The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971

Book Reviews

Whitlock, with a sharp memory, gives frontier flavor to his book
in descriptions of cattle roundups and Christmas on the ranch. He
tells of unusual horses and of fellow cow hands, some of whom were
on the prod. He errs in saying that the region south of the Arkansas
River was "reserved by treaty as a hunting ground for the Indians"
and in locating the Adobe Walls trading post of 1874 "in the ruins"
of the earlier post of that name, whereas it was a mile and a quarter
away. But in relating his own experiences, where he is on firmer
ground, he tells a fascinating and convincing story.
Dallas, Texas WAYNE GARD
The Texas Land and Development Company. By B. R. Brunson. (Aus-
tin: University of Texas Press, 1970. Bibliography, index. $7.50.)
In 1911 the digging of the first irrigation well in Hale County sug-
gested to Milton D. Henderson the possibility of a land company
which would dispose of developed property ready for occupancy. From
this idea sprang the Texas Land and Development Company, whose
corporate life extended from 1912 to 1956. Henderson enlisted Fred-
erick S. Pearson, who used his financial contacts to fund the purchase
of over 61,000 acres of ranch land. From that point on, an intricate
maze of holding companies developed, which were so interrelated that
many of them might have claimed that "I'm my own grandpa." The
reorganizations, which primarily occurred to avoid bankruptcy, drew
in bondholders located in New York, Boston, and Europe. The real
fly in the ointment was World War I, which dried up continental
money and forced a complete reorganization of the company in 1919.
While money woes plagued the eastern entrepreneurs, the local
managers pushed the project through the use of the usual promotional
devices-the brochure, newspaper advertising, excursion trains, and
the agent. The brochure painted the area as a veritable Garden of
Eden, a fact for which Brunson takes the company to task. Regardless
of its sometimes disastrous results, this overexuberance was (and is)
common to promoters all over the United States and must be judged
by the promoter's motivations. Being a charitable sort, I have always
given the promoter the benefit of the doubt.
At any rate, because of its trials and tribulations, the firm failed
to dispose of the land within the originally designated five-year period,
despite the fact that the company established demonstration farms,


Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 74, July 1970 - April, 1971. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. Accessed November 26, 2015.