Dillard R. Fant was born in South Carolina in 1841, but his parents settled near Goliad eleven years later. When Dillard was fourteen years old, he began working with the teams of oxen that hauled freight between San Antonio and Goliad.
During the Civil War he served in the Texas Cavalry, and returned as Colonel Fant. In 1866 he went into the cattle business in a big way. For the next fourteen years he drove about 200,000 cattle up the trail to the northern markets. In 1884 he engaged in one of the largest cattle drives ever-several herds totaling 42,000 cattle (costing $12-20 each) made the drive to Wyoming.
Fant continued his own cattle business in Goliad County, and improved his stock by introducing Durhams and Herefords. He was said to be the second man to fence a pasture in Texas (1874). Eventually Colonel Fant owned over 700,00 acres of grazing land in various parts of the state, including 60,000 in Live Oak County. Fant hired Peter Kerr to build a dam on the Sulphur Creek in exchange for a hundred yearling heifers. The resulting reservoir, known as The Big Tank, covered a hundred acres, and it remained until washed away by Hurricane Beulah's floods, three-fourths of a century later.
Photo courtesy Joan on Find a grave link connected to Dillard R. Fant above. Narrative from: Sparkman, Ervin L. The People's History of Live Oak County, Texas. Mesquite, Ide House. 234.
Additional reading: Hunter, J. Marvin, compiler and ed. The Trail Drivers of Texas: Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985. The original edition was published San Antonio, Texas: Jackson Printing, 1920–1923. 78, 185, 257, 270, 383-384, 397, 437, 493, 545, 562, 585, 761, 805, 817, 819, 514-518.
The Honorable Jim Huff, County Judge for Live Oak County, welcomes you to the Live Oak County Historical Commission (LOCHC) Website. The Live Oak County Historical Commission is an arm of the Live Oak County Commissioners' Court; appointees are selected at the beginning of odd numbered years and serve two year terms. Judge Huff and the Live Oak County Commissioners support and approve actions of the LOCHC in coordination with the Texas Historical Commission (THC).
Live Oak County Commissioners:
Precinct 1: Richard Lee
Precinct 2: Donna Kopplin Mills
Precinct 3: Willie James
Precinct 4: Emilio Garza
The Commissioner's Court is committed to the preservation of our county's history. Judge Huff and your local commissioner welcome suggestions.