Saturday, April 21, 2012

XIT Origin

The Panhandle of Texas to this day remains a vast, dry, almost empty part of  the world. With its flat landscape, little vegetation, intense summers and icy winters, it is not the ideal place for anything to live. In the 1880 United States Census, a man "carefully explored the Panhandle" and came to the conclusion that "not more than 7,000,000 acres of the Llano Estacado within the state of Texas can be regarded as an absolute desert..."(Haley). In Haley's book "The XIT Ranch of Texas" he looks at everything from the creation of the XIT Ranch in the Panhandle, to the cattle, to the people who started it, lived on it, and were a part of it. In 1879 the Texas legislature set aside "three million acres of land" in the Texas Panhandle for a Chicago firm who processed cattle (Haley). In exchange for the land the Chicago firm contributed to the building of the Texas State House in Austin (the Capitol building, pictured above) (Haley). This is a huge part of Texas history that not many people probably know or realize. The cattle industry in Texas has always been HUGE to say the least and it truly has shaped the culture in Texas. So how could the XIT possibly have been successful with all these odds against them? A big reason for the XIT's success steamed from the type of cattle that the XIT ran, Texas Longhorns (Haley). The Texas Longhorn is able to survive off the "mesquite" grass exceedingly well (although it does not produce much fat) and the Longhorn is also known for its durability through extreme weather (Haley). The Texas Longhorn has become an iconic symbol of Texas and rightfully so. The Longhorn not only helped boost Texas's economy, it represents the rugged people that tame the Longhorn throughout Texas. The XIT Ranch very much contributed to many things that make Texas, Texas today.

Haley, J. Evetts. The XIT Ranch of Texas: And the Early Days of the Llano Estacado. Norman:          Univ. of  Oklahoma, 1953. Print.

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