Ware, Benjamin Taliaferro (1853–1937)

By: H. Allen Anderson

Type: Biography

Published: October 1, 1995

Benjamin Taliaferro (Tol) Ware, banker and rancher, the son of Benjamin and Mary Jane (Price) Ware, was born on November 10, 1853, in Rome, Georgia. The Ware family plantation was among those devastated during the Civil War by Sherman's March to the Sea in 1864. When he was in his early teens, Ware moved with his family to Texas, settling near Dallas. Before he was twenty-one, he and his brother Charles had established a store in what later became Brown County; they later opened a similar operation in Colorado City. Both stores became important supply centers for various ranching outfits, including the JA Ranch. In 1879 Ware married Mary Hooper, also from Georgia. They had four children. In 1887 he decided to move to California for his health. Friends urged him to try the climate in the Panhandle, and as a result he and his family spent time in Amarillo before going on to California; they returned to Amarillo in 1889. Ware was employed by the Smith and Walker mercantile firm for one year before his election as Potter county treasurer in 1890. He later became the representative of Panhandle cattlemen in commission houses at Chicago and Kansas City and handled some of the largest cattle transactions in the region. In the meantime Ware bought the MK and Cross C ranches in Borden County, running as many as 45,000 cattle on them. He also leased the Frying Pan Ranch west of Amarillo and operated it for several years. Ware became vice president of the First National Bank of Amarillo in 1895. In 1899 he moved to Fort Worth to oversee his ranching operations but returned a year later and bought the Amarillo National Bank. Ware operated the bank until 1906, when he sold his stock and bought the Channing Mercantile and Banking Company and organized the Western Bank and Trust Company. In 1909 he repurchased the Amarillo National Bank, which he merged with Western Bank and Trust; he served as its president for the remainder of his life. Though he never ran for public office, Ware was a strong supporter of Democratic Party leaders. He was a trustee of the Amarillo Public Schools in 1899 and 1905; served as vice president and director of the Amarillo Chamber of Commerce in 1912; and was on the board of directors of the American Red Cross after its organization in Amarillo in 1917. He was a Baptist and an active Mason. On September 7, 1937, he died at his home in Amarillo after an attack of indigestion. He was buried in the Llano Cemetery.

Amarillo Daily News, September 4, 1937. Ellis A. Davis and Edwin H. Grobe, comps., The New Encyclopedia of Texas (4 vols., 1929?). Della Tyler Key, In the Cattle Country: History of Potter County, 1887–1966 (Amarillo: Tyler-Berkley, 1961; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1972). Thomas Thompson, The Ware Boys: The Story of a Texas Family Bank (Canyon, Texas: Staked Plains, 1978).


  • Ranching and Cowboys
  • Activism and Social Reform
  • Civic Leaders
  • Business
  • Patrons, Collectors, and Philanthropists
  • Ranchers and Cattlemen

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

H. Allen Anderson, “Ware, Benjamin Taliaferro,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed October 20, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/ware-benjamin-taliaferro.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995