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Promotion: Nearby Map of Potter County

The LX Ranch was established in Potter County in 1877 by W. H. (Deacon) Bates and David T. Beals, two enterprising Bostonians who had already started a ranch in 1875 on the Arkansas River near Granada, Colorado. By the following year that range was crowded, compelling Bates and Beals to send an employee, John Ray, down to look over land along the breaks of the Canadian River in the Texas Panhandle. Subsequently Bates and Beals, in partnership with Henry J. Rosencrans and Erskine Clement (Beals's son-in-law), drove their first herd to the new headquarters on Ranch Creek, a tributary of the Canadian. This site, about a mile east of Pitcher Creek in Potter County, was the center of a vast spread of free grassland teeming with wildlife. While Bates returned to Colorado to move the remainder of their cattle and horses to the new range, Beals and Clements went to Dodge City to buy more longhorn cattle. Among the trail hands they hired was Charles A. Siringo, who worked off and on for the LX during the next several years.

At first the LX brand was alternated with several others, including the X Bar and V Bar, which were used on the Colorado range. After 1883, however, the LX became the ranch's permanent brand. By 1878 a large bunkhouse of stone and adobe, complete with an attached kitchen and spacious storeroom, had been added to the headquarters. Later, stables, corrals, a blacksmith shop, and wagon sheds were built. A post office was opened in August 1879 and called Wheeler. The first herd from the LX went up the trail to Dodge City in the fall of 1878 for shipment to Chicago. For the next seven years two or three herds annually were driven to Dodge. The ranch's first foreman was Bill Allen of Corpus Christi, who came with the first herd. He was succeeded in 1879 by William C. Moore, former manager for the Swan Cattle Company in Wyoming. Although reputedly a fugitive from the law, Moore proved a capable range boss for the LX. Other notable employees included Cape (C. B.) Willingham, later sheriff of Oldham County, and Marion Armstrong, who later rode the mail line between Tascosa and Mobeetie. Henry McCarty (Billy the Kid) was an occasional visitor to the LX during his cattle-rustling forays. In 1882 Beals, who had become the ranch's principal figure, bought 23,680 acres of land from the Houston and Texas Central Railway Company. Over the next two years he added 100,000 acres, mainly from the firm of Jot Gunter and William B. Munson, Sr. The ranch owned 187,141 acres, not counting school land, and extended from the Palo Duro Canyon and Chalk Hollow in Randall County to the drift fence near the site of present Dumas in Moore County, taking in the entire eastern half of Potter County. Allie Bates, reportedly the son of W. H. Bates, established a line camp on the south bank of the Canadian, in the northeastern part of the range, and grazed a few head of his own cattle east along the river.

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H. Allen Anderson | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Wheeler is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Wheeler is classified as a Town


Latitude: 35.43810480
Longitude: -101.94907550

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated