2010 Archives

A cattle rancher from birth

SMU alumna began working on family land at age 4


The following is from the December 8, 2009, edition of The Victoria Advocate. Georgia Lee Swickheimer graduated in 1959 from SMU with a B.A. in social science from what was then the College of Arts and Sciences (now Dedman College).

Georgia Lee Swickheimer
Georgia Lee Swickheimer holds the family cattle brand at the ranch in Fanin, Texas. (Photo by T. C. Baker of The Victoria Advocate)

February 16, 2010

Victoria Advocate

GOLIAD, Texas — Brownie, a legendary bovine mounted to a wall in the Market House Museum in Goliad, was once the lead steer at the Swickheimer cattle ranch in Fannin.

"The cattle would follow him," said Georgia Lee Swickheimer, whose grandparents, G.J. and Loula Margaret, founded the ranch in 1892.

Swickheimer's father, George Glover Swickheimer, and two uncles inherited the cow-calf operation. At age 4, Georgia Lee Swickheimer began helping on the ranch. Her father gave her age-suitable jobs. It's understandable that ranching became her life, too.

"I just tagged along with my father," she said. "You just kind of help where you can. It sort of gets in your blood. It grows on you."

As she grew older, she rode horseback and helped to corral cattle with the help of Brownie, the lead steer.

When the young rancher went to Southern Methodist University to major in social science, she stopped riding. During college breaks she reconnected with the ranch and helped again however she could.

After college, Swickheimer joined the U.S. Marine Corps and remained active until 1980, the year she retired from the military. After her parents and uncle died, the ranch was split between her and a cousin.

Now 72 years old, Swickheimer keeps busy on her family's ranch.

Read the full story and see more photos.

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