Ligertwood, Arthur G. (1863–ca. 1915)

By: Marisue Potts

Type: Biography

Published: September 1, 1995

Arthur G. (Alec, Alex) Ligertwood was born in 1863 in Aberdeen, Scotland. He immigrated to the United States when he was nineteen years old and was employed by the English-based Prairie Cattle Company. When Murdo Mackenzie left that company to go to work for the Scottish-owned Matador Land and Cattle Company as ranch manager, he took Ligertwood with him. Ligertwood served the syndicate as ranch superintendent at the Matador Division from 1891 to 1909. His first job was to fulfill Mackenzie's order to shape up "a demoralized outfit of men" by enforcing these unpopular rules: to "make a condition with all your men that they are not to own any cattle and that there is no card playing at either the Ranch or Wagons on any pretext whatsoever" and "to strictly prohibit any of our men from frequenting the Saloon." Under Ligertwood's supervision and Mackenzie's direction, the 711,320-acre spread formed a breeding herd of purebred Hereford cattle stock and high grades of both shorthorn and Hereford descent, thereby upgrading the entire herd. As superintendent, Ligertwood was responsible for the division's own set of books, accounts, payrolls, and correspondence files. In his day-to-day work, the Scotsman was forced to deal with nesters, fence-cutting, prairie fires, droughts, roundups numbering 4,000 head, and cattle drovers who wished to drive their tick-infested south Texas herds across the Matador range (see TEXAS FEVER). His workforce ranged from thirty-six men in the winter to seventy-five in the summer and included the varied positions of wagon boss, line rider, clerk, blacksmith, ranchman, nighthawk, bronco breaker, teamster, gardener, farmer, milkman, freighter, windmill man, and rider. In 1902, when the ranch tallied 69,213 head of stock including 600 horses, the ranchhands branded 17,647 calves.

In 1892 Ligertwood's sister Mary and brother Elas immigrated and joined him at the ranch. On a trip to Fort Worth Ligertwood met a Canadian-born Englishwoman, whom he married. Marjorie Ligertwood had their first child, a son, at the ranch in 1904; when he died in 1906, he was buried in a lonely little cemetery near the ranch's Ballard Springs headquarters. Two other children were born later. Ligertwood resigned from his position with the Matador in 1909, and he and his family left Texas. They returned to Motley County in 1912, when Ligertwood accepted a vice presidency with the Roaring Springs Townsite Company, a land-development company formed by Dundee's Matador Land and Cattle Company to sell 960 acres at the railhead of Roaring Springs. In an agreement between the ranch and the Quanah, Acme and Pacific Railroad an additional 60,000 acres in the vicinity was offered to homeseekers and farmers. Ligertwood also served the ranch as an agent in land-lease negotiations in 1913, when drought had severely affected Texas ranges and extreme weather in Colorado had decimated herds there. According to newspaper sources Ligertwood died a few years later in Victoria, British Columbia.

Arthur G. Ligertwood, Ranch Manager's Diary (MS, Southwest Collection, Texas Tech University). W. M. Pearce, The Matador Land and Cattle Company (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1964).

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

Marisue Potts, “Ligertwood, Arthur G.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

September 1, 1995