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PALO VENTANA RANCH

PALO VENTANA RANCH. Palo Ventana Ranch, on Farm Road 738 five miles southwest of Orange Grove in northeastern Jim Wells County, was founded by George and Hannah Compton Reynolds, who immigrated from North Oxfordshire, England, to Texas in 1854 and in 1867 started a ranching operation on Agua Dulce Creek. In 1871 they received a homestead grant from the state of Texas for 160 acres. The Reynoldses added 25,930 acres to their grant and eventually ran a successful sheep-ranching operation. The name Palo Ventana ("tree window") referred to local oak trees. Palo Ventana Ranch was one of the first in South Texas on which barbed wire was used. Once established in the area, Reynolds organized local ranchers into a team and wagon pool to transport their goods to Corpus Christi. Around 1870 the Reynoldses had a one-room school constructed of hand-cut caliche blocks; there their nine children were instructed by a governess. Several of the buildings of that period were still standing and in use or under repair in 1981.

During the 1880s Reynolds switched from sheep ranching to cattle ranching. He donated land for a rail line in 1889. He died in 1897, and his children inherited 39,795 acres in Nueces and Live Oak counties. That land was partitioned in 1899. Subsequently, James Frank and Mary Jane (Reynolds) Perkins acquired the original dwelling, and they and their heirs continued the cattle-ranching tradition. In 1959 Randolph R. Reynolds, a descendent of the founders, and his wife, Seana Mary (McCoy), acquired 445 acres of land from Joseph William Reynolds, Sr., including the homestead. They remodeled the ranchhouse, refurbished fences, built outbuildings, and started raising goats. Under the management of Charles G. Reynolds the ranch returned to cattle production in 1960. In 1971 a seventy-five-acre plot of the ranch was cleared of mesquite and planted with coastal Bermuda, Klein grass, and buffel grass as part of the Soil and Water Conservation Plan. Charles G. Reynolds and his wife, Sharry Marjorie (Kelly), acquired title to the ranch in 1981 and continued to raise cattle, add land, and restore original buildings.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Guide to Spanish and Mexican Land Grants in South Texas (Austin: Texas General Land Office, 1988). David Montejano, Anglos and Mexicans in the Making of Texas, 1836–1986 (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1987). Texas Family Land Heritage Registry, Vol. 10.

Alicia A. Garza

Citation

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

Alicia A. Garza, "PALO VENTANA RANCH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/appsl), accessed July 22, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.