Texas A&M University Kingsville, South Texas Archives

Graves Peeler Collection

Collection Summary

Creator Graves Peeler, 1886-1977
Title: Graves Peeler Collection
Dates: 1949-1982
Abstract: Graves Peeler who is credited with saving the Longhorn from extinction was many things. In his lifetime he was a rancher, field inspector, range detective, game hunter, and always single. He spent hours on horseback in solitude hunting throughout Mexico, Canada, and the Western United States. He was a man of principle who did not avoid confrontations making him successful as a lawman. Peeler has left a collection or oral history by and about himself. Also included are documents and a large photograph and film collection of his hunting trips and exploration of the West.
Identification A1981-052, A1985-012, A1985-074, A1988-019, A1990-018
Collection URL http://archives.tamuk.edu/ead.php?xml=peeler%20ead
Quantity: 2.5 cubic feet
Location: STAD Box 0561
Language: English

Historical Note

Graves Peeler was born on May 28, 1886 to Thomas Madison and Alice Jane Irvin Peeler in San Antonio, Texas. He grew up on his family's ranch in Atascosa County, Basin Hill Ranch. He was the third of seven children. He assumed head of household at age eleven when his father was murdered in Campbellton, Texas confronting cattle thieves and his older brothers were fighting in the first world war. Graves attended school in Pleasanton, graduated from West Texas Military Academy in San Antonio, attended the San Marcos business school for two years and then went to Texas A&M University for a short time. Graves Peeler’s life was always centered on ranching and hunting. He was an avid hunter from a young age, reportedly shooting his first deer at the age of eight. He collected hunting trophies throughout his life and amassed a collection of 264 mounts of North American game. Graves went to work for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser's Association from 1920 to 1930 and traveled throughout Texas, Mexico and Arizona tracking down cattle thieves. While Graves Peeler was ranching he was approached by J. Frank Dobie and Sid Richardson in 1932 to help them find authentic Texas Longhorn cattle and reestablish the breed before it could become extinct. . He tracked down and assembled a herd of thirty cows and three bulls. This herd was split into three herds of cows and a bull each. Two herds were places on state parks and Graves kept one on his ranch. He bred Texas Longhorns until his death on March 11, 1977 at the age of 90. He is the rancher credited with bringing the Texas Longhorn back from the brink of extinction.

Scope and Contents

The Graves Peeler Collection (1949-1982) consists of approximately 2.5 cubic feet of materials. The largest part of the collection (approximately 2 cubic feet) is the materials that visually document many of Graves Peeler's travels and hunting trips during the 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s throughout North America. There are 1,098 slides, eight 16mm motion pictures and 20 photographs. The remaining half cubic foot of materials is small amounts of correspondence, printed materials, biographical information about Graves Peeler and the Peeler family and 17 audio cassette tapes of interviews with Graves Peeler in 1968.


I. Correspondence II. Printed Materials III: Biographical Materials IV. Audio Cassette Tapes V. Slides VI. Motion Pictures VII. Photographs

Index Terms

Peeler, Graves, 1886-1977
Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association
Texas Rangers -- History
Cowboy Hall of Fame and Western Heritage Center
Geographical Names
King Ranch (Tex.)
West (U.S.)
New Mexico
British Columbia
Yellowstone National Park
Mount Rushmore National Memorial (S.D.)
Black Hills (S.D. and Wyo.)
Big Bend Region (Tex.)
Kaibab National Forest
Lee's Ferry (Ariz.)
Montezuma Castle National Monument (Ariz.)
San Jacinto Mountains
Palo Duro Canyon
Longhorn cattle
Cattle drives
Beef cattle
Cattle brands
Cattle stealing
Hunting trophies
Big game hunting
Tracking and trailing
Wild turkey
Pima Indians
Tohono O'odham Indians
Zuni Indians
Apache Indians
Hopi Indians
Navajo Indians
Frontier and pioneer life -- Texas, South
Prairie Provinces
Desert plants
Narrow gauge railroads -- Colorado -- Durango