Spade Ranches

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Colonel Isaac Ellwood became one of the original patent holders for barbed wire in 1874.  In 1889, he and his son, W. I. Ellwood headed wet to sell their product.  In Colorado City (the furthest stop on the railroad), they purchased 130,000 acres of ranch land headquartered at Renderbrook Springs, TX.  TO stock the ranch, W.I. Ellwood purchased 800 head of cattle from J. F. “Spade” Evans.  The distinctive spade brand on the cattle pleased Ellwood, so he purchased the the brand* and named his ranch after it.  Today, the Spade Ranches include about 275,000 acres and the great-great-grandchildren of Colonel Ellwood participate in the operations.

*Brands on livestock are similar to copyrights on printed material.  They are individually owned and registered for use by a single ranch.  If purchased, the rights are completely transferred and no one may use the brand on their livestock – not even the original owner/creator.

The video from the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) tells the story of passing the love of ranching on to the next generation.