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ABOUT US

 

The Huspeth River Ranch lies at the spring fed headwaters of the Devils River.

 

One of the ranch's main attractions other than the river are the massive pecans, live oaks, sycamores and mulberry trees that shade it's 
banks.  Some of the oaks are estimated to be six hundred years old.  Originally called the San Pedro River by spanish speaking settlers, it's name was changed when Texas Ranger Captain Jack Hayes traveled the area.  He said it's rough terrain, frequent flooding and rocky bottom did not deserve to be named after a man of God but rather after Satan himself.

 

 A land nourished with biological diversity. From the Rio Grande alluvial soil deposits found along the river, the Trans-Pecos influence of rolling to broken plains found on the western part of the ranch, Chihuahuan Desert characteristics like the growth of creosote brush all the way to the Edwards 
Plateau of hilly, canyon cut limestone to the east of the ranch.  The majority of the ranch's topography is limestone hills, which in some spots rise discernibly hundreds of feet above canyon floors.  

 

 About 20 miles north of the Rio Grande and about 20 miles east of the Pecos River, the ranch property lies in Val Verde County about 50 miles northwest of Del Rio.  The site of Fort Hudson, an army post established before the Civil War and reopened after the war is less than three miles away.  Soldiers there were in charge of protecting travelers on the road between San Antonio and El Paso from attacks by Indians.  The ranch was founded in 1883 by Robert W. Prosser.  He purchased the first 9,000 acres for it's major resource.  Prosser was attracted to the property because of the reliable water source flowing from the headwaters of the Devil's River.  In 1885, Prosser was the first in the area to begin fencing his land, a nearly impossible task due to the limestone found only inches below the soil on most of the ranch.  Many of the post holes 
were chipped out of the rock with a pointed steel bar.  It wasn't until 1888 when Prosser drilled the area's first water well to a depth of 800 feet.  The first powered shearing machine was brought into the region by Prosser and that year sheared 40,000 sheep.  Eventually, Prosser expanded his ranch to 117,000 acres and stocked it with sheep, goats and cattle.  He helped organize the Del Rio National Bank and was considered a man of many talents, Prosser helped shape the history of the region.    

Claude B. Hudspeth, another remarkable man, purchased the ranch in 1905.  He established his headquarters in the original house built by Prosser along a creek which pours out of a rocky hill just west of the main channel of the Devil's River.  Mr. Hudspeth was born in 1877 and proved early in life to be a great man of action.  He started his professional career at the age of nine.  He was self educated  after finding a copy of Plutarch's Lives.  At the age of fifteen, Mr. Hudspeth established his own newspaper, The Ozona Kicker, in Ozona, Texas.  A small community that would become the seat of Crockett County.  When Claude was only twenty years old, he was elected by friends as the areas Justice of the Peace.  He didn't tell anyone his age which was too young to serve.  He was elected to the state legislature as a representative in 1901.  In 1907 elected state senator in a district that ran from El Paso to Fredericksburg.  He served four terms as president pro tem of the state senate and in 1911 was appointed to the Penitentiary Investigating Committee.  He led a radical reform of the Texas prison system to "abolish the bat" and institute the prison farm system.  He studied law by reading in the office of Turney and Burgess.  In 1909, he was admitted to the bar.  In 1917, the state honored Claude by naming a county in West Texas for him.  It was in 1918 that he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives and served with distinction until he retired in 1932.  He purchased the Altuda Ranch in Brewster County where he drove 1,400 head 
of registered Hereford cattle there from the Hudspeth River Ranch.  A distance of 255 miles and not a single animal was lost in the three week journey across the difficult county.