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Tom Waggoner

December / November 2004

Dan Waggoner risked life and limb to establish ranching operations in north Texas. His early roundups were on the very ground that now supports the town of Wichita Falls, Texas. From the beginning, it was a family operation, D. Waggoner & Son. Dan's son, Tom trailed cattle to Joseph McCoy’s cattle depot in Abilene, Kansas beginning in 1870. That first drive netted $55,000. Wow! $55,000 in 1870 was a fortune!  
 
But father and son were only beginning. They became the biggest ranching concern in all of Texas. But, creating such an empire is not without its difficulties. That’s what makes the story. My favorite trail-driver is Captain Eugene B. Millett. My own family worked for him here in Kansas. Millett ran a tough outfit filled with all kinds of hombres. They were headed up by a fella by the name of Tom Peeler. If they did a movie with Tom Peeler in it, Tom Seleck would have to be Peeler. He was the real life character that Seleck always seems to play in his movies.  
 
Cattle were being rustled and brands were being changed. Dan Waggoner’s foreman was Jimmie Roberts and he was known as Waggoneer’s “top peeler”. There was a bout to be a confrontation on the range. The dealing that was about to take place was “classic old west”.  
 
The Three D brand became one of the most widely recognized brands in Texas. But, even greater fortune came to the outfit when they drilled deep wells in search of water.

 

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