Heritage, Volume 8, Number 2, Spring 1990 Page: 17
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situated to take advantage of the slightest
breeze, and a large gallery porch across the
front offered a shady respite from the heat
of the Devils country. In later years, a second
bathroom and a large room that served
as E.K.'s office were added..
Domestic features sprang up around
the houses. A limestone block smokehouse
was originally fueled by an interior
fireplace but soon an outdoor fire pit was
added, the smoke piped into the building.
A small frame building housed Frances
Fawcett's tin bathtub, a luxury afforded her
so that she could maintain her practice of
bathing twice daily, regardless of the prevailing
weather conditions. Wash water
was heated in metal drums set in concrete
above a fire base and piped to her laundry
tubs. A raised kitchen garden with
concrete retaining walls and buttresses was
equipped with an irrigation system. A
fattening pen abutted the garden. Outdoor
cooking was accomplished in a large barbecue
pit dug behind the chicken houses.
Large hoses were once attached to the network
of pipes and hydrants that crisscrosses
the ranch yard, a precaution against
the devastating threat of fire.
An acetylene generating
plant, installed around 1932, still
sits in a small building made of
willow stalks and plaster behind
the main houses. Electricity was
introduced around 1939 or 1940
when Delco generators were installed
in the potato store-house
next to the commissary. The
REA finally ran lines to the
ranch in 1950.
A workshop and garage with
storage facilities were built beside
the main house; the anvil was
fixed to a large stump near a
belt-and-pulley driven saw.
Originally, the wagon shed
housed two wagons and later a
pickup truck. The newer garage
contained four stalls and a grease
pit. A hand-operated gas pump
still marks the location of the fuel
tank near the driveway in front of
The Fawcetts were not the
only family living on the ranch.
Four workers' houses were built
south of the main house on the
other side of the farmyard. Each
was two rooms separated by a dog
trot. Children were born and
died; a small cemetery was
established across the creek near the main
road. Although ravaged by time, a wooden
cross and a round stone carved with a single
cross mark the site of the graves of unknown
Mexican tenants. One young man,
Jesus Diaz, arrived in 1918 and stayed until
1956. His name was given to the
canyon-that enters Dolan Creek across
from the ranch house. His most remarkable
feat was the massive amount of poured
concrete in the headquarters buildings. He
built the hay barn, wool barn, raised
gardens, stock troughs, building pads, all
with hand mixed cement poured into
The ranch soon began to resemble a
hamlet. A school was built down by the
creek and the local children attended under
the jurisdiction of a young female
teacher. The school was abandoned
around World War I. The building and a
nearby bunkhouse for the single workers
was destroyed in the flood in 1932. Some of
the schoolhouse lumber was reused in the
ranch headquarters built on the portion of
the ranch inherited by Lee Fawcett, now
part of Devils River State Natural Area. In
Chimnev of worker's house.
1940, a new bunkhouse was built high on
the hill behind the main houses.
The needs of the ranch dwellers were
supplied by a commissary equipped with
bins and shelves for storage of staple items.
In the beginning, supplies were brought by
wagon twice a year from Schreiner's store
in Kerrville. Coffee, beans, sugar, flour,
salt, pepper, canned goods, soap, and
clothes were dispensed over a counter that
ran across the front of the store. Bins and
shelves were in the rear and a coffeegrinder
lean-to was added in the 1950s.
The immediate needs of the families were
supplied by a large garden built adjacent to
an enormous oval stock tank between the
workers houses and the headquarters.
There, fruit trees, corn, tomatoes, onions,
and the staple of West Texas life, peppers,
were grown. In good years, oats were planted
in fields that ran back to the bluff behind
the house. Hay and foodstuffs- potatoes,
corn and other vegetables-were grown on
a family-owned farm near Del Rio and
brought to the ranch by wagon.
Meat was locally grown and procured
from the wilds. Fish are abundant in the
Devils River and white tail deer
remain a basic commodity in the
local economy. Chicken and turkey
houses, one carriage shed,
and the dairy barn are now gone,
but their former locations are
identi-fiable in the ranch yard.
The pig barn was safely located
across the road and away from the
main house. The hay barn, a
massive structure, was built by
hand, raised by pouring handmixed
concrete into forms one
level at a time. The contents and
roof have burned three times,
ignited by lightning or spontaneous
combustion, but the barn
still stands as sturdily as though
built in this decade.
Although cattle were raised for
a short period during the 1930s,
the mainstay of the ranch was always
sheep and goats. At maximum,
20,000 head were pastured
on the 60,000 acre ranch. An
industrial complex was established
in front of the workers
houses. Adjacent to a concrete,
metal-roofed wool barn, foundations
and features of the dip
tank, the shearing shed, and the
weight scales remain relatively
intact. The magnitude of the
HERITAGE * SPRING 1990 17
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 2, Spring 1990, periodical, Spring 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45428/m1/17/: accessed December 15, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.