The First Family Of The Fort Worth Stockyards: The Saunders Family Legacy

The Saunders legacy started in 1850 when Thomas Bailey Saunders I rode on horseback driving a small herd of cattle with his five-year-old son, Thomas Bailey Saunders III on horseback right beside him, from Mississippi to Gonzales, Texas to raise cattle. Perseverance and dedication run deep in the Saunders family. Thomas Bailey Saunders V told us that not only did his great-great-grandfather T.B. Saunders III, put this country together but his great-great-uncle, George Washington Saunders, went down the Chisholm trail 10 different times. By 1887, with all their cattle experience, the Saunders family was instrumental in establishing the Fort Worth Stockyards.

Thomas B. Saunders II became the first cattle dealer on the Fort Worth Stockyards in 1902 and formed T.B Saunders & Co. which became the largest cattle company in the United States during the early 1900s.

Well-respected horseman and rancher, Thomas B. Saunders III, was not only a founding member of the National Cutting Horse Association and served as President of the association in 1947, but he also served as the Vice President of the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo until his passing in 1974.

Cattle rancher and historian, Thomas B. Saunders IV, was an active Director of both the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and the Texas Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association.

Today, Thomas Bailey Saunders V operates the Saunders Ranch, which was established in 1934. Like his forefathers, he has been instrumental in keeping the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo thriving, holding a position as a Director and Producer.

The Saunders family memorabilia lives in a museum that was created by Thomas B. Saunders III from a 100-year-old building on their premises that was formally a bunkhouse, a structure that was historically used to house working cowboys on ranches. And for $2, you can visit and see the family photos that have captured six generations of hard work and dedication.

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