ORAN — In 1849, William Lasater brought his family to this part of what would become Palo Pinto County when it was still open range and crawling with Indians, certainly not the best time to establish a cattle ranch.

Numerous Indian tribes had settled on the Brazos River long before cattlemen had sought homesteads in the 1850s. Palo Pinto was created in 1856 from Bosque and Navarro Counties and named for the creek (Spanish name meaning painted stick). Texas Rangers finally started removing the Indians after their continued plunder on ranchers and stealing their cattle.

According to historical records, cattlemen rode the range with rifles on their saddle horns. Because of their skill as marksmen, they returned home with pelts of wolves or mountain lions. “Indian bows and the accouterments of their owners were sometimes found ornamenting the log walls of the cowmen’s ranches; and at all times the glimpse of a gaudy blanket was quite sufficient to bring frowning rifle barrels to the front in readiness to repel an attack.”

William Lafayette Lasater was born March 6, 1816, in Tennessee to William Lasater (1786-1846) and Sarah Tuder Lasater (1785-1858). He married Susan Anne Byers Lasater (1817-1911). They had seven children: John Henry Lasater (1836-1865), Sarah Lasater Burns (1843-unknown), Green N. Lasater (1844-1871), Marion Lee Lasater (1847-1892), Aaron Milas Lasater (1849-1930), George Milas Lasater (1852-1898) and Luke Lasater (1855-unknown).

George Milas Lasater was born September 21, 1852, three years before his father settled permanently in the Palo Pinto hills. George was too young to take part in the Civil War, but his father and older brothers did.

When his father died in 1865, George assumed the management and livestock of the ranch. Cattle herds wandered across the country since it was open range. Ranchers were constantly in their saddle keeping up with their herds.

Particularly was the case of guarding livestock with constant riding in a region like Palo Pinto County which had a terrain of rugged, forest-grown hills which afforded innumerable hiding places for cattle thieves, white and red, and all manner of wild beasts that preyed upon young calves.

In 1870, George purchased 160 acres of land of his own near Black Springs. That same year, he married. Besides cultivating his stock farm, George worked for wages for neighbors and put aside a portion of his earnings to buy cattle.

George Milas Laster and Mary Sophronia Johnston were married December 1, 1870. They had five children: Milas G. Lasater (1872-1929), Lilly Lasater (1873-1880), Milton A. Lasater (1874-1937), Wayne Heslip Lasater (1875-1952) and William Andrew Lasater (1877-1928).

In 1874, George purchased 230 acres in Jack County and a year later bought 200 head of cattle and held them mainly on the Jack County ranch. He later consolidated his cattle herds, which numbered around 900 head and moved them to a place in King County where grass and water was more plentiful.

A couple years later, he sold out to his younger brother, Aaron Lasater, for $12,000. With the money, George moved to Whitt in Parker County and went into the grocery business.

In 1881, George purchased 320 acres of land near Oran in Palo Pinto County. He continued to purchase additional land, eventually totaling 3200 acres. He built a new cattle herd of mainly Durhams. He also entered horse breeding, part of which were of the Steel-dust bloodline and part of the Rondease strains.

According to an account confirmed by Texas Genealogy Trails, George had many encounters with the Indians. When he and brother Aaron were teenagers, they were on a cattle roundup with Charles Goodnight and S.C. Ham when they rode up on the dead bodies of Mark Dalton and two companions in Loving’s Valley, who had been brutally murdered by Indians.

One time George lost his horse and had to walk several miles back home. Another time, the Indians took his horse while he was trying to hold them off. His brother, Green, came to his rescue and they both escaped on the same horse.

In 1868, George and about 20 other cattlemen ran into a party of Indians near Salt Hill in Jack County. The cattlemen started to retreat, but S.C. Ham was on foot.

When George was about to sneak away with the others, he heard Ham. “George, for God’s sake don’t leave me.” They managed to keep the Indians at bay and worked themselves into a cover of the timber, finally making their way to the John Wood ranch at Salt Hill.

Mary Lasater died April 14, 1880, in Jack County. In 1881, George married Missouri “Zou” Donaldson, the daughter of W.D. Donaldson of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She was a graduate of the Female Institute at Murfreesboro, Tennessee and won recognition as a thoroughly capable teacher during several years of labor as such in the common schools prior to her marriage.

George and Missouri Lasater had four children including May Lasater Williams Lowe (1882-1969) and Luke Lester Lasater (1885-1965).

George was determined to give his children better opportunities than he had himself by giving them an education. Milas, Milton and Wayne Heslip all graduated from De Pauw University at Greencastle, Indiana.

George served several terms as deputy sheriff of Palo Pinto County. He was sheriff-elect at the time of his death November 15, 1898, when he was thrown from his horse while driving cattle. His head hit a rock cracking his skull and breaking his jawbone and shoulder blade. He was unconscious for several days until death at age 46. Missouri was 51 when she died October 16, 1910. They are buried at Oran Cemetery in Palo Pinto County. — jlackey@wcc.net

800-284-5268
325-949-4611

PO Box 3306
San Angelo TX 76902

800-284-5268
325-949-4611

PO Box 3306
San Angelo TX 76902