Texas Hat Museum - Hats of Honor


Robert E. Jenkins, affectionately known as "Piggy", moved to La Salle County with his family when he was 3 years old. He worked on the Story ranch for 49 years, breaking horses, working cattle, building fences burning pear, and all of the many chores associated with ranch life. At one time the Story Ranch consisted of 140,000 acres and Piggy would often leave at 4:30 am to get the horses ready for the all day cattle drives. One pasture called the Wells was over a 30-mile ride horseback just to get to it. Piggy was well respected by area Ranchers and town folks. He was a kind man, hard working, who enjoyed the South Texas Ranch life to its fullest. Although Piggy is no longer with us, his legacy lives on and will always be a part of South Texas. The next time your journey brings you through the back roads of the brush country and you look out over the vast ranch land full of mesquite, prickly pear, horses, and cattle; smile and think of Piggy. He was probably there.
In the year of 1915, J. O. Walker Jr. was born on the family farm near the banks of the Rio Grande River. At a very early age he learned the value of hard work and long hours. Rising at 4 a.m. in the morning he would start his daily chores, which included delivering fresh milk to the local creamery. As a young man he would often ride his faithful horse 25 miles through the brush country to work on a distant ranch. In time his family forged the Vaquillas Ranch Company. Cattle drives were not uncommon to J. O. Walker Jr. as he punched many a head to the rail station at Aguliars for shipment to San Antonio. In later years he introduced buffel grass to the region and perfected brush control around Laredo and Webb County. He received numerous awards for his ranching abilities and was named soil conservationists of the year in Webb County. Although J. O. Walker Jr. is no longer with us, his hat has a great story to tell. It is the story of a lifetime of hard work, sacrifices and accomplishments of a great Rancher and Cattleman of the Southwest.
Kenneth Gebert was born on September 12, 1925 in La Salle County on land bought by his grandfather. He grew up wandering a large radius of the land surrounding Los Angeles, Texas with his dog and his horse. His hunting was on foot with a pair of rattling horns and his trusty open sighted .22. His aim was always true as he often brought a meal of venison back for his family. In 1943 he enlisted in the Army Air Corps and became a radio operator on a B-29 Bomber. Three years of service to his country taught him that he never wanted to leave LaSalle County again. During the severe drought of the 50’s it became necessary to supplement the family’s ranching income with work in the oil field. Sixteen hours of rig duty did not stop him from burning pear in 100 plus degree weather or feeding cattle out of the back of his pickup in freezing weather. Kenneth could have easily adopted the motto “ for I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep” The oilfield business helped him increase his cattle business and to buy additional ranch land. A bit rough spoken and perhaps a little profane at times, he is still remembered as a true friend and a kind, loving and generous family man. In the words of a dear friend - "Kenneth Gebert was a legend in his own time..."
Jules Hillje came to LaSalle County in 1923 and settled in the Buckholt community along with his parents and siblings. Jules’ father Gerhard, felt that the drier climate in LaSalle County would be more suitable for farming cotton than Gonzales County where his family settled upon arrival from Germany. Jules worked on the family farm and ranch until the Great Depression of 1928. Jules along with his brother Otto left and found work on the dredge boats in Galveston. After several years, Jules returned to LaSalle County and continued farming and ranching. Jules married Geneva Boatwright in 1935 and started his own family. When the severe drought of the 1950’s hit he moved to Cotulla and went to work for the Texas Highway Department until his retirement in 1970. He remained in Cotulla after his retirement and as a hobby, he loved to plant and raise beautiful oak trees. Jules’ trees can now be located in several yards in Cotulla, Alice, Nordheim, High Hill, Hamilton, and Uvalde and Lord knows where else. Jules had a good memory and was fond of relaying stories from the past. On one occasion, Jules remarked that he had never seen a tornado. This would really get to his wife Geneva, as she had grown up in an area where tornadoes were a big threat. In 1990 a tornado hit Jules and Geneva’s home and totally destroyed it. Jules was in the house through the whole ordeal. Fortunately and unscathed, Jules said, "I still didn’t see the darn thing”! In 1997 Jules went home at the age of 92. If you ever pass through some of Texas’ great little towns, and you see an oak tree big and beautiful - just remember that it could very well be - one of Jules.
James “Prince” Wood III was born in the small Southwest Texas town of Sabinal on February 20, 1923. He became one of the best Cattlemen that ever came out of the brush country. In his early life, Prince learned the ways of a true cowboy by riding, roping and hard ranch work. He journeyed to Texas A&M only to have his studies interrupted by WWII. Young Prince had a calling to join the army and was placed with the First 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale. His cowboy ways came through as he was transferred to the Calvary where he became one of the best horse and mule trainers at Ft. Reno. After the war, Prince reentered A&M and completed his degree in Animal Husbandry. One of Princes’ highlights in life was in 1948 when the Aggie Rodeo Team won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Championship. In addition, Prince was named Grand Champion and All Around Cowboy. Prince loved being on the ranch, working cattle and burning pear. However, he did not like fixing waterlines. He had several miles of above ground water line on the Double B Ranch at Encinal that probably had 20 miles of rubber inner tubes wrapped around it! He always carried an abundant supply of inner-tubes and bailing wire for this dreaded chore. He called the back of his pick up “his barn” where he constantly carried his cow dog “coyote”, saddle, bridle, leggings rope, supplies and his butane air bottle (minus the nozzle). He kept the nozzle in his ashtray. His reasoning was that “nobody would steal an air tank if the hose looked broke”! Prince probably bought and sold over a million head of cattle. Among those he bought cattle for were Rocky Reagan and Dan Kinsel Jr. and he partnered with Chip Briscoe buying and selling Mexican steers. During his lifetime of cattle buying, he always carried an old and extremely worn pocket book that protruded from his front pocket. He carried it everywhere and that old pocket book probably had more important names and phone numbers than a modern computer could hold. He would often confide that the appearance of his old pocket book made him look a “shade shy of being broke” and it helped him get a good cattle trade many a time! Prince was well known and respected in Northern Mexico and when he passed away the Quarentenarious (quarantine pens) near Nuevo Laredo, Mexico were closed for his funeral on June 7, 1995. Prince was a true friend. He loved his daughters, Peggy and Debbie, his wife Fredna and his stepchildren more than anything else in the world. He was one of the best warm hearted and dry humored “fellers” you could ever meet. Folks through out the brush country and beyond who knew Prince sure miss seeing him around. They miss seeing a great rancher and cattleman that traveled and traded cattle across Texas and Mexico with his little old worn pocketbook.
Joe B. Finley Jr. was born on the Callaghan Ranch on August 6, 1924. This legendary ranch is located between Encinal and Laredo, Texas, and at one time encompassed over 300,000 acres in South Texas. The Callaghan’s extended south of what is known today as Hwy. 59. This is the road that runs from Laredo to Freer and the Northern boundary was the Nueces River. At a very early age, Joe acquired the Ranching Skills necessary to run such a large operation. Young Joe learned well from the teachings of his father Joe B. Finley Sr. and from some of the best Vaqueros that lived and worked on the Callaghan Ranch. Joe attended Texas A&M and was “employed” by the U.S. Army during WWII. He served in combat in the Pacific Theatre. His unit was on the verge of invading Japan when the war ended. The early history of the ranch dates back to the 1850’s just prior to the Civil War when Charles Callaghan a ship captain began his sheep raising operations. Today the Callaghan Ranch is a testament to the hard work and sacrifices that Joe Finley has made in his lifetime. His contributions to ranch management and wildlife conservation are immeasurable. Mr. Finley served as president of the Texas Animal Health Commission for a number of years and continues to be involved with various organizations that are instrumental in promoting sound management practices for ranchers in Texas. Receiving numerous awards and recognitions for his lifetime contributions to ranching and wildlife, Joe Finley has become one of the most admired and respected ranchers in the brush country of South Texas. Indeed he is a living legend. In the words of Jim Fulgham, the Callaghan Ranch foreman, "Mr. Finley is the epitome of the South Texas cowman who loves good cattle and good horses, knows how to raise both and has been doing so all his life."
Ben Alexander arrived in La Salle County in the year 1925. He came to raise Santa Gertrudis cattle, a deep red- colored breed that originally started on the legendary King Ranch. Mr. Ben as he was affectionately known, was a kind warm hearted and generous man. His life was rich with history and travel. He was born on March 9, 1893 in Round Rock, Texas. In his early years he worked with his father for Lykes Brothers, Inc. in La Porte, Texas. It was here that he had a passion for learning the cattle and ranching business. In 1913 Lykes Bros. sent him to Cuba to work on several large ranches that they operated in that country. After his marriage to Miss Ida Busch in Havana Cuba, young Ben was drafted into the army and he was stationed at Camp Travis in San Antonio. Upon his honorable discharge from service to his country, he once again returned to his job with Lykes Bros., where he started buying cattle and horses for the company to ship to Cuba. His association with Lykes enabled him to save his funds and realize a dream of buying ranch land in South Texas. Mr. Alexander eventually accumulated over 9,000 acres and with hard work and sacrifice he became one of South Texas most successful and prosperous ranchers. He was a charter member of the Santa Gertrudis International group and a charter member and director of the South Texas Santa Gertrudis Breeders Association. Mr. Ben and his wife Ida were very generous with numerous contributions to area churches and organizations. The Alexander's donated the land for the American Legion Post and the adjacent rodeo grounds. In addition they donated funds to build a new library in Cotulla. Ben Alexander passed away on May 22, 1984 at the age of 91. His legacy of giving continued as he left a trust fund, which enabled the community to enlarge and improve the La Salle County Fair grounds. In addition Mr. Ben left funds to establish The A.B. Alexander Convention Center and The La Salle County Youth Rodeo Association’s new arena. He also left a substantial amount of funds to the Salvation Army and to heart and cancer research. Mr. Ben’s life is a fine example of a great Texan, who lived a life of cattle and ranching and then gave the fruits of his labor to help his fellow man.
Paul Cotulla was the grandson of Joseph Cotulla who was the founder and namesake of the South Texas town of Cotulla. Paul was born in the year 1907 in Cotulla to Mattie and Simon Cotulla. Paul’s life was abundant with hard work, sacrifices, and giving a helping hand to those that were in need. He became the pillar of the community to the many folks that admired, loved and respected him. In his youth Paul took an active role in cattle drives between the family’s La Salle County Ranch and the Buena Vista Ranch in Webb County. In those days the trip took around three days to make it from one ranch to the other. He learned at an early age the value of hard work by helping his grandfather and his father Simon with the daily ranch chores. Later Paul went to work for Mr. M. J. Neeley who owned and operated the Cotulla Mercantile. In time, Paul teamed up with his only brother Roy and they began their own retail grocery business. It was during this time that Paul and his brother Roy rotated attending and gradating from the University in Austin. One would work while the other ran the business until both had completed their degrees. It was while young Paul was attending college that he met and married Elizabeth Green. Throughout his lifetime Paul achieved many honors and recognitions for his work within the community. Welton and Patty Fiedler who lived in the Buckholt Community of La Salle County remembered Paul “helping many folks get through the depression and the drought of the 50’s by giving them groceries and extending credit to those who had not a penny to their name” “He was always optimistic and he believed in people”. Paul was very active in the First Baptist Church of Cotulla. He served as a Sunday school teacher, treasurer, building committee chairman, deacon and chairman of the Deacons. He was elected to the Board of Directors of Stockmen’s National Bank in the 1930’s and served in that capacity until his death in November 1995. In his later years Paul loved to travel and he was able to visit over 50 countries around the globe. He often shared these traveling adventures with his many friends. Paul enjoyed ranching and the value of taking care of and tending to his cattle with his father, brother and his son Bill Cotulla. He was a great man who honored God, worked hard and gave a helping hand to those in need. It is the folks like Paul Cotulla that make up the core and the fiber of this part of the world. He gave us many things in his lifetime. Most of all he gave us the value of being a part of something you believe in. Paul Cotulla believed in the people of this great place. A place called the “Brush Country”.
Jose Maria Guerra was born on December 23, 1923. He came to ranching long after serving heroically in World War II as an Eighth Air Force tail gunner and armorer who completed 35 bombing missions over Germany. He left Laredo on October 12, 1942 and flew his last bombing mission on February 14,1945. He was part of the 10-man crews that flew that flew the fleet of 32 B-24s from Tibenham Air Base in England over Germany. He was decorated with seven Air Medals and five Battle Stars for service in Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes, and the Battle of the Bulge. He also received a Presidential Unit Citation. Eighteen of the 36 months of service to his country were in combat. In 1946 Jose’ Maria Guerra married Amanda Gutierrez, a young lady from Laredo with long standing ranching ties to Zapata and Jim Hogg Counties. In the same year that he married Amanda, Jose’ Guerra, along with his father Armengol and his brother Armengol Jr. established the Guerra Hardwear Company in Laredo, a business that for decades provided area ranchers with fencing supplies, tools and pumps. In 1986 upon the death of Amanda’s twin brother Oscar M. Gutierrez, who had managed the family’s cattle operation in San Ygnacio, Jose’ Guerra assumed the day to day management of the Santa Maria Ranch, which he works on today in tandem with his daughters Maria Eugenia and Melissa. He and Amanda are managing partners of the Santa Maria Land & Cattle company, Ltd. They are the parents of Sandra Guerra, a CPA and a Laredo banker; Maria Eugenia Guerra, a newspaper publisher in Laredo; Jose’ Maria Guerra Jr., an import specialist in Laredo; Amanda Guerra Neal, a CPA in Angleton; and Melissa Guerra, a petroleum accountant in Encinal. Jose’ and Amanda Guerra are the grandparents of Monica W. Dase, Lee Williams, George J. Altgelt, Angela Neal, and Sara, Pedro, and Gabrelia Guerra. We are proud of Mr. Guerra for the many sacrifices and accomplishments he made during his service to our country and for the thousands of folks he helped through droughts and difficult times in the brush country. . It is said that the world is full of many treasures, but none are as rich as a loving family. Jose’ Maria Guerra who ranches deep in the heart of South Texas, has such a family.
Dolph Briscoe was born in the Southwest Texas town of Uvalde on April 23, 1923. He became involved with ranching and cattle raising at an early age by helping his father Dolph Briscoe Sr. who owned ranches in Texas and Mexico. Dolph graduated from Uvalde High School in 1939 with top honors and was valedictorian of his class. After his graduation it was off to Mexico to work on the family ranch. Young Dolph loved the lifestyle and adventure of working on the ranch in old Mexico where he would be on horseback working cattle and often camping out under the stars. With his fathers persuasion he attended the University of Texas and in 1942 received his degree in business administration. On December 12 of that same year he married the former Betty Jane Slaughter at the University Baptist Church. As with many brave young Texas men, Dolph joined the Army and served in the China-Burma-India Theater. After the war Dolph entered politics and served in the legislature from 1949-57. At that time Texas was sorely lacking in roads from the farming and ranching communities that would facilitate shipments of farm produce and cattle in the state to the various markets. Briscoe co –authored the states first farm to market road system that successfully allowed the producer to get his production to the market. In 1960 he took the lead in launching the screwworm eradication program throughout the Southwest. By sterilizing the flies with radiation and dropping them from airplanes the screwworm was eliminated. It has been estimated that this program has saved the U.S. livestock industry over $400 million a year. Dolph Briscoe was twice elected Governor of the State of Texas from 1972-1978. Briscoe’s beloved wife, Janey passed away in 2000. They were true lifelong partners and they were the heart and core of Texas Philanthropy. He is blessed with three children, Dolph Briscoe III “Chip”, Janey Marminon, Cele Carpenter and six grandchildren. Today, in addition to his ranching interests, Dolph Briscoe is the chairman of the board of the First State Bank of Uvalde, Security State in Pearsall and the Zavala County Bank.
Jack Van Cleve - Texas Ranger and Texas Rancher: In the dusty Southwest Texas border town of Del Rio, Texas Jack Van Cleve was born on September 23, 1918. Ironically it was the same year that the Texas Rangers were kept busy around Del Rio chasing smugglers and seeking to prevent the entry into the U.S. from German spies. Jack grew up around Uvalde helping out his family and working for Ranch folks around that area. When the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor Jack immediately signed up with the United States Marines. During the War his ship took a direct hit from the Japanese and many of his fellow soldiers perished in the attack. The ship crippled back to Australia for substantial repairs. It was during this time that he developed a deep affection for the Australian people; He would often say that they were some of the nicest and friendliest people that he had ever met. He was honorably discharged with the Rank of Sergeant after the War was over. He married the beautiful France La Vane Weathers on November 16, 1946 at the Methodist Church in La Pryor Texas. It was here that Jack became involved with law enforcement by becoming a Deputy Sheriff of Zavalla County. Jack was blessed with two sons Jack III, born in 1947 and Jimmy who was born in 1950. Mr. Van Cleve moved his family to Carrizo Springs, Texas in 1952 where he served in the capacity of “Special Ranger”. Later in 1957 he was commissioned a Texas Ranger and stationed in Cotulla, Texas. The Captain of Company “D” at that time was Capt. A.Y Allee. In those days the captain selected his own men for the company and it was quite an honor to be hand picked for such a challenging and dangerous job. Jack had many hair-raising adventures as a Texas Ranger during his twenty-three years in Company “D”. After his retirement from the Rangers he was very active in various Ranching activities around South Texas. Jack Van Cleve was well known for his honesty and integrity. He was also a very kind and gentle man who always had a friendly smile and a warm handshake. When “Mr. Jack”, as he was affectingly known shook your hand it made you feel important and proud to be in the presence of such a fine gentleman and respected Texas Ranger. He reminisced often about humorous situations that he encountered throughout his life in the brush country of South Texas. He could sure make you laugh with his true yet funny stories. Jack Van Cleve Texas Ranger and Texas Rancher passed away in 1996 at the age of 77. Sadly he is gone but He has left us a legacy that the folks through out Texas can be proud of. A legacy his family and his grandchildren will carry on with honor. You wish everyone could have had the chance to know Jack Van Cleve, to see the friendly smile and shake the hand of a great Texas Ranger and Texas Rancher.
George B. Crain was one of the best ranchers and cowman to come out of the South Texas brush country. Born in the small town of Christine Texas he was the youngest son out of six children. His parents were Charles E. Crain and Victoria Franklin Crain. They were early pioneers in Atascosa County. George started out ranching at the early age of 14 in Juno, Texas. Later in 1950 he moved to Del Rio, Texas where he met and married Marjorie Bowers. To this union they were blessed with six children, four sons and two daughters. Mr. Crain also had a son and a daughter from a previous marriage. In the 50?s there was a severe drought through out South Texas. Those were hard times for folks trying to make a living in the midst of it all. It was dry for seven years and even the mesquite trees were withering and dying. About the time the good Lord sent rain, George Crain moved his family to Cotulla where he went to work for the Moody Foundation. This was in 1960. The Foundation owned the Cochina Ranch, which was a spread of 40,000 acres, and was located about eight miles Southwest of Cotulla on the Nueces River. George managed the Ranch and took control of the day-to-day operations. During roundups he and about twenty Vaqueros would take to the brush and gather large herds of cattle. The Ranch headquarters was located on top of a large hill or “loma”. Ironically, the ranch got its name from the early Spanish explorers that traveled through this area in the 16oo?s. They named this high point of ground Cochina after seeing a wild sow pig on or near this hill. In the summer of 71? George moved to Pawhuska, Oklahoma to run the Osage Ranch that was also owned by the Moody Foundation. In 1973 he and his family moved back to Del Rio to run the Rancho Rio Grande. This was Mr. Bill Moody's Private ranch. Mr. Crain retired in 1979 when he moved to Abilene. Here he worked for Abilene Cattle Feeders until retiring again in 1988. George Crain loved his family and he loved working on the big cattle ranches of yesterday. He was a quiet and kind man who was always willing to help a friend in need. In the 1960?s he was very active in the Youth Rodeo Club in Cotulla. He enjoyed taking his children and their horses around South Texas to participate in many youth rodeos. Sadly, George Crain passed away on May 28, 1997. His presence is sorely missed by his family and by his many friends. The next time that your travels bring you through the brush country town of Cotulla take a look out to the west and you can see Cochina hill. It?s the largest one on the horizon. When you do, - think of George Crain who loved to raise his family and ranch on that old hill more than anything else in the world.
Three generations of the Poole family proudly wore this Stetson silver belly 4X hat. Originally purchased by T.H. “Chub” Poole for $100, this hat was passed down through three generations that include his son, Hogue Poole, and grandson, T.P. “Poole” Crowther. Chub Poole was a veteran rancher in La Salle County and the county sheriff for over 35 years. He owned and operated one of the largest ranches in South Texas with over fifty thousand acres that was heavily stocked with sheep, cattle, horses, mules, and goats. Born in Falls County, Texas, in 1872, Chub was the fourth child of Franklin Greenwood Poole and Hellen Montgomery Poole. Sadly, Sheriff Poole’s mother died of pneumonia when he was five months old. Upon her death he was taken-in and raised by his uncle, Travis R. Poole (his father’s brother), and his aunt, Anna Montgomery Poole (his mother’s sister), and grew-up with his double-first cousins. He took up residence in La Salle County when the family moved there in 1889. He learned stock farming from his uncle but it was his decision to join the Texas Rangers in 1890 that began his long career in law enforcement. During his thee years of service in the rangers he served with Company F of the famed Frontier Battalion and was part of the special ranger force that participated in the Garza War of 1891-92. His captain in the Texas Rangers, and life-long mentor, was J.A. Brooks who was a Texas legend himself and the well known County Judge of the county that shares his name. After leaving the Rangers, Chub Poole returned to stock raising to work ranches in La Salle and Zapata counties. During this period he also served eight years as deputy sheriff in La Salle County and four years as brand inspector for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raiser’s Association. In 1908 Chub Poole was elected to sheriff of La Salle County, a position he was re-elected to for eighteen consecutive terms, and a position that he held when he suddenly died of natural causes in 1943. Although Sheriff Poole spent most of his days and nights as a lawman, he had much experience as an “old school” cowhand who learned the cattle business by spending many long hours on horseback. Because he was raised in the brush county of South Texas he was well aware of its harsh conditions. It was this knowledge along with listening to all the tails and extensively reading about the breed that lead to his decision to obtain the first Brahman bulls from India for his ranch in 1912 or 1913. While not pure breed, these Brahman bulls were the best that anyone could obtain. They caused so much excitement that people came from miles away to look at the strange animals on Chub’s ranch near Cotulla. In 1923 he purchased his first pure breed Brahman bulls that had been shipped all the way from Brazil. Along with his son, Hogue Poole, Sheriff Poole bought the famous Lassiter heard of 300 Brahman cows in 1926 that would become one of the largest and finest Brahman herds in South Texas. In his book, Trails and Trials of a Texas Ranger, former Adjutant General of Texas and commander of the Texas Rangers, William Warren Sterling, best complimented Sheriff Poole as, “…one of the greatest Rangers and sheriffs of all time.” “General Bill” Sterling further elaborated that Sheriff Poole, “… served many years in a county that at one time had the reputation of being the deadliest in Texas. The hardiest ruffians were as meek as lambs around him, and nobody even dreamed of trying to run anything over him. Yet he never killed a man.” It is not know when Sheriff Poole gave his hat to his son, Hogue Poole, but it was before 1940. Hogue Pool was born in Cotulla in 1903, the third of four children of Chub and Keechie Glass Poole. From the time he was a small child he helped his father with the family ranch and in later years took over running their ranches. Together with his father he purchased the Lassiter heard of Brahman cows in 1926 and helped build the Brahman herds that are the pride of the family’s stock raising tradition. He was often sought after for advice because of his exceptionally good eye and tremendous knowledge of cattle. Hogue was a charter member of the Pan American Zebu Association and was a cattle pioneer in his own right. He was the first rancher in South Texas to cross-breed the Charolais cattle from France with the Brahman. Hogue died on his ranch near Cotulla in 1971. He is buried next to his parents in the Poole plot at the Cotulla Cemetery. Although Hogue did not have children of his own he passed along a lot of his knowledge of ranching and his father’s Stetson hat to his elder sister’s son, Poole Crowther. Poole, the eldest of two sons of Major General A.B. Crowther and Ethel Poole Crowther, was born in San Antonio in 1929. While his father was away serving with famed Texas 36th Infantry Division in Italy during World War II, Poole moved-in with his grandparents in Cotulla where he attended high school, graduating with the class of 1946. While living with his grandparents Poole worked as a cowhand on the family’s ranches. Poole wore the family hat while learning how to be a cowhand the “old school” way like his grandfather and uncle. Poole had hoped to follow the family’s tradition in ranching after college but the terrible droughts in the early-1950s helped him to decide to make the U.S. Army a career instead. After 27 years of service as a field artilleryman and general staff officer he retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1975, having had a distinguished career that included two combat tours in South Vietnam. Today he and his wife of 50 years, Jane Walsh Crowther, live in San Antonio. After he retired form the Army, Poole loaned the family Stetson to the hat museum. The hat served the family through many a hot day and cold night it takes to be a cowhand and rancher. Every one of the sweat stains and scars on the old Stetson are a testament to the hard but honest work it takes to ranch in South Texas.