While our physical offices are closed until further notice in accordance with Austin's COVID-19 "stay home-work safe" order, the Handbook of Texas will remain available at no-cost for you, your fellow history enthusiasts, and all Texas students currently mandated to study from home. If you have the capacity to help us maintain our online Texas history resources during these uncertain times, please consider making a 100% tax-deductible contribution today. Thank you for your support of TSHA and Texas history. Donate Today »


Barbara Jo Brothers

BROTHERS, ROBERT LEE, JR. (1908–1979). Robert Lee Brothers, Jr., the "Poet of Peach Creek," son of Robert Lee and Alma (Kokernot) Brothers, was born on December 29, 1908, at Big Hill, on the old Kokernot ranch in Gonzales County, Texas. He graduated from Gonzales High School and studied one year at Baylor University. When his father died the following June (1929), he returned to the land he had inherited to become a cattleman. Though his roots were in the cattle business, he published three books of poetry and won many poetry awards. His first collection, Democracy of Dust, was published in 1947. The themes in this and subsequent works revolve around ranching, the outdoors, and human nature. His second book, The Hidden Harp (1952), won the Texas Institute of Letters award for 1953. His poem "Requiem for a Foundling" won the Reynolds Lyric Award in Virginia. Among the other awards Brothers received was a special citation given during the semicentennial of The Lyric in 1970 to "poets...who have diligently served the cause of traditional poetry throughout the years." Mabel Major describes his work as "distinguished by precision of phrase and by a keen ironic insight into human character." He was an active member of the Poetry Society of Texas and served as a judge for many poetry contests. Brothers was born a Southern Baptist and a Southern Democrat. Though he never fitted the fundamentalist mold, much of his poetry is deeply spiritual. In the last ten or fifteen years of his life he developed an affinity for the Republican party. He was politically active on the local and county level, where he registered the poor to vote as a part of a campaign to remove corrupt local politicians from office. He was married briefly to Julia Cobb, then divorced. In June 1936 he married Docia Azilea Barfield, an old sweetheart he had known since she was sixteen; they had two daughters. Docia died on October 4, 1955. Brothers died of a heart attack on Mothers' Day, May 13, 1979, at his home in Gonzales.

Mabel Major et al., Southwest Heritage: A Literary History with Bibliography (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1938; 3d ed. 1972). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin.

Image Use Disclaimer

All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.

For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.


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

Handbook of Texas Online, Barbara Jo Brothers, "BROTHERS, ROBERT LEE, JR.," accessed June 02, 2020, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fbrzl.

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
visit the mytsha forums to participate

View these posts and more when you register your free MyTSHA account.

Call for Papers: Texas Center for Working-Class Studies Events, Symposia, and Workshops
Hi all! You may be interested in this call for papers I received from the Texas Center for Working-Class Studies at Collin College...

Katy Jennings' Ride Scholarly Research Request
I'm doing research on Catherine Jennings Lockwood, specifically the incident known as "Katy Jennings' Ride." Her father was Gordon C. Jennings, the oldest man to die at the Alamo...

Texas Constitution of 1836 Co-Author- Elisha Pease? Ask a Historian
The TSHA profile of Elisha Marshall Pease states that he wrote part of the Texas Constitution although he was only a 24 year-old assistant secretary (not elected). I cannot find any other mention of this authorship work by Pease in other credible research about the credited Constution authors...