While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


H. Allen Anderson

OS RANCH. The OS brand was begun in 1878 by Richard H. Overall of Coleman County in partnership with a man named Sharp. The brand combines the initials of their surnames. By 1881 Sharp apparently had sold out his interest to Overall. About that time the OS cattle were trailed to open range near the head of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos in Garza County. A year later Overall sold out to the brothers Andrew J. and Frank M. Long, who had also bought the 202 brand herd from the Lexington Cattle Company of Kentucky. The Longs, who adopted the OS brand as their own, ran their cattle over the southeastern quarter of Garza County along the Double Mountain Fork. The first fences on the range were those built across gaps in the breaks to prevent cattle from drifting. In January 1884, however, the Longs began enclosing their pastures and buying or leasing additional acreage and cattle. By the turn of the century they held 26,411 acres of school land and various grass leases. In June 1901 they sold all of their holdings to Wilson E. Connell, John Scharbauer, and E. W. Clark for approximately $40,000. The Fort Worth-based firm also purchased the herd of 9,500 stock cattle, 312 bulls, and 118 horses, along with the wagons and other ranch equipment, for $200,239. As the new owners, Connell and his partners added improvements and continued buying both school and railroad land until their range had increased to around 100,000 acres. At a picnic in a chinaberry grove near the OS headquarters in 1906 plans were made for the organization of Garza County the following year. At that time the partners sold 27,175 acres to Charles W. Post. In the 1907 election, which was held at the ranch bunkhouse, two OS cowboys, James M. Boren and Oscar B. Kelly, were elected county judge and sheriff, respectively. In 1914 W. E. Connell and his brother G. W. bought out Scharbauer's quarter interest of 55,371 acres, and in 1920 they did the same with E. W. Clark's interest of 57,169 acres. Later the Connells enjoyed new prosperity from the OS after several oil wells were brought in on it. Although subsequently reduced in size, the OS Ranch still operates, with headquarters near the Polar Road east of Justiceberg and seven miles out of Snyder on Highway 84. In 1972 a marker was unveiled at the headquarters by the Garza County Historical Survey Committee to commemorate the county's organization. Ranch foreman Jim Prather erected a memorial plaque listing the names of those who attended the organization picnic of 1906.

Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Garza County Historical Survey Committee, Wagon Wheels: A History of Garza County, ed. Charles Didway (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1973). Jesse Wallace Williams, The Big Ranch Country (Wichita Falls: Terry, 1954; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1971).

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, H. Allen Anderson, "OS RANCH," accessed June 01, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apo07.

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...