Stevens, John V 1971, 1972, 1973

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John V. Stevens discusses ranching procedure and policy at both the Alamositas and Matador divisions of the Matador Ranch, ranch labor and the process and consequence of the Matador Land and Cattle Company’s liquidation. Among other things he discusses the company’s record-keeping policy and reviews his experiences, with special attention to the office building which is now a part of the Ranching Heritage Center in Lubbock.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: John V. Stevens

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: June 29, 1971; December 6, 1972; September 26, 1973

Location: Matador, Texas

Interviewer: David Murrah, Duncan Muckleroy, Fran Holden and Maxine Blankenship

Length: 3 hours


Tape 1, Side 1: Family background and early life, Graduated from Texas A & M (1937), Began Matador work at Alamositas (1939), Satisfied Matador need for younger employees, Statistics on and function of Alamositas Division, Recognized need for holding pastures, Describes changes in ranching techniques, Move to Matador Division (1946), Authorized to hire Alamositas manager, Ranch labor affected by World War II instability, Labor supply obtained from farming communities, Mentions current sources of labor, Wild cattle resulted from mesquite brush growth, Cattle control techniques, Describes Matador Division work force, Matador-Alamositas water sources, Efficiency due to excellent record-keeping, Recalls Murdo Mackenzie, John Mackenzie’s work background, Colorado feedlots discussed, Integration of feedlot and ranching practices.

Tape 1, Side 2: Characterization of John Mackenzie, Delegated authority to superintendents, Frequent visits to Matador, Mackenzie’s death, Ballard Springs headquarters, Function: past and present, Koch family purchase, Stevens claims credit for getting Matador collection to Texas Tech, Explains motives for sale of Matador, Role of Lazard Freres Company, John Mackenzie’s opposition to the sale, Liquidation process explored, Local purchase of corporations, Tax valuation problem discussed, Company contributed to community stability, Larger farms result in smaller population in towns today.

Tape 2, Side 1: Matador grocery operation explained, Pay-day confusion in mess-house, Recalls old Matador cowboys, Significance of the diary discussed, Lists record-keeping procedures, Denver stock show resulted in annual visit to Matador offices, Character of job at Matador, Risks of independent operation, Explains attitude toward cowboys: past and present, Expresses feeling toward cowboy-ranch owner relationship, Mentions book by Dulcie Turner Sullivan (The LS Brand).

Tape 2, Side 2: Blank

Tape 3, Side 1: Original office built in 1880s, Scotchmen’s Dive, present office, built in 1900s, Recalls joining the Matador Ranch (1939), Review of Matador managers, Notes changes resulting from sale of ranch, Coordinated sale of units of land, Develops Murdo Mackenzie’s role in Matador Ranch organization, Original office furniture discussed, Notes changes in cowboy labor due to Social Security, Personal biographical information given, Commissary used as junkroom in later years, Pitchfork Ranch managers characterized.

Tape 3, Side 2: Cites William M. Pearce’s book on the Matador Ranch, David Birnie, former Matador bookkeeper, mentioned, Anecdote about cutting radio wires on Mr. Mackenzie, Matador half-dugout improved in 1947, Former residents of half-dugout recalled.

Tape 4, Side 1: Tells about Fred Koch, Photographs of last days at Matador Ranch recalled, Remembers ranching work at Matador Ranch, Lists people connected with ranching in the area, Comments on Western artists.

Tape 4, Side 2: Describes practices followed in ranching, Predictions about cattle industry given, Discusses early life, Owners of ranches noted.

Range Dates: 1879-1951

Bulk Dates: 1937-1951

Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:


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