on the ranch and others who come by. He
also has constructed at the headquarters a
picket-style house made of vertically set
cross-ties, but he still lives in the bunkhouse,
his home for many years. In addition,
he has been careful to disguise
modem-day corrals and cattle guards by
having cedar posts wired to them, and,
otherwise, maintaining the appearance of
an older time on Lambshead Ranch.
The animal life on the ranch also is
reminiscent of pioneer days. Matthews
has kept a herd of more than a dozen
buffalo on the ranch since about 1950.
When the herd grows too large, surplus
animals are slaughtered and used for meat
to feed the crew. The buffalo hides are
tanned and kept for future use. He also
maintains a herd of Longhorn cattle
bought from the herd at Ft. Griffin in
1972. Deer, turkey, and domesticated
hogs that have gone wild abound on the
ranch. Matthews has long been a game
conservationist, and many deer and turkey
have been transplanted from his
ranch to other areas.
Watt's efforts have not gone unnoticed,
for he has received several prizes and
awards. His special-merit award from the
National Cowboy Hall of Fame and a
Texas preservation award from Governor
Preston Smith are among those honors
garnered. Among the highest honors are
two: The Golden Spur Award given to
him in 1981 by the Ranch Heritage Center
at Texas Tech University, and the Ruth
Lester Award, the State's honor for historical
preservation, given to him in 1984
by the Texas Historical Commission. In
1984 he also received the Josiah Wheat
Award given by the Texas Historical
Foundation for his outstanding achievements
in historical preservation.
When asked about these awards, Watt
replies modestly that his hobby is "preserving
the landmarks and traditions of
the pioneers." He insists that "as long as
you are doing what you like to do, you
don't deserve a lot of credit for doing it."
Obviously Watt has enjoyed preserving
the landmarks on the ranch that he has
managed since the 1940s, and contrary to
what he says, he does deserve an enormous
amount of credit for his efforts.
Lawrence Clayton is the dean of Hardin-Simmons
College, Abilene, Texas.
L.B.J.'S HILL COUNTRY
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 4, Number 3, Winter 1986. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45440/. Accessed July 28, 2015.