O2 Ranch

By: Martin Donell Kohout

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: May 1, 1995

The O2 Ranch was for many years one of the largest in the Trans-Pecos. The brothers E. L. and Alfred S. Gage registered the O2 brand in Brewster and Presidio counties in September 1888 and sold it to William W. Turney in 1891. Turney established the O2 Ranch in the Green Valley area of western Brewster County in 1892; the basis of his operation was supposedly a herd of 300 high-grade shorthorn cattle brought by John Beckwith to the Peña Colorado area in 1878. In the 1920s part of the O2 Ranch lay on the Alpine-Terlingua road, forty-five miles south of Alpine. The ranch placed two water troughs at this spot, one inside the fence for cattle and one outside the fence, beside the road, for travelers. These troughs became a well-known local landmark and were used by freighters. From 1905 to 1936, under the management of Turney's nephew Henry T. Fletcher, the O2 averaged between 10,000 and 12,000 high-grade Hereford cattle on 250,000 to 300,000 acres in Brewster and Presidio counties. By August 1936, however, Turney had run into financial difficulties trying to consolidate all the land in his pasture into a solid block, and the Aetna Life Insurance Company took over the ranch. Five years later the Lykes Brothers Steamship Company bought the ranch, and in the early 1950s the 264,555 acres of O2 Ranch land in Brewster and Presidio counties made it the eleventh-largest ranch in Texas and the sixth-largest ranch made up of one block of land. Lykes Brothers operated the ranch with Caven Woodward as manager until 1965, when the company began leasing the land to other ranchers.

Clifford B. Casey, Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1972). Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranches Established After 1835

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

Martin Donell Kohout, “O2 Ranch,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed January 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/o2-ranch.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995