A. G. (Jim) Springer, rancher, was born in the northeastern United States, possibly in Delaware. He moved to Kansas in 1873 and established a ranch on the south bank of the Arkansas River across from Dodge City. In 1874 or early 1875 he moved to the Panhandle of Texas and built a trading post for buffalo hunters in what is now Hemphill County, where Boggy Creek empties into the Canadian River. In 1875 Springer purchased 300 head of cattle from Dillard R. Fant, who was driving a herd through to Dodge City. The Dodge City Times in September 1877 reported Springer "fully embarked in the stock business" with some 700 or 800 cattle. He was thus the first permanent rancher in the Panhandle. He made at least one drive to Dodge City. Although his herd grew and prospered, his business was primarily as a trader, storekeeper, and way station operator. Because of his isolation and fear of Indian attack, he fortified his post so heavily that soldiers called it Fort Sitting Bull. John R. Cook, who frequently traded with Springer, described the station as being so impregnable that a few determined men could make it impossible for the allied tribes to take it without artillery. When the mail route was extended from Fort Elliott to Mobeetie, Springer's ranch became a major stop, named Boggy Station, on the stage line. Springer was designated postmaster on October 9, 1878. With a road ranch, trading post, and cattle ranch, he soon accumulated considerable cash, bonds, and cattle; his cattle alone were reportedly worth $12,000. On November 17, 1878, Springer and his hired hand, Tom Leadbetter, were gambling at the way station with some buffalo soldiers from Fort Elliott. A quarrel developed, and both Springer and Leadbetter were killed. Springer's brother came from Delaware to settle the estate and sold the buildings to men named Tuttle and Chapman. The post office, which had been closed after Springer's death, was opened on September 9, 1879, under the name Springer Ranch, with Tuttle as postmaster.
Is history important to you?
We need your support because we are a non-profit organization that relies upon contributions from our community in order to record and preserve the history of our state. Every dollar helps.
John R. Cook, The Border and the Buffalo: An Untold Story of the Southwest Plains (Topeka, Kansas: Crane, 1907; rpt., New York: Citadel Press, 1967). J. Evetts Haley, Mose Hayes (MS, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin, 1930).
Ranching and Cowboys
Ranchers and Cattlemen
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
C. Robert Haywood,
“Springer, A. G. [Jim],”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
February 1, 1996