The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946 Page: 501
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GEORGE P. ISBELL
MUCH HAS been written, and it is safe to predict that a great
deal more will be written by professionals and amateurs
alike, about the major contribution of foreigners, particularly
the English and the Scotch, to the building of the post-Civil
War cattle empire in Texas and the West. As may be expected,
attention has centered about those English and Scotch invaders
whose operations here prospered or whose ranching ventures
were on so grand a scale as to stimulate much contemporary
and retrospective interest. The histories of the great cattle
companies such as the Texas Land and Cattle Company, the
Rocking Chair Ranche Company, the Matador Land and Cattle
Company, and others which were organized principally by
Scotchmen are known to all who have concerned themselves
with the social and economic history of Texas, and the names
of John Clay, Murdo MacKenzie, W. K. Bell, and other success-
ful Scotch operators are still familiarly mentioned by remi-
Notwithstanding their justly earned reputation for shrewd-
ness, not all Scotchmen who sought wealth in the cattle business
found it. Many came and saw but failed to conquer, aid their
names have thereby been lost to the history books of a people
who have little interest in the unsuccessful. Only when one of
these later on raised his head above the crowd to catch the spot-
light in some other business or profession, has it been worth-
while to break into print with a review of his life including
Robert Bontine Cunninghame Graham as a cattleman be-
longs in the category of the Scotch failures. That he went on
to gain a considerable measure of fame as politician, reformer,
world traveller, and above all as author of some two dozen
books, unique in style and content ("singularisimo escritor
ingles," W. H. Hudson called him) is reason enough, then, for
looking into his early years when he came to Texas with high
youthful hopes of becoming a Texas cattle king.
Born in London in 1852 Cunninghame Graham was the son
of Major William Bontine of Gartmore, descendant of Scottish
kings, and Anne Elizabeth Fleeming Bontine, half English and
half Spanish daughter of the Honorable Charles Elphinstone
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946, periodical, 1946; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/m1/584/?rotate=270: accessed March 30, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.