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The US State of Texas is perhaps best known for its massive size.
As the second largest state in the country – Alaska being the first largest – Texas includes an incredible 270,000 square miles. The state is twice as large as Japan and Germany, and if it was somehow a country of its own, it would be the 40th largest in land size.
Texas is also one of the hottest and most humid states in the country. Texas land is nearly 95% privately owned, with some of the largest properties for cattle ranching in the country.
Here are the 10 largest land owners in the State of Texas.
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1. Jay Kleberg and The King Heirs
King Ranch, spans an astounding 900,000 acres across a vast expanse of South Texas.
This family-owned ranch was established just a handful of years after Texas was admitted to the union of United States, and has been thriving ever since.
The ranch was actually founded in 1852 by a former steamboat captain named Richard King. King's attorney, Robert Kleberg married one of Richard King's daughters named Alice. In fact, it was this Robert Kleberg who is attributed with much of the ranches' success.
Today, the ranch is owned and operated by the heirs of the family.
2. The Briscoe Family
Briscoe Ranch, clocks in at 640,000 acres.
Founded by Dolph Briscoe, Sr., in 1910, the ranch is located near Uvalde county. Interestingly, Dolph Briscoe Jr. went on to be the Governor of the State of Texas from 1973 to 1979. After Briscoe Jr. passed away in 2010, his children have owned the land.
Most recently, the family has undergone some strife as they determine who owns what. In fact, Cele Carpenter, daughter of Dolph Jr., sued Chip, one of the sons, in 2022 for allegedly withholding funds.
3. Stan Kroenke
The Waggoner Ranch was originally founded in 1852 in Texas, by Daniel Waggoner. After passing in 1903, his son William Thomas Waggoner took over operations and ownership. It was later acquired by Stan Kroenke in February 2016. At the time of acquisition, the ranch was comprised of 520,527 acres but additional acreage was included in the sale making the total closer to 535,000 acres.
The massive ranch is home to a thriving cattle and crude oil production among other crops as well.
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4. O’Connor Family Ranch
The O'Connor Family Ranch is comprised of 500,000 acres based in the South Texas coastal area.
Tom O’Connor sailed from Ireland to the US and landed without a single penny in his pockets. His American dream flourished through land ownership and he died as a multi-millionaire. This wealth came from the oil fields on the ranch.
The ranch today is run by Thomas Michael O'Connor, who is a 5th generation owner and operator of the farm. In addition to being a farmer, he is also a US Marshal in the southern district of Texas.
5. Hughes Family
Dan Allen Hughes Senior first made his fortune with oil and gas. His son, Dan Allen Hughes Junior, who now serves as the owner of Hughes ranch, has served the state of Texas as a commissioner and later a chairman of the Texas Parks and Wildlife Commission.
The family utilizes a good sized portion of the property for personal recreational use, but it is also a cattle ranch and leases out land for hunting.
6. Malone Mitchell III
Owned by SandRidge Energy founder Malone Mitchell III, the Longfellow ranches have really been transformed into prime hunting ground. Hunters all over the world can come to the Big Bend region to hunt elk and mule deer, which can be found on the land.
Longfellow Ranch is massive at 350,000 acres in south Texas.
Before it was a hunting destination, it was actually a cattle ranch.
7. Nunley Brothers
Nunley Ranch is located near Sabinal, Texas.
This 300,500 acre cattle ranch was founded by the Nunley Brother’s grandfather, known as Red Nunley, nearly 100 years ago, and is still thriving. Red Nunley actually started the ranch with a breeding partner, Dolph Briscoe Senior, who was the founder of the Briscoe Ranch.
Today, the brothers run a large cow-calf operation of the Santa Gertrudis breed.
8. Kokernot Heirs
Kokernot Ranch, also known as the 06 Ranch, is a large 278,600 acre ranch which was established in 1836 and is still family-operated.
The cow-calf ranch, located in west Texas, has been a filming location for western movies and commercials.
The Kokernot family began ranching in the area in 1836. The o6 brand was actually registered in 1837. Today, the Kokernot farm is still run by heirs of the family.
In addition to raising cattle, the ranch has also been a popular filming location over the years for various westerns and commercials.
9. Taylor Sheridan
The Four Sixes Ranch is 275,000 acres in total size.
Sheridan is the creator and producer of the popular show Yellowstone, and bought the land recently for filming a spin-off series.
It was formerly owned by Anne Marion, who was the great-granddaughter of founder Samuel “Burk” Burnett. Burnett owned cattle ranches that were in business since 1870.
10. Jones Family Ranch
This family owns 255,800 acres in south Texas near Corpus Christi.
This ranch, run by the Jones family for six generations and counting, was established by W.W. Jones in 1820.
Incredibly, there are still buildings on the ranch dating back to the Mexican/Spanish colonial times. The family ranch produces oil, and like some other Texas ranches, allows visitors to stay in the main house and see firsthand how ranches are operated and learn about the cowboy life.