The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992 Page: 122

Southwestern Hzstorical Quarterly

of the lives of Roy Reid (1886-1977) and Wade Reid (1888-1974) and their
Bar 1 1 ranch, is an important contribution to the genre.
The Reid brothers, born in Wise County, grew up on their father's small
ranch in the Texas Panhandle. In 19o9, with proceeds from the sale of cattle
they had raised, they rode south looking for land. After a stint as cowboys on
various ranches, they began to purchase land northeast of Fort Davis in the
Barrilla Mountains. They raised cattle and lived a hardscrabble life that typi-
fied small operations in the region. For many years they slept on the ground,
finally building a ranch house to which Wade took two brides (the first died in
1932) and in which Roy, who never married, also lived.
Doing most of their own work, they herded, fenced, branded, and, as
McAfee makes clear from his interviews with them, endured privations, accl-
dents, and enjoyments that can only be appreciated by real cowboys or "cattle-
men," as he prefers to call them. The ranch was sold in 1976 after Wade's
McAfee interviewed Roy, Wade, and friends and relatives during many visits
to the ranch during the 196o0s and 197os. His appreciation for their unpreten-
tious life-style, rugged individualism, and commitment to traditional American
virtues is expressed in the introduction and a concluding section.
This is an entertaining narrative, replete with human-interest accounts of the
subjects' lives and struggles. A section of photographs at the back will be of in-
terest to persons interested in the history of the region. The book's focus is on
local history and the Reid brothers, consistent with the author's objectives. It
will be an indispensable reference for future historians who write syntheses of
ranching life in the Davis Mountains.
Sul Ross State Unzversty EARL H. ELAM
Renderbrook: A Century under the Spade Brand. By Steve Kelton. Introduction by
Elmer Kelton. (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1989.
Pp. 221. Index, notes, black-and-white photographs, maps. $15.95.)
When a ranch manages to survive the economic, climatic, and human chal-
lenges that it must face over a hundred-year period, it deserves some recogni-
tion. One such ranch has been honored by Steve Kelton, a fine young writer, in
a perceptive history of the efforts of the Ellwood family to establish and hold
together a viable livestock operation in West Texas. Although the spelling of
the name is corrupted, the ranch is named for Capt. Joseph Rendlebrock, the
army officer who led a patrol from Fort Concho in February 1872 to discover
the spring at which the headquarters was later founded. The long association
with the Spade brand stems from the distinctive mark on the first cattle bought
by the Ellwoods near Clarendon. Kelton's father, the famous novelist, notes in
the introduction that the history of the Renderbrook Ranch reflects the general
history of ranching in Texas.
This study includes a fairly detailed treatment of Renderbrook's founder,
Isaac Ellwood, a Dekalb, Illinois, merchant, and his efforts to establish a ranch-
ing empire in West Texas. Founding a ranch takes money, and the Renderbrook


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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 95, July 1991 - April, 1992, periodical, 1992; Austin, Texas. ( accessed January 18, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History,; crediting Texas State Historical Association.