Monday, April 23, 2012

XIT Setup

The XIT Ranch was set up with multiple ranches or towns inside its vast 6,000 miles of fence. Each ranch area has its own specific purpose, the Southern most areas were for raising calves and steers while you got further North the cattle slowly made the transition up till they were two years old and ready to be driven. The Buffalo Springs division is the Northern most division of the XIT and it is comprised of many different pastures. Buffalo Springs is where the XIT was started, particularly at the Northwestern most corner of Texas bordering New Mexico (Cates, 19). To recent day (2003) there has been border disputes between Texans and New Mexicans in this area (19). "The Buffalo Springs division took in 476,000 acres and, being the northern point, became the starting point for the Montana Trail later on" (21). The next stop was the Middle Water division and Middle water was similar to Buffalo Springs in that it was northern and near the finish for the cattle, but Middle Water had a lot more than just pasture. "Raising everything including potatoes, cotton, and grains..." Middle Water turned out to be one of the most agricultural areas of the XIT and made some of the most profits off selling the land once the XIT operation was over in 1912 ( 25). Ojo Bravo was the next division and it indeed lived up to the name. Having probably the most water on the XIT in the old days it was so it "provided water for buffalo, the Indian, Kit Carson, soldiers and since old XIT Ranch days, water for livestock and folks, as well"(27). From the Ojo Bravo came the Rita Blanca division then the Escarbada division which Escarbada in particular had one of the best headquarters on the old Syndicate although possibly the driest of all the divisions it comfortably housed many cowboys (38). Spring Lake was the next division and the "largest division" being divided up into three pastures (39). In the early days Spring Lake would run around "30,000" head of cattle on "787,000 acres" (39). This is where most of the South Texas cattle drives ended up because the Yellow House division could not hold any more cattle (39). The Yellow House the seventh and by far most historical of all the divisions of the old XIT (43). "The most fabulous on the South Plains. Ancient Indian campground visited in the 17th century by Spanish missionaries. Here the whites recovered through trade property stolen by Indians. Campsite for buffalo hunters, freighters, and cattlemen. Acquired by the XIT syndicate in 1882: By George W. Littlefield, 1901"(44). This is written on the Texas State Marker at Yellow House Ranch (44). This is by far the most important of the divisions of the XIT Ranch because of its Southern location and how this is where most all of the business took place at the XIT (43-44). There are a few other divisions that made up the syndicate of the old XIT Ranch but from the Yellow House up is where the majority of action took place. In Cates' book he takes a much more modern look at each division and what is going on there now in the 21st century. Most of the old XIT is being used for cow-calf or stocker operations now a days and most all the land has been bought up one way or another. This book gives you a good idea of how expanisve the XIT Ranch was and how amazing of a story it was just to see cattle work their way through the XIT before being driven around  the U.S..

Cates, Ivan. The XIT Ranch: A Texas Legacy. Channing: Hafabanana, 2008. Print.

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