T-Bar Ranch

By: William M. Pearce

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: July 1, 1995

T-Bar Ranch in Crosby County was established in 1883 when Cass Overton Edwards sold his ranch to C. C. Slaughter and purchased the lands and cattle of Frank and Will Porter at Double Lakes in Lynn County. From his new headquarters Edwards, a wealthy man from his ranching operations in Tarrant County, began to buy and lease additional acreage and to build his herd through purchases of cattle from other ranchers. In November 1883 he formed the Tahoka Cattle Company with three partners, W. C. Young, Jasper Hayes, and L. S. Gholson. The new organization, with offices in Fort Worth, had a capital of $200,000 divided into 2,000 shares of $100 each and was chartered to exist for thirty years. Though the owners did not begin to patent land as the Tahoka Cattle Company until 1895, the T-Bar grew to some 87,000 acres within a few years because of Edwards's vigorous program of leasing and buying. By the 1890s the T-Bar, which at its height was one of the largest ranches in the South Plains, had become central to the Lynn County economy. During the 1890s the large ranches in Lynn County prospered, but at the beginning of the twentieth century farmers began to move into the county, and the cattlemen were forced to give up their grazing rights as their leases on state-owned lands expired. By 1923 only the T-Bar survived because Cass Edwards had the capital to purchase property as it became available. Even so, his ranch lost leases on 17,000 acres between 1902 and 1910.

The T-Bar consisted of three working divisions, the Three Lakes, the Guthrie Lake, and the Double Lakes, all approximately the same size. Since the lakes were alkaline, water for the cattle had to be provided by windmills located at intervals on the rangelands. In practice the ranch was a "cow and calf operation"; it raised its own calves until they were three years old, then sent them to market. In 1940, in failing health, the Edwardses leased the ranch to Wayne Chandler and John Q. Adams of San Angelo for fifteen years. When Crawford Edwards died in 1941 and Cass in 1942, two-thirds of the T-Bar became the property of Cass O. Edwards II, Crawford's son. The remaining third was owned by the senior Edwards's second wife. Between 1941 and 1950 the second Mrs. Edwards sold some 18,000 acres of her portion of the estate. In 1957, when Chandler's lease expired, young Cass Edwards restocked the ranch and began a program to regain possession of the balance of T-Bar properties. This goal he attained during the next fifteen years by buying out his step-grandmother's heirs. He subsequently raised predominantly Hereford cattle and raised hay, milo, and other feeds.

Donald R. Abbe, The History of Lynn County (M.A. thesis, Texas Tech University, 1974). Donald R. Abbe, "The History of Lynn County," Panhandle-Plains Historical Review 60 (1987).

  • 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.

William M. Pearce, “T-Bar Ranch,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 27, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/t-bar-ranch-APT03.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995