Members Only Area
Bookmark and Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

QUIEN SABE RANCH

QUIEN SABE RANCH. The Quien Sabe Ranch headquarters was ½ miles southeast of the Valley View community in central Midland County. The ranch covered between 500 and 600 sections of land in Midland, Upton, and Glasscock counties and operated from 1884 to 1918. "Quién sabe?" (Spanish for "Who knows?") was the answer that local Mexican cowboys gave when asked the origin of the ranch's unusual cattle brand. The brand consisted of two semi-circles facing in opposite directions, vertically offset from each other by half their length and horizontally by half their width. Mayer Halff of San Antonio began the J. M. Ranch on the Pecos River in 1878. Halff and his brothers registered the two-half-moons brand in Pecos County in 1898, and they used the free range along the Pecos River for grazing. The first ranch known as Quien Sabe was established along the Pecos River by Major Hewett of New York in 1884. Halff purchased this Quien Sabe and moved its cattle and name to his 500 to 600 sections of land in Upton, Midland, and Glasscock counties by 1902. He continued to run cattle on the Pecos even after he built headquarters in Midland County. From the beginning of the Quien Sabe until 1902, Barnes Tullous served as ranch foreman. Will Irwing filled the job from 1902 through 1906, when Sam Preston took over. Halff died in 1905, and his son Henry M. Halff succeeded him. From 1907 to 1914, while Preston was foreman, the ranch ran a herd of as many as 20,000 Hereford cattle. Beginning in 1910 Henry Halff cleared several thousand acres of land and subdivided them for cultivation. By 1914 a large part of the ranch was in farms. One of the plots, Cloverdale Farm, five miles southeast of Midland, was the site of a successful irrigation project. Rosedale and Red Top were two other farms cut from the original Quien Sabe. By 1918 the ranch was dissolved. The Quien Sabe Ranch was one of the last large ranches in Texas that used open range as well as privately held land to control hundreds of sections of grazing land. The ranch subdivided in front of an onslaught of fences and farmers.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Midland County Historical Society, The Pioneer History of Midland County, Texas, 1880–1926 (Dallas: Taylor, 1984).

Julia Cauble Smith

Citation

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

Julia Cauble Smith, "QUIEN SABE RANCH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apq01), accessed December 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.