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GORDON-CUMMING, CHARLES LENOX

GORDON-CUMMING, CHARLES LENOX (1864–1942). Charles Lenox Gordon-Cumming, rancher, the younger son of Frank and Emma (Campbell) Gordon-Cumming, was born on May 29, 1864, in Calcutta, India, where his father, a major in the British army, was stationed. His father was descended from Robert Comyn, first earl of Northumberland and a cousin of William the Conqueror; his mother came from titled nobility in Scotland. His sister Constance became a noted author and painter. When Charles was six, his father's regiment was transferred to the Himalayan Mountains. Soon afterward Charles was sent to England to begin his formal schooling. He received his early education at Eastbourn and Hastings and later attended Trinity College at Glenalmond.In 1882, at the age of eighteen, he sailed to Boston and made his way to Bradford, Ontario, where he and six other young Scots apprenticed themselves to a large landowner to study systematic farming. A year later he joined a Canadian government surveying crew in Manitoba. Afterward he journeyed south to San Antonio, Texas, where an uncle, Col. William Gordon-Cumming, financed him in a small horse-ranching operation near the city. In 1885 he helped drive 1,500 cattle from San Antonio to Buffalo Gap in Taylor County.

In 1887 Gordon-Cumming went to the Panhandle to work for the LX and XIT ranches. Two years later, at the invitation of Lee John Hutson, he was employed by the Cedar Valley Land and Cattle Company to work for the T Anchor Ranch. There he remained for the next eight years, during which time he achieved an outstanding record as a cowman. He then filed on two sections of land on Tierra Blanca Creek west of Canyon and built up his own farming and ranching operation, which became noted for its high-grade cattle. On September 4, 1901, he married Elizabeth Thomas, a Dallas native who had taught art in the Amarillo schools and was seeking a faculty position at Goodnight College; she was probably the first art instructor in the Panhandle. The couple had three daughters. In 1908 the Gordon-Cummings built a spacious house that soon became a showplace featuring Elizabeth's art studio and several family paintings. Although contemporaries recalled the aristocratic couple as "lofty and unapproachable," they were involved in community affairs and members of the First Methodist Church in Canyon. In addition, Mrs. Gordon-Cumming was an honorary member of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. One of the last surviving T Anchor cowboys, Gordon-Cumming died on January 27, 1942, and was buried near Canyon.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Lula Belsher, Memoirs of Mr. Gordon-Cumming (Interview, July 1 and 6, 1936, Interview Files, Research Center, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas). Mrs. C. J. E. Lowndes, Jr., Interview by Mrs. L. E. Moyer and C. Boone McClure, May 19, 1958, Interview Files, Panhandle-Plains Historical Museum, Canyon, Texas. Mrs. Clyde W. Warwick, comp., The Randall County Story (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1969).

H. Allen Anderson

Citation

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

H. Allen Anderson, "GORDON-CUMMING, CHARLES LENOX," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgo56), accessed July 26, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.