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CONNELL AND EUBANK RANCHES

CONNELL AND EUBANK RANCHES. The first ranch in Ochiltree County was established by Thomas Connell and J. D. (Dee) Eubank, both of whom came from Burnet County. In 1876 Connell and Eubank drove cattle from Winters, in Runnels County, to seek a suitable ranch site. They initially attempted the valley of the Purgatoire River in Colorado, but two successive hard winters there decimated their herds. With about thirty cattle left, the two young cowmen headed south from Kansas. They camped at a small playa near the site of present-day Perryton on December 20, 1878. They decided Wolf Creek was the most promising location for their ranch, herded their longhorn cattle into the creek draw, and occupied the dugout recently vacated by their friends Alfred H. and D. Wilborn Barton,qqv who had moved into the abandoned Jones and Plummer stockade farther downstream (see JONES AND PLUMMER TRAIL). Another neighbor was Charles A. Dietrich, who helped them round up wild mustangs and often cooked for them. Within two years Connell and Eubank had increased their individual herds and established their own ranches, Eubank in eastern Ochiltree County and Connell two miles to the east in Lipscomb County.

Just before this separation, Dee's letters had prompted his brother, Henry T. Eubank, to move his family to Wolf Creek from McCulloch County, where he had served as county sheriff. In 1887 Henry Eubank registered a Triangle F brand. Two years later, when Ochiltree County was organized, he was elected a county commissioner. From 1894 to 1900 he served as county judge. Dee Eubank helped establish Ochiltree County's first school, known locally as "Raw Hide College," across Wolf Creek from his homestead. In later years the Eubank heirs leased the ranch property and eventually sold it to Carl Freeman.

Tom Connell, who recorded a D brand in 1881, built a comfortable ranchhouse with a stone fireplace on Wolf Creek in western Lipscomb County. The county line was his property's western boundary. In 1886 he erected a fence along a strip two miles wide and eight miles long and connected it with the old drift fence (see PANHANDLE DRIFT FENCES) to the south. In 1885 Connell married Jannie Watson at Mobeetie; they had two sons and two daughters. When Lipscomb County was organized in 1887, Connell was elected its first county judge. He also established a mercantile and butcher shop in Lipscomb. Business was conducted there in a way most unusual, even for the frontier. Connell would hang a fresh beef carcass in his shop, place a pencil and tablet near the meat block, go away, and leave the door unlocked. Each customer would cut off the portion of meat he wanted, weigh it on Connell's scales and write his name and the amount of purchase on the pad. At his convenience the customer looked up the judge and paid him. Connell ran this meat business successfully for several years before selling it and moving in 1905 to Canadian, where he and his wife spent their remaining years.

The Eubank and Connell ranches were never large like that of their neighbor, Henry W. Cresswell. They have remained basically intact, although under different brands and owners. The site of Connell and Eubank's original dugout on Wolf Creek is now on the Walter Daniel ranch.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Millie Jones Porter, Memory Cups of Panhandle Pioneers (Clarendon, Texas: Clarendon Press, 1945). Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

H. Allen Anderson, "CONNELL AND EUBANK RANCHES," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apc09), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.