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William Curry Holden

CURRY COMB RANCH. The Curry Comb Ranch began in 1875 when W. C. Young of Fort Worth purchased 300 stock cattle and employed Ben Galbraith, a young Irishman from Illinois, to care for them. The cattle were kept in Tarrant County for a year and then moved to Shackelford County in 1876, when Galbraith was made an equal partner and the YG brand was adopted. Three years later the herd was moved to Garza County, and headquarters were set up in a dugout on Yellowhouse Creek about ten miles north of the future site of Post. In 1880 the Llano Cattle Company, with capital stock of $400,000, was organized with W. C. Young as president and Ben Galbraith as manager. Sam S. Gholson, a neighboring cowman, turned in 2,500 cattle and received $50,000 in stock. E. T. Ambler of Fort Worth and J. C. Lycon of Dallas became influential stockholders, and some of the employees on the ranch acquired a few shares each. The YG brand was soon superseded by the Curry Comb, a peculiar brand similar to one registered in June 1875 by J. H. Cage in Erath County.

The company purchased a tract of land measuring about ten by twelve miles in the northwest quarter of Garza County. Yellowhouse Creek ran through the northeast part of the tract, and several small creeks, with sources in springs at the base of the Caprock of the Llano Estacado, crossed the Curry Comb range, which was surveyed by Jasper Hays. The pasture was fenced in 1883, and headquarters was moved to a new, two-story frame house about three miles from the site of Post. After failing health forced Galbraith to resign his managerial position and return to Illinois that summer, he was succeeded by Rollie C. Burns. Trouble with nesters, mostly small free-rangers, on the north boundary resulted in instances of fence cutting during 1883 and 1884. At one time hired gunmen were called in to try to remedy the situation, but the problem was eventually brought under control as more settlers fenced their property. Even so, the unpleasantness that resulted caused Burns to resign after a difficult year as manager.

The capacity of the Curry Comb Ranch, which covered 200 sections, was found to be 8,000 to 10,000 cattle of all ages. The Llano Cattle Company carried on until 1907, when the cattle were disposed of and the land was sold to C. W. Post, who colonized the arable lands and founded the town named for him. The Curry Comb brand was discontinued at that time but later was revived by W. V. (Cap) Roy, a Garza county commissioner, whose ranch and homestead were located east of Justiceburg.

Between 1880 and 1908 J. H. Gage ran about 10,000 to 12,000 cattle on Texas ranges and on land leased in Oklahoma and Colorado. His Curry Comb brand was subsequently passed down through his son, Day Cage, of Stephenville.

Gus L. Ford, ed., Texas Cattle Brands (Dallas: Cockrell, 1936). Garza County Historical Survey Committee, Wagon Wheels: A History of Garza County, ed. Charles Didway (Seagraves, Texas: Pioneer, 1973). William Curry Holden, Rollie Burns (Dallas: Southwest, 1932; rpt., College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1986). Jesse Wallace Williams, The Big Ranch Country (Wichita Falls: Terry, 1954; 2d ed., Wichita Falls: Nortex, 1971).

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The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Handbook of Texas Online, William Curry Holden, "CURRY COMB RANCH," accessed August 14, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/apc06.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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