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SEVEN K RANCH

SEVEN K RANCH. The Seven K, the first ranch in Lipscomb County, was established in 1878 by George Anderson, who drove a herd in the spring of that year from Colorado over the Jones and Plummer Trail, which ran through the western part of the county. He found the terrain on both sides of Wolf Creek to be ideal grazing land. He established his headquarters on the south side of Wolf Creek, started using the Seven K brand, and hired Frank Biggers as range foreman. In 1884 Anderson sold the ranch to the Washita Land and Cattle Company, owned by the firm of York, Draper, and Parker. This company, based in St. Louis, operated under the AV brand in Indian Territory until President Grover Cleveland ordered all white ranchers out of the territory in 1885. Subsequently, the company merged the AV with the Seven K. York, a Dodge City merchant, became manager of the ranch, with R. K. McMordie as his assistant. Since York was an absentee owner, actual management of the Seven K fell to McMordie, who remained until 1898. Seven K cowhands were paid an average salary of thirty-five dollars a month plus board. At first they drove cattle annually over the Jones and Plummer Trail to Dodge City but later shipped them by rail from Higgins to Kansas City. During the annual spring roundup the ranch usually branded between 3,000 and 4,000 calves. The Seven K encompassed 30,000 acres, and various accounts numbered the herd from 6,000 to 15,000 head. Frank Biggers was retained as a range boss by the Washita Company until the "Big Die-up" of January 1886, when a blizzard killed great numbers of trapped cattle. When Biggers asked to cut the Panhandle drift fenceqv to let cattle retreat south from the northers rather than die, the management refused permission. Consequently Biggers quit the Seven K and took the job of range foreman for the neighboring Box T. The Seven K helped sponsor the organization of Lipscomb County in 1886 and was probably instrumental in making Lipscomb the county seat. As more settlers came into the area, the Seven K reduced its holdings, and during the Oklahoma land runs it leased much of its property for three cents an acre. O. R. McMordie, R. K.'s nephew and later Hemphill county judge, remarked that the "ranchmen only leased watering places and used grass free of charge." By 1900 the ranch had stopped business and sold its holdings to small ranchers and farmers, unlike the Box T, which is still in operation.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Laura V. Hamner, Short Grass and Longhorns (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1943). 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, "SEVEN K RANCH," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/aps13), accessed October 31, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.