Years 1930 - 1898
Silver City, New Mexico
Born in Georgia, grew up in Texas, and ran away from home at 13, he took odd jobs such as railroad crew water boy, waiter, miner and scout for troops fighting the Indians. While working for a mine owned by G.O. Smith, he induced Mr. Smith to lease 150 cows, with which he built and managed the well-known GOS Ranch in New Mexico. As president he called for rebuilding the nation’s cattle population, after it had dipped to only 11 million head.
After trailing a herd of cattle to the Big Bend area of Texas, Brite fell in love with the country, stayed and put together a 128,000-acre ranch with 3,000 registered Herefords. “There are three parts to live stock husbandry,” he preached, “breeding, feeding and marketing.” In 1921 he bought a movie camera and made movies of his cattle, thus helping “Brite Bulls” become popular throughout the Southwest. On the ranch, he built a tabernacle for annual “Brite Camp Meetings,” and endowed the Brite College of the Bible at Texas Christian University in Fort Worth.
Bell Ranch, New Mexico
An Irishman, educated in Britain and France, who served in the Queen’s forces and fought in South Africa, O’Donel came to the U.S. in 1883 and became manger of the large Bell Ranch. He was the first of two Bell Ranch managers to become President of the ANLSA. Due to poor health, he served only one year. At the Bell Ranch, he used only purebred bulls, first Shorthorns then Herefords, until he build one of the most famous Hereford herds in the Southwest.
Fred H. Bixby
Long Beach, California
“We are a militant, fighting, non-partisan, non-political, non-comprising body of cattlemen,” he declared, after serving four years as President. He also boasted that the ANLSA was “the largest Association in the United States,” without offering proof. A jolly rancher, farmer, feeder, packer and banker, he frequently led the call at conventions for donations or pledges to “keep the Association going one more year.”
After driving a herd of cattle from Texas to Wyoming, he met a rancher’s daughter, married her, and stayed to become Governor of Wyoming, then United States Senator. While serving in the Senate, he was elected President of ANLSA; reportedly solving the Association’s lobbying needs for a while. During that time, Kendrick wrote and pushed through the Packers and Stockyards Act of 1921. The West is yet to produce his equal, writes one historian.
San Antonio, Texas
Pryor had a colorful career. He was born in poverty, orphaned at age five, moved about from Florida to Alabama to Tennessee, and at age nine, fought in the Civil War. At the age of 18, he moved to Texas and became a trail driver, taking 15 herds “up the trail." He was a shrewd real estate investor, loved by neighbors. The town of La Pryor, Texas, is named after him.
Dwight B. Heard
His ranch, a show place with purebred Herefords and Shorthorns and Thoroughbred horses drew many visitors, including Teddy Roosevelt who came to Arizona to dedicate the Roosevelt Dam. Born in Boston of a wealthy family, Heard moved to Phoenix and purchased 8,000 acres that eventually became the southern half of Phoenix. He also was publisher of the Arizona Republican newspaper and established the famous Heard Museum in Phoenix.
A German-Jewish immigrant, Jastro was one of the few Association presidents active in the Democratic Party. An imposing man physically, he also was known widely for his business acumen, prominence and influence. As manager of Kern County Land, Cattle and Water Company and two cattle companies in New Mexico, he and his companies finished 30,000 head of cattle, 25,000 sheep and 10,000 hogs annually. He also served on the Kern County Board of Supervisors for 24 years. Jastro Park, in Bakersfield, was named after him.
An affable, cunning and forceful Scotsman, he became manager of the large Matador Land and Cattle Company, in Texas and a half-dozen other states. Instrumental in the first merger, Mackenzie was the first President of the resulting American National Live Stock Association, and later returned in 1911 to serve a second hitch. He then moved to Brazil to form the Brazil Land, Cattle and Packing Company, the largest ranch in the world, with nearly 10 million acres and 250,000 cows.
Frank J. Hagenbarth
Salt Lake City, Utah
A large rancher in Utah, Texas and Kansas, he was president of the National Live Stock Association when it still represented cattle, sheep, goats, hogs and horses, and when the market plummeted to $15 per head. He also led when “rebels” split off to form the American Cattle Growers Association. Known as a man of reason, humility and patience, he later was called upon at conventions to “lift the sprits” of fellow cattlemen. He also was president of the National Wool Growers Association for 21 consecutive years.
John W. Springer
Springer served five years as president, longer than any other in the association’s history. After three years he asked to be replaced, but some of his peers called him “the ideal president” and went on to re-elect him two more times. A nationally-known orator and a master organizer, he began his career as an attorney and state representative in Illinois, then as a banker in Dallas, before moving to Denver, where he was involved in banking, mining, ranching and politics. After serving as mayor of Denver, he was a Colorado nominee for vice president of the United States. An eloquent speaker and inspiring personality, he unwaveringly pushed his organization, his industry and his brother stockmen to higher plateaus.