A Guide to the Franke Ranch Records, 1904-1977
In El Campo, Wharton County, Texas, in 1904, Herman A. "H. A." Franke (1872-1971) and his brother Henry (1855-1925) founded the Franke Ranch, where they raised cattle, sheep, chicken, bees, and hogs as well as farmed rice, cotton, corn, and other crops. In 1918, H. A. acquired 8,000 acres in Maverick County, where the ranch relocated in 1919. After buying out his brother’s estate’s share in the cattle, H. A. leased the adjoining 4,500-acre Schmidt Ranch in 1934. Four years later, he joined in a ranching partnership with his children: Arthur P., Edwin H., Clarence B., Sidney S., and Gertrude C., who had worked as a bookkeeper for the ranch since 1929. Following H. A. Franke’s death, the family dissolved their partnership in 1973 and sold the ranch four years later.
Comprised of financial and legal records, the Franke Ranch Records, 1904-1977, document the administration of the Franke Ranch in El Campo, Wharton County, Texas from 1904 to 1919 and in Maverick County from 1919 to 1977. Ledgers illustrate expenses and income, taxes and social security payments, employees and time records, herd numbers, and personal expenses for the Franke family. Additionally, the collection includes deeds and notes regarding property and livestock as well as the 1977 survey for H.A. Franke’s estate
Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s “History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light project,” 2009-2011.
This collection is open for research use.
Franke Ranch Records, 1904-1977, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection contains unprocessed materials.
Detailed Description of the Papers