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GAGE, ALFRED STEVENS

GAGE, ALFRED STEVENS (1860–1928). Alfred Stevens Gage, businessman and founder of the A. S. Gage Ranches, was born in Townshend, Vermont, on February 8, 1860, the son of Newton and Olivia (Arnold) Gage. He was raised in Ascutneyville, Vermont, and his interest in Texas was supposedly inspired by the letters of his older half-brother, Edward L. Gage, a Dartmouth College graduate who had established a land-locating business in Dallas in partnership with E. M. Powell. After graduating from high school in Windsor, Vermont, in 1878, Alfred came to Texas for the first time. He resided briefly in Dallas with Edward before going to work on a ranch in Shackelford County for twelve dollars a month. He then bought a small ranch of his own on the Little Wichita River in Archer County. In 1882, when he lost his forty cattle to rustlers, he sold out and moved to the Big Bend to manage his half-brother's ranching operation in what was then Presidio County, where Edward had been accumulating railroad land for several years. Alfred later recalled that during his ride to Marathon he offered to pay the various families with whom he stayed along the way, but no one had change for the twenty-dollar gold piece that represented his entire fortune, so he arrived in Marathon as wealthy as when he set out. Alfred became manager of Edward's Presidio Live Stock Company, and after his half-brother's suicide in 1892 continued as manager of the Alpine Cattle Company while acquiring substantial holdings of his own. In 1913 he bought out the other stockholders in the Alpine Cattle Company and merged it with his own operation.

Gage moved to San Antonio in the early twentieth century and became a business leader there. He was for many years the president of the San Antonio Water Supply Company and was also a vice president of the Lockwood National Bank, a member of the Frost Bank board of directors, and president of the San Antonio Country Club. He was a member of the Texas Cattle Raisers Association (see TEXAS AND SOUTHWESTERN CATTLE RAISERS ASSOCIATION) and the Highland Hereford Association. He maintained his interest in his holdings in the Trans-Pecos and in 1927 built the Gage Hotel in Marathon, at least in part so he would be assured of comfortable lodgings when he traveled to Brewster County. He married Ida Swan, a native of Illinois who first went to Brewster County to visit her uncle, a local rancher. The couple had two daughters before Ida's death in 1924. Gage married again. He died in San Antonio on June 23, 1928, after surgery for appendicitis. Among the pallbearers at his funeral were Gustav Groos, Herbert L. Kokernot, Charles Schreiner, and William W. Turney. Gage's daughters, Dorothy and Roxana, inherited his holdings, which at the time of his death totaled some 500,000 acres.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Clifford B. Casey, Mirages, Mysteries and Reality: Brewster County, Texas, the Big Bend of the Rio Grande (Hereford, Texas: Pioneer, 1972). Cattleman, August 1928, June 1942. Walter Roberts, Early Developments Leading to the Establishment of the A. S. Gage Ranches of the Big Bend-Davis Mountain Area of Texas, 1883–1917 (Senior thesis, Trinity University, 1957).

Martin Donell Kohout

Citation

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

Martin Donell Kohout, "GAGE, ALFRED STEVENS," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fgapm), accessed July 14, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.