Friday, February 24, 2017

Texas Land

Back in the day to finance the railroad the U.S. government gave the railroads government land (land taken from the Native Americans) on either side of the railroad right of way to sell as a means of raising money to build the road ways. My Grandparents purchased the family farm from the T&P Railroad around the turn of the Century.  They raised 6 kids sending all to college while farming a West Texas dirt farm. My guess it was tough. My Grandmother also raised me until I was old enough to go off to boarding school in San Antonio. Over the years I lost touch with the family for reasons. BTW, I will get to the chase.

A couple of days ago I received a phone call from an investor who offered me a sum of money to buy my share of the farm that I did not know I owned. Of course he was trying to "steal" it. After a couple of days on the phone trying to pin down ownership, it is looking like I may own 90 acres of West Texas. It gets even stranger: My clients this week were present when I received the call about the farm. One of the client's son is a "Land Man". For those of you not from the oil patch, a Land Man is an employee of drilling/oil companies whose job is to buy mineral rights and drilling permits from land owners.

Bottom line: He, the Land Man, is nailing down ownership and will buy the mineral rights if I still own them. He said there is good activity in the area and the property may have some value. That could be the best of all worlds, mineral rights go for about the same per acre as the land price. If everything works out I will keep the land and lease it to one of the local farmers and sell the mineral rights. Could be a nice unexpected chunk of change in my pocket and a good monthly income to help with retirement.

I'm not headed to the Chevy dealer to order my new diesel truck yet but it will be a nice surprise if it does work out.

On a totally unrelated note. MsBubba called me this morning in a panic, one of her friends said there were many house break-ins happening in our part of town and she is worried we do not have enough insurance to cover my shop and the contents of the house. The only answer is "yes Dear I will call State Farm about the house coverage". In line with the call she wanted an inventory of the shop, as she put it "what it really cost, not what you tell me it cost". The old gal is pretty sharp :-). The good news, we have $250,000 USD house hold goods coverage and a very generous accounting of replacement cost for everything in the shop is only around $60,000 USD and I want to see the thief that can pick up almost 2 tons of pig iron and run with it.  BTW, I've got to go out and buy more tools because MsBubba guessed there were more than $100,000 USD of tools in the shop, I've $40,000 to go because I sure do not want to disappoint the boss.

See you guys on down the road,



  1. Ken
    I could not help laugh when I read ; That she wanted to know your tools cost versus what you told her... Heather and I had similar conversation for similar reasons (insurance and disposal after I am gone) :-)
    That is partly why I started to record everything on my Excel spreadsheet years ago. That and to keep track of my whole herd of wild, free range tools all around the house :-)

    Good luck with your corner of Texas land, here we do not own mineral rights it remains the federal government property.

    Bob, with the new Grand peanuts for the weekend. Between Rudy and the little girls its a very lively house this AM, no sleeping in :-)

  2. Gonna sell the mineral rights or lease? I've been having Land Men calling and writing about tiny shares of old family properties in WV (both Marcellus and Utica shale formations). Do we thank the Rockefellers for severing the mineral rights from the land? Seems the land rights were sold off but the mineral rights held. After 4 generations, I'd hate to be in charge of chasing down ownership.


  3. Mike,

    I expect I will sell. Oil is a dying industry much as coal is. The land will also be sold to buy a smaller parcel in Central Texas. All of that of course depends on a lot of ifs.


  4. Bob,

    Excel is a great plan, too bad I'm not organized enough to pull it off. About the best I can do is take group photos on occasion.

    I need it, the luck that is, there are at least 4 producing wells on the property, the money has been going somewhere. Not that it will be much with the price of oil. I expect this will all end up long and messy and I may regret not taking the first offer.

    It is much more pleasant thinking of Grandpeanuts and puppies. Tell Rudy Sam and Maggie say woof.


  5. Exciting times as you just might be a land Baron.Pull the belt a little tighter,stand a bit taller and add a bit of extra swagger to your walk. Then hope the taxes are paid up.

  6. Hi Ken
    Congratulations on unexpected becoming a land owner.
    Better safe than sorry when it comes to insurance companies. They have a way of trying to avoid paying if there is some minor detail that is not completely standard such as a load of expensive hand tools.