The SMS Ranch

The SMS Ranch
127 Pages
ISBN 978-1-4671-2683-0

Few images captivate the Western imagination more than the Texas

cowboy, at home on the range, herding, corralling, throwing and

branding cattle, bronc busting, dining from chuckwagons, and sleeping

under the stars. The SMS Ranch in the early 1900s was exactly such

a place. Spanning hundreds of thousands of acres and holding land in

12 Northwest Texas counties, the SMS was formed by Swante Magnus

Swenson, said to be the first Swede to immigrate to Texas. Swenson, a good

friend of Sam Houston, had a penchant for wise financial decisions

and, by the late 1800s, lived in New York with offices on Wall Street.

Swenson sent his two sons to manage his vast Texas landholdings.

In 1902, they hired legendary cattleman Frank Hastings to manage

the SMS Ranch, headquartered in Stamford, Texas, north of Abilene

and west of Fort Worth. Hastings’s wife, Laura, and daughter Ruth

photographed life on the ranch, and many professional photographers

visited the SMS as well, leaving a rich visual legacy.

Dawn Youngblood, PhD

About Dawn Youngblood, PhD (San Antonio, Texas Author)

Dawn Youngblood, PhD

Dawn Youngblood grew up in San Antonio, where she attended the Alamo Heights Schools and developed a passion for history. She obtained a degree in Journalism from the University of Texas at Austin, where she met and married her husband, Fort Worth Attorney Edwin Johnston Youngblood. They have lived in Fort Worth since 1982 and have two grown children, Christian and Eden. Following a career in publishing – including serving as a Senior Editor for Harcourt Brace – Dawn returned to graduate school. She obtained a PhD in Anthropology with specialization in Archaeology from Southern Methodist University in 2003 and worked full time at SMU as a curator and professor for ten years. During this time, her love for collections inspired her to obtain a Masters of Library and Information Science (MLIS) with a specialization in Archives and Special Collections from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – the number one rated MLIS program in the nation. In January 2011, Dawn began her current position as Tarrant County Archivist. In this position, she has greatly expanded the exhibits and public outreach program as well as the collections and online presence. It was in this position that she discovered a priceless photographic album covering the early years of the vast SMS Ranch.