WILLIAM HENRY MYERS. We introduce the subject of this article one of the middle-era cowmen of Texas, whose passing from a tenderfoot and a habitue of the range to a solid ranchman, with a permanent abiding place, and widely known as a breeder of and dealer in high-grade cattle, is here recorded. His advent to the state and his identity with the range date from a dozen years after the close of the Civil war and while the conditions and the methods then in vogue were very similar to those of ten years before, the beginning of a revolution in the great grazing industry was on and William H. Myers’ appearance on the scene was in ample time to participate in it.
Mr. Myers was no novice in the cattle business when he threw his first lasso on the Texas plains, then the common name for all of frontier Texas, for his youth and early manhood had been passed on stock farms in the Blue Ridge mountains, where his father was engaged largely in the cattle business. Rockingham county, Virginia, was his native place, and his birth occurred in November, 1853. His was an old-settled family in the valley of the Shenandoah. Rudolph Myers, his father, was his father and brothers were founders of the family in the Old Dominion state. The grandfather was from Pennsylvania and the pure blood of the German race coursed through his veins.
Rudolph Myers was widely known as a large farmer and stockman in his county of Rockingham, and during the war he was connected with the military establishment of the Confederacy for a time. He married Eveline Cromer, a daughter of Joseph Cromer, a slave owner and a farmer and stockman of Rockingham county, where he was also reared. Rudolph Myers died in 1896 and his wife passed away in 1900 at seventy years of age. Of their issue, Joseph G. Myers is county surveyor of Rockingham county: William H., our subject; St. Andrew, of the old home county; Semantha, who married R. H. Dudley, of Augusta county, and Robert E. Lee, a cattle dealer of the latter county.
William H. Myers received his education in the schools common to the times in his rural surroundings and his interests in business matters were identical with those of his father until past his twenty-first year. Desiring larger opportunities for the exercise of his talents in his chosen field than the old state offered, he sought Texas, landed at Fort Worth in 1878 and secured work with Frank Goodin on the Little Wichita river in Clay county. When Belcher and Easley bought out Goodin they inherited young Myers as a part of the paraphernalia of the ranch. Next we find him working for the Ikards by the month, looking after their cattle and at the same time keeping an eye on his own small herd. Eight years after his advent to the state he was the lessee of a ranch on Duer creek and the beginning of his independent career was on.
In his career as a cowboy Mr. Myers was not long numbered among his tenderfeet. He soon learned to cinch and pack a pony and sat his saddle as firmly as a barnacle on a boat hull. Time nor distance made no difference with him blankets to sleep it mattered little whether it was in a cabin or in the open air. Out in the rain and the sleet and the snow, amongst the wild-eyed longhorns gathering mavericks, and in a country infested with beasts of prey, he plied his vocation, looking oftenest on the humorous side of life, and all the time laying the foundation for his own entry into the arena as an embryonic cattle king.
In 1888 Mr. Myers began the purchase of land, buying three thousand seven hundred and seventy-five acres three miles south of Blue Grove, and this he fenced and cross-fenced, put on his ranch buildings and established himself in his permanent home. His tract cost him from $3 to $7.30 an acre, and he soon started his ranch as a breeding farm, handling Short Horn cattle. These he raised and dealt in till 1897, when he substituted the White Faces, heading his herd with “Jeffries,” No. 2150, “Buckeye” and “Colonel,” northern bred animals. He has a small herd of registered Herefords and his home ranch is devoted exclusively to the promotion of this industry, while his upper ranch, embracing some fifteen hundred acres, near Henrietta, furnishes pasture and feeding ground for his beef cattle.
From 1896 to 1901 he was a member of the firm of Myers, Nutter & Neville, having extensive ranching interests between Blue Grove and Henrietta and handling a large amount of beef and other cattle. Since selling his interest to his partners he has confided himself to his individual matters and, as the proprietor of the Blue Grove Hereford Stock Farm, he is reckoned one of the successful “cowmen” of his county.
Myers’ ranch is widely known and popularity known for its hospitality and good cheer. Its bachelor quarters are presided over by a genuine Virginia gentleman, inured to all the environments of a frontier life, yet happy at the prospect of being able to serve and provide for the welfare of friends away from home. In sympathy with the unfortunate, charitable to those at fault and loyal to his multitude of friends, “Billy” Myers is an honored representative of the ranchers’ brotherhood.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 76-77.