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Maverick Ranch


Cattle ranch in Little Bend, Texas, owned by Bret and Bart Maverick[1] in 1867.


In 1838, Samuel A. Maverick was beginning his expansive land empire with a passion. Hoping to encourage immigration from the East, he started with family.[2] He granted his Cousin Micah Maverick 3,600 acres of undeveloped ranch land in Little Bend, Texas, only a little more than a hundred miles north of his own home in San Antonio.[3]


Micah, an insightful businessman, foresaw the potential of the growing cattle industry in the vast grazing lands of Texas. Leaving his home in Charleston in the hands of a few trusted representatives, Micah decided to move his family to Little Bend. Hoping also to encourage his two wayward brothers, Beauregard and Bentley, to adopt a more responsible life, Micah paid them each $5,000 to make the move with him and become partners in the Maverick Ranch.[3]


Beauregard's wife, Belle, agreed with Micah that her husband needed to learn more responsibility. A Texas ranch and the rigors of frontier life would surely be the best thing for him. Raising a family in such an environment could finally cure his wanderlust. Later that year, Beauregard and Belle moved from Charleston to Little Bend with Micah, as well as with Brother Bentley, his wife and their young son Beau.[3]


By early 1839, the Maverick clan had established the Maverick Ranch and a year later, on May 11, 1840, Beauregard and Belle's first child, Bret, was born on the ranch. Bartrum Maverick was born on September 16, 1841.[3]


As her two boys grew, Belle tried vainly to discourage what she considered their their Pappy's shiftless ways. But the boys idolized him, and loved his stories about how he and their Uncle Bent had traveled the South, playing poker for a living. In early 1848, Belle Maverick died of a fever, leaving her sons' Pappy to raise them on his own.[3]


In 1854, Pappy and Bentley took their boys on the Grand Excursion by rail and riverboat up the Upper Mississippi River to St. Paul, Minnesota Territory. Afterwards, they decided they had had enough of life in Little Bend and did not return. Micah was left on his own to run the Maverick Ranch.[3]


At the outbreak of the Civil War in April of 1861, with no other Mavericks in Little Bend, Uncle Micah felt compelled to return to his native South Carolina and look after his personal interests there. Upon hearing this, Bret and Bart decided to return to Little Bend and watch over the Maverick Ranch.[3]


As the war escalated, Bret and Bart found themselves compelled to enlist in the Confederate Army. In early 1862, the boys sold off the cattle from the ranch[3] for $1,650 in gold and deposited it at Jessie Hayden's General Store and left Little Bend to serve as Johhny Rebs.[1]


Trail West to Fury: In August of 1867,[3] after more than five years fighting Yankees in the Civil War and Indians[1] along the Santa Fe Trail,[3] Bret and Bart Maverick returned to their home town of Little Bend, Texas to settle down on the cattle ranch[1] their Uncle Micah left them[3] and raise a herd. Having been robbed of all their money, Bret and Bart were forced to accept jobs as trail bosses on the Miller cattle drive to Fort Adobe. In an ambush the night before the drive, Bret killed a gunman from the Jessie Hayden Ranch in self-defense, while Bart killed another. A mysterious Tall Man witnessed the gunfight but left without giving account of the Mavericks' innocence. Bret worked the Miller drive for two months while Bart tracked the Tall Man.[1] In October of 1867,[3] the cattle drive was over and Bret and Bart had earned $20,000, but the Tall Man's whereabouts were still unknown. With murder charges against them in Texas, Bret and Bart could not return without the Tall Man clearing their names. The Mavericks continued searching for the Tall Man for years.[1]


By 1872, the Maverick Brothers' names had been cleared of the murder charges in Texas,[4] but they had decided they preferred the wandering life. They returned to Texas often,[5] but sold the Maverick Ranch to Laura Miller. Under the Miller brand, the ranch thrived into the 1890s. Eventually, the cattle ranch was converted to farmland.[3]


Today, the site of the Maverick Ranch has been re-cultivated as pecan orchards.[3]


01. Maverick, Trail West to Fury (1958), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

02. Turn Your Eyes Toward Texas: Pioneers Sam and Mary Maverick, Paula Mitchell Marks (1989), Texas A&M University Press

03. The Conjectural Maverick, Maverick Trails

04. Maverick, Ghost Rider (1960), Warner Bros. Pictures, Inc.

05. The Maverick Saga

As they ride out to the Maverick Ranch, Bart and Bret Maverick are bushwhacked by Jim Hazlit and Miguel. [1]

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