The Prairie’s End Hunt Club is located on the historic Enderby Ranch. It was founded in Cooke County, Texas by Edward E. Enderby in 1876. Born in Wainfleet Lincolnshire, England, Edward was experienced in agriculture and grist milling. After a brief stay in Canada and Wilton, Wisconsin, he and his family settled in Texas after Edward bought 1,000 acres of Texas’s spectacular tall grass Blackland Prairie for the high price of 3 dollars per acre.
Enderby Ranch, intact to this day, is located five miles southwest of Gainesville, Texas and lies directly on the old Butterfield Stage line (1858 to 1861) route and the legendary Chisholm Cattle Trail (1866 to 1880). This over 125 year old ranch bore witness to a time period in U.S. history when Manifest Destiny was still a dream that called upon westward expansion which heralded the “Old West” and true Western cowboys. These cowboys gathered long horn cattle from the open ranges of South Texas and herded them north along the grueling cattle trails. Thousands of head of cattle would stop in Cooke and Montague Counties to rest and feed on the vast stretches of prairie grass. However, long horn cattle were not the only icon to grace Enderby Ranch, remnants of buffalo wallows can still be seen on parts of the property. Once the cattlemen and their cattle were rested and their chuck wagons restocked, the herds crossed the often treacherous Red River and moved into Indian Territory continuing their slow move north for final shipping to the beef hungry northeast markets.
Captain Enderby, an astute businessman, built his cattle ranch southwest of Gainesville, Texas for a reason. Gainesville was soon to become a booming cattle town in the 1880’s and was listed as the home address for 40 to 50 members of the newly formed Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association. The T.S.C.R.A. held their two of their earliest annual conventions and social balls at the town’s famous Lindsay Hotel in 1883 and 1888. Several large two and three story Victorian homes built by some of Texas’s early cattle barons still remain as testaments to the area’s once prominent role in Texas’s cattle history. Ironically, the first ten rolls of barbed wire sold in the State of Texas were sold in Gainesville, an event which would oracle the demise of the open cattle ranges and interstate cattle drives.
Still owned and operated by Enderby family, Enderby Ranch is one of the few ranches in the Dallas and Fort Worth area to be open to the public for upland game bird hunting. Clumps of native big and little bluestem grasses still wave high above the floor of the ranch’s old prairie meadows offering a habitat that hides birds from hunters just as this beautiful ancient grass has done for a thousand years. Enderby Ranch has worked with the Sam Noble Foundation for years restoring the prairie to its habitat before the intrusion of mass agriculture altered it.