Historic Texas Settlers and Ranchers

Dedicated to Jimmy & Tommie Lou Smith!

Anna Mebus Martin was born in Stasser Hoff, Germany in 1843, and came to Texas after her father￿s business in Solingen, Germany failed in 1858. She and husband Charles ￿Karl￿ Martin had two sons, Max and Charles. With her sons, Anna began purchasing land in 1886, gradually acquiring more than 50,000 acres, where they raised cattle.

Anna was the first female banker in Texas, and possibly the entire United States, serving the Commercial Bank of Mason. Anna used her financial skills to make site loans to area farmers and ranchers as well. She started a general store and supplied barbed wire to local farmers and ranchers, which also was a first for the area.

Max acquired the 50,000 acres in 1922 and raised cattle and horses. He built the ￿Brady Lane,￿ which was a road that ran from ￿Blockhouse Ranch￿ to Brady. He also put in the first telephone lines between two ranches located on each side of mason. Max raised some of the area￿s first Hereford cattle. He and wife Mebus had three children ￿ Kurt, Esther and Ruth.

Ruth received 13,000 acres of the land in 1940 and built rock houses and a barn on the land. She sold her share of the Commercial Bank of Mason in 1945 and used her strong management skills to maintain the ranch as a state game preserve until 1960. She also was active in the upkeep of the Martin Cemetery. She married Thad C. Ziegler and they had two children, Ruth Tommie Lou and Thad Ziegler.

In 1983, Ruth deeded her land to her children and Ruth Tommie Lou received 6,890 acres. Tommie Lou married James ￿Jimmy￿ H. Smith and they have three children ￿ Jamie, Shellie and Andy. She and Jimmy worked to improve the cattle heard by introducing Brangus to the stock. They began managing the deer and turkey populations and became active in several organizations, including the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association, Texas Farm Bureau, Texas Soil and Water Conservation and the Chambers of Commerce in Mason, Brady and Menard.

Acres in original parcel: 50,000
Original acres held up until April 2010: 6,890
More history pictures here! 


Dates of Ownership Name of Owner
1886￿1922 Anna Mebus Martin
1922￿1940 Max Martin
1940￿1983 Ruth Martin Ziegler
1983￿Present Ruth Tommie Lou Smith
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