The history of 1894 Baxter Ranch begins with the formidable and pioneering spirits of Syrus Almond Baxter and Laura Baxter. Their steely determination and vision laid the foundation for what would eventually become a thriving ranch. With the initial purchase of the homestead in Bend, TX, they planted a seed of legacy that has grown and thrived through generations.
Their successors, from Luther Archie (Big daddy) and Ora Jean (Mama Jean) Baxter to Syrus Archie (S.A. or Grandaddy) and Mary Jane Baxter, then Stephen Archie and Sally Baxter, and now Weston and Savannah McCoury, have each left indelible imprints on the ranch’s legacy. Each consecutive generation has built upon the solid foundation of their forebears, contributing to the rich tapestry of the ranch’s history and evolution and shaping it into the impressive estate it is today.
The Ranch’s Early Days
In the early days, the Baxter Ranch was not just a piece of land but a living testament to the will for survival. The founding members of the ranch, through their grit and unyielding resilience, strived to make a living from the harsh, sometimes unforgiving Texas ground. This initial venture was not just about profit but survival, about creating life on and from the land and laying down roots for future generations. It was the realization of a vision, the birth of a lineage that would endure through trying times.
Enter Ora Jean Baxter, a woman of resourcefulness and vision who significantly diversified the ranch’s productivity when she expanded the operations beyond cattle, introducing a bustling chicken and egg production. Additionally, she recognized the value of dairy, adding fresh milk, cream, and butter to the ranch’s output.
This diversification continued further as horses were introduced and became a staple of the ranch under Grandaddy Baxter’s stewardship. The ranch was recently expanded to include registered Dorper sheep and goats, achieving a well-rounded and dynamic operation.
Hardships and Triumphs
Baxter Ranch’s happy history did not happen without its share of trials and tribulations. Significant events, like heart-wrenching separations during war times, are etched into the ranch’s memory. Luther Baxter left the safety of the ranch to fight bravely in World War II, and Grandaddy Baxter joined the army, marking critical periods of separation for the family.
Even back home, the family was not immune to hardships as they faced periods of drought and the challenges presented by the devastation of the Great Depression. However, through every challenge, the Baxters proved time and again their unyielding strength and commitment to their land.
Serving and Growing with the Community
The 1894 Baxter Ranch is not an isolated entity but an integral thread in the fabric of the local community. Syrus Almond Baxter, known for hauling pecans to Lometa and selling them, and Luther Baxter, a prodigious pecan producer of his time, were influential figures within the surrounding regions. Additionally, Ora Baxter is fondly remembered for her contributions to local food production. Her thriving chicken, egg, and dairy operations and her expansive gardens added an invaluable layer of self-sufficiency and sustenance to the community.
Looking Towards the Future
As they plan for the future, the 1894 Baxter Ranch is poised for expansion and innovation. The Baxter family plans to increase their direct-to-consumer beef operation, acquire more lease land, and introduce more animals, including pigs. This would allow them to offer a broader organic meat selection to their customers, directly from their ranch to the consumer’s table.
More than just expansion, the Baxter family is committed to nurturing their land and livelihood. They are exploring more regenerative ranching and farming practices, determined to maintain the harmonious relationship they have worked hard to establish. They uphold the highest standards of humane care for their livestock, avoiding the use of hormones and antibiotics, thus ensuring a sustainable, ethical, and healthy future for the 1894 Baxter Ranch.