Read the history of one of Texas' most astonishing African 

American ranching families at the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch Area

Legacy of the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch Area

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Ranching Since the Late 1800s
Ranching Since the Late 1800s

Keeping the Legacy Alive!
Keeping the Legacy Alive!

Working Ranch Family
Working Ranch Family

Ranching Since the Late 1800s
Ranching Since the Late 1800s

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The Taylor-Stevenson Ranch is a treasure that seven generations of the family have fought hard to preserve and on which they still live or maintain various areas.

 

The 150-year-old working ranch is one of the oldest Black-owned ranches in the United States, complete with an assortment of livestock. In the shadows of the 4th largest city in the country, the Stevensons have carved out a legacy that can provide a momentary escape from the hurried pace of the city.

 

Numerous tours and field trips are conducted each year. Heritage tours and family reunions are also a part of the activities arranged by the ranch. 

 

 

 

On the walls of the comfortable ranch house that Stevenson shares with Elicious Scott, her husband of nearly 20 years, are photos and memorabilia that trace the ranch's origin to the early years of Houston. In one venerable photo, a white-bearded fellow wearing a weathered 10-gallon hat, his jeans stuffed into his boots, sits in a wooden chair that he has tilted back against the wall of a frame house. His name is Edward Ruthven Taylor. On the wall next to the photo of Taylor is an old photo of a strong-looking black woman in a plain dress looking straight into the camera. Her name was Ann George.

 

The story of the Taylor-Stevenson Ranch begins with those two people, a white landowner and a black slave. They were Stevenson's great-grandparents. Her great-great-grandparents, Edward Wyllys Taylor and Aaroline Taylor, came to Texas from Massachusetts in the 1840s. Building a home on land that's now the site of Wortham Center, E.W. Taylor served in later years as president of the Houston Cotton Exchange and Board of Trade. When the Civil War erupted, E.R., the son, was away at school in New York. In 1862, the 16-year-old came home and joined up with Waul's Texas Legion, a unit raised in Brenham. He ended up getting captured at Vicksburg and contracting consumption (tuberculosis).

 

Once he was released from prison and the Rebel army, his father purchased 21-year-old Ann to look after him. Over time, her cooking skills and her familiarity with herbs and potions restored the young man to good health. Over time, also, the couple fell in love.

 

Nothing unusual about interracial love in the South, of course. What's unusual about E.R. and Ann is that, unlike most slave owners with black mistresses, they lived together openly as husband and wife. Even though it was illegal in Texas for them to marry - not to mention dangerous to live under the same roof - they had six children, all of whom, Stevenson notes, graduated from college.

 

In 1875, Ann persuaded E.R. to buy land south of town, where they could grow hay, raise cattle and tend turkeys. Three decades later, the family found gas in their water well, which gave rise to the Pierce Junction field, the oil field closest to Houston. In 1921, Hugh Roy Cullen made his first strike at Pierce Junction. Howard Hughes reportedly used his rotary drill for the first time in the Taylor pasture.

 

Ann George Taylor died in 1909, her husband in 1924. Their granddaughter, Mollie Taylor married Ben Stevenson, a Tuskeegee University football legend, in the 1930's. Ben Stevenson was inducted in 2003 into the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame at a ceremony in South Bend, Indiana.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

During the 1940s and early 50s, the ranch was home to Sky Ranch Flying School, the first black-owned airport and aviation school in the nation. Established by three former Tuskegee Airmen, who were mechanics for the famed World War II Tuskegee Airmen.

 

The property is also officially listed as a Texas Century Ranch, an honor reserved for ranches operated by the same family for more than 100 years and certified by the Commissioner of the Texas Department of Agriculture.

 

The Ranch continues to be run with family love and values.

 

 

Tuskeegee Football Team | 1930s
Tuskeegee Football Team | 1930s

Pierce Junction Oil Field | 1950s
Pierce Junction Oil Field | 1950s

Sky Ranch School | circa 1940 -1950s
Sky Ranch School | circa 1940 -1950s

Tuskeegee Football Team | 1930s
Tuskeegee Football Team | 1930s

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2013 ACM Grand Market Place
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2013 ACM Grand Market Place
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2013 ACM Grand Market Place
2013 ACM Grand Market Place
2013 ACM Grand Market Place
2013 ACM Grand Market Place
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