JOHN B. POPE, of Clarendon, is a representative cattleman of the Panhandle country. Having devoted all his adult years to the cattle industry and spent nearly all that time in this section of the Lone Star state, he has, so to speak, grown up with the country, and so closely has he been identified with the life and activity of Northwest Texas that scarcely any part of its history is unfamiliar to him. He is a very prosperous man, has been uniformly successful from the start, and, beginning in the employ of other and without capital, by his industry and business sagacity he has become one of the most substantial and financially reliable men of his section of the state.
Mr. Pope was born in Jasper county, Georgia, in 1850. His parents, both native Georgians, were J. C. and Mary L. (Clark) Pope. His father died in 1898 in Jasper county, where he had lived a long number of years as a farmer. The mother is still living at Monticello, Jasper county.
Reared on the farm in Jasper county, Mr. Pope spent the first twenty-one years of his life there, and in February, 1871, started for Texas. Stopping at Birdville, in Tarrant county, he worked for Dr. Finley about six months, and then started west with the Bird boys, their objective point being Fort Griffin, Shackelford county. On arriving there Mr. Pope went to work as a cowboy with Matthews and Reynolds, the well remembered extensive cattlemen of those days. This was the beginning of his connection with the cattle industry, and he has been at it ever since. He was in the employ of Matthews and Reynolds until 1873, when a cowboy he assisted Kit Cooper take a bunch of cattle to Colorado, their route lying through the Indian nation and western Kansas into eastern Colorado. In 1875 Mr. Pope returned to work for Matthews and Reynolds, and later for several years was an employe[e] of Nick Eaton on the latter’s ranch at Phantom Hill, in Jones county. In 1879 he came with Eaton to Mobeetie, in Wheeler county of the Texas Panhandle, and for the subsequent quarter of a century has been identified with this high plains country. At that time Dodge City, Kansas, was the nearest railroad shipping point, and they drove cattle thither through Indian Territory. The entire Panhandle was then an open, unsettled region, almost its only human denizens being those engaged in the cattle business. In 1882 Mr. Pope went into partnership with R. E. McNulty, now of Fort Worth, and took a bunch of cattle over into the Indian country in what is now Greer county, Oklahoma, where they remained until 1884. In the latter year he entered the employ of Hughes and Simpson on the Mill Iron ranch in what is now Hall county, south of the Red river, and from the point he drove a great many beef cattle to Wichita Falls, Texas. His last period of employment with other parties was in 1885 with Bugbee and Coleman.
During these latter years Mr. Pope had been accumulating considerable money from his wages, and had been investing most of it in yearling steers. About 1887 he began to buy land in small pieces, these forming the nucleus of his present magnificent ranch in Hall county, which consists of eleven thousand two hundred acres lying along the Red river in the most fertile and productive region of North Texas, being situated twelve miles west of Memphis. This is one of the best and most profitable ranches in the country, and acre for acre it is the equal or superior of any in Northwest Texas. Mr. Pope made his home on this ranch until 1901, when he moved to Clarendon and purchased a fine residence, and he manages his ranching business from this city. He is now considered a wealthy man, and has been successful in his enterprise throughout the thirty or more years which he has spent in Texas. While working for others he was known as a conscientious, hard-working man, gaining the respect and confidence of all his associates, and since he has become independent he has been equally popular with his fellow citizens and with those in his employ.
Mr. Pope, in addition to following business affairs so closely and successfully, has also taken a prominent part in public matters. He is an ex-county commissioner of Hall county. He is a loyal Methodist, and is one of the board of trustees of Clarendon College. He is likewise well known in Masonic circles.
He was married at Newlin, Texas, in 1891, to Miss Attie M. Embry, a native of Ellis county, this state, and they have two children, John B., Jr., and Mary L.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. II, pp. 175-176.