Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994 Page: 7
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marketing facility was being opened. Still
drawn to ranching, however, he started
buying ranch land in Throckmorton
County. His partner was W.A. Page, who
lived near the town of Woodson in southwestern
Throckmorton County. The two
partners amassed a sizeable holding of
property, which they later divided.
The man who took over the ranch and
really promoted it into one of the best
livestock operations in the state was R.A.
Brown, son of R.H. Brown. R.A. was born
on December 7, 1902, on the -0- Ranch
and moved with the family to Fort Worth.
He began spending time at the ranch as a
child, especially after his father became ill
with cancer in 1919. When he was 15, he
moved to the ranch to stay. In 1922, he
entered Texas A&M University for a yearand-a-half
but was forced to drop out of
school because of his father's failing health
and the impact of economic hard times
affecting life in the United States.
In the late 1930s when R.H. Brown
died, R.A., his mother, and his sisters inherited
the ranch. His mother and sisters
turned control of the entire property over
to R.A. in hopes that he could save it from
being repossessed for debt. During these
Depression days, debt was almost impossible
to pay off. Although warned that
there was little way to save the ranch from
foreclosure, R.A. consolidated the properties,
borrowed more money, and began
operating the ranch. All of his activities
were not rewarding. On one of his early
ventures he bought a string of steers one
fall. The animals wintered well but just as
they appeared about ready to market at
what promised to be a profit the next spring,
a number of them were killed in a lightning
strike. R.A. saw his profit disappear.
On November 14, 1931, R.A. married
Valda Thomas, daughter of Mr. and Mrs.
D.B. Thomas of Throckmorton. Part of the
land currently in the Brown Ranch came
from Valda's inheritance from this prominent
ranching family in the Throckmorton
area. The young couple had two children,
Marianne and Rob. Marianne was born in
a small house still standing on property to
this day controlled by the Brown Ranch
between Albany and Throckmorton.
Though Valda enjoyed being married to
her husband, the life was difficult and demanding.
Valda remembers relying on
kerosene for both cooking and lighting her
home. In addition, there was a fireplace for
warming the home on cold days, but she
also had a gasoline heater, which she was
afraid to light. She counted on ranch hands
to make that source of heat available when
R.A. soon established the Brown Ranch
as a breeder of quality Hereford cattle and
fine quarter horses. He was instrumental in
bringing some of the earliest Hereford cattle
into the area and carefully watching the
breeding of these animals to supply both
beef and breeding stock. Although he would
become interested in cross-breeding later,
throughout his life he held strongly to the
virtues of the Hereford breed.
His interest in quarter horses was very
serious. During most of his years of manage
ment, he kept about 80 brood mares. Some
of these were descended from the stock
formerly at the cavalry remount station
that was in the area in earlier years. But
R.A. bought excellent bloodlines to bring
into his herd. He traded for Black Hancock,
offspring of the famous Joe Hancock, from
the 6666 Ranch, and would later also acquire
from that same ranch Blue Gold, a
gray horse by Flue Rock and out of a famous
Hollywood Gold mare. He also brought to
his bloodlines Joe Bailey Rickles, a double
offspring of Weatherford Joe Bailey.
R.A. was instrumental in helping form
the American Quarter Horse Association
in 1941 and later served as vice president of
that organization. At the time of his death,
an article in the Oklahoma Quarter Horse
Breeders Association magazine states that
few, if any, had ever "tried to do more for the
betterment of the American Quarter Horse
Association than the late R.A. Brown."
Four generations of the R.A. Brown family are pictured: Mrs. R.A. Brown Sr. stands with her son R.A. (Rob)
Brown Jr. Rob A. Brown is on the horse holding his son R.A. Brown II. (Brown family photo)
HERITAGE * WINTER 1994 7
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 12, Number 1, Winter 1994, periodical, Winter 1994; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth46807/m1/7/: accessed December 17, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.