Ranch History

Oakes Creek Ranch was established as part of the Bugbee family’s Shoe Bar Ranch in the late 1800’s. The ranch came into my family in 1938 when my great grand father John Molesworth moved back to this area after spending twenty-five years ranching in far West Texas near Sierra Blanca.

The ranch lies in the southeast portion of Donley County and is a part of the Red River watershed. Most water flows to the Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River via Oakes Creek, however at the north end of the ranch some water flows to Mulberry Creek via Bitter Creek thence to the Prairie Dog Fork, and some flows the Prairie Dog Fork via Indian Creek, and a small amount flows north to Lake Creek and into the Salt Fork of Red River. Generally the ranch lies along both sides of Oakes Creek this gives the ranch its long rectangular shape. All of the ranch is encompassed in the greater Palo Duro Canyon Complex.

About Oakes Creek Ranch

Some time around 1999-2000 an English photographer appeared at James Owens Hand-Made Boots, in Clarendon. His stated mission was to document the disappearing cowboy.

He happened by at a period of time when my wife was to be gone for two weeks so I invited him to stay at the ranch. The photographer: Jon Nicholson returned several times over a period of several years working on a book that became “Cowboys: A Vanishing World”. Jon and my family became friends and our lives became enmeshed. We have now witnessed a good swath of each other’s lives, good times, our heartbreaks, and a few triumphs. In a large way this experience has brought us to the point of opening our lives to even more of the world.

The Oakes Creek Residency, (OCR), was established in 2012 to give time to creative people for the development of work and ideas. The residency is for visual artists, architects, and writers who are writing about the arts, architecture or issues that relate to rural America.

OCR is located in the Texas Panhandle on a working commercial beef cattle ranch. The residency is funded solely by my family and as such is of a Spartan nature. The house is a wood frame ready built house that dates to 1948. The residency is sixteen miles southeast of Clarendon, Texas at the end of a three and one half mile dirt track. The landscape is a broken rolling grass and juniper prairie and is a part of the Palo Duro Canyon Complex. This region is home to many species of mammals and lies at the cross roads of two, continental bird migration flyways; so good birding exists.

The intention is to provide time and quiet to allow the contemplation and development of ideas.

The residency is presently limited to one person at a time and not more than two people per year. The duration of the residency will be two weeks; exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis. The residency operates from April through September.

For information regarding this residency email: ocrcraft@gmail.com 

Jack Craft

Drawer M
Clarendon, Texas