Friday, August 17, 2012

Seale Ranch

Miss Curley Seale on a pitching steer - Brownwood Rodeo
(July 1920)
Seale Ranch

Location: Baird, Texas, USA

Opened: 1918

Closed: 1950s? Later?

Another one of those fascinating accidental finds. From the Spokane Daily Chronicle, July 31, 1925:

Wear Trousers and Don't Allow a Man on the Place at All

At Baird, on the plains of west Texas, there's a 3,000-acre ranch run entirely by two girls, "Bill" Seale, 26, and her sister, "Curley," 24. No mere man is allowed to clutter up the premises. No cowboys ride the range. The only men ever seen about the place are fence builders and wood cutters whom the girls find it necessary to employ occasionally, says The Los Angeles Times.

Waiting their turn to ride - Brownwood Rodeo (July 1920)
Billy Seale is the first rider on the fence, and Curley Seale is the third

It was in 1918, after the death of their father, C. C. Seale, banker and ranchman of this section, that his two younger daughters conceived the idea of managing this property alone. An older sister assists in the housekeeping. Their mother died in 1914.

While this ranch is a small piece of property as ranches are considered in Texas, nevertheless it was a pretty big proposition for two girls to tackle. It is not of necessity that the Seale sisters perform the arduous labor connected with the successful management of the ranch.

Their father was president of the Home National Bank of Baird at the time of his death. Among other property, he owned a 14,000-acre well stocked ranch and it is a part of this estate that is now under the direct supervision of the two girls.

It is the avowed purpose of these Texas girls to perpetuate the spirit and ideals of the frontier days of the old west. No horse is too wild for Bill and Curley to break. Busting broncos is one of their specialties, and the tackle the animals in true Buffalo Bill style. When it comes to roping cattle, the most expert lariat thrower has nothing on them. Riding herds, branding cattle and rounding up steers are all in the days work for these young women.

Wear Trousers.

The girls wear male attire. Their usual costume consists of trousers, boots, shirt, six-gallon hat and big red bandanna. Their boots are made to order, plain but durable. From each pair of trim heels comes the jingle of silver spurs. They present a striking and attractive appearance, both girls being extremely good looking. Even with their boy-cut bobs belong to the "weaker" sex.

When it comes to culture let it be known that these ranch girls are college bred. After graduating from Baird high school they attended Kidd-Key college in Sherman. [Note: Kidd-Key College is a former women's college and another lost womyn's space.] Bill specialized in art and has quite a local reputation as an artist.

Music attracted Curley, and in the study of the piano she made an enviable record during her college days.

Training polo ponies is one of the occupations of Bill and Curley Seale. The noted polo pony Buster Brown was trained by their father, who taught them the art of training ponies for this sport. At the present time the girls have several colts in their stables which are now in training for polo. In this connection in may be of interest to many to know that Glory, a pony that became nationally famous at the Bryn Mawr games a year ago, was trained by these two Texas girls. The animal brought them the sum of $2500.

I don't know much else about these women's lives other than a few random facts about Curley from some old Abilene, Texas newspapers.

As late as July 1939, Curley was still competing in rodeo events. She won the flag race for women at the annual Coleman Rodeo in Coleman, Texas.

In May 1951, Curley Seale led the gala parade for the Callahan County Sheriff's Posse Rodeo at Baird. At that time, she was still identified as a "ranchwoman."

Of course, all this is just scratching the surface. Sounds like another one of those fascinating research projects I'll be adding to the pile of Things I'll Get To One Day.

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