A FOUR-GENERATION LEGACY
In 1896, Mamie Davis, heir to ancestral lands originally granted by Stephen F. Austin and deeded down through the female family lineage, married Albert George, employee of the Davis’ family bank. In 1900, the newlyweds constructed a new home on the family land, a handsome two-story designed by Galveston architect Nicholas Clayton, adding to the land’s collection of homesteads already spanning three generations. Throughout the early 1900s, the George’s expanded their land holdings, courtesy of acquisitions as well as additional inheritance, ultimately accumulating over 20,000 acres. The discovery of oil on the George Ranch in the first half of the 20th century increased the family wealth significantly and, in fact, oil and gas royalties continue to finance the George Foundation today, a trust established by Albert and Mamie before their deaths.
The George Foundation’s mission is dedicated to sharing the family’s legacy through the story of its four generations, to preserve the original family homesteads, and to present educational and interpretive programs exploring the heritage of Texas ranching. The Foundation’s home, the George Ranch Historical Park, provides a year-round schedule of presentations and events featuring “living history” programs among its four historic settings: the 1830’s Jones Stock Farm complete with gardens, barns, and an outdoor kitchen; the 1860’s Ryon Prairie Home Site, a post-Civil War residence; the 1890’s Davis Victorian Complex including the Davis Mansion, a sharecropper farm, and a blacksmith shop; and the 1930’s George Ranch Cattle Complex featuring the impressive George home and barn. Tours, cattle demonstrations, chuckwagon breakfasts, and participatory “hands-on history” programs occur throughout the year.