Bookmark and Share
Facebook
Twitter
LinkedIn

REYNOLDS CATTLE COMPANY

REYNOLDS CATTLE COMPANY. The Reynolds Cattle Company had its inception in the years immediately following the Civil War when B. W. Reynolds and his family began ranching along the Clear Fork of the Brazos River in the vicinity of Fort Griffin. In 1868 George Thomas and William David Reynoldsqv formed a partnership and adopted the Long X as their brand. In 1871 they moved their herd of longhorn cattle to Bent County, Colorado, where they established their Point of Rocks Ranch. By 1875, however, drought in Colorado and the defeat of the hostile Indian tribes in Texas prompted the brothers to move their base of operations back to Texas. Much of their foundation stock, which was moved to Roberts County, was sold to Charles Goodnight in 1876 and added to the JA Ranch herd. After returning to Fort Griffin, the Reynolds brothers restocked their ranches. Their venture prospered over the next several years through trail drives to Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Canada. Their success enabled them to put together ranches in Haskell, Shackelford, and Throckmorton counties that formed the basis of the company, which was incorporated by 1884 with headquarters at the First National Bank in Albany. Several associates, mostly relatives, were brought into the organization. In 1895 the company acquired 232,000 acres in Jeff Davis County, on which it established its Kent Ranch. At one time the corporation owned extensive ranchlands in Culberson and eight other Texas counties as well as in New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, and North Dakota. In 1901 the headquarters was moved to the First National (later Texas American) Bank in Fort Worth. The Reynolds brothers conducted their last extensive cattle drive in 1902, the same year the company changed to its current name. In the late 1920s they purchased the Rita Blanca Division of the XIT Ranch from George Conrad, a relative, and adjacent lands near Dalhart in Hartley County, totaling 64,000 acres. Over the years the Reynolds Cattle Company was widely known and respected for its pioneering efforts in range management, its quality breeding of horses and Hereford feeder calves, and its conservation of native wildlife, including buffalo from the Goodnight Ranch herd. The corporation reached its peak in the early 1900s with vast herds of Herefords carrying the Long X brand. It also experimented with Black Angus.

After the death of George's widow, Bettie Matthews Reynolds, in 1935, the Reynolds Cattle Company stock and ranch properties were passed on to George and Bettie's adopted daughter, Betty Reynolds Cornell, who in the 1940s left the corporation and took land on the Kent Ranch for inherited stock. There she started the Bar C+ Ranch, which was later owned by Dale Dorn. The eight children of William D. Reynolds also inherited ownership in the company; in 1952 Merle Reynolds Harding broke from the corporation and received land five miles north of Dalhart. The resultant operation was the Matlock Cattle Company, with a Running M brand. In 1984 the Reynolds Cattle Company celebrated its centennial at the newly restored Old Stone Ranch, on Watt R. Matthews's Lambshead property. Further divisions among Reynolds Company stockholders occurred in 1985. Watt W. Reynolds III and Thomas Reynolds, grandson of Watt W. Reynolds, Sr., received a large portion of the Rita Blanca Ranch, some twenty miles south of Dalhart, and the Long X brand; they retained the company name. Heirs of Joseph Reynolds Matthews received a major portion of the Kent Ranch, including its original headquarters seven miles south of Interstate 10 in northern Jeff Davis County, and called it the Long X Ranch; they also retained the Long X brand. Susan Reynolds Hughes and her sons received a smaller portion of the Kent properties, which became the Hughes Cattle Company. Other portions of the Kent and Rita Blanca ranches went to the nieces of Nathan Reynolds, who likewise started their own operations. The small buffalo herd was shared among the various ranches. A horse barn built in 1879 by Mart Gentry, longtime manager of the Reynolds brothers' Round Mountain Ranch, is on the Ranching Heritage Center grounds in Lubbock.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Cattleman, July 1954, December 1968. Frances Mayhugh Holden, Lambshead Before Interwoven: A Texas Range Chronicle, 1848–1878 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Sallie Reynolds Matthews, Interwoven: A Pioneer Chronicle (Houston: Anson Jones, 1936; 4th ed., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Laura C. Wilson, Watt Matthews of Lambshead (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1989).

Frances Mayhugh Holden

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Frances Mayhugh Holden, "REYNOLDS CATTLE COMPANY," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/aqr01), accessed September 16, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.