The George Ranch

Founded in 1824,

The George Ranch is a 20,000-acre working ranch located in Fort Bend County, Texas, and the ranch’s legacy is woven throughout the fabric of the Foundation and our community. Student groups and the general public are invited to visit The George Ranch with over 20,000 students visiting annually to explore 150 years of Texas history in an authentic and interactive environment. 

Legendary black cowboys, including Buster Jackson (center), were an integral part of The George Ranch’s successful cattle operation.

The history of the ranch began when Henry and Nancy Jones, Mamie George’s great-grandparents, received a league of land along the Brazos River in the Mexican territory known as Tejas in 1824 as members of Stephen F. Austin’s “Old 300.” Through hard work and perseverance, the couple and their twelve children along with dozens of enslaved people built a successful farming and ranching operation in the new wilderness.

The Jones’ eldest daughter, Mary Moore “Polly,” inherited the majority of the family’s assets. By the age of 18, Polly’s sound stewardship of the estate propelled her to become one of the largest landowners in the region while also building a reputation as a selfless citizen. Polly was known to brave harsh conditions to travel across the countryside to provide medical aid to the sick and offer resources to neighbors in need. In 1845, Polly married Colonel William Ryon who helped her build a farming and ranching empire amassing over 80,000 acres of land owned or leased which totaled roughly 10% of Fort Bend County. Polly Ryon continued to serve as the family’s matriarch from both a business and community perspective until her death in 1896. 

Polly’s eldest living daughter, Susan Elizabeth, married local businessman and civic leader “Judge” J.H.P. Davis and continued to build the family’s prosperity. The Davises had three children before Susan’s untimely death in 1884. 

The Davis’ only daughter, Mary Elizabeth, affectionately known as “Mamie” to friends and family, was the last person in the family lineage to inherit the landholdings. Mamie married Albert P. George in 1896, and the couple moved back to the original homestead to continue the ranching legacy. In the 1920s, the discovery of oil in the Big Creek and Thompsons fields located on the George Ranch property generated the financial resources to initially fund the foundation.

Today, the ranch’s fertile soil and natural resources enable The George Foundation to continue its philanthropic mission.