Boyce, Albert Gallatin (1842–1912)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: November 1, 1994

Albert Gallatin Boyce, general manager of the XIT Ranch, was born on May 8, 1842, near Austin in Travis County. He served in the Confederate Army throughout the Civil War and was wounded at the battle of Chickamauga in September 1863. After the war he began rounding up wild, unbranded cattle in Central Texas, and in 1867–68 he drove a herd to California. On December 20, 1870, he married Annie Elizabeth Harris; they had five children.

Boyce began his career with the XIT in 1885, when he served as trail boss for the herds purchased by the Capitol Syndicate from J. W. and D. H. Snyder. These cattle, which he drove to the Buffalo Springs division, were among the first to arrive at the XIT. Boyce succeeded B. H. Campbell as the ranch's general manager in June 1887 and remained in that position for eighteen years, during which time he made his own fortune. He put his Methodist principles into action by forbidding the cowboys to gamble and carry six-shooters and insisting on the strict observance of Sundays. He was a charter member of the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas (now the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association) and later served as its vice president and on its executive committee. After his retirement from the XIT in 1905, Boyce moved to Amarillo, where, with Benjamin T. Ware, he helped organize the Amarillo National Bank and became one of its biggest stockholders. At one time he was president of the bank and maintained a palatial residence on Polk Street. Later he organized the Midway Bank and Trust Company at Dalhart and was president of this institution until his death.

He was shot to death on January 13, 1912, in the lobby of the Metropolitan Hotel in Fort Worth by John Beal Sneed, an Amarillo rancher whose wife, Lena, had eloped with Boyce's son Al. His body was brought back to Amarillo for interment in Llano Cemetery. Sneed was arrested and subsequently tried in Vernon for the killing, but the jury acquitted him; later, on the night of September 14, 1912, Sneed murdered Al Boyce in Amarillo. Since both the Sneed and Boyce families had friends and relatives in high places, the affair resulted in a bitter feud that simmered on for several years (see BOYCE-SNEED FEUD).

Carl L. Duaine, The Dead Men Wore Boots: An Account of the Thirty-Second Texas Volunteer Cavalry, CSA, 1862–1865 (Austin: San Felipe, 1966). J. Evetts Haley, The XIT Ranch of Texas and the Early Days of the Llano Estacado (Chicago: Lakeside, 1929; rpts., Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1953, 1967).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Boyce, Albert Gallatin,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 28, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

November 1, 1994