Peter Gallagher, an Irish immigrant and civil engineer, was commissioned in 1833 by Mexican president Antonio de Santa Anna to establish a military supply depot within a twenty-five mile radius (one day’s ride) of San Antonio de Bexar. Gallagher chose a location on San Geronimo Creek in northeastern Medina County.
Legend has it that President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna spent at least one night at the ranch before moving to the Siege of the Alamo. Also that Peter Gallagher was personal friends with General Sam Houston and was at San Jacinto with General Houston as Texas gained its independence. It is known that Gallagher was asked by his good friend Houston in 1841 to serve as diarist of the ill-fated Texan Santa Fe expedition. He was among those 108 Texicans captured and was one of the very few to survived the death march down “el camino del muerto” to Mexico City as a prisoner. He was later released with only a handful of friends to return to Texas and report the results of the expedition. Larry McMurtry has written and published a novel on this subject. Also a movie was made, both titled “Dead Man’s Walk”.
Gallagher apparently liked what he saw in the ranch because he acquired it in 1850 and a small community subsequently grew up around it. Medina County’s ninth post office was opened at the ranch community in 1877 with Mrs. Julia Gallagher as postmistress. At its peak in 1884 there was a school district, a hotel, two churches, and fifty inhabitants.
Surprisingly a scant 12 years later, all that remained of the community was a general store and the post office (which was discontinued in 1909). Years before the settlers had skirmished with the native Americans. However, the demise of the community likely had more to do with the fact that the railroad had passed them by. Gallagher also maintained a home in San Antonio which adjoined the Alamo. The state purchased it in 1936 and tore it down to complete the Alamo garden.
So the old West passed and a new pioneer became the custodian of the ranch. During the roaring 20’s the ranch was acquired by Vachel and Amy Shelton McNutt, a pioneering and rugged husband and wife team of “wildcatters” famous for having discovered the first potash deposits in the Western Hemisphere. Legend has it that a close friend of Mama Mac (as Amy later became known) pointed out that “Texas has everything the West has except a dude ranch”. The rest, as it’s said, is history. Our ranch is the location of the oldest dude ranch in Texas.
In the years that followed, Mama Mac grew the ranch into a renowned destination. The ranch would be host to the likes of Princess Grace and Prince Ranier of Monaco, author H.G. Wells, actor and director Orson Welles, operatic soprano Lilly Pons, and a Who’s Who list of dignitaries, celebrities, astronauts, governors, and senators.
At the dawn of the new century a new custodian arrived, purchasing the south section of the ranch known as the “Lower Palisades”. Jesse R. Adams, fifth generation Texan, Industrial Engineer, and Rancher has taken the reins and will endeavor to enhance and protect this great part of Texas.
In 1999, after acquiring the Lower Palisades portion of the historic Gallagher Ranch from the McNeil family, Adams Land & Livestock added the Trophy Whitetail component to their established Paint Horse breeding business. Foundation genetics were purchased from the great Texas whitetail bucks “Paco”, “Sal”, “JR”, “Primo”, “Tarzan”, “Y2K”, “Chigger”, and “Azul”.
With the early years of ownership came the making of movies and day time soaps on the ranch. The filming of “All the Pretty Horses” with Matt Damon and Penelope Cruz was an exciting time on the ranch. Parts of “Selena” and “Days of our Lives” were also filmed on the ranch.
In 2001 the ranch obtained a “Scientific breeders license”, and later added the services of Wildlife I Biologist Chris Logan. Chris was born and raised on the Logan Ranch in the San Geronimo Valley and received his degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville. While at A&M-Kingsville, he participated in deer capture exercises on the IBC, Callaghan and Faith ranches that resulted in not only capture and tagging, but transporting animals back to the campus for extensive studies. The whitetail pens at the university provided him with the unique opportunity to conduct numerous studies while attending school. On the King ranch and Rollins ranch, Chris helped conduct census surveys of many wild species and help conduct shed collection transects.
Since 2001 the ranch has produced numerous competitive working quarter and paint horses including “Freckles ALL the Way”, the 2003 reserve state champion cutting horse. And many great whitetail breeding bucks including “JR Mossback”, “Double Quatro”, “Loco”, “LLante”, “Green 11”, “B-52”, “El Duble”, “High Brow”, “Hard Eight”, and “Pinky”.
Both the Adams and Logan families have been in the Agricultural Business in the Hill Country of Texas since the 1840’s.