Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture

Skip Navigation

Electronic Publishing Center
Oklahoma Historical Society
Encyclopedia Homepage
Search all Volumes
Disclaimer and Usage
© Copyright 2003

Table of Contents Search All Entries Home


The range-cattle industry began in Texas after the Civil War and became big business throughout the Midwest. Before 1865 herds of cattle grazed unattended and wore only a brand to show ownership. Cattle drives to market via the Shawnee, Chisholm, and Western trails produced a new source of profit, and it was not long before thieves started stealing cattle. In response, a group of ranchers gathered in Graham, Texas, in February 1877 to protect themselves from rustlers. They formed the Stock-Raisers' Association of North-West Texas, which in 1921 became the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (TSCRA). Original members were cattlemen from Texas, New Mexico, and Indian Territory.

The TSCRA created districts with a designated foreman and an assistant foreman who supervised roundups at certain times each year. When each district gathered its cattle, nearby ranchers separated their strays from the herds. This method was successful but time consuming, so deputies were hired to watch the cattle en route to market. With more than a century of law enforcement experience, TSCRA livestock investigators remained the backbone of the organization at the turn of the twenty-first century. The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation commissions TSCRA field inspectors as Special Rangers.

The TSCRA has had famous members including congressmen and state governors. Others have been noted Comanche chief Quanah Parker and Edward Bryant Johnson, son of Chickasaw rancher Montford Johnson. Large enterprises such as the Miller Brothers 101 Ranch and Ardmore's Noble Foundation also joined the association.

Ranchers in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, and Colorado were among the TSCRA's 13,200 members in 2002 (there were four thousand Oklahoma members in 1991) and were offered insurance, horse theft protection, legal assistance, and other benefits. Cattleman magazine began informing members of ranching issues in 1914. Headquartered in Fort Worth, the TSCRA has supported the feedlot industry, 4-H, and the Future Farmers of America.


BIBLIOGRAPHY: Mary Whatley Clarke, A Century of Cow Business: A History of the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association (Fort Worth: Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, 1976). Jim Etter, "Rustlers' Roundup," Daily Oklahoman (Oklahoma City) 10 November 1991. Doug Perkins and Nancy Ward, Brave Men and Cold Steel: A History of Range Detectives and Their Peacemakers (Fort Worth: Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Foundation, 1984).

Tyler Garone

© Oklahoma Historical Society

Return to top

Electronic Publishing Center | OSU Home | Search this Site