J.C. Studer, Rancher, Rodeo Founder

Gerlach Brothers Road Ranch & Store

Julius Caesar Studer, rancher, the son of Ben and Elsie Studer, was born on May 24, 1863, in Kastenholtz, Switzerland. In 1867 the family immigrated to America and settled in a Swiss colony near Tracy City, Tennessee. There Studer hired out as a farmhand at the age of ten, and at thirteen he apprenticed himself to a carriage maker in Grundy County. In 1885, shortly before his nineteenth birthday, he moved to Kiowa, Kansas, where he worked as a railroad machinist and blacksmith.

In 1885, after learning that the Southern Kansas (Panhandle and Santa Fe) Railway was to be built through that area, he filed on a 640-acre claim in Lipscomb County, Texas. Studer sold this claim in 1887 and moved to the new rail town of Canadian, where he opened a blacksmith shop. There he manufactured gun parts, bridle bits, and spurs and also purchased a livery stable and feed store. In addition, he bought eight sections of ranchland northeast of town from Sam Pollard and became the first rancher to place registered bulls, which he imported from Burlingame, Kansas, with his entire herd of range cattle. For a brand, Studer used the Anvil, after the symbol of his trade.

Studer married Ella Gallaher, sister of Fort Worth rancher Will Gallaher, on June 28, 1890. They had five sons and a daughter; their second son, Floyd, became famous as an amateur archeologist. At various times J. C. Studer was engaged in the operation of a packing plant, meat market, feed store, and lumberyard. He furnished the lumber for building the towns of Briscoe and Allison, supplied meat for Miami and Pampa, and operated the ice plant in Canadian for fifteen years.

In 1912 he established a new market and bakery and reorganized his ranching enterprise as J. C. Studer and Sons. When asked why he had so many different kinds of businesses, he replied, "I have so many different kinds of sons." For over twenty years the Studer family themselves provided the stock and managed the annual rodeo at Anvil Park Ranch.

In 1915 Studer retired from management of his various businesses to devote full time to his ranch, but he again took over briefly in 1917–18, when his sons entered the service in World War I. Shown here is a photo of four of the sons who joined military during World War I. Seated are Oscar, in the Navy uniform and Carl in the Calvary uniform. Standing is Floyd then Otto, in the Army uniform, J.C. Studer, the boy’s father and John, in the Air Force uniform.

After the war, he continued breeding Herefords and managing his ranch for the remainder of his life. He was a founder and charter member of the Panhandle and Southwest Livestock Association, which later merged with the Cattle Raisers Association of Texas. Studer was also active in community and church work, and bought and sold several town lots in Canadian. In 1950 he sold 5,000 acres of the Anvil Park Ranch to the Texas Game and Fish Commission for the Gene Howe Wildlife Management Area. Studer died in 1953 at the age of ninety and was buried in Canadian.