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The Edwin S. Mayer Collection - Ranch Living (1929-31)

Betty Mayer

Silent | 1929

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  •  Baby Ralph learning to walk 
  •  Ralph among the goats 
  •  Edwin Jr. attempts to lasso a goat 
  •  Hunting for eggs 
  •  Playing in the sprinklers 
  •  Extended family 
  •  Christmas 1929 
  •  Easter 1930 
  •  Springtime picnic 
  •  Ralph’s third birthday 
  •  Easter 1931 
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This home movie, shot between 1929 and 1931, captures the Edwin Mayer family at home in San Angelo and at the T-Half Circle Ranch near Sonora. Edwin and Minnie Mayer married in 1926. The couple had five children: Edwin Jr., Ralph, Robert, Doris, and Richard. Only Edwin Jr. and Ralph appear in this footage. Edwin operated the T-Half Circle Ranch alongside his father, Solomon. In the film, the two eldest Mayer boys play on the ranch, chasing goats around a pen. Back home in San Angelo, the pair hunt for Easter eggs and run through sprinklers to cool off in the summer heat. The following year, Ralph celebrates his third birthday.
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.