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The Edwin S. Mayer Collection - Sheep Farming (1925)

Betty Mayer

Silent | 1925

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  •  Herding into pens 
  •  Edwin Mayer’s wife, Minnie, holds a goat. The couple married in 1926 and had five children: Edwin Jr., Ralph, Robert, Doris, and Richard. 
  •  Trucks carrying bags of wool 
  •  Sheep shearing 
  •  Bagging wool 
  •  Applying the ranch brand to the shaven sheep 
  •  Chili break 
  •  Grazing 
  •  Release the sheep! 
  •  Loading onto shipping containers 
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This 1925 home movie, shot by rancher Edwin S. Mayer, documents the processing and shearing of sheep on the T-Half Circle Ranch near Sonora. After herding the grazing sheep into pens, ranch hands begin shearing off wool for collection and transport. They then paint the ranch brand on the shaven sheep. Later, goats and sheep are loaded into shipping containers.
Ferninand Mayer emigrated from Germany to the United States in 1856. He married Jette Steiner 10 years later. The couple had six children: Max, Solomon, Fanny, Josephine, Theresa, and Abraham. The family settled in Fort McKavett in Menard County, with Ferdinand becoming fort sutler in 1879. After Fort McKavett closed in 1881, he opened his own mercantile store. Accepting livestock and land in exchange for goods, Ferdinand soon found himself in the ranching business. In 1896, he purchased the T-Half Circle Ranch with sons Max and Solomon. The ranch encompassed 75,000 acres and seven pastures across Sutton and Schleicher Counties. The partnership registered the T-Half Circle brand in 1889. Two years later, they introduced sheep. In 1901, Solomon and Abraham bought the ranch from their father and older brother, who subsequently retired to San Antonio. Solomon became sole owner six years later, with the T-Half Circle Ranch eventually passing to his son, Edwin, and five grandchildren. Upon Solomon’s death in 1957, the estate was divided into five separate parcels. The 21,000-acre parcel operated by Edwin Jr. retained the T-Half Circle Ranch title. He continues to run the ranch with sons Stephen and Ernie. In 1983, the T-Half Circle Ranch launched a game management program with the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to permit deer and turkey hunting on the property.