The Western Land and Livestock Company was organized at Davenport, Iowa, in 1884 with a capital stock of $800,000. Although J. S. Keator of Davenport was president, active management was largely controlled by Stillman W. Wheelock, a prominent businessman from Moline, Illinois. The company established an office in Fort Worth under the direction of David Boaz as general manager. By 1886 Boaz had purchased and leased approximately the southern half of Lubbock County in the Yellow House Canyon area. About 20,000 cattle and 200 horses were bought, and J. K. Milwee was installed as ranch manager. The IOA Ranch, as it was named after the home state of most of the company directors, originally branded with an inverted V; however, the brand was so easily altered by cattle thieves that in 1888 or 1889 it was changed to a crossed C, a brand originated by the IOA's neighbors, the Brigham brothers, whose cattle the company had purchased in 1886. In December 1888 Rollie C. Burns became ranch manager, but the venture was never profitable; even attempts at cultivating 500 to 1,000 acres in sorghum as steer feed, under the direction of Frank Wheelock, proved too costly to be practical. As a result, moves to dispose of the property were made by 1893. By March 1896 the cattle were sold to J. M. Daugherty of Abilene; the land was later bought by the Kokernot interests in San Antonio.