HISTORY OF THE CHESLEY RANCH
THE CISCO PRESS, Cisco, Texas, Tuesday, October 28, 1958
“One of the most unusual moving jobs that J.J. Honea and Son, local contractors, have run into began last Saturday morning. They were moving the old J. E. Chesley Ranch headquarters home from its mountain-top location four miles to the south to a new site.
The home, an 8 room, 2 story house built in 1917 on the site of the original Chesley Ranch house that was constructed in the early 1880s was loaded on four sets of 8 wheels under the supervision of Mr. Honea and his son, Vernon Honea. Two sets of wheels were attached to each of two huge beams. The house was supported by four foundation beams placed across the two attached to the groups of wheels.
The four-mile move was to descent 200 feet from the rocky hill. A large tractor was attached to the rear of the house to pull back in the even forward progress got too speedy. A bulldozer was to precede the caravan of two huge trucks pulling the big house, knocking trees and stones out of the path. Vernon Honea estimated that the house weighed 75,000 pounds. He said their equipment weighed over 35, 000 pounds.
It was in 1880 that Mr. Chesley built the original ranch house, located 12 miles north of Cisco in Stephens County. Relatives recall that friendly Indians lived nearby at the time. The Chesley ranch took in 20,000 acres of land, which has since been divided among his heirs.
Visiting at the old home site Friday were two daughters, Mrs. Yancey McCrea and Mrs. Sam Kimmell. Mr and Mrs. McCrea and children have lived in the Chesley Ranch home for many years and Mrs. Kimmell lives in Cisco with her husband.
Mrs. J. E. Chesley, whose late husband founded the ranch and built the home, observed her 96th birthday at her home in Cisco on September 21. She has lived at the ranch or in Cisco since their marriage in 1909.
The Chesley's have long been prominent in Cisco church and community affairs. Their donations included the land on which the Cisco football stadium was built - Chesley Field.
The surviving Chesley children are Mrs. McCrea, Mrs. Kimmell and Mrs. Carrie Tipton, all of Cisco and Mrs. C. J. O'Conner of Breckenridge.
Mrs. McCrea said they planned to take the second floor off the house and to remodel it extensively at the new location which is only a quarter of a mile off the paved farm road. Another old house will be moved to the location of the headquarters home for the use of ranch hands.
The view from the hill-top takes in a long distance in each direction, including the town of Albany some 25 miles to the northwest. The Honea company was able to move the house off the high hill before rain halted the operation.
From "Record from History of Durham, New Hampshire, 1913"
(Hervey Edgar Chesley, Sr.) Came to Texas about 1881 and joined John E. Chesley in the log cabin on Cow House Creek. Both had cattle on the open range. Uncle John established his ranch in Stephens County, the year after the Indians left, he told me. Died about 1930 as I recall. Alvah Chesley, their first cousin, came to Bellville in 1850s, taught school, was in Confederate Army, later prominent lawyer, as state senator author of bill creating Texas Independent School District Law.”
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