The incredibly large XIT Ranch was 3,000,000 acres and was traded to its owners so that Texas could pay for the construction of just one building—the state capitol in Austin. The XIT Ranch (the name is from how the cattle were branded) existed from 1885, but effectively was disbanded by the early 1900s after several unprofitable attempts to raise cattle.
The city of Dalhart has called itself the “XIT City” since at least 1939-1940—long after dissolution of the famous ranch. Dalhart has an XIT Museum and hosts an XIT Rodeo.
Wikipedia: Dalhart, Texas
Dalhart is a city in Dallam and Hartley counties in the U.S. state of Texas, and the county seat of Dallam County. The population was 7,237 at the 2000 census. Founded in 1901, Dalhart is named for its location on the border of Dallam and Hartley counties. Dalhart sits at the intersection of U.S. Highway 87, 385, and 54.
The city of Dalhart is known by many Texans as a gateway to the Colorado Rockies. The city’s position in the northwestern corner of the Texas Panhandle—only the town of Texline is further northwestward in Texas—makes it a pivotal stopover for travelers going to or returning from the mountains.
Two miles south of Dalhart is Rita Blanca Canyon, site of Rita Blanca Lake State Park.
Dalhart is also known as the “XIT City” because of its relationship with the historic XIT Ranch. The ranch was a 3,000,000-acre (12,000 km2) plot of land traded in exchange for the construction of the Texas State Capitol in Austin. The ranch was dissolved in 1912, but its history is celebrated with the city’s XIT Museum and the XIT Rodeo and Reunion. Held annually on the first full Thursday through Sunday weekend of August, the event includes the world’s largest free barbecue, junior rodeo as well asProfessional Rodeo Cowboys Association events, three nights of live music, and a variety of other offering to celebrate the occasion. The Empty Saddle Monument, located at the crossroads of Dalhart, was constructed in 1940 at the request of Bobby Dycke, the wife of a ranch hand, to recognize the contribution of the XIT cowboys to the history of the region.
Dalhart was in the center of the Dust Bowl, an area adversely affected by a long period of drought and dust storms during the Great Depression of the 1930s.
At the Dallam County Courthouse, Dalhart honors the memory of James R. Fox, Jr. (March 16, 1919—March 11, 1943), who flew supplies to China for Pan American Airways, then a joint Chinese and American company, during World War II through the treacherous Hump Route. Fox and his two Chinese copilots were killed, when their Douglas C-52 cargo plane crashed. In 2002, the Peoples Republic of China made a bronze bust in Fox’s honore and presented it to Dalhart.
Wikipedia: XIT Ranch
The XIT Ranch was a cattle ranch in the Panhandle of Texas which operated from 1885 to 1912. Comprising over 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) of land, it ran for two hundred miles (300 km) along the border with New Mexico, varying in width from 20 to 30 miles (30 to 50 km).
In 1879, the Sixteenth Texas Legislature appropriated 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) of land to finance a new state capitol. In 1882, in a special legislative session, the Seventeenth Texas Legislature struck a bargain with Charles B. and John V. Farwell, under which a syndicate, led by the Farwells, agreed to build a new $3,000,000.00 Texas State Capitol and accept the 3,000,000 acres (12,000 km²) of Panhandle land in payment.
The ranch started operations in 1885 and at its peak averaged handling 150,000 head of cattle within its 1,500 miles (2,400 km) of fencing. The ranch also erected 325 windmills and 100 dams across its land.
The famous XIT brand imprinted on the backside of the ranch’s cattle arose from the low-cost, practical use of a single-bar brand being able to make an “X”, an “I” and a “T” with a single heat iron (no custom-ordered shape being required!).
However timing was bad for the XIT as cattle prices crashed in 1886 and 1887. By the fall of 1888, the ranch was unable to sell its cattle and break even. The cattle on the ranch were constantly plagued by cattle rustlers and predators, especially wolves leading to further losses for the syndicate.
Rufus Jack Bradley was a wagon boss on the XIT in the 1870s. His grandson and granddaughter-in-law, Minnie Lou Bradley, went on to establish the Bradley 3 Ranch in Childress County east of Amarillo.
In 1901, the syndicate that owned the ranch, began selling off the land to pay off foreign investors as the bonds became due. By 1905, most of the land was subdivided, with large tracts being sold to other cattlemen and small amounts of land being sold to farmers. The last of the XIT cattle were sold on November 1, 1912, and land sales subsequently increased.
Charles B. Farwell died in 1903 and John V. Farwell died in 1908.
Though the XIT was the largest and one of the best known of the cattle ranches, the JA Ranch to its east covered portions of six counties, and more than 130 years after its founding by Charles Goodnight and John George Adair, the JA remains a working ranch owned by the Adair heirs.
In remembrance of the massive ranch, the City of Dalhart hosts the XIT Museum and the annual XIT Rodeo & Reunion held the first Thursday through Sunday of August. The celebration includes three days of junior and professional (PRCA) rodeo events, the world’s largest free barbecue, three nights of live music, a mud bog competition, an antique tractor-pull, and many other activities.
Dalhart Area Chamber of Commerce
“The XIT City”
The Portal to Texas History
Dalhart, Texas : the XIT city : Dallam and Hartley Counties / compliments of R.S. Coon Ranches.
Publisher Name: R.S. Coon Ranches
Place of Publication: Dalhart, Texas
Original Creation Date: c. 1939 - 1940
(Place) United States - Texas
(Era) Into Modern Times, 1939-Present
From 1939 To 1940
Description: Brochure for Dallam and Harley counties, Texas, highlighting Dalhart Texas, “The XIT City”. Includes numerous photographs of people, places and livestock. Text describes the assets of the community.
Probable date from the following: “100 miles of paved highways in Dallam, Hartley and Sherman counties, with 22 miles more to be constructed in 1940.”
25 January 2003, Austin (TX) American-Statesman, “History for Sale” by Laylan Copelin:
Dalhart calls itself “The XIT City.” Although XIT is now just Texas lore, the brand is everywhere—on a real estate agency, a cable service, ...