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The Edwin S. Mayer Collection - T-Half Circle Ranch

Betty Mayer

Silent | 1940s

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  •  The two eldest Mayer children, Edwin Jr. and Ralph 
  •  Sorghum stalks 
  •  Harvesting 
  •  Processing grain 
  •  Edwin Jr., Robert, and Doris on horseback 
  •  Richard atop a goat 
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This home movie, shot in the early 1940s, captures operations at the T-Half Circle Ranch in Sonora. Edwin Mayer ran the ranch with his father, Solomon. After family members ride up on horseback to show off for the camera, farmhands get to work harvesting sorghum. After collecting stalks, farmhands process the crop for grain, likely used as feed for the ranch’s livestock. Edwin and Minnie Mayer married in 1926. The couple had five children: Edwin Jr., Ralph, Robert, Doris, and Richard.
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.