In January 1919, Philip Alexander Chapman (1847-1924) purchased 34,631 acres of the Laureles division of the King Ranch for development as farm lands similar to others he owned in east Texas and Oklahoma. He sent his son, J. O. Chapman (1883-1953), to supervise operations. Arriving in Sept. 1919, J. O. Chapman began dividing "Nueces Farms" into 160-acre tracts and leasing them to tenants.
In 1924, the name was changed to Chapman Ranch. The town, founded in 1925, had a hospital, cotton gin, 2 schools, its own power plant, and "the commissary", which housed grocery, hardware, and mercantile stores, a barber shop, soda fountain, automobile agency, service station, post office, and ranch headquarters offices. In 1926, over 20,000 acres were in cultivation. The ranch contracted with manufacturers to test modern farm equipment. Several implements were invented here. In the late 1920's, Chapman Ranch was advertised as the world's largest mechanized farm.
During the 1930's, the ranch conducted extensive crop experiments, and developed a superior strain of long-staple cotton, the seed of which was marketed worldwide. By 1941, the town had dwindled away, and the land was partitioned among P. A. Chapman's children, whose heirs continue to operate the ranch.