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Texas rancher and traildriver born in Mississippi


On this day in 1836, Robert Kelsey Wylie was born in Tishomingo County, Mississippi. After moving to Anderson County, Texas, with his parents around 1850, he worked building brick chimneys, labor for which he accepted cattle as payment. With his brothers he started a ranch in Erath County and, in 1862, helped formed Picketville, at the site of the future Ballinger, in Runnels County. He ranched in Coleman County during the Civil War. In 1865 he began driving cattle to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, a business he continued for ten years. He established cattle ranches near Ballinger and at Horsehead Crossing on the Pecos River. He also started a sheep ranch near Van Horn. At various times he supplied cattle to John S. Chisum and to the foundation herd of the Matador Ranch. He retired to Mineral Wells by 1905 and died on July 11, 1910, after falling off the back of a Pullman car near Trinidad, Colorado.

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