The Land and Its People, 1876-1981: Deaf Smith County, Texas Page: 25
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Ranching as well as farming felt the impact
when D.L. McDonald proved in 1910 the
possibility of extensive irrigation here.
McDonald added ranching to his farming
interests and in 1914 topped the Kansas City
market with 98 baby beeves fattened on
ensilage, alfalfa and ground maize, an early
feeding operation in the county. McDonald's
major herd was dispersed in 1937 in one of the
greatest sales ever held in the Old Bull Barn
at Sampson and First Streets.
W.M. Stovall moved to the area in 1919 in
search of grass. H.G. Conkwright ranched
northeast of Hereford. He purchased land
first owned by Alex J. Thompson and son
Alex 0. Thompson. W.E. Hicks, former partner
with Conkwright, left for Kansas in the
1930's. Wirt Phillips assisted by his brother
Charlie also ranched using a half-dugout
longer than any. There was Claude Benton,
who was sheriff two terms.
The Charles Donalds, the Mel Stewarts
(he served as county judge) and C.B. Williams,
rancher and banker, were longtime
neighbors. Cecil Guseman operated a big
spread in the far west part of the county. Ezra
Norton ran a registered herd with headquarters
on East Highway 60. "Mr. Lee" Cocanougher
and his "Cavaliers," Jack Renfro and
others made their contribution to the cattle
industry. All above are deceased. With them
went an era never to be equalled in cattle
raising and community building.
Prices were reported good on 50 cars of
cattle shipped from Hereford in November
1912. Shippers were George Cloyd, B.B.
Arnold, Joe Collins, C.P. Arthur, J.H. Wilson,
E. Hanson, Bob Higgins, Hill and Shore
and R.N. Mounts.
While the beef cattle were topping the
market, Hereford show cattle were doing the
same in the show ring. Among winners in
1915 were cattle shown by J.R. Hoover (from
the J.D. Thompson herd), Mrs. L.R. Bradly,
W.T. Womble and Jowell and Jowell. In July,
1918 during World War I breeders held a sale
of registered stock and donated the proceeds,
$4400, to the Red Cross.
Cattlemen throughout the county suffered
heavy losses as a result of the blizzards and
lingering snow of 1918-19, when there was
snow on the ground from November to May
and cold was extreme. Old-timers recalled
that skinning crews were organized to salvage
hides for the market. Pastures were covered
with snow which was frozen on top so the
cattle could not break through to the grass. In
severe blizzards the snow froze on the cattle's
faces and impeded their breathing. Ranchers
Bull Barn and show cattle
who could buy feed for their stock hauled it
from Hereford to the pastures on sleds they
had made by taking the wheels off wagons
and substituting runners. Those who could
provide feed and shelter brought their herds
through, and prices were good in 1919.
The Hereford Breeders Association started
with 25 members in March 1919. W.T.
Womble was named president, C.O. Norton
vice-president, W.E. Dameron secretary-treasurer.
Jim Sanders, G.H. Womble
and C.C. Bowman were on the executive
committee. They made plans for annual sales
beginning in May, 1920.
At that sale 51 head of registered cattle
brought $23,365, an average of $458. A bull
consigned by C.R. Barber topped the sale at
$1525. Jones and Dameron received the highest
price for a cow, $1250.
Hereford was called "the center of the
cattle universe" in January 1921 when the Ivy
ranch bull, Superior Mischief, brought
$22,000 and Beau Agitator, also raised in this
county sold for $12,000 in a Nebraska sale.
Sudden ups and downs were common in the
cattle market. Prices dived in 1921 when the
Registered Breeders' sale averaged only $148
soon after' Jones
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Deaf Smith County Historical Society. The Land and Its People, 1876-1981: Deaf Smith County, Texas, book, 1982; Deaf Smith County, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth16010/m1/29/: accessed July 12, 2020), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Deaf Smith County Library.