Luke Brite, pioneer Presidio County rancher and philanthropist, son of Lucas Charles and Nancy Caroline (Carr) Brite, was born in Caldwell County, Texas, on July 29, 1860. He had two brothers and a sister. Their father died when Brite was three years old, and while still a boy he began working on ranches in La Salle and Frio counties. In 1879 he went to work in Coleman and Tom Green counties with his brother Robert. In 1885 Robert Brite died, and Luke trailed a small herd of 166 cattle from Frio County to Capote Peak in Presidio County. After spending several years camped alone in the pristine wilderness, he had a substantial ranch. He married schoolteacher Edward (Eddie) McMinn Anderson on June 24, 1896, in Schell City, Missouri. The couple lived on the ranch at Capote Peak the first six years of their marriage and in 1902 moved into Marfa. They had a son and a daughter.
Brite developed a ranch of 125,000 acres in Presidio County and became the breeder of champion Herefords. By March 1920 he had managed to ship 1,000 bulls of his own breeding for each of the preceding fourteen years. His cattle-breeding received several honors. He took greatest pride in the Cudahy Trophy for Grand Champion Carload of Feeder Cattle, which he won in 1922 and 1925. In 1918 he helped to organize the Highland Hereford Breeders Association in Marfa. That same year he was elected president of the Panhandle and Southwestern Stockmen's Association. He became president of the American National Live Stock Association in 1927. In July 1928 Brite helped organize the Highland Fair Association in Presidio County and served as chairman of the livestock committee.
The Brites were devoted members of the First Christian Church in Marfa, which they joined in August 1897, when Addison Clark held a meeting and organized the church. In 1911 and in 1914 the Brites gave a total of nearly $60,000 to establish the Chair of English Bible and to build the Bible College building at Texas Christian University. Luke Brite became chairman of the board of trustees of Brite College of the Bible at TCU in 1926.
In 1941 in El Paso he was stricken with appendicitis. He died from complications from surgery on September 4, 1941. After her husband's death, Eddie Brite served the remainder of his term on the board of trustees of Brite College. She was the first woman to serve on that board. In 1942 she was received as an honorary member of the Beta Iota chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, a national educational society. She was given a life membership in the Texas Federation of Women's Clubs in 1945. In 1948 TCU awarded her an honorary doctor of laws degree.
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Noel Leonard Keith, The Brites of Capote (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1950). Cecilia Thompson, History of Marfa and Presidio County, 1535–1946 (2 vols., Austin: Nortex, 1985). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin. Clayton W. Williams, Texas' Last Frontier: Fort Stockton and the Trans-Pecos, 1861–1895 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982).
Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
Ranching and Cowboys
Ranchers and Cattlemen
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Julia Cauble Smith,
“Brite, Lucas Charles II,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed July 07, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
Most Recent Revision Date:
July 28, 2020