Joseph Tyre Sneed, Jr., Panhandle rancher, one of three children of Joseph Tyre and Lillian (Beall) Sneed, was born on June 12, 1876, in Milam County. By 1879 his father had built up a substantial ranching operation based in Georgetown, Williamson County. The young Joe thus developed a keen interest in the cattle business, to which he devoted most of his life; he also became involved in banking. It was these interests that drew him to the Panhandle around 1900. He ran the Dalhart National Bank (later First National Bank) in Dalhart until 1904, when he became associated with the Amarillo National Bank. When the American Pastoral Company decided to liquidate its LX Ranch holdings in 1906, Sneed was one of the three-the other two were Robert Benjamin (Ben) Masterson and Lee Bivins to purchase those vast ranges. The story relates that just before making that investment, Joe Sneed, along with his younger brother John Beal and an uncle, made a preliminary inspection tour of the range in Moore County, south of Dumas. The uncle was all for his nephews' proposition until a severe dust storm blew through and lasted two days. Though he changed his mind, the Sneed brothers went ahead with the purchase. Shortly afterward, John Beal Sneed sold his interest in the spread to their father; later John Beal was one of the principals in the Boyce-Sneed Feud.
Joe Sneed and his father built up and expanded their Panhandle acreage, on which they grazed steers exclusively until after the latter's death in 1912. Sneed then added cows and calves and became one of the first ranchers in the area to improve his herds with higher-grade cattle. For a brand he used the Pot Hook, or Tumbling A, which he had acquired in 1900 from W. H. Ingerton. As more land was made available, Sneed bought it up; gradually, he acquired portions of the old XIT Ranch domain in Dallam County in addition to his original Moore County holdings. His first headquarters was on Plum Creek, in the ranch's southern portion, but in 1918 he acquired an old three-room house from Lee Morrison, renovated it, and made it the permanent headquarters since it was more centrally located. Lew Haile served for years as foreman and later was a trustee of the Sneed estate. It was said that Sneed's cattle always brought a premium. He served as president of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association and later served on its board of directors. With Lee Bivins, he organized the Amarillo Livestock Loan Association; he was also affiliated with the Texas Livestock Marketing Association. Sneed's wife, Bradley, was a widow who had three daughters from her first marriage; later they adopted another daughter, Elizabeth. In addition to the ranchhouse, the Sneeds maintained a residence on Harrison Street in Amarillo, where they attended the Polk Street Methodist Church. Sneed supported such charitable organizations as the Preventorium and the Childrens' Home in Amarillo, as well as Southwestern University in Georgetown. He was also an early member and chairman of the board of directors of Texas Technological College in Lubbock; a dormitory on the campus bears his name. In 1923–24 Sneed's fortune was enhanced even more with the discovery of natural gas deposits on his property. By 1936 he owned more than 200,000 acres in Dallam, Moore, and Hutchinson counties in the Texas Panhandle and also in Cimarron County, Oklahoma. Never in his life was he known to have sold any land. He died of a heart attack at his home in Amarillo on October 15, 1940, and was buried in Llano Cemetery in Amarillo. Subsequently Sneed's Panhandle ranching operations were carried on by his daughter, Elizabeth Sneed Pool Robinett, and her son, Joseph H. Pool.
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Amarillo Daily News, October 16, 1940. Amarillo Daily Panhandle, January 14, 15, 1912. Pauline D. and R. L. Robertson, Cowman's Country: Fifty Frontier Ranches in the Texas Panhandle, 1876–1887 (Amarillo: Paramount, 1981). Myrna Tryon Thomas, The Windswept Land: A History of Moore City (Dumas, Texas, 1967).
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,
“Sneed, Joseph Tyre, Jr.,”
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed May 23, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
July 1, 1995
Most Recent Revision Date:
June 13, 2020