MCFADDIN RANCHES. The McFaddin Ranches of Beaumont consisted of a Jefferson County ranch of approximately 120,000 acres and a 48,000-acre ranch in Knox and King counties. Beginning with James McFaddin (1789–1845) and his son William M. McFaddin (1819–1897), five generations of the family accumulated the lands that became known as the McFaddin Ranches. The principal builder was William Perry Herring McFaddin (1856–1935), called Perry, under whom the ranches reached their largest extent, about 160,000 acres. In the 1890s large portions of the Jefferson County ranch were sold to the developers of the Gulf, Beaumont, and Kansas City Railway and to the Port Arthur Townsite Company, and Perry McFaddin began additional acquisitions in Jefferson County. In 1916 he bought the ranch in Knox and King counties. At first the herds of the area ranches mingled on the open range, and yearly roundups of several weeks' duration were required for branding calves and making up herds for cattle drives to market in Louisiana. The principal brands used by the ranches were the M6 and the Mashed O. Perry McFaddin, the first man to try to fence the local range, built a fence from the Neches River marsh to Rodair Gully in 1878. The ranches ran as many as 20,000 head until pasture improvement and conservation measures were undertaken and herds were reduced to between 6,000 and 10,000 head. Perry McFaddin experimented with feedlot and meat-packing operations; at one time "McFaddin Steaks" were advertised in New York restaurants. He also commercialized the trapping of muskrats and maintained warehouses and yearly auctions for the fur trappers on the ranch. Several oilfields were on the ranches. In the early 1930s the Jefferson County ranch was crossed by the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and a unique practice of coastal ranches began: the yearly swimming of the herds south to winter pasture and north for the summer. With twenty miles of beach front, the ranch contained extensive wetlands, now included in the 14,000-acre Sea Rim State Park, the 42,000-acre McFaddin National Wildlife Refuge,qqv and 8,500 acres of the 12,000-acre J. D. Murphree Wildlife Management Area. Ownership of the ranches was in the McFaddin Trust from 1928 to 1948. After the trust dissolved, the separate holdings were still run as a unit until the sale of all but a few scattered tracts between 1951 and 1979 ended a century and a half of McFaddin family ranching in Southeast Texas.
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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Rosine McFaddin Wilson, "McFaddin Ranches," accessed May 28, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apm06.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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