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SEVEN-D RANCH. The Seven-D Ranch headquarters was located on Comanche Creek four miles east of Fort Stockton in central Pecos County. The ranch operated from 1869 to 1899. Its name was taken from its cattle brand, which joined the figure 7 and a small letter d on a common vertical line. In 1869 Cesario Torres took up land in Pecos County. Late in that year and throughout 1870 Torres, his brother, and his father-in-law, Félix Garza, dug a large irrigation ditch with wooden shovels to improve the land. In 1875 the state issued conditional land grants to them. If they maintained the ditches for ten years, the men would receive thirty-seven sections of land. Torres and Garza upheld their agreement and received the land. The land belonging to Torres became known as the Seven-D Ranch. On March 18, 1886, Torres sold the ranch to Jesse H. Presnall and Hart Mussey. Early in 1887 the new owners organized a herd of 3,000 steers for a drive north. Most of the cattle died on the trail, and the disastrous drive forced Presnall and Mussey to sell the 51,000 acres and 20,000 cattle they owned to Fort Stockton Live Stock and Land Company. They received $3 million. Mussey remained as general manager of the ranch. The company sold the Seven-D Ranch and its cattle to Western Union Beef Company on July 19, 1890, for $100 cash and 17,884 shares of capital stock in Western Union Beef. Western Union assumed the Seven-D brand and moved into the ranch headquarters. The new management dismantled some buildings at the old fort located on the ranch and used the lumber to build new structures. Under the new owners much of the ranch was fenced. In 1899 Western Union sold the Seven-D brand and cattle to John T. McElroy of Reeves County. After the Seven-D was absorbed by the McElroy Ranch, the Western Union Beef Company was dissolved.

Johnie Ruth Bowers, "The Seven-D Ranch," Junior Historian, May 1942. Johnie Ruth Hill, "The History of the Seven-D Ranch of Fort Stockton," Permian Historical Annual 18 (1978). Pecos County Historical Commission, Pecos County History (2 vols., Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1984). Clayton W. Williams, Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861–1895 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982).
Julia Cauble Smith

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Handbook of Texas Online, Julia Cauble Smith, "Seven-D Ranch," accessed November 21, 2017,

Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.