In December 1882, the Matador Land and Cattle Company was formed by Scottish investors who assumed the Texas ranching operations for $1.25 million. The acquisition included about 1.5 million acres in Motley, Floyd, Dickens and Cottle counties. In 1951, the company, which then owned about 800,000 acres, was sold to Lazard Freres and Company of London for $18.9 million. Upon its purchase from the Scots, Lazard Freres sub-divided the land for sale.
In 1952, Fred C. Koch, co-founder of what has become Koch Industries, Inc., bought the Flying V cattle brand and the “50” horse brand, both of which were used by the Scots during their 70-year ownership. He also acquired the ranch headquarters, south of the city of Matador. It is a stone house that lies east of a spring-fed lake, overlooking the corrals and barns. The house is 7,000-square-feet, under roof. The 24-inch-thick exterior walls were built from rock quarried on the ranch. The house was designed with two separate uses: the west end for the ranch manager and the east end for visiting Scottish investors.
Today, the ranch manager lives in the west end, and the ranch’s business operations are conducted from the east end.
For additional historical photos of Matador Ranch, please see the Amon Carter Museum’s photo collection.