WILLIAM E. SANDERS, stockman at Lubbock, is one of the oldest settlers of the plains country, and it is not every day that one will run across a man who has been identified with the country for twenty-five years, beginning with a time when the buffaloes had not yet disappeared from their old-time haunts, displaced by the tame cattle owned and controlled by the civilizing white man. Mr. Sanders has been very successful in his enterprises, and is counted as one of the influential and financially well-to-do men of Lubbock county.
Born near Cleburne, Johnson county, this state, in 1862, he had the misfortune to be left an orphan at a very early age. His mother died when he was two weeks old, and his father, William Sanders, who was a native of Tennessee, and an early settler of Johnson county, Texas, was killed a short time after the mother’s death, he being a soldier in the Confederate army. The orphaned son was then taken to Jack county, Texas, where he was under the care of his grandmother during his childhood years, and grew up on a farm. When twelve years old he left his grandmother and went to work on the cattle ranch of John Hensley in Jack county, Mr. Hensley being one one [sic] of the prominent cattlemen of those days. In 1880 Mr. Sanders came out to the plains country and has lived here ever since. He brought with him some cattle of his own, and came out at the same time as did Mr. Hensley, who also brought a bunch of cattle, and with those outfit Mr. Sanders was employed. They became pioneers of Crosby county, where at the time, besides Hensley’s, there was only one other ranch within a hundred miles, that of William Slaughter. Fences were also unknown then, the country being open range from Fort Griffin clear to the New Mexico line, and the nearest railroad was Fort Worth. The plains were dotted with herds of buffalo, antelope and wild mustang horses, and in recalling how the country appeared at that time Mr. Sanders must rely on almost entirely upon memory since the present era of progress has almost reconstructed even the landscape of West Texas.
Mr. Sanders lived in Crosby county till early in 1890, when he moved over into Lubbock county. His home and estate is three and a half miles north of Lubbock, where he has a section of rich land, and has made an unusual success as a stock farmer. He also has an excellent orchard, a garden, and other features of a purely agricultural country. His pretty residence is the more creditable to its builder when it is remembered that the lumber with which it was constructed was hauled one hundred and ten miles from the nearest railroad station. His stock are registered Herefords, and in all branches of his enterprise he shows great progressiveness and the most modern methods.
Mr. Sanders is a Royal Arch Mason, belonging to the chapter at Lubbock, and is a Knight of Pythias. His wife belongs to the Methodist church. Mr. Sanders was married at Esucado, Crosby county, to Miss Mattie McNeill, and they have three children, Earl, Hattie and Theta.
Source: B. B. Paddock, History and Biographical Record of North and West Texas (Chicago: Lewis Publishing Co., 1906), Vol. I, p. 655.