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Established in 1886
The Jerome Miller Dabbs family moved from Georgia to East Texas in the late spring of 1860. William Alonzo Dabbs was 2 ½ years old at the time. He also had 4 sisters (4,7,8,and 10 years old) and two brothers( Jim 5 and a 1 year old). Jerome moved his family to evade the impending civil war. All of the possessions he had would have been lost in the burning of Atlanta in the spring of 1864.
They traveled by wagons pulled by oxen and it took 3 months to arrive at the location near Neches, Texas. On the way west they had to load the wagons onto a ferry to cross the Mississippi River. They probably traveled the road to the area that crossed the Neches River where the wooden bridge was later built. Jerome bought some land in the Hollywood community that had an old log cabin already on it. This country was densely wooded with pines and hardwoods. The soil was sandy and made for very good farming. The old house was located on the main road going south through the area. It had a stairway that led up to bedrooms, an outhouse, and a good well. Over the years he added onto the house and covered it with sawed boards. Jerome bought hundreds of acres of land in the area to farm and provide for his family. Jerome also deeded the land for a cemetery and a small one room church. The church was later used as a school house for children in the area.
Sarah Fannin Dabbs, Jerome’s wife died on July 18, 1867. She had just had her 40th birthday that summer, and her untimely death left 7 children the oldest being 17. William Alonzo was 10 at the time. She was buried at the Dabbs Cemetery, near some old cedar trees. So as time went on all of these kids grew up together all with the same background.
William Alonzo Dabbs bought 169 acres in 1886 to start his farming and ranching business. William raised Longhorn cattle and horses. They also farmed to sell things and feed the family. William and Mary E. Dabbs had their youngest daughter Maggie Mae on Oct 11th 1895. After several years Maggie married Oscar L. Ellis and they began to purchase land in the area for farming and ranching. They lived in a converted schoolhouse until they could build a larger home. They continued to purchase land in the area and expanded the farming and ranching operations.
Marshall G. Ellis was born at home on April 30th 1927. Marshall grew up farming and ranching. He suffered a broken back during his high school years. He participated in school activities and received the American Farmer Degree from the Future Farmers of America. He married Johnnie Lou Coker in 1945 and continued to farm and ranch and work part-time for the USDA. Marshall finally went to work full time for the Soil Conservation Service advising farmers and ranches in Anderson and Henderson Counties. He retired after serving with the USDA for 30 years. He also continued to farm and ranch expanding the number of acres and the cattle operation. Marshall and Johnnie Lou had three children: Joe, Grady, and Jennie
Joe, Grady, and Jennie continued the tradition of the family operation. Joe and Grady helped with the farming and ranching, while Jennie help with the family owned dress shop. The family cattle operation continued to expand. We decided to move toward the Braford breed in 1983. Red Oak Ranch joined the IBA in 1984. Using Adams Ranch bulls we started our job to up-grade our cattle. After several years and several Braford bulls we have reached a goal of having all registered cattle. Now the fifth generation at Red Oak Ranch has begun helping with the task of operating the ranch.
Our goal was to produce quality functional cattle that are adapted to East Texas and the surrounding area. Using several criteria for selection of our females when have continued to enhance the valuable characteristics of the Braford breed.