Dan Waggoner was born in Tennessee on July
7, 1828. He was brought to Texas in the middle 1840's
when his family settled in Hopkins County. His father
died in 1848, and about 2 years later, tall blue-eyed Dan
Waggoner bought 6 horses and 242 head of Longhorns and
located on Denton Creek, in Wise County, near the
frontier town of Decatur. In 1851, he increased his herd
and bought 15,000 acres near Cactus Hill, about 18 miles
west of Decatur. Waggoner prospered and kept adding to
his pastures and to his herds. In 1870, with his son Tom
and a few picked hands, he trailed a herd from the Little
Wichita to Kansas and came home with $55,000 in his
saddlebags. This enabled him to buy more Longhorns at
$8.00 a head and to add to his land. Soon he had pastures
in Wilbarger, Foard, Wichita, Baylor, Archer and Knox
Counties. Dan Waggoner died in Colorado in 1903. In 1960
he and 80 other cowboys were original inductees into the
Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City.
W.T. Waggoner was born in Hopkins County, Texas. He formed the W.T. Waggoner Estate in 1923. He had three children, Electra, Guy and E. Paul. At 14, W.T. had said, "I want to run the most cattle, breed the best horses and work harder than anyone." When he was 17, his Dad made him a full partner. By the time he was 27, Tom had full reins of the Waggoner Cattle Empire. To W.T. "Tom" Waggoner, whose ranch sprawled across more than 500,000 acres in north Texas, the salt water & traces of oil found in repeated wells he had sunk in the early 1900s added up to frustration. He had failed in his attempt to get artesian water for his cattle, suffering through droughts that dried up the tanks and ponds on his ranch. Texaco was an early entry into the plans. Waggoner may have been disgusted with the oil, but he was a practical man and leased approximately 250,000 acres to Texaco in 1909 near Beaver Switch - the name was later changed to Electra, after Waggoner's daughter - where the disappointing water wells were drilled.
Electra Waggoner Wharton was born January 6, 1882 near Decatur, Texas. She married Albert Wharton June 10, 1902 and they planned to live in Philadelphia. Tom didn't want his daughter leaving Texas, so he planned to build Electra her wedding present. It was a beautiful home in Fort Worth, which was to become known as "Thistle Hill." She died November 26, 1925.
E. Paul Waggoner was born April 9, 1889 in Decatur, Texas, the son of W.T. and Ella Halsell Waggoner. In 1959, Mr. E. Paul Waggoner, son of W.T., was recognized as outstanding breeder of quarter horses in America by the American Quarter Horse Journal. Because of his love of the early ranch life and to preserve the history and the color of the early West, Mr. Waggoner built the Santa Rosa Roundup on 160 acres just south of Vernon in 1946. He died March 3, 1967.
Guy Waggoner was born September 21,
1883. He married Anne Valliant Burnett September 4, 1922.
In 1933, one meet at Arlington Downs produced $90,000 to
the State and more than $15,000 to the Federal
Government. Guy Waggoner was named Chairman of the Texas
Racing Commission. After the closing of Arlington Downs,
Guy moved to New Mexico where horse racing was legal. He
established a large ranch and in 1939 he became Chairman
of the New Mexico Racing Commission. He died December 11,
Poco Bueno was foaled April 10, 1944. He was purchased by E. Paul Waggoner in 1945 for $5.700 and he stood 14.3 hands and weighed 1,150 pounds. His show career started when he was named champion yearling stallion at the Texas Cowboy Reunion Quarter Horse Show in Stamford. He was grand champion stallion in the '40's at Denver's National Western Stock Show, the Southwestern Exposition and Fat Stock Show in Fort Worth, State Fair of Texas in Dallas and the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City. As a 4-year-old, in 1948, Poco Bueno started his performance career as a cutting horse, and his amazing ability helped him to quickly acquire an impressive record - and a legion of fans. He was the first quarter horse to be insured for $100,000.00 Poco Bueno died November 28, 1969 and Mr. Waggoner left specific instructions in his will that Poco Bueno was to be buried in a standing position in a grave across from the ranch entrance on Hwy. 283. The plot of ground was landscaped with trees and grass. A granite marker, weighing 4 tons, was engraved with his name, picture and the following: Champion and Sire of Champions. In 1990, Poco Bueno was inducted into the American Quarter Horse Hall of Fame.
Electra Waggoner Biggs is a nationally known sculptress and passed away in 2001. Best known for her sculpture of Will Rogers on his horse "Soapsuds" called "Into the Sunset". Amon G. Carter commissioned Electra Biggs to create the work after Will Rogers' fatal airplane crash at Point Barrow, Alaska in 1935. Electra Biggs also had the honor of having an automobile named after her. In 1959, John Biggs' brother-in-law, Harlow H. 'Red' Curtice, President of Buick Motors, Division of General Motors, named one of their luxurious Buick models, Electra.
The October 1956 issue of the Quarter Horse Journal had an article about the Waggoner Ranch horses.
Waggoner Ranch Commissary, once located near Electra,
is now part of the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock, Texas.
With the increase in the size of their cattle herds, W. T. and Dan continued to move west settling first in Clay County. They eventually established headquarters near China Creek at the western edge of Wichita County near Electra, Texas. The Waggoner commissary was built at this site in the 1870s. The Waggoner commissary has been preserved and moved to the Ranching Heritage Center located in Lubbock, Texas.