Settled between the Rio Grande and Nueces Rivers in what is known as the “Wild Horse Desert”, the Jones Family Ranches once stretched over 300,000 acres. The Alta Vista Ranch is the headquarters of the original ranches, spanning 34,000 acres. First settled in the early 1890’s by William Whitby, W.W., Jones and Lou Ella Marsden Jones, the Alta Vista Ranch contains many historic and significant structures that have been altered little since the Spanish/Mexican colonial era. From the years 1904-1925, the Alta Vista Ranch was a township complete with a post office and general store. The distinct blend of Spanish legacy, Anglo-American influence, and the preservation of language, customs, practices, and labor make for a very distinctive ranch symbolic of Texas’ past.
The South Texas Brush Plains, where the Alta Vista Ranch lies, is said to be the “Last Great Habitat”, according to the Caesar Kleberg Wildlife Research Institute (2002). Home to white-tailed deer, bobwhite quail, wild turkey, migratory birds, bore, javelina and other animals, the region is vital for the preservation and biodiversity of wildlife. As Patrick Cox writes, “the protection and management by the Jones family of these lands and resources for agriculture and wildlife provide a unique contribution to the regional and national history”.
Today, descendants of W.W. manage and reside on the Jones Family Ranches. In keeping with W.W.'s motto, the family lives and works by the rule that "Labor always wins".