This is a photo of and information about JOSEPH CHARLES MCDERMETT and family members from the family book produced in 1984.

Joseph Charles McDermett


Joseph Charles McDermett was born 17, November 1856 in Limestone County, Texas. In the spring of 1865 at the age of nine he came through the north end of Coleman County driving a team of oxen for an old gentleman. They were hauling lumber to build the old Bill Gilland ranch home near the bayou. Joseph Charles said when they crossed the hill southwest of Dressy that it was the prettiest grass he had ever seen.

Twelve years later in 1877 at the age of 21, Joseph Charles and his brother Hugh came back to the same area with their cattle and settled on little Pecan Creek about three miles southwest of Dressy in Callahan County. This is only three miles from the Coleman County line.

The nearest family and friends to the McDermett boys was the Moore family. Their son Sampson Moore went to Camden County, Missouri and married Susan Emily Burgess. They came back traveling with a wagon train and arrived Christmas Day 1879. Sampson Moore became became very ill and Joseph Charles visited with him on December 26th. He met Susan Emily, Sampson's new bride. He remarked at the time, "Sampson, is this the girl you went all the way to Missouri to bring back for me?" Sampson said, "I went to Missouri to get her but not for you." Sampson died 10 days after arriving home with his new wife. Joseph Charles helped with the funeral and was the only one that could quote scriptures at the graveside.

Later Joseph Charles sent his sister-in-law, Ida, to tell Susan Emily that he would find her a way to Fort Worth and would pay her train fare to Missouri if she wanted to go home. She said she hadn't been in Texas long but had found it a new country and she had enough of that worn out country.

Susan remained to help in the Will McDermett home after Sampson Moore's death. Later, she moved to Comanche to nurse for another family. It was while she was in Comanche that Joseph Charles rode 28 miles to mail a letter to her. The marvel of this is he could have gone a few miles farther and delivered the letter personally. This romance bloomed from this point on.

Joseph Charles and Susan Emily were married November 6, 1881 at Will McDermett's home. On August 11, 1882 they bought the first land in Coleman County. Later, more land was acquired from Andy Young, a neighbor and friend of Joseph Charles on March 29, 1884. It constituted 320 acres and later Joseph Charles added several thousand acres more to his ranch. This entire ranch was located in two counties, Coleman and Callahan. His ranch home was built in Coleman County and completed September 18, 1884. This wonderful couple had ten children. All were born in this ranch home.

The first recorded registration of the McDermett Brand was November 1, 1874, to T.H. McDermett in Erath County. In the fall of 1880, Charlie McDermett purchased his Dad's cattle and the Crescent Brand. The Half Moon, as it became known, as is still registered in Coleman County, to his daughter, Clara.

Charlie McDermett was very interested in education and saw that all his children attended college. In the early days, when the country schools of Comal and Liveoak would end their short terms, Mrs. Susan McDermett would move form the ranch to Colman to send them to school. Charlie and Susan were Presbyterians and attended church in Burkett, Coleman, and later in Cross Plains, Texas.

On November 6, 1931 "Uncle Charlie" and "Aunt Susan" as they were referred to celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary at their ranch home.

Charlie and Susan arrived on horseback just as they had fifty years earlier. Susan was an excellent horsewoman and rode her side saddle very properly.

Charlie died in January, 1834 a dean among cattlemen. Susan Emily died in 1953 with many people in Coleman County and Callahan County saying thanks to her for all her love and care in nursing many back to health, even saving some lives.

After Joseph Charles' death, the ranch continued in operation with Susan and sons carrying on. Upon her death, the ranch was divided among the children. Clara McDermett Coburn was given the home place as her part. She and Howard ranched until his death. After Howard died she divided the land and gave each child an equal part. Charles has built on the home place and helps his mother in ranching. Patti Sue lives in San Angelo and with her boys is working on her acreage. Keith has been improving his share also. They all work together to hold close to the same ideas and wishes of their grandfather --Joseph Charles McDermett.


"When my father was courting my mother, the horse that he rode was called Gunpowder. Many times this horse brought him home a total of 12 miles with him sound asleep in the saddle."

"Carlos McDermett and Dad spent many enjoyable hours attending the Fort Worth Livestock Show together."

"Dancing classes were held at the J.C. McDermett home for the young people in that area. Mother held fond memories of these "good old days" and reminisced about the occasions - often - with her son and his family."

"I can remember, as a small boy, riding my horse from Echo to the McDermett Reunion and watching the long pits of barbecue cooking, the Old Settlers' Fiddlers' Contests, the rodeo put on by the local cowboys. Usually, there was a night rodeo put on by Hugh, Carlos and Oscar McDermett, Carter Dibrell and anyone else that was game."


When Charles McDermett was 9 years old his father, T.H. knew a fellow who was taking two wagon-loads of goods to the Gilliam ranch near Pecan Bayou (west of Cross Plains). The man had teams of oxen to pull the wagon and was looking for a boy to ride in the second wagon and control the team. He . couldn't find a man to make the trip from Eagle Ford when the McDermetts lived and asked T.H. if he had a boy old enough to do the job. Thomas recommended Charlie as being "big for his age" and capable of doing the job. Charlie made the trip and was impressed with the country. When he saw the grasslands near Pecan Bayou he thought it was the most beautiful .country he had ever seen and said he vowed to come back to that area when he grew up. He fulfilled his dream and ranched in that country until his death. He was asked if he got paid for the 2 or 3 weeks it took to make the trip. He said he did not remember pay but he did recall that after that trip he had his first pair of shoes. His Dad always made moccasins for the children from hides he prepared.

Charlie wanted all of his children to have an education.

Charlie said if Hugh had stayed with him that they would have owned Coleman County.

After Mary died Charlie said he had buried all his family.

Charlie when old would ride off on a pony by himself for hours. That would make his children real mad.

When Uncle Charlie would come to visit Grandma Davis (Mary), he would always bring a sack of candy. He would come every summer and stay a week at Mary's.

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Last updated 03/14/06