From fights with Indians, to establishing ranches throughout the Texas frontier, and becoming one of the most recognized names in the banking industry, the life of W.D. Reynolds is an epic tale similar to the stories of Texas itself.
Born April 22, 1846 in Montgomery, Alabama to B.W. and Anna Marie Reynolds, he came to Texas at one year old. His father, being the first to arrive in Texas and finding it to be promising, sent for his family. The Reynolds family arrived in Shelby, Texas and then in 1859 moved to Palo Pinto, Texas. In the years following the end of the Civil War, B.W. Reynolds moved his family to the FortGriffin area and began the Reynolds Cattle Company.
W.D. received his education in the private schools in the Albany community. At 21 he went to work for Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving driving cattle along the Pecos Trail into Colorado. It was during one of these trips that Loving was wounded by Indians during an attack. Loving was taken to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, where he later died. Reynolds was in the party that ensured Loving’s body being brought back to Weatherford, Texas for burial.
An article from the January 5, 1929 Fort Worth Star-Telegram, tells a story of W.D. and his brother George. They and a small group of companions were going along the ConchoRiver when they came upon a group of Indians who were driving a herd made up of cattle and horses, which they believed to be stolen. The Texas Rangers suspected the Reynolds brothers of the theft and placed them in jail for numerous days. There were many chances to escape, but they chose to wait until they were acquitted. Then a gentleman who once worked on their father’s ranch recognized them and they were released. Upon heading back home, they were faced with the Indians who took part in the raid on Elm Creek in YoungCounty. Many women and children died in the raid. The brothers fought in the battles at FortBragg, defeating the Indians.
In 1868 W.D. and his older brother George took over Reynolds Cattle Company from their father. In 1871 the brothers moved the cattle to Bent County, Colorado and formed the Point of Rocks Ranch. By 1875 drought and hostile Indian tribes caused them to move the ranch back to Texas. They sold their foundation stock to Charles Goodnight in RobertsCounty. When they returned to the FortGriffin area, the brothers restocked their ranch. During the following years, the brothers established many ranches. They formed the Long X and Rockpile Ranches and made the Long X their brand. The Rockpile Ranch, located in Kent, Texas was passed from W.D. to his son John and then to John’s daughter Susan. In 1902 it was bought by McCoyLand and Cattle Company who retains ownership to this day. The Lambshead Ranch, located in Shackelford County, was originally established by W.D. and George Reynolds and their brother-in-law J.A. Matthews in 1870. It was passed to J.A.’s son Watt in the 1940’s. He ran the ranch until his death in 1997. The brothers conducted many cattle drives and along the way established numerous other ranches in the United States. Among those are the Davis Mountain Ranch in Kent, Texas, the George Reynolds Ranch in Pecos City, Texas, the Park Springs Ranch in New Mexico, and the Glenn Reynolds Ranch in Ranch Globe, Arizona. Glenn Reynolds, the brother of W.D. and George, was killed by Billy The Kid while serving as sheriff. The brothers put up a $5,000 reward for the capture of The Kid. Under the Reynolds Cattle Company, ranching operations in Shackelford, Fisher, Throckmorton, Haskell, Culberson, and Hartley counties were formed.
W.D. married Susan Alice Matthews, daughter of J.B. Matthews, in Albany, Texas on January 1, 1879. While living in Throckmorton, Susan gave birth to three of their eight children. Son George Eaton was born February 14, 1880, daughter Ella was born August 21, 1881, and son William David was born March 6, 1883. Later that year, Reynolds would move his family to Albany to pursue banking and real estate. He founded the First National Bank in Albany with his brother-in-law Frank Conrad. The family also founded the Presbyterian Church in 1898 and with the Matthews family, founded the Reynolds Presbyterian College, which was named in honor of B.W. Reynolds. While living in Albany, W.D. and Susan had five more children. Son Joseph born September 14, 1884, daughter Anne Merle born December 15, 1886, son Watkins Wendell born June 11, 1889, son John born February 1892, and son Nathan born October 23, 1893. The marriage of W.D. and Susan would be one of many connections of the Reynolds and Matthews families. W.D.’s brother George married Lucinda Matthews, Susan’s sister, They in turn adopted the child of Susan’s cousin and George’s cousin. His brother Benjamin married Florence Matthews, Susan’s cousin, also his brother Phineas Reynolds married Roseannah Matthews, Susan’s cousin. W.D.’s sister Sallie married J.A. Matthews, Susan’s brother, who were the parents of Watt Matthews who would later run the Lambshead Ranch, and nephew Samuel Newcomb married Minnie Matthews, Susan’s cousin.
In 1901 the headquarters of Reynolds Cattle Company was moved to Fort Worth, Texas. Just three years later, W.D. followed, moving his family there so that he could continue to run it. He served as Director of the Fort Worth National Bank for a short time.
It was on August 11, 1908, that Reynolds made his mark on Stamford history by organizing the corporation known as the National Bank of Stamford with R.V. Colbert of Anson, Colonel Charles Hamilton of the Texas Central Railway, and other capital from Albany and Anson. The original building that housed the bank was moved from Anson and located at the corner of South Swenson and Hamilton streets. Possibly located on the southeast corner of the square as we know it today. The bank started with $75,000 and by the end of the first week drew over $100,000 in deposits. The first officers and directors were: W.D. Reynolds, President; R.V. Colbert, Cashier; George T. Reynolds, Colonel Charles Hamilton, J.D. McGaughey, W.C. Lee, and R.L. Penick. The building was moved across the street and to the south in 1967.
Mr. Reynolds continued to pursue investments in the Fort Worth area. He owned the ReynoldsBuilding at Eighth and Houston in Fort Worth. He was a major stockholder in many Fort Worth industries. He held membership in the Fort Worth Club, River Crest Country Club, the Masonic Lodge and the MessiahShrineTemple.
Mr. Reynolds passed away on January 4, 1929 in Fort Worth due to pneumonia and was laid to rest at Oakwood Cemetery in Fort Worth.