We first published John Graves in Texas Monthly in 1974. It was a selection from Hardscrabble, his book about his life on the place he and his wife Jane and his daughters Sally and Helen carved out of, and into, the limestone and scrub brush of the Upper Brazos country.
TALK OF CHANGE AND REFORM has been in the air since the Sharpstown scandals more than perhaps at any time in our state’s history. Such talk is welcome, and, as most of us apparently felt in the last elections, mandatory. One imagines that talk of reform came as uncomfortably, but
At the core of the King Ranch is the vaquero tradition, the centuries-old culture of horsemen and cattle that began on the central plateau of Spain. Richard saw how that culture could transform the Great Plains, and in the 1850s he made a recruiting trip to Mexico. The families he
Robert E. Lee advised his friend Richard King to build his permanent home at the highest point on the surrounding prairie, a little rise on the banks of Santa Gertrudis Creek. The first building was a tiny adobe jacal built of mud and sticks. The one-story house that replaced it
Ranching ultimately comes down to managing land and water. The King Ranch is blessed with much of the former and almost none of the latter. Before it was divided among Richard and Henrietta King’s five children in 1935, the King Ranch was bigger than Delaware. Now it’s only bigger than
Bob Kleberg had a problem. Brahman cattle from India were tough enough to survive in the South Texas climate, but they were too tough to eat. And fat English cattle like Herefords and Shorthorns suffered the traditional fate of the English in the tropics: they degenerated into a stupor and