Cattle Brands Still Recorded

Date: Oct. 29, 1967

Cattle roaming open range in Ector County at the turn of the century bore on their flanks an assortment of brands.

Some were initials, others numbers and some merely weird designs.

The first brand registered in Ector County, according to old records in the office of Edna Smith, county clerk, was owned by the county's first clerk, J.S. Devereaux. Devereaux logged it himself on Jan. 20, 1891.

It consisted of two curving vertical lines crossed in the center by two straight horizontal lines.

Since the first brand was registered in the clerk's office in the new county, hundreds of cattlemen have formally recorded their own.

Seventeen different brands were registered by members of the J. A. Graham family from 1892 till 1904 with many of them similar.

Among them were three separate arrow shaped marks with a triangle on the end of one, and E on another and a diamond shaped design on the third. Other Graham brands included a half-circle with a fish hook design on the flat side and two circles with a bar connecting them.

Dawson and George Ely, in brands recorded in 1898 and 1899, just used their last name. Dawson's cattle, however, were marked with the Y extending beneath the EL while George 's mark was ELY. A third Ely, C. D. marked his cattle with an EY with a bar beneath.

A similar idea was hit upon by S. J. Kyle, whose brand was KYL. Kyle and R. T. Reid also registered a turtle shaped brand in 1897.

Samuel Rice, in 1892, registered his with the S turned on its side.

In 1909, Ada Carter registered the numbers 02 with a curved bar above them.

H. S. Ratliff in 1904, recorded a brand roughly resembling an M. Later, another Ratliff, Hugh, registered as his brand an artistic number 3.

H. E. Vest's brand, registered about 1903 spelled OUT with the ends of the U curving under the O and above the T.

Many brands were registered here by members of the Kelly family, most of them too complicated to describe.

But they included designs roughly resembling the number 4; and A with a curving side; a deformed VT, and horizontal K. They were recorded by E. L. Kelly.

While many brands have grown famous with their owners, none of these could be found in Ector County records.


  This article is from the Odessa American published Sunday, Oct. 29, 1957 written by Covey Bean.

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