The “O X”, as we call it, is an approximately 95,000 acre ranching operation including the roughly 68,000 acre O.X. farm and ranch located in the high Sonoran Desert 15 miles North of Wickenburg, Arizona and the nearly 29,000 acre Little Horse Ranch located in the pine-covered country along the I-17 freeway beginning 3 miles south of Flagstaff, Arizona.
The 140-year old O.X. Ranch, which is regarded by many as the finest desert ranch in the Southwest, extends from the town of Congress, Arizona, at a 3,000 ft. elevation, to the pine-covered peaks of the Weaver Mountains at almost 6,000 feet.
As reported by Dan B. Genung in his book , Death in His Saddlebags, in 1863 when his father's party was heading from California to the reported Gold Strikes in the Prescott area, as they came over the crest of a hill and saw the valley in which the farm and ranch headquarters are now located. "We rounded a stony crest and stopped suddenly to feast our startled eyes on fields of meadow grass and flowers which grow belly high. Groves of walnut trees and giant cottonwoods covered acre after acre." One of the members of his party was reported to exclaim, "My God, we've found the garden of Eden." Shortly thereafter, the US army located a fort near the headquarters at the junction of Date Creek and Cottonwood Creek so that the settlers traveling along the wagon trail from California to the gold fields of Arizona, could be protected from Indian attacks.
The three perennial streams that converge at the headquarters, together with a spring that produces several hundred gallons of water per minute, a 30ft. water table, and a 13 acre lake make it possible to preserve the headquarters as a verdant and productive oasis in the desert - an oasis that is protected by more than 2,000 acres of deeded land.
The surrounding desert also provides a unique combination of almost 300 varieties of grasses, forbs , shrubs and trees which provide year-round feed for the cattle and horses. The abundance of bean producing mesquite trees provides a unique source of high protein feed which is available even during periods of drought. A rare Joshua Tree forest near the headquarters rivals that contained in the Joshua Tree National Monument.
No wonder General Crook, who was credited with resolving the Indian hostilities in Arizona, acquired a portion of the main ranch headquarters in the 1800s. The history of the ranch includes a murder, a train wreck, an arrest involving a moonshine operation, an extensive search for a "Wild Man", who was eventually killed in a gun battle with Sheriff deputies, an arson that burned an extensive portion of the ranch, flights to Mexico to avoid prosecution, Indian uprisings, and an Indian massacre. The existing bullet hole in the owner's kitchen counter and a bullet lodged in a ceiling beam attest to the exciting history of the O.X. Ranch.
Copyright 2013, OX Ranch, Congress, Arizona
O X Ranch