Pitchfork Land & Cattle

The 125-year-old Pitchfork Ranch breeds good horses by necessity; no modern convenience can take their place in rugged terrain.

In 1881, Dan Gardner was looking for a partner.  He and Col. J. S. Godwin had contracted to buy a herd of longhorn cattle, but due to family problems, Godwin wanted out of the deal.  Gardner wasn’t strong enough financially to handle it all himself, so he began searching for help.

At the last minute, Gardner remembered his Mississippi boyhood friend, Eugene F. Williams, who lived in St. Louis.  When approached, Williams must have like the idea of becoming a Texas rancher.  He took a train to Fort Worth, and he had Gardner bought out Godwin’s interest in the herd.  Williams then returned to St. Louis, leaving Gardner to manage their operation.

Over the next few years, to help with business expenses, Gardner and Williams took in other partners and incorporated the ranch as the Pitchfork Land and Cattle Company.  Gardner and Williams continued to call the shots.  Under their direction, the Pitchfork became one of the most respected ranches in the state. 

The Pitchfork is known for good horses, and cowboys have been known to stay on the ranch instead of taking another job because they didn’t want to leave their horses.

The Pitchfork Ranch utilized Joe Bailey’s King P-7260 as a herd sire for many years.  The good gray stallion, a son of Gonzales Joe Bailey was out of Miss Tommy 58, a granddaughter of King O’Neill II (TB).  The Pitchfork also used Southern Gent (TB), purchased in 1947 at the Remount Dispersal Sale at Fort Robinson, Nebraska.  Southern Gent (TB) was by Open Door (TB) and out of Virginia Lassy by the Remount Stallion Chilhowee (TB), who ran second at the 1924 Kentucky Derby.  The Pitchfork Ranch also utilized the Remount Stallions Bit Bolder (TB), Blue Bull (TB), Reno Daze (TB), Reno Inhale (TB) and Trimmer (TB).

Photograph courtesy of The Quarter Horse Journal