The history of the ranch reaches back before the land runs of 1889 and 1893 in Oklahoma. Carl’s great grandfather James Huntsberger, a veteran of the Civil War, made his mark on the land by running in the opening of Old Oklahoma in 1889. This first run provided the legacy that his son would create.
William H. Huntsberger, James’s son, was an early day stockman and wagon freighter in the 1880’s and ‘90’s. He transported goods from Abilene, south through Indian Territory, and down into old Oklahoma. He made the trip 17 times through dangerous unsettled land that was a haven for outlaw justice. Many nights he would camp on the island in the Cimarron River. As a young man who had lived through countless adventures, these secluded islands seemed nothing short of paradise to William. Game was plentiful and the rolling hills and streams provided an abundance of grass and water for his team of horses. While bedding down on the island, he would dream of the land which held so much promise, and knew that one day it could provide a life for his family. His dream would become a reality and William would live to see the land prosper.
He would later go on to marry Jenny E. Brown and made their home on the valuable farm ground that he claimed. Surviving hardship, tragedy and loss, the Huntsbergers’ were blessed with 5 surviving children.
Their oldest daughter Martha, of high intelligence, with a propensity for business and an interest in cattle, made countless trips to the Island with her father and aided him in all aspects of running the ranch. Spending a life buying cattle and helping to oversee operations, Martha developed an innate love for the land. Martha married Carl Lazelle White who sadly passed away at an early age, but despite this tragedy she would strive to pass on their love of the land to her two small children Elaine and Carl.
Having spent much of his childhood on the ranch with his mother and sister, Carl never forgot his parents love and spends his life on the Island and makes it his home. The legacy that James Huntsberger and more so his son William created, is alive and well with the White family and Island Guest Ranch today.