01. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
02. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails
03. Fisher-Miller Land Grant, Texas State Historical Association (retrieved April 14, 2014)
04. Bend, TX, Texas State Historical Association (retrieved April 14, 2014)
05. Google Maps, Bend, Texas (retrieved April 14, 2014), maps.google.com
06. Maverick, Ghost Rider (1957), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
07. Maverick, Brasada Spur (1959), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.
Originally settled in 1850 on a small bend in the Colorado River near its confluence with Bee Cave Creek.
In 1838, Samuel A. Maverick acquired 3,600 acres of open grazing land bordering the west side of the Colorado River at the Bee Cave Creek confluence. With no interest in working or maintaining the land himself, Sam offered it to his Cousin Micah Maverick. Sam knew him to be a responsible and thrifty business-minded man. Micah moved to the property in late 1839 with his brothers Beauregard and Bentley's families from Charleston and established the Maverick Ranch.
Within ten years, several other ranches had been established in the area They were only marginally profitable due to frequent raids by Comanche, who considered the land to be their own hunting grounds. Still, the ranchers persevered and a small settlement grew to support and supply the local cattle business. In 1854, the community became known more formally as Schleicher's Bend, named for settler Gustav Schleicher. Two years later, it took the name of McAnelly's Bend, after Robert Daugherty McAnelly, a landowner on the Lampasas side. But from the beginning, it was always referred to by the original ranchers simply as Little Bend.
With the coming of the Civil War, many young men and boys of Little Bend enlisted in the Confederate Army. Some ranches were left in the hands of a few trusted representatives for the duration of the war, while others were abandoned all together.
After the Battle of Fort Sumter in April of 1861, Micah Maverick left Little Bend to fight for his native South Carolina. He left the management of the ranch to his brothers, who had no taste for ranching. Instead, they sold off much of the livestock to finance a life of riverboat gambling along the Sabine and Mississippi rivers.
In 1863, Burchard Miller, partner in the nearby Fisher-Miller Land Grant, moved to Little Bend to take advantage of some of the deserted ranch lands and help maintain some of the smaller operations in the absence of their owners and established the Miller Ranch.
In early 1864, storekeeper Jessie Hayden, Sr. died, leaving the operation of Little Bend's general store to his son, Jessie Junior. By shrewdly investing and manipulating money brought in by the store, Jessie Junior began buying surrounding ranch land to establish the Jessie Hayden Ranch. With land easy to acquire during the Civil War, Hayden's spread challenged the size of the Miller Ranch.
Micah Maverick had achieved the rank of colonel in the Confederate Army, and did not return to Little Bend after the war. With his family safe, but his Charleston home in ruins, he sold off his livestock on the Maverick Ranch to finance rebuilding his life in the South. The ranch itself remained his, which he granted to his nephews Bret and Bart Maverick, who had also served the Confederacy in the war. Despite his brother Beauregard's shiftless raising of the two boys, Micah hoped the boys would return to the town where they grew up and make a fresh, responsible start.
Trail West to Fury: Bret and Bart Maverick returned to their home town of Little Bend in August of 1867. Having collected $1,650 in gold they had left on deposit at Jessie Hayden's general store, they returned to the ranch left to them by their Uncle Micah to settle down and raise cattle. On the way to their ranch, they were robbed of their $1,650. With no money to finance their own ranch, they were forced to accept a job as trail bosses from the neighboring Miller Ranch. Another attack on them resulted in the Mavericks killing their assailants. Only an unknown Tall Man witnessed the gunfight but left without giving his account to the Union Army. Without the Tall Man's account, a charge of murder was placed on the Mavericks. Until the Tall Man could be found, the Mavericks couldn't return to Texas or Little Bend again.
Laura Miller and Jim Hazlit returned to Little Bend in January of 1868 after a profitable cattle drive to Fort Adobe. Near the end of that drive, the owner of a competing drive was killed, leaving his herd abandoned. Unable to sell the additional head to Fort Adobe, Miller and Hazlit drove the herd back along the trail. They were able to sell some of the herd at Fort Sumner on their way back, but still returned to Little Bend with nearly 500 head. With the money they made on their own herd, the additional sale at Fort Sumner, and their chief competitor in Little Bend dead, the Miller Ranch became one of the largest spreads in the region.
In the spring of 1872, the Maverick Brothers' long search for the Tall Man ended successfully. After nearly five years of exile from their home state, Bret returned to Little Bend. There, the Tall Man gave witness to the local authorities of his account of the gunfight between Jessie Hayden's men and the Mavericks. The charges of murder against Bret and Bart Maverick were lifted, and the brothers were once again able to travel freely anywhere in the state of Texas without a price on their heads.
The Miller Ranch thrived into the 1890s. By that time, the Comanche trouble was over and much of the country around Little Bend was converted to farmland. Today, most of the cattle in the area around Little Bend are gone, and much of the farmland has been re-cultivated as pecan orchards.
ABOVE: Little Bend, Texas, 1867
ABOVE: The site of Little Bend, Texas today. Looking west from FM 580 towards the confluence of the Colorado River and Bee Cave Creek.
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