A Guide to the Edward C. Lasater Papers, 1860-1930
Edward Cunningham Lasater (1860-1930), south Texas rancher, dairyman, and land developer, was born at Valley Farm, near Goliad, Texas. As a teenager, with his father's health failing, he was forced to abandon his schooling and his dream of becoming a lawyer in order to help with his family's sheep operations in Atascosa County. Following his father's death in 1883, Lasater spent several years buying and selling large lots of cattle, establishing his credit, and broadening his knowledge of Texas rangelands.
In 1895 he turned his ambitious plans toward South Texas, where he made the first of the many land purchases that made his Falfurrias ranch one of the biggest in the state; it reached its maximum size of some 350,000 acres a decade later. Lasater's purchase of 7,000 brood cows from the Kenedy Pasture Company in 1895 launched him on a course that made him known as one of the leading cattle breeders of Texas. With the extension of the San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway south from Alice to his ranch in 1904, Lasater founded the town of Falfurrias. After four years of effort he and his supporters succeeded in 1911 in forming Brooks County, with Falfurrias as the county seat.
Lasater achieved fame for the size and quality of his Hereford and Shorthorn herds, his pioneering use of Brahman bulls for cross-breeding, and his ownership of the largest herd of Jersey cattle in the world. Sweet cream butter and other products from his Falfurrias Creamery Company made the town a familiar name throughout the state.
Lasater was elected president of the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas (now the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association) in 1911, and the following year he was the Texas Bull Moose party's candidate for governor. In 1917 Herbert Hoover named him chief of the Department of Livestock and Food Production in the United States Food Administration. Lasater soon resigned, however, because of differences with the president.
Sources: Dale Lasater, "LASATER, EDWARD CUNNINGHAM," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fla42), accessed April 24, 2013. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Biographical documents and a copy of an address given before the National Conference on Marketing and Farm credits in December 1916 comprise the Edward C. Lasater Papers.
This collection is open for research use.
Edward C. Lasater Papers, 1860-1930, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, The University of Texas at Austin.
This collection was processed by Stefanie Lapka, April 2013.
Detailed Description of the Papers