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SCHREINER, CHARLES ARMAND

SCHREINER, CHARLES ARMAND (1838–1927). Charles Armand Schreiner, merchant, banker, philanthropist, and rancher, was born on February 22, 1838, in Riquewihr, France, the fourth of five children, to Dr. Gustave Adolph and Charlotte (Bippert) Schreiner. In 1852 his parents moved to San Antonio, Texas, where his father died shortly afterwards. Schreiner joined the Texas Rangersqv in 1854 and served with distinction until 1857, when he resigned after his mother's death to enter the cattle business in the vicinity of Turtle Creek in Kerr County. In late 1858, with the help of Caspar Real, his brother-in-law, Schreiner bought a small store at Camp Verde, a military post fifteen miles south of Kerrville that was headquarters for the United States Army experiment to use camels in the Southwest. Schreiner and Real contracted with the government to provide beef and other supplies to the fort. Making frequent trips to San Antonio to buy supplies for his ranch and store, Schreiner met Mary Magdalena ("Lena") Enderle there and married her on October 1, 1861, the year he joined the Confederacy. They had eight children. In 1861 Schreiner enlisted in Capt. S. G. Newton's company at San Antonio; assigned under Gen. John G. Walker in the Third Texas Infantry, he served the Confederacy for 3½ years. Schreiner returned to his ranch and family on Turtle Creek in 1865 to face poverty and hardships for the next two years. In 1869 he moved to Kerrville, and with the financial aid of August Faltin of Comfort, Texas, he went into the general merchandising business. The business, named Faltin and Schreiner Mercantile Company, prospered as the town developed. Schreiner bought Faltin's interest in 1879. Besides diversifying his interests over the years, Schreiner also served as both county and district clerk, and from 1868 to 1898 he served as county treasurer. The continued Indian menace caused a home guard unit to be organized in 1875, and Schreiner was elected captain, a title he carried the rest of his life.

The Charles Schreiner Company, of which Captain Schreiner was founder and president, extended its activities to include banking, ranching, and marketing wool and mohair; it was the first concern in America to value mohair, and Kerrville soon became known as the "Mohair Center of the World." By 1900 the Charles Schreiner Company owned more than 600,000 acres of land extending continuously from Kerrville to Menard. The YO Ranch, purchased in 1880, became headquarters for the Schreiner Cattle Company, and the Live Oak Ranch, now forming portions of the YO, was headquarters for the sheep operations. The sales of the general merchandise store alone reached $600,000 in 1919 and $1,000,000 in 1945; it remained one of the largest country stores in the Southwest. Schreiner's banking business, which he conducted in the store, became so large, that in 1893 he separated the bank from the store and established the Charles Schreiner Bank. He required cattlemen who borrowed money from the bank to use part of the loan for sheep raising. Schreiner's philanthropic contributions exceeded a million dollars, the largest gifts going to establish Schreiner Institute (now Schreiner College). At the time of his death on February 9, 1927, Schreiner held many positions in banking and railroad companies in addition to his Kerrville enterprises.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Neal Barrett, Jr., Long Days and Short Nights: A Century of Texas Ranching on the YO, 1880–1980 (Mountain Home, Texas: Y-O Press, 1980). Bob Bennett, Kerr County, Texas, 1856–1956 (San Antonio: Naylor, 1956; bicentennial ed., rev. by Clara Watkins: Kerr County, Texas, 1856–1976, Kerrville, Texas: Hill Country Preservation Society, 1975). J. Evetts Haley, Charles Schreiner, General Merchandise (Austin: Texas State Historical Association, 1944; rpt., Kerrville, Texas: Charles Schreiner, 1969). Gene Hollon, "Captain Charles Schreiner, the Father of the Hill Country," Southwestern Historical Quarterly 48 (October 1944). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Edward M. Wentworth, America's Sheep Trails: History, Personalities (Ames: Iowa State College Press, 1948).

W. Eugene Hollon

Citation

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

W. Eugene Hollon, "SCHREINER, CHARLES ARMAND," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fsc15), accessed December 18, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.