The Walker-Buckler River Ranch
The Walker-Buckler River Ranch is located on both sides of the Clear Fork of the Brazos River northeast of Albany, Texas, east of Fort Griffin and west of Woodson. The ranch was put together in the 1920s by Breckenridge oilman Breck S. Walker from several smaller ranches, many settled by pioneers of Shackelford and Throckmorton Counties. Mr. Walker purchased land from the Comptons, Sedwicks, Senters and Shirleys, as well as numerous other tracts, in the assembly of the ranch. Mr. Walker also built a two-story ranch house, bunk house and other outbuildings as the headquarters for the newly assembled ranch, which at one time exceeded 30,000 acres. Current acreage is 22,991 acres (approximate).
Shortly after assembling the acreage, Mr. Walker died, leaving management of the ranch to his widow, Alice Walker. Mrs. Walker and relatives ran the ranch for approximately 10 years, before deciding in 1935 to sell the cattle and lease the ranch to C. M. Caldwell of Breckenridge and later Abilene. Mr. Caldwell was a business partner of Mr. Walker in many ventures, including an oil company, and numerous land and mineral ventures. Mr. Caldwell formed a partnership, eventually named Caldwell & Son, with his son, Guy Caldwell, running ranch operations.
Caldwell & Son would lease the ranch and run it for nearly 80 years, and heirs of Mr. Walker continued to own the ranch.
Eventually, a one-third interest in the ranch was purchased by Hawkins Avary Hillmer, LP, and the ranch was commercially hunted for approximately five years, with Caldwell & Son remaining as the cattle and farming operator. John Caldwell, grandson of Guy Caldwell, has managed the cattle and farming operations since 1983.
In 2015, entities controlled by the Jones/Tucker and Caldwell families of Albany and Abilene purchased the ranch from the Walker heirs and Hawkins Avery Hillmer, LP.
The Walker-Buckler River Ranch is currently privately hunted and is a working cattle ranch. Nearly 100 years old, it remains an important contributor to the ranching heritage of Shackelford and Throckmorton Counties.