No. 53 Williams Family
The family’s Pitchfork Land & Cattle Company, with a home ranch that covers 165,000 acres in Texas, includes a cow-calf operation, a hunting program, and a horse program that is known for its signature Pitchfork Gray. The Pitchfork is also the site of successful oil and gas exploration. It’s produced millions of barrels of oil since the first well was drilled over 30 years ago.
No. 43 Roxana Hayne & Joan Kelleher
In the late 19th century, Vermont native Alfred S. Gage founded what would become known as the A. S. Gage Ranches in Texas. Operations once covered half a million acres. Today, Gage’s granddaughters Roxana (Catto) Hayne and Joan (Negley) Kelleher own the largest remaining portion of this historic ranch.
Photo Credit: Ansen Seale
No. 30 H.L. Kokernot Heirs
The Kokernots’ ties to Texas date back to the Revolution. According to the Texas State Historical Society, the family’s o6 brand was first registered in Calhoun County in 1837. Today, the heirs of H.L. Kokernot, Jr. tend to his beloved Davis Mountains ranchlands much as he would.
Photo Credit: Ken Pruett Photography
This Texan’s life is a testament to family, ranching, business, and philanthropy
Emmett is best known as the founder of McCoy’s Building Supply, an 83- store lumber and building materials chain based in San Marcos, Texas. But the story of his life, from his upbringing in the port city of Galveston to his rise as an entrepreneur and landowner, exemplifies the spirit of the Greatest Generation and his own commitment to the values of hard work and integrity.
In 1927, when Emmett was a 4-yearold, his parents, Frank and Margaret, moved from Houston to Galveston, where they started McCoy Roofing Company. Their young son grew up working in the family business. He became an Eagle Scout and graduated from Ball High School in 1939. From there, he went to New York Trade School. While living in New York, Emmett met the love of his life, Miriam Swanson.
The young Texan enlisted in the U.S. Army and served his country in the Pacific theater during World War II. He was discharged as a sergeant in January 1946 and immediately returned to Galveston and the family business. One month later, he married Miriam, with whom he had four children and shared 65 years of marriage.
In the early 1950s Emmett took over McCoy Roofing from his father. He subsequently founded McCoy Building Supply, where he began selling building materials on a cash-and-carry basis — an innovative concept at the time. In the 1960s, the family’s roofing business was phased out to allow a focus on building materials stores.
After Emmett relocated the company to San Marcos in 1972, the McCoy family made Central Texas their home base. A decade earlier, Emmett and Miriam bought their first ranch property — a little less than half a section on the Blanco River in Hays County — and the family’s longstanding ties to ranching and the cattle business were underway. In 1987, the McCoys purchased their first West Texas ranch, the 7 Springs Ranch. As time went by, they purchased other ranches, including the historic Rockpile Ranch (pictured above and below).
The Rockpile Ranch, which was once a portion of the Reynolds brothers’ renowned Long X Ranch, and the U Ranch, which at one time had been a part of King Ranch, were subsequently added and expanded the family’s holdings to more than 240,000 acres. In 2011, McCoy Remme Ranches Ltd. ranked No. 41 on the Land Report 100.
The McCoys support many charitable endeavors, such as the Hays Caldwell Women’s Center, the San Marcos Youth Shelter, and the Miriam McCoy Shelter for Animals. They made a substantial gift to the School of Business at Texas State University, which now bears their name: The McCoy College of Business.
Emmett passed away in January at age 88. But his legacy thrives. McCoy’s Building Supply, now owned and operated by son Brian, is one of the largest family-owned lumberyard chains in the U.S. McCoy Remme Ranches, which is managed by son-in-law Kaare Remme, raises Black Angus cattle in a traditional cow-calf operation with a strong focus on range management and stewardship. And his beloved Miriam still shares her husband’s love of land. The McCoys gather at her home and their ranch properties to celebrate holidays, special events, and the beautiful country of Texas.
Download the digital version of The Land Report’s Summer 2012 edition here.
No. 27 Fasken Family
David Fasken purchased the C Ranch in Texas in 1912, which marked the beginning of the family’s fondness for land. After finding success in the oil and gas industry, his heirs expanded their holdings. This summer, the family’s Fasken Oil & Ranch Ltd. broke ground on a new corporate headquarters at that very same C Ranch.
No. 53 Bidegain Family
The T4 Cattle Company in Montoya, New Mexico, has been in the family since 1902, when it was much smaller and originally known as the Kohn Ranch. Phil Bidegain, the founder’s great-grandson, manages the sizable ranch, which includes a cow-calf operation, Quarter Horse program, and farming division.
Photo Credit: 4Corners Ranch
No. 44 Cassidy Heirs
John Cassidy arrived in Bangor, Maine, from Nova Scotia in 1859, and a decade later he had begun acquiring timberland in the area. Over the years he continued to add to his holdings, making a name for himself and helping shape Bangor along the way. Today, the family’s Cassidy Timberlands has forestland throughout the Pine Tree State.
No. 36 Mike Smith
Slowly but steadily, Mike Smith of Amarillo has added to his landholdings over the years with the majority of his acquisitions throughout Texas. A large percentage of Smith’s holdings are concentrated in the Panhandle region. They include farmland and grassland that is used for commercial cattle and recreational pursuits.
No. 25 Patrick Broe
The Broe Group founder Patrick Broe champions sustainability and conservation efforts on his ranches. At his Notch Peak Ranch in Wyoming, the focus is an ongoing reforestation project as well as initiatives to protect wild game. The ranch is home to one of the area’s largest herds of bighorn sheep. At his Great Western Ranch in New Mexico, Broe works to preserve the spirit of the true Western ranch complete with a large, well-managed herd of cattle and an abundance of big game.
No. 15 D.M. O’Connor Heirs
Dennis Martin O’Connor was reportedly disappointed to strike oil instead of water when he and his father began drilling artesian wells to water their cattle. Eventually, the Tom O’Connor Field (named for D.M.’s father, the original Texas Cattle King) became one of the world’s most productive oil fields. Today, D.M.’s descendants share ownership of the family’s ranches in South Texas.