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OXSHEER, FOUNTAIN GOODLET

OXSHEER, FOUNTAIN GOODLET (1849–1931). F. G. (Fount) Oxsheer, cattleman, son of William W. and Martha (Kirk) Oxsheer, was born in Milam County, Texas, on November 9, 1849. He entered the business by driving longhorn cattle to Kansas after the Civil War. In 1880 he was a rancher and businessman as well as community peace officer in the Central Texas town of Calvert. He is credited with stamping out rampant lawlessness there and establishing the first semblance of law and order. In 1884 he moved west to Colorado City with his wife, Mary (Beal). In West Texas he helped form the Jumbo Cattle Company with his in-laws and also established ranches of his own on the Llano Estacado. Oxsheer was one of the early settlers on the Texas High Plains and among the first to introduce windmills, thus pointing the way for settlement of the entire region. By the 1890s he owned 30,000 cattle and controlled a ranching empire of 1.25 million acres.

In the late 1890s he and his old friend and business partner Christopher C. Slaughter amassed on the Oxsheer ranches the largest herd of registered Hereford cattle in the United States. By the 1900s Oxsheer also owned ranches in Chihuahua, Mexico, and Southwest Texas. He introduced windmills and blooded stock on his Mexican holdings, and his success enabled him to serve as a business consultant for such American investors as Frank Rockefeller. Across northern Mexico and the American West his Lazy Diamond brand was associated with the finest in beef cattle. In Mexico he was also in contact with revolutionary figures Francisco (Pancho) Villa and Abraham González. Faced with mounting expenses and dwindling profits, Oxsheer invested heavily in feeder cattle during World War I. Prices collapsed at the end of the war, and he lost nearly everything he owned. Old and nearly deaf, he nevertheless was well on the way to building yet another ranching network when the Great Depression and the death of his oldest son defeated him. With nothing left of his vast holdings but a small mortgaged ranch, Oxsheer died on September 28, 1931, in Fort Worth, his hometown since 1894. He was a Baptist and a Democrat. Four of the his children survived him.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

David J. Murrah, C. C. Slaughter: Rancher, Banker, Baptist (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1981). Benton R. White, The Forgotten Cattle King (College Station: Texas A&M University, 1986).

Benton R. White

Citation

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

Benton R. White, "OXSHEER, FOUNTAIN GOODLET," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fox01), accessed August 23, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.