine care the 6666 Ranch also offers internships within their horse division for undergraduates who wish to build on their agricultural based education with hands on experience.Along with their offers to educate the 6666 Ranch makes great strides in researching, veterinary medicine, and the future of both equine and cattle genetics. The 6666 Ranch has come far in its 140 years of business and has made every effort to preserve and improve it's legacy and future. Through its views on improving the future of education and research the 6666 Ranch has also shown a desire to improve the world as a whole.


Contributions of Charles Goodnight

Goodnight had many contributions throughout his life on shaping the ways of the West. He had what you could call inventions to help with trail drives and other things. One claim to fame that he had was the invention of the chuckwagon. It was a portable kitchen that was taken on trail drives. It was able to carry many different foods and water for meals and was usually drawn by oxen or mules. Goodnight also created the calf wagon which was used on trails also. This calf wagon was capable of carrying up to forty calves at a time. When calves were born on the trail, hands would pick them up and put them in sacks to hold their scents in and then put them in the wagon. At night the sacks were removed and the calves would be turned loose to nurse on their mothers. The cows were able to distinguish their calves from others because the scents were not mixed together. Goodnight was also the first to make a hybrid breed called the cattalo. This was a cross between a buffalo and cattle. Goodnight was also known for being the first to introduce barbed wire fences to the Panhandle. A reference to this was also made in the sequel, The Return to Lonesome Dove, when Captain Call builds fences in Montana so the cattle won't be mixed together with other ranches.

Davis, Joe Tom. Legendary Texians. Burnet, Texas: Eakin Press, 1982. 123-146. Print

Strides in the Cattle Industry

Though the 6666 has made the most notable progress with Horse production, cattle have always been an integral part of the 6666 Ranch. In 2008 Joe Leathers was named General Manager of the 6666 Ranch and became the 6th man to oversee the ranch in 140 years. Leathers emphasizes cattle program growth and range management along with overseeing his duties to the horse program as well. Leathers said in an interview the 6666 Ranch has," started a brush control program paid for out of our pocket, and essentially we have cleared and put back into production 160,000 acres"^1. This program began without any government regulation or incentive but rather to increase the production of the land. According to Leathers this brush control program has increased and restarted the flow of natural springs, increased natural wildlife population, and increased land capability from 1 head/40 acres to 1 head/30 acres. These changes in methods have allowed for an increase in their Angus cattle beef production. Leathers says the ranch constantly strives to improve cattle genetics, which has improved feed lot gains and marketability of 6666 cattle. In regard to the changes made on the ranch Leathers states," you cant stay in business staying status quo"^1. As can be seen from a 140 year legacy the 6666 Ranch has managed to stay ahead of the curve and continue to produce quality beef to the American people. As lifelong cowboy and 6666 employee Boots O'Neal puts it," were in the business of turning grass into beef"' ,and as seen for the 6666 Ranch business is good.^2 These changes toward smarter healthier and friendlier business practices show that the 6666 Ranch is able to adapt to current market demand and needs while holding true to the values and roots of western heritage.

1.Joe Leathers.
2.Boots O’Neal.

The Cowboys

Horses and cattle are not the only top quality stock on 6666 Ranch, but cowboys as well. 6666 Ranch employees are considered to be some of the most skilled and top paid working cowboys. Having only six men serve as Ranch Foreman the 6666 Ranch prides itself on loyal cowboys and strong work ethic.The 6666 Ranch is very selective in hiring new cowboys and only hires top quality hands. Unlike many working cattle ranches today squeeze chutes are not a common sight on the 6666. During branding season, cowboys work cattle by hand, exactly like it was done when the ranch started. Work on the 6666 starts at 5:30 A.M.  and during the spring round up," cowboys will work over 6,000 head of calves plus vaccinate and spray just as many mother cows".^1.Cowboys each morning pick their mount from the remuda (herd of horses) ranking by seniority, for horse of choice for the days work. Ideal cow horses for 6666 cowboys are of medium build, muscled, must have speed, and have to be cowboy gentle said former 6666 Foreman Mike Gibson. During branding season you wont see a to go order from Mcdonalds or a lunch sack either, cowboys eat off a chuck wagon just like they have for over 100 years. Traditions such as these are important to the 6666 culture and from the view they make things work pretty well. These cowboys have evolved to a certain degree, today they use gas heated fire brands as opposed to wood fired brands, this is due to ease and speed in reheating a brand once it has been used. Also the chuck wagon on the 6666 today while still serving up cattle trail traditional meals such as beef and beans, has many of the cooking amenities of the modern kitchen. This can be partially attributed to the increased volume of mouths to feed on the 6666 Ranch. Though times and technology has changed the 6666 Ranch and it's working cowboys have held true to their roots.


6666’s Ranch, Guthrie,Texas.

6666 & AQHA

The death of Miss Anne in 1980, while tragic did not stop the growth of the 6666 horse program, if anything it only made it grow more. Ranch ownership was passed down to Miss Anne's only daughter Anne Marion. In the years since her mothers death Mrs. Marion has made great strides in building on the 6666 horse program and the American Quarter Horse Association.In 1991 Mrs. Marion founded the AQHA Hall of Fame & Museum in Amarillo,Texas, and has been noted as one of AQHA's top contributors. In 1993 as a part of her plans to expand on the horse culture of the 6666 Ranch Mrs. Marion reintroduced racing into the ranch breed stock. The 6666 Ranch has been honored by the AQHA with the Best Remuda award ,and the Inaugural AQHA Legacy Award for 50 years of Quarter Horse breeding. Along with their high financial standing with the AQHA, 6666 Ranch also has many places in the AQHA Hall of Fame & Museum. Included in this are four 6666 AQHA stallions who have earned a spot in the Hall of Fame, one being "Special Effort" the AQHA's only Tripple Crown winner. Artifacts and memorabilia from the Burnett family can be found on display at the AQHA Hall of Fame & Museum, along with a bronze statue of 6666 stallion Dash For Cash at the entrance to the museum. The 6666 Ranch and the AQHA have been heavily dependent and tied to one another for the expansion of the Quarter Horse breed and the breeding of good horses, a relationship that will last for many years to come.


Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The First Registered Stallion

     Wimpy P-1, born Wimpy, was foaled on the King Ranch in the Spring of 1935. Sired by Solis, a direct stallion sired by Old Sorrel, the King Ranch’s foundation stallion Wimpy would become one of the most known horses in the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA). Solis’ dam was an unregistered and unnamed mare of Thoroughbred breeding who was by Right Royal and out of a mare by Martin’s Best. Wimpy’s dam was a mare named Panda, also sired by Old Sorrel. Panda’s dam was a roan mare by Hickory Bill. Wimpy came be traced three times to Hickory Bill, making him quite inbred to Hickory Bill.
     Wimpy was a chestnut colored stallion, with a star and a sock on his left hind leg. When fully grown he was 15 hands high and weighed about 1200 pounds. Horse’s height is measured in hands that equal 4 inches.

     When the AQHA was founded in 1940, the founders agreed that the Grand Champion Stallion of the 1941 Fort Worth Southwestern Exposition Quarter Horse Show would be recorded as number one sire in their stud book.
Kleberg decided Wimpy was more than adequately equipped to handle the position.

      In the arena were Judge Jim Minnick, ring steward Robert Denhardt and John Burns, president of the show. Preceding Wimpy was Silvertone, a palomino owned and shown by Lee Underwood; Little Joe Jr., by Joe Gonzales; and Silver Dawn, bred by the Waggoner Ranch. Each contestant entered the ring and began circling the arena. Once satisfied Minnick stopped the horses to get a closer look and then continued their walking. After extensive consideration, the blue ribbon went to Wimpy and with it P-1 in the stud book.

    In his lifetime Wimpy would sire 174 registered foals, the majority of which stayed on the King Ranch. However, the few that left the ranch left a lasting impact in the horse industry. The stallion produced sons and daughters that went onto produce AQHA Champions. His direct offspring includes Bill Cody, Kip Mac,Caballero, Wimpy’s Image, Silver Wimpy, Wimpy II, Lauro and Showdown.

     In 1958, Bob Kleberg gifted Wimpy to George Clegg, the original breeder of Old Sorrel. Unfortunetly, Clegg fell on hard times and sold Wimpy to oilman Rex Cauble. Wimpy sired a few foals for Cauble before his death on August 13, 1959 at 22 years of age. 

     Wimpy was inducted into the AQHA Hall of Fame in 1989. A bronze statue was erected of the famous horse outside the AQHA Headquarters in Amarillo, Texas.  


The Running “W” Horses Are Born

     The Running “W” brand is adorned by some of the most famous Quarter Horses in history. The king ranch, initially built to raise cattle began raising horses because the founder, Richard King, knew to raise the best cattle one must have the best horses. This led to one of the most notable and famous horse breeding programs in the United States. 

      In the 1800s, the Quarter Horse made its debut on Texas ranges. While racing was a large event in Texas from 1850 to 1940, Jared Lee, an associate of King Ranch stated that the ranch did not race their Quarter Horses, “they are used for ranch work, what there were originally bred to do for Captain King.”
Although Texas is now a permanent home for Quarter Horses, the land was not always so welcoming. For instance, Captain King bought his ranch near the Santa Gertrudis Creek where a large amount of wild mustang and cattle were already grazing. While King gathered the cattle he let the mustangs be, buying horses from the Mexican towns of Mier and Camargo. The wild horses remained untouched until Robert J. Kleberg, Sr. was in control of the ranch. He trapped the wild herd and traded them for better bred horses from Tennessee to Mississippi.
     On August 3, 1854, King purchased an American stallion for $250 and an American bay for $300. A few months later he spent $600 on a sorel stallion named Whirlpool. Later on King purchased several more stallions from a farm in Kentucky, paying between $300 and $1,000. These purchases were large at the time, especially when compared to the $300 spent on purchasing the ranch as a whole.
Once on the ranch, King meticulously picked out broodmares for his new stallions focusing on foundation, size and color. From 1885 to 1910, King Ranch became one of the leading producers of horses and mules.
Following King’s death in 1885, Robert Kleberg, Sr., took over the horse program in particular. Originally seen merely as a lawyer and tenderfoot, his knowledge of the Quarter Horse, cattle and the business earned the ranch hands respect. After Robert Kleberg, Sr. came his son, Robert (Bob) Kleberg, Jr.. His active role in the Quarter Horse breeding program shows what extrodinary accomplishments King Ranch achieved. Throughout his years on the ranch, Kleberg’s education in genetics enabled him to succeed in improving the quality of the cattle and Quarter Horses.
     The horse that became the foundation sire of all the King Ranch’s Quarter Horses was known as Old Sorrel. Kleberg, Jr. came across Old Sorrel who, even at such a young age displayed all the qauliteis he was looking for in Quarter Horses. The colt, as well as its mother, was bought for $125 and brought to the ranch. He obtained all of the necessary training of a Running “W” colt such as habituateing himself to the boiling tempatures, the dust and unfriendly landscape. Kleberg, Jr. reffered to him as “the best cow horse (he) ever rod, but also a damn good running horse. He had a well-balanced look and the feel of a race horse.”
     Due to selective sorting based on which mares would do Old Sorrel justice in breeding, the mares were the best at King Ranch between 1927 and 1937. Until his death at 31, Old Sorrel remained on the King Ranch. By 1993, most of the Quarter Horses of King Ranch had 90% Old Sorrel lineage from one or both parents.
The ranch went on to produce the number one registry in the American Quarter Horse Assocaition, Wimpy P-1. 
As well as Wimpy P-1, the King Ranch produced other well-known champions such as Mr. San Peppy, Peppy San Badger (Little Peppy), both earning the National Cutting Horse Assocation world champion title in 1974 and 1976.

      Bold Venture, the 1936 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes winner, was added to the breeding program in 1939 and became the only horse to sire two Kentucky Derby winners, both out of King Ranch mares. Middleground, also sired by Bold Venture, won the 1950 Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes. In 1946, Assult became the seventh Triple Crown champion in turf history and the only Texas bred horse, to date, to win the Triple Crown. Assault was the greatest of the King Ranch’s major stakes winners, completing a racing career that brought eighteen victories and total earnings of $674,720. Assault retired in 1948 for a short time but due to being an unsuccessful breeder ran a few more races until he was retired in 1950 for the last time. Assault died at the age of 28.

La MaDama; A Queen Named King

     Henrietta King did not become the “Queen of King Ranch” simply by taking the name of it’s founder, Richard King. For 40 years Mrs. King was the sole owner of the largest ranch in North America, presiding with both moral authority and business intelligence.
Henrietta King, 53
     After her husband’s death Mrs. King, at the age of 53, took over the 614,000 acre ranch and its debt. She continued her work with the health care and education of the Mexican ranch hands and in the process adopted many of their folkways and language. True to her Presbyterian heritage, Mrs. King forbade drinking, swearing and card-playing among the ranch hands. With her son-in-law, previous family lawyer, Robert J. Kleberg, as her co-manager, she eliminated the $500,000 debt left her by her late husband and expanded the ranch’s holding to more than one million acres. Under her guidance, she not only doubled the ranch in size but also promoted the ranched engagement in experiments in cattle and horse breeding, in range grasses and in dry and irrigated farming. The ranch continued to grow reaching a size of 1,173,000 acres by 1925.
Original home built by Richard King for his bride. Burned in 1912
     In 1912, the main house built for her by her late husband in 1856, burned to the ground taking with it the family keepsakes. No one was reportedly harmed in the fire and while the cause is unconfirmed, it is said a disgruntled gardener started the catastrophe. Mrs. King requested a fireproof house that would be elegant, yet comfortable enough for a man in boots. The result was the 25-room “Big House” patterned after a Mexican hacienda. 

"Fire Proof" home built at the request of Mrs. King

     Mrs. King later constructed a mansion on the bluff in Corpus Christi so that her daughter Alice’s children could attend school. Mrs. King took interest in the growth of settlement in the region between Corpus Christi and Brownsville. Around 1903 she offered 75,000 acres at the right-of-way to Uriah Lott and Benjamin Franklin Yoakum, who planned to construct the St. Louis, Brownsville and Mexico Railway. In 1904 she furnished town sites for Kingsville and Raymondville. She founded the Kleberg Town and Improvement company and the Kingsville Lumbar Company to sell land and materials to new settlers. As the town grew she invested in the Kingsville Ice and Milling Company, Kingsville Publishing Company and Kingsville Power Company. Mrs. King also invested in the Gulf Coast Gin Company and the Kingsville Cotton Oil Mill Company. She constructed the First Presbyterian Church in the town and also donated land for Baptist, Methodist, Episcopal and Catholic churches. She promoted schooling by constructing a public high school for the town of Kingsville. Among her other charities were donations of land for the Texas-Mexican Industrial Institute and the Sophn Sanitarium. Later in life she provided land for the now Texas A&I University.
Henrietta King, 91
     Mrs. King passed away on March 31, 1925 at the age of 92. She died at the ranch where she had stayed for seven decades. Before her death 5,000 family, friends, and workers came to her bedside to pay their respects and say their goodbyes. Some of the ranch hands rode for two days straight to attend her funeral. At the lowering of her casket some 200 ranch hands rode quarter horses adorning the running “W” brand round her grave, hats held aloft, to pay their respects.
Henrietta had controlled the ranch 8 more years than her husband being the owner for 40 years compared to his 32.
     Since her death, Mrs. King has had several books written in her honor and become a well known face of Texas ranching. In 2002, Henrietta King, along with 158 other honorees was inducted into The National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame.

Henrietta Maria Mose Chamberlain King

     Born to Presbyterian preacher Hiram Chamberlain and his wife Maria (Morse) in 1832, Henrietta Marie Morse Chamberlain was thought to follow the family pattern and marry a minister. Instead she married a boat captain and speculator with little education known as Richard King. 

Henrietta Maria Mose Chamberlain King
After her mother’s death in 1835, Mrs. King grew up lonely but self-reliant. At the age of 14 she attended the Female Institute of Holly Springs, Mississippi for two years. Upon leaving the school she moved to Brownsville with her father where she would meet Mr. King.
     The couple met in 1850 when King came across the Chamberlain's house boat in what he thought to be his reserved loading dock. It is said that King then let loose a volley of curse words at the residents until 17-year-old Henrietta stepped on deck and reprimanded him. King fell in love with her from the start and in December of 1854, Reverend Chamberlain officiated at his daughter's marriage to Richard King. But Henrietta did not become the Queen of the King Ranch simply by taking Richard's last name.
King brought his bride to inhabit his newly claimed tract on Wild Horse Prairie. While their honeymoon was a dusty and treacherous journey across the dangerous and disputed territory, Mrs. King is quoted as describing it in a grandeous way.
Richard King

“I doubt if it falls to the lot of any bride to have so happy a honeymoon. On horseback, we roamed the broad prairies. When I grew tired, my husband would spread a Mexican blanket for me, and then I would take my siesta under the shade of a mesquite tree.” -Henrietta Chamberlain King
  Their first home was a mud-and-stick jackal so small that they hung their cooking pots outside the door. Wild Horse Prairie in that era was dangerous and disputed territory. On one occasion Henriette saved her sleeping child from a tomahawk baring Native American. She bargained with him and the man left with a loaf of bread and no disputes.
     The ranch had few buildings, and Mrs. King learned to live without even the small comforts of a border city. The Kings kept a house in Brownsville where their first children were born, but Henrietta had come to love the ranch and returned as frequently as possible. The first permanent home was built on the ranch in 1858. This house would be destroyed by fire in 1912 and lead way for the construction of the “Big House”.
Richard King, 1883
During the Civil War, King was involved in smuggling Confederate cotton to Mexico. When Union troops came to retrieve him, King fled leaving a Mexican man to protect his family. The troops raided the house before Henrietta's eyes. Soon thereafter she moved her children and herself to San Patricio and then San Antonio. King joined the Confederate Army and upon his return presented Mrs. King with a pair of diamond earrings that she would wear the rest of her life. 
     The ranch prospered in the years of the cattle drives, but upon the death of their only son, Robert E. Lee King, to pneumonia in 1883, King began considering to sell the land and give up. When Mrs. King heard this she reminded him of General Robert E. Lee;s words to “never sell”.
Richard King would never live to see the true accomplishments of the ranch due to his death of stomach cancer only two years later in 1885, leaving 53 year old Henrietta 614,000 acres and $500,000 in debts.
For the rest of her life Henrietta adorned black. For her remaining days, Mrs. King wore only black gloves, bonnets, gowns and her diamond earrings mourning her lost soul mate.

Anne Burnett Tandy Obituary

Anne Burnett Tandy, 74,Manager Of 208,000-Acre Ranch in Texas

    FORT WORTH,Jan 1(AP)- Anne Burnett Tandy, supervisor of the vast 6666 Ranch in northwest Texas died of cancer today at her home.She was 74 years old.
    Mrs. Tandy who carried on the tradition if her West Texas pioneer family in managing the cattle ranch, was the widow of Charles David Tandy, founder of the Tandy Corporation, which owns the Radio Shack retail stores.
    She supervised the 208,000-acre 6666 Ranch that surrounds Guthrie in King County and the two Triangle Ranches in Wichita County and the Panhandle. The ranches were founded by Mrs. Tandy's grandfather Capt. Burk Burnett.
    Mrs. Tandy was the director of the First National Bank of Fort Worth, director if the Southwest Exposition and Fat Stock Show and a trustee of the National Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Amon Carter Museum of Western Art. Mrs. Tandy leaves a daughter.

Mrs. Tandy as noted in her obituary was a very active and well noted woman in the western world. As noted in the book Best Remudas Anne Tandy was inducted into the AQHA hall of fame on it's 50th anniversary in 1990. Her legacy lives on both as a part of the 6666 Ranch and as a part of western culture to this day.

AP. Anne Burnett Tandy, 74 Manager of 208,000-Acre Ranch in Texas. New York Times . January 2,1980.               B15.
Jennings,Jim. “ Best Remudas”. Albany, Bright Sky. 2006

6666 on the bigscreen

Cow's and horses are not the only thing to gain national attention from the 6666 Ranch. The ranch has also served a purpose for arts and culture. The work of western artists Tom Ryan and Mondel Rogers have been heavily influenced by the landscape found on the 6666. The Old Eight camp on the ranch were used as sets for two Roy Rogers films, Mackintosh, and T.J. The 6666 was also home to a well remembered advertising collection, The Marlboro Man. During the time of creating the television commercials and printed ads, a number of 6666 cowboys played the roll of the Marlboro Man, as well as the 6666 Ranch serving as backdrops for the advertisements. Though not necessarily a noted piece of ranch history or an excellent public relation in this day in age, the rugged traditional nature of 6666 cowboys did serve as the face for one of the most famous advertisement series in history. Though the ranch is not likely to serve the same roll for any future films the 6666 legacy has proven to stem out agriculturally, industrially, and even into pop culture. For a better understanding and view of the mentioned advertisements please view the following youtube link.

For more information on these works and 6666 Ranch History visit the Texas State Historical Association

Some things Never Change

While there have been many changes in the past 140 years somethings may never change on the 6666. Mack trucks have replaced cattle drives and trains, e-mail has put an end to the telegraph, and in many places ATV's. helicopters, and pick up trucks have replaced the horse and saddle. However as for life on the 6666 the view during branding season is not much different than it would have been in 1870. Nothing can attest to that better than the work of Tom Ryan. Ryan  a western photographer and historian spent time on the 6666 in the early 1960's catching a glimpse of cowboy life. His art work is on display at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City,OK. Ryan was able to capture views of working cowboys on the 6666 that depict a lifestyle that would have been parallel if not exact in nature to the generation before them and that before them. In his work Ryan was able to show how though times had drastically changed the traditions on the 6666 would not. Below are some images from Ryan's collection, courtesy of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

  Getting ready for lunch, 6666 Ranch, King County, Texas, September 1968.
Tom Ryan Papers
Box 53, Folder 28

Getting a drink in the middle of the stream, 6666 Ranch, King County, Texas, ca. 1960s.
Tom Ryan Papers
Box 83, Folder 2

The Horses

While Burk Burnett always saw a good horse as an integral part of ranch operations, the world renowned 6666 horse did not come until after 1922. Upon Burnett's death the Ranch was passed down to his granddaughter Anne Burnett Tandy. While maintaining the legacy her grandfather started Miss Anne as she became know in the horse industry had a vision of making horses as much apart of the ranch as the cattle. As detailed in the book Best Remudas, " in 1940 the AQHA founders were her dinner guests the night before the meeting that originated the Association".^1. Now the horse division is run by D.V.M. Glenn Blodgett, he is held," responsible for breeding some of the best known stallions in the entire Quarter Horse Industry". Under the direction of Dr. Blodgett and the foundings of Miss Anne the 6666 Ranch was a recipient of the Best Remuda award given by the American Quarter Horse Association to the highest regarded Quarter Horse ranches.
1.Jennings,Jim. “ Best Remudas”. Albany, Bright Sky. 2006

Burk Burnett Cattleman and Gunfighter

Burk Burnett was often noted as being a man of strict morals and shrewd business practice. In some circles he is also known as a skilled gunman and a force to be reckoned with. Among Burnett's legacies was his support in 1877 when he met with others at; "Graham, in Young County, and formed the organization that would become the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association".^1 An organization which is still active and growing to date. Of his less noted accomplishments were the killings of two noted cattle thieves on the North Texas plains, Jack King and Parley Sayers. The first took place on June 7, 1879 when Burnett was confronted by Jack King who had been found in possession of  an estimated 20 cattle branded with the 6666 brand after a brief confrontation King dismounted his horse and charged toward Burnett when he was brought down by a gunshot to the head. Later in  life at age 63 in 1912 Burnett was again confronted by Parley Sayers in the lavatory of the Goodland Hotel dining room in Paducah,Texas. Witnesses say Sayers reached for his gun, but was outdrawn by Burnett and killed by a single shot to the chest. In both instances Burnett turned himself into local law enforcement and stood trial for murder. In both cases Burnett was acquitted on grounds of self defense. In the case of Jack King, Burnett was even noted as having done a service to the public during the reading of the verdict. Though other stories have been told around the campfire of Burnett having killed other men these two were the only official shooting ever reported.
1.DeArment,RK.” The Gunfights of Pioneer Cattlemen: Burk Burnett”. Wild West 18(2005).32-36.