William P. Soash, land developer, was born on September 5, 1877, in Butler County, Iowa, son of George and Polly (Hiserodt) Soash. After his mother died in 1883, he moved from place to place with his railroad contractor father. In 1891 his father died, and Soash then worked as a carpenter and as a deputy United States marshal. After 1900 Soash engaged in the hardware and real estate business in Iowa and helped colonize land in the Dakotas for the John Lund Land Company. In 1905 he founded the W. P. Soash Land Company, which grew to be one of the largest land companies in the United States, with offices in more than eight states; the company acquired a 30,000-acre tract in the Texas Panhandle from the Capitol Freehold Land and Investment Company. Soash founded the town of Ware on the Fort Worth and Denver Railway, built a hotel there in 1906, and later added more land to the tract. Two years later he bought Christopher Columbus Slaughter's 100,000-acre Running Water Ranch on the South Plains and sold it to northern homeseekers. Soash introduced new techniques in land sales and advertising, including a company magazine, The Golden West, and the use of excursion trains to take interested people to the actual land location. In 1909 he began his largest project when he secured 200,000 acres of Slaughter's Big Spring Ranch. The town of Soash was built about twenty miles north of Big Spring, and the company offices were moved there from Iowa. In 1912 the Soash Land Company went out of business after three years of drought, which had stopped the influx of homeseekers. In 1917, while selling Littlefield lands (see LITTLEFIELD, GEORGE WASHINGTON) in Lamb County, Soash became interested in land promotion in Florida. He served in the Texas Cavalry during World War I as a second lieutenant. In 1924 he and the Slaughters organized the Lone Star Land Company; Soash became president of this company and moved his family from McAllen to Lubbock. In 1938 he was engaged in selling mineral interests. Soash was married to Minnie Haase in 1900; they had two children. He died on July 10, 1961.
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Amarillo Globe, August 14, 1938. Seymour V. Connor, ed., Builders of the Southwest (Lubbock: Southwest Collection, Texas Technological College, 1959). Littlefield Land Company Papers (Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University; Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin).
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
David B. Gracy,
“Soash, William Pulver,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed August 15, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
February 1, 1996