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The Legend and the Legacy (2001)

Fort Bend County Museum Association

Sound | 2001

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  •  The Jones family signed an agreement with Stephen F. Austin to care for and farm 4,428 acres of land in Fort Bend County 
  •  The Jones family and farm survived the Texas Revolution unscathed 
  •  After Jones died, the Ryon family inherited the farm, which was the most valuable real estate in the region. When William Ryon died, his wife Polly ran the ranch by herself, expanding it to almost 28,000 acres and 6,000 cattle by 1895. She became one of the first ranchers to fence her land with barbed wire.  
  •  After Polly’s death, her two children inherited the land and homestead. The daughter Mamie married Albert George, and the family spent their days farming and ranching. 
  •  In 1923, the Gulf Production Company drilled a well in a field called Big Creek that was producing 4.5 million barrels of oil. The Georges also found an oil field on their land and became wealthy. 
  •  Albert George came up with a mix of cows and bulls that rivaled the King Ranch Santa Gertrudis cattle. Albert George loaned Bob Kleberg a sizable sum of money to help get the King Ranch out of a jam. 
  •  Madeline Jodarski Muegge, the daughter of a former George Ranch employee, tells about her childhood spent on the ranch and attending the George School 
  •  Mamie George’s cousins talk about meals and activities at the ranch 
  •  The Georges started the George Foundation that has played an instrumental role in supporting the community of Fort Bend, including churches, the Polly Ryon hospital, and the George Memorial Library 
  •  The George Ranch Historical Park, with a glimpse of the Georges’ farmland 
  •  Texian Market Days at the ranch is a celebration and reenactment of life at the ranch back in the early prairie days. Participants can watch cowboys wrangle, try their hand at roping, eat biscuits made in a cast iron oven, and observe reenactments of life in the early days. 
  •  Many of the slaves who were freed after the Civil War continued to work on the ranch as farmers or sharecroppers 
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This 2002 educational film produced by the George Foundation chronicles the history of the George Ranch in Richmond. The story begins with the Jones family, members of Stephen F. Austin’s Old 300. Their efforts proved to be successful and the property, which was subsequently inherited by the Ryon family, became one of the biggest ranches in the state. When the matriarch of the Ryon family died, her children inherited the ranch, with daughter Mary “Mamie” Elizabeth marrying Albert George, a former ranch employee. The discovery of oil in 1920 helped the ranch prosper even more, rivaling the King Ranch in Kingsville. After the death of their only son and then their niece, heir of the estate, Mamie and Albert felt a strong desire to give back to the community that had been so central to their lives throughout the years. They established the George Foundation in 1945, which has awarded more than $180 million in grants to Fort Bend County nonprofit organizations and scholarship recipients. Mamie George’s cousins contribute their stories and memories of the ranch.