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LAMBSHEAD

Beginnings

John Alexander Matthews
Sallie Anne Reynolds

The Joseph Beck Matthews and Barber Watkins Reynolds families arrived in the Clear Fork area in 1858 and 1859, respectively. They originally settled near present-day Breckenridge, Texas, about 25 miles southeast of Lambshead. The two families had similar paths to Texas. Both came to the United States from England, Scotland and Wales, and over generations migrated down the eastern seaboard of the United States through Alabama and Louisiana.

 

Over the next twenty-five years, the Matthews and Reynolds clans would become closely linked through business, through the land they worked, through their religion, and perhaps most of all through a remarkable series of marriages.

On Christmas Day of 1876, John Alexander Matthews and Sallie Ann Reynolds were united in marriage, sparking a ranching heritage of honor, preservation and improvement that continues to this day. 

 

Ranching business in the 1800’s was very different from what it is today.  On the outer edge of the Texas frontier, there were no fences on Lambshead; most land was open range and buffalo roamed the area by the thousands.

Over the course of 60 years following their marriage, Other Papa and Other Mama, which is how they are known by their descendants, managed to thrive in this wild frontier, had 9 children and accumulated over 50,000 acres of ranch land that continues to remain owned and operated by their descendants.

 

You can find links available to books on the history and legacy of Lambshead Ranch, including Interwoven - A Pioneer Chronicle, written by Sallie Reynolds Matthews. [this book is widely considered a classic of historical Texas literature].

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Sallie Reynolds Matthews
"Other Mama" - 1937
Judge J.A. Matthews
"Other Papa"  - 1941
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Judge J.A. Matthews
"Other Papa"  - 1941

Matthews Family Legacy

Lambshead Ranch has been owned and operated as a family ranch since 1917, although most of the ranch property has been in the Matthews and Reynolds families much longer. The families had owned and ranched several nearby parcels for years when in 1880 John Alexander Matthews and two of his wife Sallie’s brothers, George T. and William D. Reynolds, bought the livestock of another brother-in-law and formed the Reynolds and Matthews Company. In the five years of the company’s operation significant tracts of land and large numbers of livestock were added to their holdings. 

 

When the partnership was amicably dissolved in 1885, Matthews received 25,000 acres of land as part of his share of the business. That property includes the pasture known as Stone Ranch and adjoining parcels comprising much of the southern and western areas of the present ranch. In 1886 Matthews leased the property of former Indian agent Jesse Stem on the Clear Fork to the east, purchasing it in 1909. 

 

Matthews added more land with the purchase of the neighboring ranch of friend and family physician I.J. Culver in 1887. The Lambshead pasture, which gave the ranch its name, was purchased in 1906, and the ranch headquarters was located there the following year. Matthews’ last significant addition to the ranch was the purchase from Francis Gober in 1917 of lands including the pasture that bears his name.

 

Some parcels, such as the pastures known as Reynolds Bend and Overton, left family ownership for periods of years but were repurchased by 1943. Other parcels which had been part of Lambshead at one time were removed from the ranch during the 1960s and 1970s by family members who chose to sell some of their property or operate it separately. 

 

Negotiations surrounding those divisions were mainly directed by Watt Matthews, the son of J.A. and Sallie Matthews, Watt Matthews, who managed the ranch from the time of his father’s death in 1941 until shortly before his own death in 1997. It was his goal to preserve intact the core of the “original” ranch, which included the parcel J.A. Matthews received as his share of the Reynolds and Matthews holdings, along with the other parcels assembled by his father through the early Twentieth Century. This is the Lambshead Ranch as it is known today.

 

The ranch now is entirely owned by direct descendants of J.A. Matthews and Sallie Reynolds Matthews, and by covenant cannot be sold outside that family. With the exception of Reynolds Bend, all of Lambshead is operated by the Matthews Land and Cattle Company. As of 2010, six of the seven members of the board of directors of Lambshead Ranch (incorporated in the 1970s as Matthews Land and Cattle Co.) are J.A. and Sallie Reynolds Matthews’ great grandchildren; the seventh is the husband of a great granddaughter. 

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Copyright © 2005 Matthews Land and Cattle Company. 

All Rights Reserved.