The Johnson League Ranch

The Double S Ranch is engulfed with a rich history. The Johnson League Ranch neighbors the Double S Ranch. The history of the Johnson League Ranch is very interesting and in some ways a little erie. 

Two brothers, William Whipple Johnson and Harvey Johnson came to Texas in 1880. They moved down to Texas because Texas had a "sheltering statute of limitations on old debts law." The brothers were escaping creditors in Iona, Michigan. The brothers were instrumental in supplying cedar cross ties and fence posts along the railroad that was being built from Fort Worth to El Paso. They were also involved in the discovery of coal in the area in 1887. The brothers ran into some labor issues and their coal company was not profitable. They sold their business. Later, W.W Johnson was in the oil business and was the president of the Forest Oil Company until his death.

W.W Johnson married Anna Fatzinger shortly after he moved to Strawn, TX. They had two children who both became ill and died. Both Mr. and Mrs. Johnson had a horrible fear of being buried, so they decided to keep their children's bodies in their own rooms in their house in Stawn. They even changed their clothes daily. 

Not much later Mr. Johnson got into the cattle business and bought 4,200 acres (a league of land) on Palo Pinto Creek in 1905. The land was the John Bird League Survery that was surveyed in 1850, and was the first deed recorded in Palo Pinto County after its organization in 1857.  This league of land was originally awarded to a black man named, John Bird, as a reward for his fighting in the Texas Revolution. Therefore, the land has always been known as the Johnson League Ranch. 

The Johnson's built a beautiful country estate on their new property. They also built a wooden mausoleum to hold the bodies of their children. This mausoleum was built in close proximity to the Johnson's bedroom. In 1908 the Palo Pinto Creek flooded and washed the mausoleum away. The mausoleum was lassoed by ranch hands and brought back the the house.  The Johnson's decided that they should move the mausoleum to the highest point of the property. This point is known as Salt Point.

At the age of 71, Mr. Johnson died in 1914. He was also entombed with his children in the mausoleum. In 1922 Mrs. Johnson died. She had requested in her will that $10,000-$25,000 was to be spent to build a permanent mausoleum. The present structure (18X18 feet) is built of native rock with a small rock wall surrounding it. On the side of the mausoleum is the inscription, "Residents of Palo Pinto County from the year 1880. Pioneers in the development of our natural resources. Leaders in all matters of material and moral progress. Their works do follow them." 

Mrs. Johnson's niece, Cornelia Crocker, inherited the estate in 1922. In the 1930's she sold it to Claude Allen. Then, A.D. Crawford inherited the ranch in 1960. in 1965, Palo Pinto Lake was built and a portion of the league's 4,200 acres was underwater. Today the ranch is still apart of the Crawford family.