History

Brady, The Heart of Texas

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Buying thousands of acres of land at prices as low as $1 per acre, White soon became known as the “Steer King of Texas.” At one time, he and his father were running 35,000 steers, 85,000 sheep and 20,000 goats in five counties. They also owned rangeland in Oklahoma and Kansas.

White and a partner started Brady’s first water and light company around 1900 but sold it to the city after just a few years. “We were in the cattle business,” White recalled. “I didn’t like the water and light business.” He launched the Commercial National Bank in Brady around 1907. In 1926, Governor Dan Moody appointed White to the board of directors at Texas A&M; he served as a director until 1944, when he became president of the board, a position he held until 1955. In 1954, A&M named their largest building the G. Rollie White Coliseum. A dormitory building also bears his name.

The Heart of Texas
Photo: Facebook/Texas Hill Country

G. Rollie White loved race horses, and his horses have run on major tracks all over the country. He helped finance the race course in Brady, which is known as the G. Rollie White Complex. It provides the city with an excellent venue for rodeos, stock shows, and other events.

James Earl Rudder was another local hero. He was born in Eden (just west of Brady) in 1910, and he also graduated from Texas A&M (in 1932). After graduation, he became a teacher and football coach at Brady High School, as well as accepting a commission as second lieutenant in the Army Reserve. When the U.S. entered World War II, he was called to active duty and became one of the most decorated soldiers of the war. His most famous exploit was the capture of Pointe du Hoc on D-Day, when he led his Second Ranger Battalion in storming the beach and scaling 100-foot cliffs, under heavy fire, to silence the strategic German gun batteries. The casualty rate was more than 50 percent, and Rudder himself was wounded twice, but his Rangers won the battle and held off fierce counter-attacks to establish a beachhead for the Allies.