John Luther (“J. L.”) Waggoner, son of Wise County pioneer J. T. Waggoner, the first County Treasurer of Wise County, began acquiring the Ranch in 1917 by purchasing his first significant tract of land consisting of 1,470 acres just northeast of Decatur. J. L.’s love for the land was evident, as he continued to purchase various tracts in this immediate area until just months before his death in 1948.
Following J. L.’s death, his wife, Marie Patterson Waggoner, daughter of Judge J. W. Patterson, the first County Judge of Wise County, and their daughter, Johnnie Marie Waggoner Sauder, with the assistance of many long-time ranch cowboys, ran the ranch until their deaths in 1989 and 2016, respectively. Members of the Sauder Family, along with Jim Bob Little, who has lived on the ranch for 40 years, actively manage this legacy ranch, portions being in the Family now over 100 years.
Today, the Ranch is comprised of approx. 12,000 acres in various tracts of 2,000+ acres per tract, which provide varying topography and ground cover, giving the Outdoorsman an array of habitats to hunt and explore, while still being just a few minutes away from the central hunting/lodging facilities inside the high-fence tract.
Given the size of the various tracts and live creeks (Catlett Creek and Sweetwater Creek) coupled with both large and small fresh water ground tanks in various tracts, wildlife are not pressured as they might otherwise be in a rural setting just 45 minutes from parts of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex.