Laurel Leaf Ranch

Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & Store

The Laurel Leaf, or Horseshoe, Ranch had its beginning in 1878, when Frank Karrick first brought cattle to the Lake Creek range in southeastern Hemphill County, between the Canadian and Washita rivers. Karrick established the Horseshoe Ranch, but by 1879 he had sold it to J. V. Andrews.

J. V. Andrews  in turn sold out to a man named Burdick. William H. (Bee) Hopkins, who was made foreman of the Horseshoe by Andrews, later commented that this rapid succession of owners "sold the fast that I didn't know who to check on."

Hopkins helped organize the Panhandle Stock Association in 1880. In 1883, while returning by stagecoach to the Laurel Leaf from a business trip, he met Hannah Nation, who was traveling from her hometown of Gonzales to visit her sister in Mobeetie where they were married later that year. They had two children; their oldest, Bessie Lorene, was said to be the first girl born in Canadian, a town that Hopkins and his wife helped found in 1887.

In 1892 Hannah's sister, Bessie, married Andrew Hopkins. All three Hopkins brothers and their families became civic leaders during the Panhandle's early development. William Hopkins remained foreman of the Laurel Leaf until 1888, when the Texas Land and Cattle Company sold out. At that time he purchased a portion of the Laurel Leaf range and subsequently developed his own ranch with the help of his brother Hoos. Hopkins devoted the major part of his later years to his ranch south of Canadian.