Littlefield Lands Company

By: David B. Gracy

Type: General Entry

Published: 1976

Updated: November 1, 1995

The Littlefield Lands Company was organized in August 1912 by Maj. George Washington Littlefield to sell 79,040 acres of his Yellow House Ranch in southwestern Lamb County for farming purposes. As general manager of the company, Littlefield selected James Phelps White, his partner in the Yellow House Ranch, and as sales manager, Arthur Pope Duggan, a nephew by marriage. The center of the operation was the town of Littlefield, which was platted on the Santa Fe Railroad's main line from Lubbock to Texico, New Mexico, then under construction. The town's official opening was held on July 4, 1913. From a population of thirty in December 1912, the number of residents in Littlefield and on land purchased from the company grew to 1,000 by March 1917. Largely because of an ensuing two-year drought that drove settlers from the community, the population dwindled to 400 by 1920 and 250 by 1923. Though the plains were experiencing a land boom in 1906–14, prospective buyers required proof of the land's agricultural utility. Littlefield Lands consequently established a demonstration farm for both dryland and irrigated crops and put in five irrigation plants. The land was sold primarily through independent land agents under contract to Littlefield. R. C. Rawlings, the principal agent, made more than one-fourth of the 464 recorded sales. By 1920 the company had sold 47,601 acres of farming and grazing land and 148 town lots. Among the settlers at Littlefield was a colony of Mennonites. Though about eighty buyers came from East Texas and the northern states, twice as many originated from the states of the Great Plains. At Littlefield there was no friction between entrenched rancher and incoming farmer. In fact, through economic assistance, the rancher's land company, as Littlefield Lands, fostered settlement. The drought of 1917–19, combined with the tightened credit in the United States caused by World War I and by America's entry into the conflict, stopped the flow of prospective buyers to Littlefield, and the land was taken off the market in July 1918. The subdivision was reopened for sale in September 1920, but at Littlefield's death in November, the unsold town lots passed to Duggan's wife by inheritance. The company was run by Littlefield's estate until April 1923, when the newly organized Yellow House Land Company bought the ranch for further subdivision and sale.

David B. Gracy II, Littlefield Lands (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1968).

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

David B. Gracy, “Littlefield Lands Company,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1995