The Van Trump Report

Historic Turkey Track Ranch Hits the Market for $200 Million

Turkey Track Ranch, an 80,000 acre property owned and operated by the same family for over a century, is officially on the market. The Turkey Track Ranch was started around 1878, making it one of the first five ranches in the Texas Panhandle. Today, the ranch boasts 26 miles of Canadian River front, oil and natural gas resources, sacred battle grounds, one of the greatest varieties of wildlife in all of Texas, and a storied history that goes along with being one of the largest landmark cattle ranches in America. And it can all be yours for a cool $200 million.

Turkey Track Ranch was first established by Richard McNulty around 1878 when he arrived with a herd of cattle bearing a brand that he called “Turkey Track.” He settled on an expanse of free grass in what is now Hutchinson County and by 1879, he reported 6,500 head of cattle and fifty-five horses on 7,000 acres of pasture. In 1881, McNalty sold his ranch to Charles W. Word of Wichita County, Texas, and Jack Snider, of Snider Brothers in Kansas City, and reportedly moved back to Colorado. Word and Snider began building up their herd, and in 1882 they helped other Panhandle ranchers construct a 200-mile drift fence to save their grass from the cattle drifting southward and to control the spread of tick fever. Control of the ranch passed through a few other hands before ending up under the sole ownership of Kansas banker Charlie Patton.

Meanwhile, William Thomas Coble, born October 18, 1875, in Douglas County Missouri, moved to Henrietta, Texas to live with his grandfather, T.M. Johnson, at the age of twelve after the loss of his parents. Working for fifteen dollars a month as a farmhand, he eventually saved $400 and purchased 25 two-year-old steers in 1896, which he grazed on the Canadian River. With around $1,000 in his pocket from the sale of the steers along with his saved farmhand wages, Coble moved to the Panhandle in 1899. He purchased 45 cattle from Charles Goodnight and ran them on a leased section near the RO Ranch. With the profit from them, he purchased four sections of land adjacent to the Turkey Track Ranch for $1.50. He continued to buy up neighboring land and in 1916, purchased the original Turkey Track headquarters after the lease had expired. At that time, he also revived the Turkey Track brand.

In total, Coble had built up a pretty vast ranching empire that included 105 sections of choice grazing land divided into thirty-two pastures and stocked with thousands of high-grade cattle. He was also among the Panhandle ranchers who profited greatly from the oil boom of the 1920s. In 1918 the geologists Scott and Alba Heywood explored the Turkey Track lands and found that they had oil potential. Subsequently, the Coble-Heywood Oil Company was organized with $75,000 capital. Coble served as president and Scott Heywood as general manager of the syndicate, which leased 10,000 acres of Turkey Track land and was among the first to pay a dividend. Phillips Petroleum drilled thirty consecutive producing wells on Coble’s properties.

The property is also the site of the two famed battles of the Adobe Walls of 1864 and 1874, and this hallowed ground — just north of the Canadian River — is revered by descendants of combatants on both sides of the battles. In June of 1924, a six-acre site was given to the Panhandle Plains Historical Society commemorating that month the 50th anniversary of the second battle of the Adobe Walls. In 1941 a monument dedicated to the Native Americans who fought and died in the Battle of 1874 was also erected. Both Monuments are maintained on the ranch today.  

Coble’s daughter Catherine eventually married J. A. Whittenburg II, grandson of famed MM Ranch founder James Andrew Whittenburg. Turkey Track Ranch has remained in the hands of Catherine’s descendants since her death in 1980. In the statement announcing the sale of Turkey Track Ranch, the family said that due to their “increasing numbers and geographical distances, we recognize that it is time to find a new steward for this historic holding.”

The family enlisted Icon Global to handle the sale, which is being overseen by Icon founder Bernard Uechtritz. He has taken a unique approach to marketing the ranch’s sale. That includes enlisting the help of film production company Running Iron Productions to create of a series of movie-style trailers and short film clips about Turkey Track Ranch. You can see those as well as more pictures and details at the Icon Global listing HERE.

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