Milton Faver

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Milton Faver

(Texas cattle baron)


Born Perhaps 1822
Unknown
Died 1889
Presido County, Texas
Spouse Francisca Ramirez Faver

One son: Juan "John" Faver

Milton Faver (c. 1822 &ndash 1889) was a rancher in the Big Bend country of Texas who is considered the first cattle baron west of the Pecos River.

He has been described as a Frenchman, an Englishman, an eccentric, and even a fugitive from the law. By one account he was headed to the California Gold Rush of 1849 but detoured to the Big Bend of the Rio Grande River. He was believed to have spoken four languages: Frenc], German, English, and Spanish. He lived like an aristocrat and wore tailored clothing from Chihuahua, Mexico. He married a Mexican woman and worked as a freighter on the Chihuahua Trail by which he hauled goods to San Antonio, Texas, and Santa Fe, New Mexico Territory.[1]

In 1857, Faver moved north of the border into an area of hostile Apaches and occupied a site on what was previously a Spanish mission at the foot of the Chinati Mountains in Presidio County. He took control of three springs long used by the Indians and established a successful irrigation system. He brought in Mexican cattle, sheep, and goats. He constructed stone walls, adobe forts, and corrals and planted crops and orchards. He used the "F" brand. He survived cattle thefts by bandits and Apaches, an Indian raid that took the life of his brother-in-law, Carmen Ramirez, and developed large herds of longhorn cattle that roamed the open range. For thirty years he was the undisputed ruler over the Big Bend country. He hade more than eighty employees, most of them Mexican.[1]

The ruins of Faver's old fort now houses modern buildings. Shetland ponies roam the grounds. and wild ducks occupy ponds. Elk come to graze the alfalfa. In the early 1990s, John Poindexter (born c. 1944) of Houston established the 20,000-acre Cibolo Creek Ranch, a hunting resort, at the site of Faver's former property. The ranch memorializes Faver, whose portrait hangs in the dining room. Poindexter called Faver "an extraordinary pioneer, the first to settle in the interior north of the Rio Grande and not in the vicinity of Fort Davis. He struck out on his own, and it was at colossal risk."[1]

In 2017, United States Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia was found dead of a proclaimed heart attack at Cibolo Creek Ranch. Since the death, some guests have requested being placed in the room that Scalia occupied while on a hunting trip; others insist they not be in that particular room. The ranch tour guide says he tries to avoid any controversy regarding Scalia's death.[1]

Faver had no real rival in the cattle business in the Big Bend, but Apache raiders were a menace until 1880, with the toppling of Chief Victorio. A 1931 article in the Alpine Avalanche in Alpine in Presidio County refers to Faver as "almost a nation unto himself. He had a fort and had it manned by soldiers that he either hired or drafted. His business at the time was freighting by ox teams from San Antonio to Chihuahua."[1]

Faver sported in his later years a long flowing white beard. He refused to ride a railroad newly-constructed to link El Paso with San Antonio. He continued instead to travel by horseback. With the passing of the open range into fenced farms and ranches, Faver's power declined, and he was forced to close his business in part because of rampant rustling of his cattle.[1] After his death, he was interred in an adobe tomb on Chinati Peak above Big Springs Cibolo as he had requested in a site since overgrown.[2] His son, Juan "John" Faver (1850-1913) is interred at Concordia Cemetery in Shafter in Presidio County.[3]

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References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 John MacCormack, "Faver First Cattle King West of the Pecos: Mysterious rancher lived like nobility in arid W. Texas", San Antonio Express-News, February 4, 2018, p. nA8.
  2. Milton Faver. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 4. 2018.
  3. Juan "John" Faver. Old.findagrave.com. Retrieved on February 4, 2018.