The Land Report

2019 TX

The Magazine of the American Landowner is an essential guide for investors, landowners, and those interested in buying or selling land. The award-winning quarterly is known for its annual survey of America's largest landowners, The Land Report 100.

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Page 97 of 99

BackGate was named for his daughter. e Ericsdahl near Stamford was named for son Eric; and the Mount Albin in Jones, Haskell, and Stonewall counties was named for son Albin. anks to a landmark mesa that crowns the Mount Albin, it became better known as the Flat Top Division. e Eleonora and the Ericsdahl were sold off in the 20th century. In 2019, the shareholders of the Swenson Land & Cattle Co. decided to sell the last large block, the 41,000-acre Flat Top Division. ey selected Sam Middleton of Chas. S. Middleton & Son to bring the iconic ranch to market. Listed at $49.2 million, the Flat Top Division benefits from some seven miles of the Double Mountain Fork of the Brazos River. Paved roads provide ready access. Decades of superior manage- ment are evident in the robust cow-calf operation, which generates top-dollar pricing. More recently, the wildlife component has evolved into a major revenue source on the historic holding. T exas history brims with rags to riches stories, but few can vie with the life and times of Svante "Sven" Swenson (1816–1896). A Swedish immigrant who arrived in New York in 1836, he made his way to the Republic of Texas two years later and began his improbable rise to Lone Star land baron. e engine that fueled Swenson's acquisitions was the mercantile trade. In 1850, the enterprising merchant established a frontier trading post near present-day Austin. Dry goods were not his sole focus, however. Swenson bought bonds of all types, especially those issued by landowning entities such as railroads and schools. In the span of a single decade, he accumulated an estimated 680,000 acres, much of it untamed frontier lands. His cattle were readily identifiable by his distinctive SMS brand, which featured backward Ss. Swenson's landholdings led to the establishment of three ranches. e Eleonora near rockmorton e SMS Brand An energetic Swede, SVANTE MAGNUS SWENSON established a 680,000-acre ranching empire north of Abilene. BY ERIC O'KEEFE HISTORY LESSON The day-to-day rhythm of the massive SMS was chronicled a century ago in The Story of the S.M.S. Ranch. 96 L ANDREP ORT.COM e LandReport | TEX AS 20 19

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