Edward Dow Harrell, Panhandle rancher and livestock breeder, was born on February 16, 1868, in Forsythe County, Georgia. In July 1890 he and his brother Charles arrived in the Panhandle. They first settled in Floyd County, but a few months later they filed on two sections of land ten miles east of Happy in southern Randall County. There they built a dugout and attempted to raise and breed horses for the next four years. Business was mediocre, however, and in 1894 the Harrells sold out. Charlie moved to Amarillo and became that city's first resident dentist. Ed refiled on four choice sections on Palo Duro Creek seven miles northwest of Canyon City and then went to Canada and bought registered Herefords, which became the foundation for his herd. Subsequently he built one of the largest ranches in the area by leasing grazing land. On December 22, 1898, he married fifteen-year-old Samuella (Sammie) Barks, who had moved with her mother to Canyon from Missouri in 1891. They spent their first years together at the ranch, where their only child, a son, was born. In 1909 Harrell sold his registered herd and went into the commercial cattle business. In 1917 he bought 35,000 acres in Armstrong County from the JA Ranch. This acreage included the Old Rush Creek Division, Charles Goodnight's original headquarters. Over the next few years Harrell continued to lease land in Randall County, including the 15,000 acres now encompassing Palo Duro Canyon State Scenic Park and another 10,000 acres around Buffalo Lake. Sammie Harrell worked the ranch with her husband and the cowhands and often accompanied the herds to the shipping pens in Amarillo. Harrell's son Newton assumed management of the family's cattle operations in 1924.
Harrell was a major stockholder and director of the First State Bank and the Canyon Supply Company. He also was instrumental in organizing the Old Cowboys Association, which held annual reunions for many years at the Old T Anchor Ranch headquarters site. Harrell became a charter member of the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society and gave liberally of his time and money to help build its museum. He and his wife were members of the Presbyterian church in Canyon. Harrell's health was poor during the last three years of his life; he died on September 14, 1932, and was interred in Dreamland Cemetery south of Canyon. The Harrell Ranch, occupied and managed in the late 1980s by Ed C. Harrell and his family, continued to operate as a commercial Hereford cow and calf venture.
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Armstrong County Historical Association, A Collection of Memories: A History of Armstrong County, 1876–1965 (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1965). Canyon News, September 15, 1932, June 29, 1989. Mrs. Clyde W. Warwick, comp., The Randall County Story (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1969).
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,
“Harrell, Edward Dow,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 26, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995