Doty, Christopher Columbus (1857–1944)

By: Vanessa Brown

Type: Biography

Published: December 1, 1994

Christopher Columbus Doty, pioneer sheepman and settler of Schleicher County, son of Mr. and Mrs. A. C. Doty, was born in Barry County, Missouri, on April 16, 1857. His formal education was limited to three months in a country school, but he continued studying at night. At the age of twenty-one he moved from Missouri to Uvalde, Texas, where his uncle, W. T. Moore, operated a sheep ranch. After gaining experience as a sheepman Doty purchased his uncle's sheep in 1882 and established his headquarters ten miles north of the site of present Eldorado, at the Ten-Mile Water Hole. He was the first settler in Schleicher County; he also drilled what was reputed to be the first windmill on the upper Edwards Plateau, a well that facilitated the future settlement of West Texas and the development of Schleicher County.

In 1884 prairie fires and a depressed wool market forced Doty to sell his sheep ranch and move to his family's farm in Fannin County. He was soon discontented with farm life and returned in 1886 to West Texas, where he worked sheep for various employers. He eventually went to work as a sheep boss for William L. Black, a prominent Menard County sheep rancher. By 1889 Doty had saved enough money to open a store on the South Concho River in Tom Green County, where he established a post office. He wanted to name his town Christobal, but the postal authorities erred and the town was named Christoval. Later that year a fire destroyed Doty's business. He took a job as manager of a 1,500-acre irrigated farm near Dove Creek, owned by Joseph Tweedy. Doty worked for Tweedy for two years and then entered the cattle business. From 1896 to 1902 he and a partner named Sheppard leased a nine-section ranch in Schleicher County. In 1901 Doty was elected Schleicher County's first tax assessor, an office he held until 1908. In 1909 and 1910 he worked as a bookkeeper for the First National Bank in Eldorado. After 1910 he remained active in ranching and served as justice of the peace in Eldorado for fifteen years. By 1925 he had sold his land and stock and purchased a leather-repair shop. Later that year he sold the shop and purchased a grocery store, which he still owned in 1930.

Doty married Alice Pancost on June 3, 1889, in Christoval. The couple had one daughter. Doty was a Mason and a devout Methodist who organized the first Sunday school between San Angelo and Del Rio. He died on October 16, 1944, in Ozona and was buried in Christoval. See also SHEEP RANCHING.

Paul H. Carlson, Texas Woolybacks: The Range Sheep and Goat Industry (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1982). Roy D. Holt, ed., Schleicher County, or Eighty Years of Development in Southwest Texas (Eldorado, Texas: Eldorado Success, 1930).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Vanessa Brown, “Doty, Christopher Columbus,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 18, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 1, 1994