At his Hickory Grove farm near Racine, J. I. Case developed a strong interest in his stable of running horses. Most noteworthy of his horses was a black gelding for which he paid only $500.00, but who went on to establish a new trotting record of a mile in 2:10, easing out William H Vanderbilt's celebrated Maude S. Case named his little black gelding Jay-Eye-See. After rupturing a ligament, Jay-Eye-See was retired to Hickory Grove Farm, but eight years later trained to pace by Case's son, Jackson. Jay-Eye-See went on to set a pacing record of a mile in 2:06 1/4 which established him as the world's all time champion double gaited performer, a record which stood for over sixty years.
A partnership with his friend, Eli Stilson, of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, who devised the wrench which bears his name, brought about the introduction of the name Case to South west Texas. The two men, during the early 1880's, went to Texas, bought range land and there operated a rather large cattle operation under the name of Stilson & Case. Their stock pens occupied the present site of the city of Mertzon, Texas. Shortly thereafter Case, independently purchased 60,000 acres of this land when the Texas railroads were authorized to sell large tracts of land which had been granted them to build the railroads.
The forbearers of the Case Family came from England to settle in Massachusetts By Colony prior to moving to Oswego County, New York State. It was there in 1819 that Jerome Increase Case was born to Caleb and Deborah (Jackson) Case, she being of the same stock that produced Andrew Jackson.
In his youth J. I. Case did custom threshing with a "Ground Hog Thresher" capable of threshing 150 to 200 bushels of wheat a day. In 1842, at 23 years of age, he went by ship via the Welland Canal to Chicago with six Ground Hog Threshers purchased on credit. In Chicago he purchased a wagon and team and headed north to Rochester, Wisconsin. Along the way he sold five of the six ground hogs. His plan was to spend the winter in Rochester improving the remaining ground hog thresher. The rest of the story is of course legend like so many great success stories in American History. Jerome I. Case went on to develop and improve the threshing machine, indeed he became the threshing machine king. He established the J.I. Case Threshing Machine Co. and the J.I. Case Plow Works operates in Racine, Wisconsin where he founded the company under the name of J.I. Case Company. Recent mergers brought on Case-IH.
Jackson I. Case, the only son of Jerome I. Case, was followed by four sons, Jerome I. Case, Roy I. Case, Harry J. Case and Percival F. Case.
Percival F. Case, called P. F. and Perc by his friends in West Texas was the youngest grandson of J. I. Case. He was born in Racine, Wisconsin to Jackson and Henrietta Roy Case in 1895. Although his interests lay in agriculture, he received an engineering degree at the University of Wisconsin. After service in the U. S. navy during World War I he married Ruth Miller of Chicago, Illinois, whose father, Fred H. Miller, the son of a German immigrant, founded a successful printing firm in Chicago.
P. F. Case worked for a Chicago Steel firm and he and his wife Ruth established their home in Evanston, the first suburb north of Chicago. It was there that their three children were born. Henrietta Ruth in 1924; Frederick Harry in 1927; and Helen Caroline in 1929. As mentioned earlier, however, P. F. Case had an early and persistent interest in agriculture, and several trips to Schleicher County only lent fuel to his desire. During the mid-thirties spring vacations found the entire family enjoying visits to Schleicher County, Texas. In 1937 the family moved to the new home built on the Case Ranch property. Located 15 miles Northwest of Eldorado and seventeen miles south of Mertzon the ranch home was built on the edge of the Eldorado Divide looking west over the rolling live oak hills. A comfortable home in a beautiful setting, the Cases settled in and learned the business of ranching from experienced neighbors.
In 1941 Case Ranch entered into the Registered Hereford business, and P. F. Case and his son Fred operated the ranch as a partnership until the elder partner's death in 1961. Since that time Fred has continued the operation of the ranch and the development of the Registered Hereford herd. Herefords from this ranch have gone into forty states, Canada and Mexico, but even more significantly, they are recognized as a prime source of quality.