Montford Ranching Partnerships

Montford T. Johnson was a contemporary and a friend of Jesse Chisholm, the legendary scout and trader, who convinced him to establish cattle ranches on the undeveloped western edge of the Chickasaw Nation. In 1868, Montford created his first ranch, located about two miles northeast of present Washington in McClain County, and hired a Jack Brown, a freedman who was a former slave, to run and share in the operation. This was the first of many business ventures manned by non-whites that flourished under Montford's leadership [1].

After the Civil War, Montford gathered up cattle that were freely roaming the Arbuckle Mountains. These cattle had been set loose by neighbors to protect their herds during the war. Montford began by purchasing cows owned by his relatives and then made agreements with the neighboring farmers to allow him to collect and purchase their freely roaming cattle. To catch them he devised a unique corral method that lured the animals into a pen using salt. The pen allowed cattle in, but not out.

As Montford’s grazing lands increased, he established new ranches to better manage his herds. They were placed in conjunction with creeks and watering sites for the cattle which served as natural barriers between fields and allowed for easier supervision of the herds.

Over the next 25 years, Montford expanded his operations, enlisting the support of the Campbell and Bond families, who were related through marriage. Those ranches ranged from Johnsonville, north of present Byars, Oklahoma, west to present Newcastle, and continuing west and north to present Chickasha and Tuttle.

Montfort T. Johnson Brands – Personal and Associates

Montford Johnson Hat Brand

M. Johnson Hook Brand

M. Johnson Fig. 8

M. Johnson Diamond-Link

M. Johnson - Lize Jack/Eliza Brown

M. Johnson – Flying H Granny Vicey Harmon

Heart with X branded on ear

M. Johnson – 74 Bar Nute Burney

M. Johnson – 2 Up, 2 Down Goldsmith

C. B. Campbell - Nephew

Ella Campbell – Niece

M. Johnson – Half-Moon Caddo Bill Williams

Adelaide Johnson – sister – Circle A

[2, p. XXVII]

[1] Kingsley, C. Neil, "Oklahoma Historical Society Website," [Online]. Available: [Accessed 5 11 2021].

[2] Johnson, Neil R, The Chickasaw Rancher, Boulder: University Press of Colorado, 2001.