The 711 Ranch
L.A. and Pearl Nordan, of San Antonio, established the 711 Ranch in Comal County in 1949 along the Guadalupe River 18 miles northwest of New Braunfels, Texas. Between 1949 and 1966, the Nordans purchased 51 parcels of property rooted in 35 individual land grants awarded between 1837 and 1888. Acreage of the 711 Ranch extended from North Cranes Mill Road west to Devil’s Hollow and from the Guadalupe River over 7.5 miles northward. The land of the 711 Ranch was the foundation of the Mystic Shores subdivision in 2000.
The Nordans created a world-class ranching operation. Their 711 Ranch in Comal County produced prize-winning livestock, particularly Santa Gertrudis cattle. At the 711 Ranch, conservation, wildlife preservation and education were governing themes. The 711 Ranch was a significant area employer.
In the early days of the Republic of Texas, the Nordans’ land was claimed by heroes of the republic, railway companies, land promoters, and German and Swiss homesteaders. Over time, this area became an integral part of the Fischer Store (1852), Rebecca Creek (1854) and Cranes Mill (mid-1850’s) settlements.
Old land records of the early Republic of Texas and the State of Texas reveal much about the history of the lands of the 711 Ranch.
Numerous land grants in the area were originally owned by heroes of the Republic of Texas. Ten such grants were awarded between 1837 and 1860 on this land. These heroes fought at the Battle of San Antonio, the Battle of Goliad, the Battle of San Jacinto and the Meir Expedition and served as early mounted Texas Rangers protecting the western frontier. Some men received the grants for their military service. Others received grants as Texas settlers before serving for the republic. These heroes later served in various roles for the young republic, including as Secretary of War under President Sam Houston, as the man chosen to accompany General Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna to meet with U.S. President Andrew Jackson after the Battle of San Jacinto, as the first district judge, as a congressman and as a senator.
Texas railroad companies were awarded land grants for completing rail track in Texas. Three companies claimed land between 1877 and 1888 on the lands of the 711 Ranch, including a company where former U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant served on the company’s board of directors. For each parcel of land claimed by a railroad company, an adjacent parcel was sold to benefit the Texas Public School Fund.
Two grants on the lands of the 711 Ranch were awarded to Mexicans who qualified for grants as Texas settlers. The Mexicans each immediately sold their rights to land promoters and received payments. The promoters profited when they sold the grant or the land.
Significant land was claimed by German and Swiss settlers. These hardy immigrants scratched out a living on the land here. They yearned for independence, security and prosperity by their own hands. Early families, including the Haas, Kaderli, Bremer, Engel, Suche, Rauch and Flugrath families, settled between 1865 and 1887 on the lands to be the 711 Ranch. These settlers built homes, raised families, suffered tragedies, built schools, formed social organizations, and served as community leaders.