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MORRIS RANCH, TX

MORRIS RANCH, TEXAS. Morris Ranch is 8½ miles southwest of Fredericksburg in southern Gillespie County. The town bears the name of the Morris Ranch, which was started in 1856 when a noted horse breeder named Francis Morris bought 23,000 acres in the area. In 1884 Morris employed his nephew to establish a center for raising and training horses, and in 1886 John A. Morris inherited the property from his father and continued with the work. By the late 1880s the ranch headquarters had become the center of a community with a complex devoted to animal husbandry, a hotel, a cotton gin, and a roller mill for flour and horse feed. Just outside of town were a racetrack and living quarters for young men training to become jockeys, as well as the Morris home. A stone schoolhouse that doubled as a church was erected, and the Morris Ranch post office opened in 1893. By the 1890s various states had enacted laws curtailing horse racing, and this affected the market for thoroughbred stock. The Morris family closed down their operation in Texas in 1902, selling their remaining horses and breaking up the ranch into smaller farms. In 1925 the town's population was estimated at seventy-five, and in 1945 the town still had a cotton gin, a general store, a drugstore, a flour mill, a church, and a school. The post office closed in 1954, and the store shut down soon afterward. By 1964 the estimated population had fallen to nine, and by 1968 no population was listed in the Texas Almanac. A number of the original buildings were still standing as of the 1980s.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

T. Lindsay Baker, Ghost Towns of Texas (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1986).

Martin Donell Kohout

Citation

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

Martin Donell Kohout, "MORRIS RANCH, TX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrm51), accessed December 19, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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