Sylvester and Millie Farmer Ashley were native residents of Copiah County, Mississippi. With their toddler son, Henry Clay Ashley, they came to Texas in 1855. Sylvester Ashley served with the Confederate troops in the Civil War, and returned to Van Zandt County when the war was over. He engaged in teaming and lumbering, and supplied the logs for the lumber used in the structure of the old Dallas County Court House. These logs were cut and hauled from a site in Edom and cut into lumber when they arrived in Dallas County. Henry Clay Ashley, a remarkably successful farmer, married Rhoda Smith in 1876, and together they occupied a fine tract of 432 acres near the village of Prairie Valley. Henry and Rhoda were the parents of Jane, Jesse, Turney and Mamie. When each of these four children married, a tract of approximately 100 acres was given as a wedding present from their parents. When Turney Buck Ashley married Exa Branch Clay, The BuckBranch Farm came to life on the northern-most section of the original tract, bordered by Goode Road to the west and a tributary of Cottonwood Creek to the north.
Naoma Ruth was born on The BuckBranch in 1919, the daughter of Turney and Exa. Ruth married Losse Piland in 1940 and other than the brief nomadic travels required in construction, spent her entire life in residence at The BuckBranch Farm. Linda Diane was born in 1948 and is the daughter of Ruth and Losse. Linda and her husband Chris Nelon reside at The BuckBranch Farm along with her daughter Gina Suzanne and grandchildren Justin, Austin and Kristin.
Linda's son JJ Townson Slagle and his wife Misty purchased the 25 acres just north of the Cottonwood Creek tributary, thus expanding the family holdings to approximately 120 acres.
Linda and her descendants are the only family members still living on the original land belonging to Henry Clay Ashley. Family ties are strong here; history is important here. And so, this is the heritage of The BuckBranch Farm.
Not since the farming days of Henry Clay Ashley, has The BuckBranch Farm been self sufficient in agriculture. Farming fell second to employment in the energy industry for Turney and remained a side venture for Losse and Ruth Piland, as well. With a love of the land second only to Scarlet O'Hara, Linda has long wished for a way to restore the BuckBranch Farm to full production. Harvesting crops of hay and running a small herd of registered Texas Longhorn cattle have been steps in the right direction, though still falling short of the desired goal.
After consideration of several ideas, our mutual love of horses won out. Plans were on the drawing board to remodel and double the size of our barn, as well as to build a lighted regulation-size roping arena. Almost simultaneously with the delivery of our first load of arena posts, arrived an equestrian eventing team at our front gate, scouting the area for a new and permanent home.
"Build it and we will come" said the trainer, very impressed with the attractive property and the convenient location.
We invite you to visit and enjoy The BuckBranch Equestrian Center – the result of our commitment to establishing a quality riding facility enhanced by our family’s dedication and involvement.