George Washigto) Cittlfield
Portrait of a Cattxlmai
DAVID B. GRACY, II
HALF WAY INTO HIS THIRD YEAR OF RAISING TEXAS CATTLE
for the northern market, in 1873, George W. Littlefield
excitedly reported, "Here is the money-And Here is the
Field to opperrate in-"' Something of the essence of his character
is caught in that statement, for he was correct and his pursuit
of that judgment was worth a fortune to him. In 1906, the prom-
inent and wealthy Texas cattleman still was exhilarated for he
proclaimed that the "Cattle business is the best and safest busi-
ness in Tex- In fact nothing else compares with it-"2 That
Littlefield had shown by his own example, though he was one of
the few men who were able to conduct an extended and profitable
enterprise based upon range cattle. As a leader in his field, he
deserves study to realize what kind of man he was-what kind
of man it took to achieve his accomplishments. This examination
of his business principles and methods will employ as much as
possible Littlefield's own manner of expressing his thoughts and
it will be carried into as great detail as the scanty records allow.
It thus will be not merely the portrait of a man but to some
degree the picture of an age-an age in which men could create
fortunes from cattle grazing over the vast American plains.
*This paper is based principally upon Littlefield's letters to the Dowell Family.
These letters are housed in both the Archives of the Texas State Library and the
Archives of the University of Texas Library. The author expresses his gratitude to
Mody C. Boatright, Alfred Ellison, Ruth Key, and H. Bailey Carroll for their help-
1George W. Littlefield to Shelton C. Dowell, Sr., July 30o, 1873 (Dowell Papers,
Archives, Texas State Library). Littlefield, like the majority of his contemporaries,
spelled phonetically and the life he lived did not include many of the niceties of
associating with a dictionary and an arbitrary arrangement regarding spelling.
Phonetically, however, he appears to be decisive and emphatic, and in frank state-
ments he conveys his ideas with striking clarity. Little attempt has been made to
correct any of Littlefield's spelling or grammatical errors.
aLittlefield to Mrs. Shelton C. Dowell, June 21, 19o6, ibid.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 68, July 1964 - April, 1965. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101198/. Accessed January 31, 2015.