The following six historical photographs show the Chimney Creek rock ranch house built by Joseph Kite in 1875. After Kite’s death, Frank E. Conrad took control of the historic portion of the ranch in 1888. At the time these photographs were taken in 1913, two of the Conrad children, Louis (1888-1969) and John (1886-1945), were entertaining a large party, which included members of the Webb family from Shackelford County.
Traveling by train from Dallas and arriving at the Bud Matthew’s Switch, the entire Webb house party was invited out to the Chimney Creek Ranch by John and Louis Conrad. In 1920, the ranch was purchased by G.R. Davis from the heirs of Ella (Matthews) Conrad (1865-1945), John Conrad, Louis Conrad, and George Reynolds Conrad.
Taken in the late 1930’s, the following two historical photos were taken by authors, Roscoe and Margaret Conkling, on their cross country trip to follow and document the trail of the Butterfield Overland Mail. They stopped at the Chimney Creek Ranch headquarters to research the only stage stop in Shackelford County – Smith’s Station. Smith’s Station is located one half mile south of the ranch headquarters. In the first picture, the man to the left is believed to be Judge John Matthews, the lady in the white hat is believed to be Mrs. Conkling. The other individuals are not known but believed to be Mrs. Grady Smith, wife of the ranch manager, and her children. The Smiths are not related to the operators of Smith’s Station. Subsequently in 1947, with the research confirmed by the Conklings, they published the definitive study of the Butterfield Stage in a three volume set entitled “The Butterfield Overland Mail, 1857-1869”.
The second photograph shows the ranch headquarters looking from the east.
Taken in the mid-1950s, the following historical photograph at Chimney Creek Ranch shows (from left to right): two unknown cowboys, T. Edgar Johnson (husband of Robbie Davis Johnson), Grady Smith (Chimney Creek ranch foreman), and Louie G. Davis (son of G. R. Davis and brother-in-law of Mr. Johnson).