Lambshead is closely associated with some of the seminal events of the American frontier, as will be described below. Due in large part to its location on the Clear Fork of the Brazos River – a somewhat isolated source of good water – the land has for centuries been an attractive range for game animals, cattle, sheep, and the people who hunt and herd them.
Because the river passes through primordial limestone formations on three sides of the ranch, Lambshead has also been a place of passage. Numerous low water crossings with gravel or stone bottoms have provided good places to ford the river since ancient Americans first arrived in the Clear Fork country. The limestone, similar if not identical to the nearby Lueders deposits, has also provided a durable material for those who chose to build there.
It is not surprising that Lambshead would be a place for the unfolding of some of the major themes of frontier history. The ranch includes numerous indigenous American and early pioneer sites distributed widely over the property. It also includes segments of routes of early travel, such as the southern path of the California “49ers”, the Butterfield Overland Mail, the Goodnight-Loving Trail and the Western Trail, among others. But Lambshead was not just crisscrossed by history; history was also made there.
Fortunately, much of the material culture connected to these events and sites has survived. To a great extent this is due to the people who have been its stewards, including five generations of the Matthews and Reynolds families.