Texas Day by Day

On this day in Texas history…

Up-and-down entrepreneur Franklin Shaeffer dies

October 25th, 1886

On this day in 1886, Franklin Wingot Shaeffer died as a result of a broken leg. This Ohio native had operated a freight line in northern California during the gold rush of 1849, had lost his money on the stock exchange in New York in the 1850s, and had moved to Texas in 1857. From Boerne, where he bought 40,000 acres, he moved to Nueces County to start a sheep ranch. Shaeffer invested in the Corpus Christi ship channel but lost his money after the Civil War. He tried raising sheep in fenced pastures with regularly spaced wells--a technique that failed with sheep but subsequently succeeded with cattle. His ancillary discovery of artesian water in South Texas promoted growth in the region. Shaeffer died because the surgeon working on his leg, broken accidentally in a carriage accident near San Diego, Texas, muffed the job.

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