The Koontz Ranch, at Inez, Texas, is internationally known for its fine Brahman cattle and its long history in Brahman breeding. The ranch was founded in 1870 by Henry Clay Koontz, Sr., who was born in Matagorda on April 12, 1847. He was orphaned when his father, Henry Clay Koontz, a Swiss immigrant, and mother, Dorothy (Ulrich) Koontz, a native of Alabama, died of yellow fever in 1852 in Indianola. A Judge Varnel adopted him at age five and raised him in Victoria County. He received a fifth-grade education and then carried mail on horseback between Texana and Indianola. Later he worked as merchant, stockman, and postmaster in the Victoria County community of Arenosa-now called Inez. Koontz soon owned the townsite of Inez as well as its lumberyard, cotton gin, and mercantile store. Through the gradual accumulation of land and the branding of mavericks, he established the Koontz Ranch with its C Bar E brand. Koontz married Mary Ann Finnigan on May 1, 1879, and the couple had ten children. He died at his home on January 28, 1908.
On the death of his father, Henry C. Koontz, Jr., who was born in Inez on December 16, 1888, took over the management of the Koontz Ranch, and the next year purchased the ranch's first Brahman bull from Allen McFaddin. Tolerant of the often brutal South Texas climate and resistant to most pest infestations, the Brahman proved a perfect breed for local range stock. In the 1920s Henry Koontz improved and expanded the herd by the selective purchase of the finest Brahman cattle available and by the mid-1940s was exhibiting animals from his registered Brahman herd at major livestock shows nationally. Of special interest to him was the gentle Guzerat Brahman breed. Koontz was also an early member and director of the Brahman Association and served as the agricultural inspector of Victoria Bank and Trust Company. At the time of his death in an automobile-train accident on November 19, 1954, the ranch was running 1,700 commercial cattle and 250 Brahman brood cows, as well as farming 2,000 acres of crops.
The third generation of Koontzes took over the ranch's management in 1956 when Robert Lee and Diana Keeran Koontz Massey, son-in-law and daughter of Henry Clay Koontz, Jr., and Armel Keeran Koontz Baker began running the ranch. They sold registered Brahmans to cattlemen throughout the country and in more than two dozen foreign countries, especially in South Africa and Central and South America, and were instrumental in introducing the Braford, a Brahman-Hereford crossbreed, into the Victoria area.
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Thomas S. Chamblin, ed., The Historical Encyclopedia of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Texas Historical Institute, 1982). Roy Grimes, ed., 300 Years in Victoria County (Victoria, Texas: Victoria Advocate, 1968; rpt., Austin: Nortex, 1985).
Ranching and Cowboys
Ranches Established After 1835
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
Thomas W. Cutrer,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 25, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
February 1, 1995