University of Texas, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History

A Guide to the Swenson Land and Cattle Company Papers, 1902-1932

Descriptive Summary

Creator: Swenson Land and Cattle Company
Title: Swenson Land and Cattle Company Papers
Dates: 1902-1932
Abstract: The papers consist of printed material, ledgers and diaries related to the business of the Swenson Land and Cattle Company between 1902 and 1932, including a memoir by ranch manager Frank S. Hastings.
Extent: 7 ft. 8 in.
Language: Materials are written in English.
Repository: Dolph Briscoe Center for American History,The University of Texas at Austin

Biographical Note

The Swenson Land and Cattle Company, formerly SMS Ranches, occupies considerable portions of twelve counties in the lower plains area of West Texas and comprises more than 300,000 acres. The name SMS comes from the initials of the founder, Svante M. Swenson who moved to Texas from Sweden in the 1830s. Swenson began shipments of Texas pecans to the North and East and in 1850 established himself in the general merchandise and banking business at Austin. However, his greatest interest lay in the accumulation of land.

After the Civil War Swenson moved his family to New York City, where he founded a private banking house known as S. M. Swenson and Sons, a precursor to the present First National City Bank of New York, but continued an active interest in Texas. In the 1880s S. M. Swenson leased his holdings to his sons, Eric Pierson Swenson and Swen Albin Swenson, who operated them under the name of Swenson Brothers Cattle Company. The SMS brand, consisting of an extended M sandwiched between two reversed S's, was registered by the Swensons in the spring of 1882.

In 1899 the Swensons enticed the Texas Central Railroad to build through their land and laid out the town of Stamford, which became the nucleus of their West Texas interests. In 1902 the brothers hired Frank S. Hastings as manager of their far-flung ranches. Under Hastings’ direction the SMS was among the first to engage in the "mail order" calf business. In 1926 the Swensons were running 28,000 cattle on 390,000 acres and the business was reorganized as the Swenson Land and Cattle Company. By 1989, an average of 8,500 cattle, mostly Hereford and Angus stock, were sold annually. In addition, hundreds of acres of SMS ranch land were cultivated in hay, oats, and milo, and there were also some oil interests.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online, s.v. "SMS Ranches," (accessed October 13, 2009).

Scope and Contents

The papers consist of printed material, ledgers and diaries related to the business of the Swenson Land and Cattle Company between 1902 and 1932, including a memoir by ranch manager Frank S. Hastings. The records additionally address theories and experiences in raising, marketing and shipping Hereford cattle and the economic, political ad social aspects of the area as they affected the cattle industry.


Access Restrictions

Unrestricted access.

Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Hastings, Frank S., 1860-1922
Swenson, Eric Pierson
Swenson, S. M. (Svante Magnus), 1816-1896
Swenson, Swen Albin
Subjects (Organizations)
First National City Bank of New York--History.
Swenson Land and Cattle Company--History.
Cattle ranches—Texas
Land speculation.
Texas Central Railroad Company
Stamford (Tex.)

Related Material

See also Swenson-Palm Letter Book, 1863-1873 and Swenson (S. M.) Papers

Administrative Information

Preferred Citation

Swenson Land and Cattle Company Papers, 1902-1932, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.

Processing Information

Basic processing and cataloging of this collection was supported with funds from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) for the Briscoe Center’s "History Revealed: Bringing Collections to Light" project, 2009-2011.

Detailed Description of the Papers



2G452 Letter presses:
August-November 1902
November 1902 – March 1903
July 1902 – April 1904
2G453 January-August 1904
April-October 1904
December 1904 – February 1905
April-September 1905
2G454 May-September 1906
January 1906 – March 1907
March – October 1907
October 1907 – March 1908
2G455 May-September 1908
September 1908 – May 1909
November 1908 – May 1909
2G456 March-October 1909
October, 1909 – February 1910
February-June 1910
2G457 June 1910 – January 1911
January-May 1911
May-October 1911
October 1911-March 1912
2G458 March-August 1912
August-December 1912
January-May 1913
May-September 1913
2G459 September 1913 – February 1914
February-September 1914
September 1914 – April 1915
April-November 1915
2G460 November, 1915 – April 1916
April-November 1916
November 1916 – June 1917
June-December 1917
2G461 December 1917 – July 1918
July 1918 – January 1919
January-May 1919
May-October 1919
2G462 October 1919 – April 1920
April-November 1920
November 1920 –May 1921
2G463 May-November 1921
July 1919 – January 1920
January-October 1920
2G464 October 1920 – June 1921
November 1921 – August 1922
June 1921 – February 1922
2G465 May-August 1922
November 1923 – March 1924
September 1923 – November 1932
2G466 February 1922 – June 1924
Manuscript, “A Ranchman’s Recollections,” by F. S. Hastings
2G467 1913-1917
2G468 1924-1925
4L145 Ledger, 1904-1906
2G469 Stamford Oil Mill Company ledger:
November 1903 – May 1908
January 1912 – January 1914
September 1916 – December 1919
2G470 Stamford Water and Light Company ledger, March 1903 – December 1908