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On the XIT Ranch and How Longhorns Came About

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J. Evetts Haley wrote:


"The XIT brand was conceived of by an an old Texas trail driver named Ab Blocker, who placed it upon the first cow. She was not an animal of high pedigree, but a Longhorn from South Texas. Her color, gauntness, and perversity were historic. Nearly two centuries before, with the initial Spanish expedition into the province for the purpose of founding a settlement in 1690, there came a similar Mexican cow. She walked steaming from the waters of the Rio Grande, cropped the first grass on the northern shore, switched her tail at a persistent fly, and felt at home. Long of horn and leg, variegated in color, and belligerent of disposition, she was prophetic of the millions and millions of others to fatten upon the grasses of the border state.

As she pushed north and east with the expedition of Governor Alonzo de Leon and Father Massanet, the tallow thickened over her ribs, a little bit, and she became smooth and glossy. She sprang of hardy and wily stock. As she fled to the nearest pool or mud hole to escape the attentions of the heel fly, as she fought off the wolves by night and outran the thieving Indians by day, she built up a spirit of independence and of resourcefulness that made her a companion of the wilderness and a fighter of the frontier.

By the time the East Texas missions were abandoned, in 1693, the Longhorn had broken the ties that bound her to her native range, and when the soldiers and missionaries returned home to Mexico, she stayed in Texas. The Mexican cows matched with the wilderness, met claw and fang with horn and cow-sense, and when the Spaniards came again, twenty-three years later, Longhorn cattle grazed the East Texas grasslands. Since that first memorable day Texas has never been without cattle. For more than two centuries livestock has formed one of its chief sources of wealth. Wherever "Texas" is heard, steers are thought of, and the head of the Longhorn is as emblematic of Texas as is the lone star. Texas and Longhorns are almost synonymous."


J. Evetts Haley, "The XIT Ranch of Texas,"  1936

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 25th December 2019 10:57 pm