Season Three’s roots extend back to 1879 when Charles Wykes moved from Chicago to rugged central Texas. He met the beautiful Ann Roby and they purchased the land we call home.
In the beginning, life was a true pioneer experience without running water, electricity, telephones or cars. But over the years, Ann wrote in a memoir from 1941, that they were blessed to see all of these modern technologies come to fruition in their lifetime. She wrote, “we were blissfully ignorant of the easier way”.
During her 60 years on YX Ranch, lighting progressed from tallow candles, to kerosene lamps, and finally electricity. The latter “ added to our enjoyment of life” by way of a refrigerator and a radio. A very religious woman, she took great pleasure in “hearing wonderful sermons and sacred songs”.
In 1910, Charles was the first person in Burnet County to buy a car, it was an early model without rubber tires. The 17 mile journey to Lampasas took hours by horse and buggy before the automobile. Ann commented that going to town in a car “seemed like a wonderland” compared to the old way.
Charles and Ann grew cotton, corn, wheat and oats. The wheat was sent to distant mills. When ginning cotton became a problem, Charles built his own small gin directly in front of the vineyard, on the spot known as the Blue Hole but eventually was renamed as the Gin Hole.
Charles is also praised by Ann in her memoir because he saw a need for a different water supply. When they first moved to the area people seemed to be gettingsick from the shallow surface water sources. He pioneered drilling deep wells. Prior to this they had to haul the water from the creek in barrels to their home. The next two generations have lived on the land but made their incomes from other sources. However, throughout the generations it is evident that preserving the family ownership has been a common priority.
John and Marion are the 4th generation to be blessed with ownership of the land. Leaving behind successful corporate jobs to begin their new season following their passion of land stewardship and sustainable living mirrors the tenacity of the original pioneers, Charles and Ann.