His name spanned six syllables, and his career spanned six decades. He once controlled an empire of 185,000 cattle on 1.25 million acres from Oklahoma into Mexico. By the late 1890s he owned the largest herd of registered Herefords in the United States. But amid the Burnetts and Waggoners, the Reynoldses and Sansoms and Scotts, he may be the Texas cattle king you have not heard of.
Fountain Goodlet Oxsheer Sr. was born in Milam County in 1849 to William and Martha Oxsheer.
Father William in the 1840s was Milam County district court clerk and in the 1870s served as a representative in the Texas House.
After the Civil War F. G. Oxsheer ranched and served as sheriff in Robertson County and then moved to Mitchell County, where he accumulated hundreds of thousands of acres of ranchland. He was among the first ranchers to use windmills. He was among the Texas cattlemen who drove herds of longhorns to the Kansas railheads on trails such as the Chisholm Trail. By 1882 Oxsheer was a member of the Texas Livestock Association, as were the Reynolds brothers and Charles Goodnight of the Goodnight-Loving Trail.
In 1894 Oxsheer moved to Fort Worth from Colorado City in Mitchell County. Photo shows his house (1916) just down Pennsylvania Avenue from fellow cattle baron Winfield Scott’s Thistle Hill on Quality Hill.
In 1906 Oxsheer sold one of his ranches to cereal mogul C. W. Post, who had previously lived in Fort Worth. Clip is from the November 18 Dallas Morning News.
The Oxsheers were often mentioned on two pages of the Fort Worth newspapers: the livestock page and the society page. (In the top clip, that “W. V. Niles” was Louville Veranus Niles, for whom Niles City was named. And E. F. Sansom was probably rancher Elmer Flournoy Sansom, a relative of the three Marions.)
But the twentieth century would be an ornery one for Fountain Goodlet Oxsheer. Son R. C. Oxsheer died in 1921. Senior lost most of his ranching empire to drought and the Depression. Then son Fountain Goodlet Jr. died in February 1931.
Six months later Senior died.
Eternity’s bunkhouse: Fountain Goodlet Oxsheer Sr. is buried in Oakwood Cemetery near better-remembered cattle kings Winfield Scott, John Bunyan Slaughter, and Burk Burnett. The contrast between his final resting place and theirs is telling.