McComb, Joseph Seaborn (1854–1935)

By: Ollie E. Clarke

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: December 2, 2020

Joseph Seaborn McComb, buffalo hunter and rancher, was born on May 12, 1854, in Randolph County, Alabama, the son of Seaborn J. and Mary McComb. At the age of fourteen he sailed with his parents from New Orleans to Galveston, Texas. The family settled first at Calvert, then on a farm near Hillsboro, and finally in Eastland County in 1870. In 1871 McComb obtained work as a cowhand. With six other cowboys he made a trip up the Chisholm Trail, driving some 1,000 wild and aged steers to Caldwell, Kansas. On the return trip to Texas the wagons of the outfit were pillaged by a band of Indians in the Comanche Strip of Indian Territory. McComb made the acquaintance in Weatherford of a young Frenchman, Allison Edgar Cebron Dumas; the two young adventurers went together to Fort Griffin in Shackelford County in July 1872. Later in 1872 McComb was a member of a surveying party sent out to locate the Houston and Texas Central Railway lands. This work took him west of Fort Griffin to the foot of the Llano Estacado and south to the mouth of the Concho River, an area then practically unknown to White men. McComb was the first man ever to stage a commercial buffalo hunt in Texas. The party left Fort Griffin on December 26, 1874, with two assistants, John Jacobs and John W. Poe, teamsters and skinners, and headed west in an ox-drawn wagon. The season's kill brought 2,000 hides, which were marketed at Fort Griffin at $1.50 and $2.00 each. Other hunting trips headed by McComb followed in 1875, 1876, 1877, and 1878. The year 1877 was recorded as the big kill. The destruction of the herds was final in 1878. McComb estimated that he had killed no less than 12,000 buffalo during his five hunting seasons. In 1879 he returned to his old home in Hill County, where on June 29 of that year he married his childhood sweetheart, Nancy Elizabeth (Betty) Hale. The couple had two children. In 1881 he moved to Albany, where he entered the ranching business. Beginning in 1894, he served several terms as treasurer of Shackelford County. McComb later became a retail merchant and continued in that line until his death in Albany, on March 21, 1935.

Mary Whatley Clarke, "Uncle Joe McComb," Cattleman, June 1974.


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Ollie E. Clarke, “McComb, Joseph Seaborn,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 04, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

December 2, 2020