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REYNOLDS, GEORGE THOMAS

REYNOLDS, GEORGE THOMAS (1844–1925). George Thomas Reynolds, pioneer cattleman, was born in Montgomery County, Alabama, on February 14, 1844, to Barber Watkins and Anna Maria (Campbell) Reynolds. When the family moved to East Texas in 1847, George was two years old and his brother William D. Reynolds was a baby. After twelve years of farming, the family moved west to a village called Golconda, later Palo Pinto. When he was fifteen years old, George Thomas rode pony express from there to Weatherford, a distance of thirty-five miles, through hostile Indian country. Eventually the Reynolds family settled on the Brazos River in Stephens County. At age seventeen Reynolds joined the army of the Confederacy, serving in the Nineteenth Texas Cavalry under the command of Col. Nathaniel M. Burford. This command made raids through Missouri and Arkansas. Reynolds later received a medical discharge and a wounded soldier's bonus of $300 in Confederate money, which was worth ten cents on the dollar. These meager assets were the sum total of his worldly possessions when he returned to Texas. Once in Texas Reynolds attended one term of school at McKenzie College in Clarksville. In October 1865 Reynolds and two other men drove a herd of cattle through to New Mexico; it was reportedly the first herd to make this run. In 1866 the Reynolds family moved to the Stone Ranch (see LAMBSHEAD RANCH), about five miles up the Clear Fork from old Camp Cooper, a pre-Civil War military camp. In April 1867 George Thomas and William David Reynolds joined a posse to pursue some marauding Indians who had stolen a neighbor's horses. The group caught up with the Indians, and a fight ensued. George was the only posse member wounded; the head of the arrow shaft remained in his body until it was surgically removed sixteen year later.

On July 15, 1867, Reynolds married Lucinda Elizabeth (Bettie) Matthews, the daughter of a former neighboring rancher. Bettie's dowry included 200 cows to add to his own 700 or 800 cows. In 1868 Reynolds decided to move west and gathered an outfit of men, wagons, oxen, horses, and all the cattle. The group wintered in Roswell, New Mexico, then went first to Colorado and on to California, where the couple's herd was sold at an extremely good profit. In 1868 George Thomas and William David Reynolds formed a partnership establishing the Long X as their official brand. In 1871 they moved their herd of longhorn cattle to Bent County, Colorado, where they established their Point of Rocks Ranch. By 1875 drought and the defeat of the hostile Indian tribes prompted the Reynolds brothers to move their base of operations back to Texas. Their ventures prospered over the next several years through cattle drives to Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Montana, Nebraska, the Dakotas, and Canada, enabling them to establish ranches in Haskell, Shackelford, and Throckmorton counties. By 1884 their partnership had been incorporated as the Reynolds Cattle Company. In 1895 the Reynolds Company acquired 232,000 acres in Jeff Davis County on which it established its Kent Ranch. At one time or another the corporation owned extensive ranchlands in Culberson and eight other Texas counties, as well as in New Mexico, Arizona, Montana, and North Dakota. One of the last large properties, acquired in the 1920s, was the purchase of the former Rita Blanca Division of the XIT Ranch, plus adjacent lands in Hartley County near Dalhart, totaling 64,000 acres. George Thomas Reynolds died on March 5, 1925, in Fort Worth and was buried in Albany. He was survived by his widow and one adopted daughter. At the time of his death, the Reynolds Cattle Company had approximately 330,000 acres of ranchland in the Davis Mountains of Texas, 70,000 acres in Throckmorton, Haskell, and Shackelford counties, and 64,000 acres in the Panhandle near Dalhart. Reynolds was one of the founders of the Bloys Camp Meeting.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Mary Whatley Clarke, "Reynolds: A History Making Name in Cattle Industry of the Southwest," Cattleman, July 1954. 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). Frank Reeves, "The Reynolds Story," Cattleman, December 1968. Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).

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, GEORGE THOMAS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fre31), accessed November 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.