Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 3, Summer 2000 Page: 14
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By Gene Krane
BUSINESSMAN John Poindexter wanted to acquire a ranch with
distinctive character when he began his search for property in 1987. He
had already determined that the property should have economic viability
and scenic beauty, but when Poindexter got his first view of the White
Ranch (also known as the Cibolo Creek Ranch) in remote Presidio County
and saw the remains of an old fort in the distance, crowned by the magnificent
Chinati Mountains, he knew instantly that his search was over. "I
recognized intuitively that the valley of El Ojo Grande del Cibolo constituted
an intersection of historical, scenic, and economic features. The prox
imity to Mexico and highway access
Resolute in his determination to acquire
this spectacular piece of Texas,
Poindexter did not let an exhaustive
two-years of litigation necessary to obtain
title to the ranch, deter him from
his plan. In fact, he used that time to
begin researching the Big Bend area, the
ranch, its founder, and the historical
structures on the site. That research resulted
in a more than 100-page book,
"The Cibolo Creek Ranch," complete
with architectural drawings, historic
photographs, and interviews with many
of the people who lived and worked on
What Poindexter learned was that
the ranch was the homestead of Milton
Faver, who the businessman calls one
of the "preeminent pioneers of the area"
but who others referred to as "the mystery
man of Big Bend." This mystery is
in large part due to the fact that much
of the information concerning Faver's
life remains in question. As a teenager,
Faver, who was said to hail from Missouri
(among other places), engaged in a duel,
and fearing that he had killed the man, fled
south to Mexico in the 1830s. He established
a modest freight business in Ojinaja
that prospered when he realized how profitable
doing business with the nearby Fort
Davis U.S. Army post could be. Apparently
an astute businessman, Faver began
acquiring land near Cibolo Creek, about
33 miles from present-day Marfa, where he
raised cattle and sold the beef to the Army.
Eventually, it is said, that he had a herd of
more than 10,000 cattle that drank from
the waters of the free-flowing El Ojo
Grande del Cibolo Creek on his 2,880-acre
Also drawn to the cool waters of the
ranch were Apache and Comanche Indians.
In order to protect himself and his family
from these marauders, Faver constructed
three forts at the ranch site, the first in
1857, and it was the remains of one of those
structures that first caught the eye of John
Poindexter. These three forts, along with
several other small buildings, also served
as Faver's main residence and headquarters
for his cattle operation.
After Faver died in 1889 and was buried
on one of the mountaintops above
Cibolo Creek, the ranch passed on to his
heirs, and then, through the years, to other
ranching interests. When Southwestern
Holdings, Poindexter's development company,
acquired Cibolo Creek Ranch in
1990, the aim was "to restore the ranch and
its historical structures to a condition and
appearance that Milton Faver would recognize."
Realizing the value of research and
documentation in the preservation process,
Poindexter began the project by contracting
with an archaeologist to carefully excavate
and record the cultural resources
and other details of the property. Artifacts
that were gathered during the excavation
are now housed in the ranch museum.
Following that excavation, construction
workers began the arduous process of re
Milton Faver, founder of the Cibolo Creek
Ranch, is shown in this circa 1885 photo
during the last years of his life. In his book,
Poindexter notes that Faver's attire in this
image corresponds to the photograph of the
east facade of El Fortin de Cibolo, in front of
which Faver is also shown (see that photo on
page 15). Source: Dr. Henry Daly Jr.
T-FR TAC F * 14 * SI JMMER 2000
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Texas Historical Foundation. Texas Heritage, Volume 18, Number 3, Summer 2000, periodical, Summer 2000; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45389/m1/14/: accessed June 26, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.