"Lone Star Historian 2" is a blog about the travels and activities of the State Historian of Texas during his second year. Bill O'Neal was appointed to a two-year term by Gov. Rick Perry on August 22, 2012, at an impressive ceremony in the State Capitol. Bill is headquartered at Panola College (www.panola.edu) in Carthage, where he has taught since 1970. For more than 20 years Bill conducted the state's first Traveling Texas History class, a three-hour credit course which featured a 2,100-mile itinerary. In 2000 he was awarded a Piper Professorship, and in 2012 he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Wild West Historical Association. Bill has published over 40 books, almost half about Texas history subjects, and in 2007 he was named Best Living Non-Fiction Writer by True West Magazine. In 2013 he was awarded an honorary Doctor of Letters degree by his alma mater, Texas A&M University - Commerce.
|General office of the XIT in Channing|
|Vault in the general office|
In 1879, following legislative groundwork laid in previous years, the Texas Legislature passed a law appropriating 3,050,000 acres of Panhandle rangeland to finance a splendid new state capitol in Austin. From this legislation emerged the Capitol Syndicate Ranch, better known in western ranching circles as the XIT. The magnificent state house was built from 1885 to 1888 by a Chicago firm designated the Capitol Syndicate. As construction progressed the company received title to their Panhandle lands. The Capitol Syndicate assumed $3,224.593.45 in construction costs, making the price of their land $1.07 per acre, about twice the going rate for well-watered Panhandle rangelands.
|The magnificent State Capitol was built by the Capitol Syndicate in return for 3,000,000 acres of rangeland.|
|The much-photographed Empty Saddle|
monument in Dalhart.
The XIT Ranch extended from the northwest corner of the Texas Panhandle south for more than 200 miles along the New Mexico border, covering parts of 10 counties across the sparsely settled Staked Plains. Fencing operations began in 1884, and 300 carloads of materials were purchased at a cost of $181,000. During the next decade the ranch was divided into 94 pastures requiring about 1,500 miles of fence. Some 6,000 miles of wire were used, along with 100,000 cedar posts, five carloads of wire staves, one carload of staples, and an entire carload of hinges for the hundreds of gates. Line riders maintained a constant check on the fencing, and some divisions kept fence wagons in operation at all times.
|Las Escarbadas Division bunkhouse, now at the|
Ranch Heritage Center in Lubbock.
|The Hotel Rivers stood beside the General Office building.|
|Las Escarbadas Division headquarters|
|The Yellow House Division headquarters now form|
HQ for the Yellow House Ranch.