The Chimney Creek Ranch was purchased in 1920, consisting of only 3 pastures, by G. R. Davis, who operated the ranch as a sole proprietorship from 1920 to 1956.

Since that time:

The Waller family has operated the cattle operation since 1957 and cleared invasive plants on east side, now 22 pastures fully fenced. Rotational grazing systems have been identified and utilized in order to more efficiently graze cattle.  Both the TPWD and NRCS have been vital to these improvements, especially making a difference in the past 5 – 10 years.

With the assistance of the NRCS and its EQIP programs, prickly pear and mesquite have been sprayed and removed as needed, allowing better forage.  A riparian buffer along Chimney Creek has helped re-charge the underground water supply and helped the creek to stay flowing/wet much more often.

Constructed 2.25 miles of interior fencing and initiated rotational grazing on 1,720 acres through the GRIP in 2014.
Selective mesquite removal and reseeding of 225 acres in 2014 through GRIP. 
Grazing deferral from 1,120 acres in 2015.
Selective mesquite removal and reseeding of 160 acres in 2015.
Selective mesquite removal and reseeding of 24 acres in 2017. 
15 months of livestock deferral from 774 acres in 2016-2017. 

In 1981 Mary Frances Johnson Paup Driscoll wrote an essay to document the history of Chimney Creek Ranch. She wrote, "Chimney Creek was inhabited as early as Texas gained her statehood on December 29, 1845, by the Comanche Indians. We know little of life here until about 1858 when the Butterfield Stage Line made a stopping point at the Smith Station."

She also wrote, "When in the beginning, God created our universe, I have imagined him resting his seventh day in the middle of Chimney Creek Ranch."

There is a lonely beauty to this country, without being isolated or even remote. The old Butterfield Trail rides over a most legendary landscape – not with the majesty of mountains or the enticing depths of forest, but with a high sky and a rolling openness that inspires you to stretch out your mind and, who knows, expose your soul.  Maybe this is why so many of the old ranching families cling to the family acreage; it owns them, not vice versa.  And if you linger too long, or are a tad romantic to start with, you may find yourself perilously close to being owned, too.

Adapted from 900 Miles on the Butterfield Trail, by A.C. Greene (1994)


1858 – 1861 – Butterfield Trail, Smith’s Station

1866 - 1867 - Goodnight Loving Trail.

1876 – Chimney Creek Ranch established.

1888 - Ranch purchased by Ella Matthews Conrad.

1900 – Bud Matthews Switch established.

1920 – Ella Matthews Conrad sells ranch to G. R. Davis. Robbie L Davis and T. Edgar Johnson married under the large pecan tree in the backyard.

1921 – Mary Frances Johnson Paup Driscoll is born.

1935 – Baker and Pardue discover oil.

1936 - Cable Tool Oilfield Constructed including Central Power Unit.

1955 - G. R. Davis dies and leaves ranch to Robbie Davis Johnson.

1957 – Ranch is leased to Charlie B. Waller of Breckenridge.

1958 - 100th Anniversary of Smith's Station, DAR Marker

1961 - Cold War Hardline Communications Pit.

1973 – Robbie Davis Johnson dies.  Charlie B. Waller dies, ranch is put into Trust at Midland National Bank for the benefit of Mary Frances Driscoll, Robert B. Waller takes grazing lease.

1981 – New ranch house is constructed. 

1982 - Ranch is leased for hunting.

1982 - Smith Station Historical Marker Dedicated.

1988 – Trust is moved to Overton Bank & Trust of Fort Worth, annual inspections begin.

1991 – Awarded the Outstanding Conservation Ranch by the NRCS.

1993 -  Bud Mathews Switch Historical Marker Dedicated.

2004 – Outstanding Conservation Ranch, Waller Cattle Company.

2005 – Outstanding Resident Conservation Rancher – Robert Waller.

2006 - New ranch house expanded to the east.

2007 – Mary Frances Driscoll dies, leaves ranch to Henry B. Paup and T. Edgar Paup, Chimney Creek Land Company, LLC established.

2008 - Chan’s Lake constructed.

2010 - Riparian buffer established.

2011 – Smith’s Station of the Butterfield Trail reconstructed.

2015  - Nancy and T. Edgar Paup establish the “Robert B. Waller Endowed Graduate Scholarship” at Tarleton State University.

2017 - Restoration of 1920’s and 1930’s cable tool era central power unit & cable tool drilling rig.

2017 - Texas State Historical Association, 2017 annual meeting, presentation on the Butterfield Trail.

2017 - Texas Historical Commission Marker- Frank E. Conrad, (owner of ranch, 1887-1892).

2018 - Texas Historical Commission Marker- Goodnight-Loving Trail (1865-1866).

2019 - Construction of new Bunk House.

2020 - Construction of additional ranch house.

             100th Anniversary of Chimney Creek ownership (1920-2020).

             Lone Star Land Stewardship Award- Texas Parks and Wildlife Dept.