Ranch was once the ancient home to the Anasazi Indians most
recognized as the basket makers whom settled the Rio Grande Valley
and Mesa Verde, Colorado. The ranch was also the stomping ground of
the Cherokee, Apache, Navajo, and renegade Sioux tribes from the
Dakotas. Following the buffalo from The Great Plains, making winter
retreats from the high altitudes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains,
or passing through, these nomadic tribes would encounter the depths
of the Canadian River Canyon. Many mysteries remain as to why these
ancient and once vast tribes disappeared from the land.
In the 1800's and early 1900's the Ray Ranch was once a crossing
point for many west bound wagons and pioneers. There exist to this
day many ruins and old toll roads, up, down and along the Canadian
River. A few of the old roads are being used today as horse, cattle,
game, and bike trails to cross the great Canadian Canyon and River.
On December 24th, 1882, the founder and settler of the ranch, George
Hix Ray was born in Mayfield, Kentucky. Much is not know of his
early years however in the late 1800's, George H. Ray Sr. an under
sheriff to his brother in the OK territory decided to move from OK
on a train headed west. His money ran out in Roy, NM where he
decided to stay. He began homesteading properties in Mora and
Harding counties in 1906. At one time the ranch had acreage totaling
65,000+ until the Great Depression.
George Senior ran and grazed stocker, feeder, registered, and
commercial Hereford cattle. During the hay days of the ranch you
could find more than 5000 head of cattle roaming the property. Along
with the cattle George Senior would run close to 150-200 horse mares
that were used to supply the US Army and Calvary with mounts. He did
so into the World War II when the government discontinued the use of
horses. George H. Ray Sr. was Ranch Manager until 1965 when he died
at the age of 82.
George H. Ray Jr. through his many years, helped in the production
and managements of livestock and horses. A Golden Gloves boxer, a
lifelong cowboy, and a wild horse tamer he fought, he worked and he
rode until he overtook ranch operations after his father's death in
1965. George H. Ray Jr. had a sudden and unexpected death in 1969.
This left George (Dusty) H. Ray III, a then college student, as
family head. Dusty operates and to this day still manages the ranch.
Although times have changed, ranch operations have transformed, and
family has moved, the Ranch retains its beauty, its mystique and
its long history.