Presnall, Pope A. (1865–1958)

By: Agnes G. Grimm

Type: Biography

Published: 1976

Updated: May 1, 1995

Pope A. Presnall, rancher, politician, and banker, son of Harrison and Susan (Applewhite) Presnall, was born on the Medina River near Oak Island in south Bexar County, Texas, on July 26, 1865. He attended elementary school at Oak Island and high school in San Antonio. In 1883 he drove the first herd of cattle across the Devil's River onto the Pecos Range, then westward to the ranch owned by his brother, Jesse, near Fort Stockton, where he worked as a cowboy. Later he helped manage the ranch. From 1884 to 1886, during Judge Roy Bean's first term, Presnall served as treasurer of Pecos County. He returned to San Antonio in 1890 and attended business college. In 1891 he and George W. Saunders formed the Saunders-Presnall Livestock Commission.

Presnall was a member of the Old Traildrivers Association of Mason. In early 1893 he sold his share of the livestock commission to Saunders and moved to Alice. There he and S. B. Mosser organized a private bank, Presnall and Mosser, with Presnall as president. Presnall continued to oversee the development of the bank for thirty-eight years. In 1915 it was reorganized as Alice State Bank and Trust Company, later known as Alice National Bank. Presnall was also a director of the Alice Cotton Oil Mill and the Alice Gin Company. His extensive property included fine farm and ranch lands.

Presnall was elected first mayor of Alice in 1904. He served on the school board and was a steward and treasurer of the First Methodist Church of Alice for many years. He was a charter member of the local Masonic lodge. During World War I he served on the Jim Wells County draft board.

Presnall married Alice Clare Clark in 1897. She died in April 1904, leaving three small children. In August 1907 he married Donia Scruggs of Alice; they were parents of two children. Presnall moved to Corpus Christi in 1933 and was a rancher until his death, on September 3, 1958. He was buried with Masonic rites in the Alice Fraternal Cemetery.

Alice Daily Echo, September 3, 1958. Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (2 vols., Dallas: Texas Development Bureau, 1925?; 4 vols. 1929?).
  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Politics and Government
  • Government Officials
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

Agnes G. Grimm, “Presnall, Pope A.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

May 1, 1995