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Texas Plains Trail Region

Participant in the Texas Historical Commission's
Texas Heritage Trails Program

Guthrie


Photo by TXDOT

RANCH TOWN

Guthrie, seat of King County and located near the southeastern corner of the Panhandle, has been a ranching community from its birth. The community exists courtesy of both the Louisville Land and Cattle Company, the Louisville, Kentucky-based outfit who purchased the surrounding grasslands to expand their operation in 1883, and A. C. Thackitt, Guthrie’s first settler who built a residence and surveyed the townsite in 1891. In a nod to the Land and Cattle Company, whose endeavors included breeding American Hereford bulls with names like “Murdo”, “Nobelman”, and “Sir Davis”, Thackitt named the townsite Guthrie after W. H. Guthrie, a primary stockholder of the Cattle Company. Thackitt followed the honor with a Guthrie campaign to win the county seat. Although the Cattle Company nominated its own candidate, a site called Ashville that was more conveniently located for their operation, Thackitt prevailed and before the close of the year Guthrie had become the King County seat and Thackitt its first County Judge.

Although the Louisville Land and Cattle Company eventually sold their King County interests, Guthrie remained a ranching community, serving the Four Sixes Ranch (Samuel Burk Burnett’s 1900 acquisition of the Old Eight Ranch, comprised of 140,000 acres, and 1,500 head of livestock from the Louisville Land and Cattle Company) as well as the Pitchfork Ranch. Barely breaking 100 residents by the 1950s, Guthrie best represented the dusty, wind-swept rural communities of the west made iconic by the literary works of American writers like Jack Kerouac who passed through Guthrie on his rambling sojourn across the country while writing On the Road.
Today, Guthrie continues to serve the needs of both King County and the surrounding ranches including the Four Sixes, still in operation over one hundred years later.


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