Two unlikely factors triggered the formation of this three million acre ranch in the Texas Panhandle. First, the Texas capitol burned, and then a Chicago man saw an ad in a newspaper.
In 1881 after the state capitol building burned to the ground, Texas was dead broke, but land rich. Governor Richard Coke hit upon an innovative idea and placed an advertisement in a Washington newspaper offering three million acres of land in the panhandle of West Texas in exchange for three million dollars to rebuild the capitol.
Chicago businessman John Farwell answered the ad. When the deal was made, the largest ranch in the world became a reality and Texas history, its landscape, its financial future and the face of the "wild west" were forever changed.
In this well-researched book Casad, a maverick Texan herself, artfully describes the challenges, struggles and heartaches of managing this massive enterprise that set the stage for the beginning of the cattle industry and the adaptation of the cowboy as a permanent icon in the cultural identity of Texas.
Farwell’s Folly: The Rise and Fall of the XIT Ranch in Texas is available at Amazon.com in paperback ($16.95) and Kindle ($5.99) formats.
Dede Weldon Casad, Ph.D., is a native Texan and the author of more than a dozen books, mostly about Texas and Texans. She lives in Dallas, where she has participated in a wide range of business and civic activities. Learn more at www.DedeCasad.com.