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OS RANCH

OS RANCH. The OS brand was begun in 1878 by Richard H. Overall of Coleman County in partnership with a man named Sharp. The brand combines the initials of their surnames. By 1881 Sharp apparently had sold out his interest to Overall. About that time the OS cattle were trailed to open range near the head of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos in Garza County. A year later Overall sold out to the brothers Andrew J. and Frank M. Long, who had also bought the 202 brand herd from the Lexington Cattle Company of Kentucky. The Longs, who adopted the OS brand as their own, ran their cattle over the southeastern quarter of Garza County along the Double Mountain Fork. The first fences on the range were those built across gaps in the breaks to prevent cattle from drifting. In January 1884, however, the Longs began enclosing their pastures and buying or leasing additional acreage and cattle. By the turn of the century they held 26,411 acres of school land and various grass leases. In June 1901 they sold all of their holdings to Wilson E. Connell, John Scharbauer, and E. W. Clark for approximately $40,000. The Fort Worth-based firm also purchased the herd of 9,500 stock cattle, 312 bulls, and 118 horses, along with the wagons and other ranch equipment, for $200,239. As the new owners, Connell and his partners added improvements and continued buying both school and railroad land until their range had increased to around 100,000 acres. At a picnic in a chinaberry grove near the OS headquarters in 1906 plans were made for the organization of Garza County the following year. At that time the partners sold 27,175 acres to Charles W. Post. In the 1907 election, which was held at the ranch bunkhouse, two OS cowboys, James M. Boren and Oscar B. Kelly, were elected county judge and sheriff, respectively. In 1914 W. E. Connell and his brother G. W. bought out Scharbauer's quarter interest of 55,371 acres, and in 1920 they did the same with E. W. Clark's interest of 57,169 acres. Later the Connells enjoyed new prosperity from the OS after several oil wells were brought in on it. Although subsequently reduced in size, the OS Ranch still operates, with headquarters near the Polar Road east of Justiceberg and seven miles out of Snyder on Highway 84. In 1972 a marker was unveiled at the headquarters by the Garza County Historical Survey Committee to commemorate the county's organization. Ranch foreman Jim Prather erected a memorial plaque listing the names of those who attended the organization picnic of 1906.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Garza County Historical Survey Committee, Wagon Wheels: A History of Garza County, ed. Charles Didway (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1973). Jesse Wallace Williams, The Big Ranch Country (Wichita Falls: Terry, 1954; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1971).

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, "OS RANCH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apo07), accessed October 01, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.