Daugherty, James Monroe (1850–1942)

By: Deborah Blank

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: September 1, 1995

James Monroe Daugherty, cattleman, the son of James M. and Eleanor (McGehee) Daugherty, was born on February 27, 1850, in Texas County, Missouri. In 1851 he moved with his parents to Denton County, Texas. James M. Daugherty attended McKenzie College near Clarksville from 1861 to 1864. At the age of fourteen he joined the Confederate Army as an express rider delivering dispatches for Gen. Samuel Cooper's brigade. After the Civil War Daugherty moved to San Antonio, where he hired on as a cowboy for cattle-raiser James Adams. In 1866, at the age of sixteen, Daugherty persuaded Adams to let him drive 500 head of cattle to the new market that was rumored to be opening in Missouri. Thus Daugherty, starting at Denton, Texas, participated in the fabled long drive of the open-range cattle business at its inception. Despite Daugherty's near death, and the loss of 150 head of cattle stolen by Jayhawkers, the drive was successful, with the herd being sold for thirty-five dollars a head at Fort Scott, Kansas. From 1867 to 1873 he drove cattle to Indian Territory for the government to feed the Indians. Sometime before 1872 he acquired a ranch near Trinidad, Colorado. After completing several contracts with the government, Daugherty started a ranch in Stonewall County, Texas, on the South Fork of the Brazos River, establishing his home in Abilene while pursuing a career in raising, buying, and marketing cattle on a large scale. In 1875 he married Sara Elizabeth (Bettie) Middleton, daughter of a pioneer cattleman; they had five children, born between 1880 and 1887. Daugherty became prominent in local civic affairs-as a member of the Progressive Committee of Abilene, as the first president of Abilene National Bank, and as secretary of the Abilene Cattle Association. In 1900 Daugherty moved to a portion of El Paso County, Texas, that later became Culberson County. He started the Figure 2 Ranch, the Black Mountain Cattle Company, and the community of Daugherty, where his ranch headquarters was located. He was one of the organizers of Culberson County, serving as an early commissioner. Daugherty was on the board of county commissioners when the first county courthouse was constructed in Van Horn, Texas. He was also the organizer of both the Van Horn State Bank and the Sierra Blanca State Bank. Daugherty was one of the first members of the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas (later the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association) and served twice as a delegate for that organization at the National Livestock Association Convention. He was a charter member of the Trail Drivers Association. James M. Daugherty's wife died on January 23, 1924, and he spent his remaining years on his ranch near Van Horn, Texas. He died on March 2, 1942, at the home of his daughter in Alpine, Texas. Some of Daugherty's papers, including account and tally books, are in the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Abilene Remembered: Our Centennial Treasury Book, 1881–1981 (Abilene: Abilene Reporter-News, 1981). Abilene Reporter-News, March 29, 1884. James Cox, Historical and Biographical Record of the Cattle Industry (2 vols., St. Louis: Woodward and Tiernan Printing, 1894, 1895; rpt., with an introduction by J. Frank Dobie, New York: Antiquarian, 1959). J. Marvin Hunter, Trail Drivers of Texas (2 vols., San Antonio: Jackson Printing, 1920, 1923; 4th ed., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985). Buckley B. Paddock, ed., A Twentieth Century History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis, 1906). Clarence R. Wharton, ed., Texas under Many Flags (5 vols., Chicago: American Historical Society, 1930).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Trail Drivers and Riders

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

Deborah Blank, “Daugherty, James Monroe,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 08, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/daugherty-james-monroe.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995