Mason County Historical Book; Compiled by Mason County Historical Commission and Mason County Historical Society; Mason, Texas; 1976; page(s) 38 –39.
SAMUEL BRANSON CAPPS, SR.
Sam Branson Capps, Sr. was the oldest son of William Ransom Capps, who was born in Tennessee, went to Missouri and then to Texas with his bride, Jane Jones, and lived in the vicinity of Bandera. Mrs. Capps was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. S. S. Monk.
Mr. Capps followed in the family tradition of raising horses, and at a very early age, began to break horses and sell them to the Army, and continued to do so for a few years after moving to Mason County. Cattle raising got be more profitable so he gradually changed his livestock from horses to cattle, but all of his active life he continued to raise some horses.
Sam B. Capps and Mary Frances Monk marred May 21, 1871 at the ages of seventeen and fourteen years respectively. Their families were very concerned about this early marriage and thought for sure this young couple would starve, but contrary to their predictions, they did survive and accumulated several thousand acres of Mason County land. Mr. Capps was one of the organizers of the German American National Bank, which later was renamed The Mason National Bank, and continued as Director until his death.
Looking forward to expanding his ranching interest, he left San Antonio on horseback and as he said “rode over lots of West Texas”, looking for a place to locate. As he came through that part of Mason County where he settled, he stated that grass was stirrup high, all the creeks and larger draws were running clear water and all livestock was fat so he decided this was the place he was looking for. He went back home and began to make preparations to move to Mason County. By this time, the family had increased by two sons, William Ransom (Ran) and Samuel Silas. So, in 1875, the family started on its move from San Antonio to Mason County with two wagons, one pulled by a team of horses and the other one pulled by two yokes of oxen and the oxen names were Lep, Wiley, Brindy and Spot. The livestock which was driven consisted of some cattle but was composed mostly of mares and colts, unbroken horses, saddle horses, most all of which carried the BOB brand on the left thigh. This was the brand that had been used by his family for some time. Also included in the livestock that he brought were ten shoats, nine sows, and boar that he turned loose on the ranch. On June 28, 1975, the Capps Family Centennial was held and pork barbeque from this stock that was brought here in 1875 was the meat that was served.
Soon after coming to Mason, the Longhorn cattle drives began, and with his knowledge and ability to handle livestock and cowboys, his services were sought to go “up the trail” to Kansas and later to Oklahoma. These drives would begin in the spring, about the time green vegetation came, by rounding up the herd and trailing it to its destination which took about three or four months. After going up the trail for eight consecutive years, he decided not to go any more, but after being offered a salary of $125.00 per month, he went one more time.
Most of the money he made on the trail driving job was put into land. While he was gone, his wife and older children took care of the livestock and sold bacon and lard, which had been put up in the previous winter. When he returned from one of his trips he found out that a certain tract of land was for sale but upon investigating, he did not have enough money to make the deal. He went home and he and his wife discussed the matter and she told him that she had been able to save a little from the sale of the bacon and lard. She then got it, and after counting the dollars, quarters and dimes, they had just enough to make the deal. The next day, he saddled up his horse and went to Mason and closed the deal.
As each child married, he or she was given a place on the ranch to establish a home. Mr. And Mrs. Capps continued in the ranching business all of their lives and were known for their hospitality and readiness to help any one in need.
Written by Joyce Capps
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