Mallet Ranch Records, 1865-1992 and undated

Now Available

    Now available for research are the records of the Mallet Land and Cattle Company.  They compose approximately 135 boxes and 9 ledgers of paper materials detailing the activities and expenses of the ranch and the DeVitt family, the landowners.  Most records are financial materials in the form of banks statements and cancelled checks and oil and gas records in the form of revenue statements and oil runs.  A few boxes are correspondence, account ledgers, abstracts, grazing files, farm and ranch management files, right-of-way files, and legal files.  The majority of the collection is twentieth century material.  Some maps describe the efforts of various oil companies to drill for oil on the Mallet Ranch and the lay out of DeVitt’s property.

            D. P. Atwood sold some of his lands from his West Texas ranch to two entrepreneurs willing to invest in the growing market of the cattle industry.  The Mallet Land and Cattle Company, founded by David M. DeVitt and John Scharbauer in 1885, was incorporated in 1903.  Its brand assumed the shape of a croquet mallet.  The Mallet Ranch at one time covered some 200 sections in four counties:  Hockley, Terry, Cochran, and Yoakum.  By 1990, the Mallet Ranch covered nearly 45,000 acres in Hockley County.  Around 1903, C. C. Slaughter who ran the Lazy S Ranch became rivals to the DeVitt’s due to a land dispute in Hockley County.  The land dispute resulted in some fence cutting threats and eventually a lawsuit.  Currently the Johnson and DeVitt family members operate the ranch.  Oil a useful resource was discovered in the late 1930s, which made the land more valuable and the DeVitt family wealthy.  Oil and taxes became a problem to the DeVitt’s that the Mallet cooperation was dissolved in 1944.  It is now held in common by Johnson and DeVitt family members. 

After Mr. DeVitt’s death in 1934 his surviving family included wife Florence (d. 1945) and two daughters Christine (1885-1983) and Helen (1899-1997).  Christine DeVitt managed the ranch for the family.  She became a philanthropist like her younger sister and founded the CH Foundation.  Helen DeVitt Jones was a philanthropist dedicated to education, arts, and the community in Lubbock, Texas.   With the establishment of the Helen Jones Foundation, she has contributed to Texas Tech University, Lubbock’s food bank, and other organizations.

The Mallet Ranch has long survived the test of time from the depression of the cattle economy, land disputes, the discovery of oil, droughts, to better land management.   It continues to operate in the South Plains  of Texas as a historic ranch first founded in the late 19th Century.