Sweetwater, Texas 1898 - 1919
El Paso, Texas 1920 - 1969
The Founder of the S. D. Myres Saddle Company was Samuel Dale Myres born on November 22, 1871 in Johnson County, Texas near Cleburne and the bend of the Brazos River. Samuel Dale Myres was the son to David Rittenhouse Myres an officer who served in the Civil War with the Tenth Texas Regiment and was originally a Farmer from Pennsylvania also Mary Jane (Dale) Myres originally came from Pennsylvania. The oldest of six children Samuel Dale Myres left school after approximately 4 years and achieving approximately a 4th grade education, this was due to an illness suffered by his mother and therefore S. D. Myres had to go to work to help support his younger siblings at an early age. When asked about his lack of formal education, S. D. Myres would recall that the basis for his education was The Ten Commandments and the History of the United States. Also, the young Samuel Dale Myres recalled his fourth grade teacher putting a saying at the very top of the Shingled Schoolhouse reading "I CAN", which had a profound effect on the youth through the remainder of his life.
Spending much of his early years helping his father and neighboring ranchers in Johnson County, Texas build fences and work the range so by his early teens S. D. Myres was a well trained frontiersman. By the time S. D. Myres was 15 years old, he was working as a scout helping people find ranch land when families would relocate to Texas. It was at this time in his early teens that Samuel Dale Myres set out on his own to make his way in the world having achieved proficiency with a horse and a revolver and being an above average ranch hand. Experiencing a severe knee injury in his early teens, Samuel Dale Myres was unable to join in the Cattle Boom of the 1880s, which also prevented him from moving out further west.
After moving a short distance to the town of Cleburne, Texas the young S. D. Myres took up an apprenticeship at the T. R. James and Sons Saddlery located in Cleburne. It was at this time that S. D. Myres started learning the art of Saddle Making he apprenticed with The T. R. James & Sons Saddlery for 3 years, working for room and board, as well as clothing and $100 per year. Over the next 5 years, Samuel Dale Myres earned his living by doing Saddle Piece Work for various saddle makers in Texas, it was also at this time that S. D. Myres honed his artistic and carving skills becoming among the finest to have ever Carved Leather. At 22 years old in 1893, S. D. Myres moved to Weatherford, Texas where he began working for M. B. (Doc) Kouns applying the trade he had been perfecting over the previous 7 years. Also while in Weatherford, Texas Samuel Dale Myres married his childhood sweetheart, Drusa Rogers, in 1894 and the couple had three children: 2 sons - Samuel Dale Myres Jr. and William (Billy) James Myres, also Daughter Melrose Taylor Myres.
It was in 1897 that S. D. Myres went to Sweetwater, Texas to look over some property that had earlier been deeded to him and by the fall of 1898 S. D. Myres had purchased the Saddle and Harness Business of J. K. Polk which had been located in Sweetwater, Texas since approximately 1886. The purchase amounted to a total of $2,341.67 establishing the first S. D. Myres Saddle Company Shop, which was located at the north side of the Courthouse Square across the street from the windmill. While living and working in Sweetwater, Texas Samuel Dale Myres became noted as a Superior Craftsman of Saddlery and Harness and his business grew significantly from the time he moved to Sweetwater. In 1908 S. D. Myres was elected Mayor of the City of Sweetwater and the population at time was about 7,500 residents, after serving two consecutive terms as Mayor until 1911 the population had grown to over 10,000 Residents. While S. D. Myres was Mayor of Sweetwater and still running the daily operations of his business, Samuel Dale Myres was included among the confidants of Pancho Villa, one of the revolutionary leaders in the Mexican Revolution and with whom S. D. Myres maintained a friendship for many years. Also while Mayor, Samuel Dale Myres was responsible for many city improvements including Schools, City Hall, The Main Fire Station and the current underpass at Lamar Street in Sweetwater, Texas. The vast growth of the city was attributable to many factors but the main factor was S. D. Myres involvement in aiding to bring the Santa Fe Railroad directly through Sweetwater making travel and shipping accessible, there were also many Street Improvements and Sub-Divisions Developed.
While maintaining a successful Business and Civic Responsibilities, S. D. Myres was heavily involved in fraternal organizations such as the Freemasons and the Knights of Pythias. It was in the early part of the 1900s when S. D. Myres began designing Fast Draw Holsters for Gun Belts, Shoulder Rigs and belt holsters and after World War I the Saddlery became a leading supplier to Law Enforcement Nationwide. In 1914 the S. D. Myres Saddle Company made what was believed to be the finest show saddle ever made it was commissioned by Colonel Joe C. Miller of the 101 Ranch Rodeo in Oklahoma at a cost of $10,000, an unbelievable sum of money for that period. Also and none the less notable was in 1914 and 1915, Samuel Dale Myres was on the Sweetwater School Board contributing greatly to any organization or group which involved the betterment of the American Youth. The Saddle is referred to as "THE TEN THOUSAND DOLLAR SADDLE" and this beautiful saddle was hand carved by Clair Dudley including carvings of Texas Longhorn Steer Heads, Butterflies and Gold Bugs which were formed from the 15 Pounds of Gold and Silver included in the Saddle Design. The jewels included in the saddle consisted of 156 Diamonds, 120 Sapphires and 17 Rubies and when this work of art was completed it was the most famous saddle of the period from the most famous saddle maker of the period because of the publicity around this saddle.
At the outbreak of World War I the S. D. Myres Saddlery was awarded a contract to produce 5000 McClellan Saddles for the Calvary in which he was given a Certificate of Meritorious Service by the U. S. Government. In 1919, shortly after World War I, the S. D. Myres Saddle Company burned in a major fire which basically destroyed everything and what was salvageable was moved to a new location in El Paso, Texas. It is believed that the reasons for moving to El Paso were more personal for Samuel Dale Myres who had recently divorced his wife of almost 25 years and he wanted to start over again in a new place. The new location for the S. D. Myres Saddle Company was in El, Paso on East Overland Street and the doors opened early in 1920. Also at this time, the company secured a contract with the FBI to supply holsters and various other pieces of Law Enforcement Equipment. This contract with the Federal Bureau of Investigation led to the existence of the S. D. Myres Saddle Company Border Patrol Equipment Division. It was this Division of the S. D. Myres Saddle Company which largely supplemented the company over the coming years as Saddles were becoming more obsolete than in previous years. Also the development of better Gun Leather led to S. D. Myres actively working with Shooting Champions like Border Patrol Agent Bill Jordan, Scout and Border Agent Tom Threepersons. It was the S. D. Myres Saddle Company and Samuel Dale Myres himself that made the original patterns for the holsters these Firearms Champions helped develop and design.
It was in 1920 that Samuel Dale Myres took a second wife, Eva Forkner. She was suffering of Tuberculosis and died in 1928 as a result of that disease. Throughout the early part of the 1900s Samuel Dale Myres had acquaintances with many notable individuals including Pancho Villa, Colonel Joe C. Miller, Pawnee Bill, Theodore Roosevelt and General George C. Patton. These are just a sampling of names among many. Due to the dwindling demand for Saddles and paying generous divorce settlement from his first marriage, also mounting medical bills from his second wife's illness and the Great Depression, S. D. Myres was deep in debt and took on two partners his Son William James Myres and his Nephew Dace Myres - this was in 1934. The 3 partners deciding to move into high volume production of holsters and law enforcement equipment while scaling back on the Saddle Business other than on an special order basis requiring pre payment. Always interested in Children's Events when Wallace Perry the editor of the Herald Post approached S. D. Myres to make a Championship Saddle for the Rodeo Myres actually donated the saddle and continued to do so until his death.
The S. D. Myres Saddle Company was World Famous for the quality Carved Leather goods they produced and Hollywood took notice when the Saddlery produced a Hand Carved Saddle for Jack Hoxie depicting various Charles Russell Paintings in the Leather Carvings. As the Great Depression eased in 1936, there was a demand for Myres Saddlery goods in Hollywood as many of the top Western Actors such as Gene Autry, John Wayne, Tom Mix and Wallace Berry Jr. wanted and used S. D. Myres Saddles and Gun Leather. After speaking with S. D. Myres about the event, Myres starting promoting the event himself. Eventually, children from all over the Southwest were attending and participating in the Rodeo. In 1937 the partially rebuilt store in Sweetwater, Texas which had been repaired over the previous years and used as a secondary sales location was sold to help finish paying the debts that S. D. Myres had earlier accrued. The debts that Samuel Dale Myres had working to pay were finally finished in 1941 when the S. D. Myres Saddle Company became completely solvent. During the World War II Uncle Sam Advertising Campaign, Samuel D. Myres Grandchildren gave him the nickname Tio" Sam Myres, meaning Uncle in Spanish, Samuel D. Myres looked exactly like Uncle Sam. This was a name S. D. Myres enjoyed for the remainder of his life and during his many years in The Saddlery Business he employed such notable Saddle Makers as Herbert Camel, Bob Flynn, John Kemp, Albert Prince, Mike Rogers, Earl Massey, Clair Dudley, Joe Merino, Earnest Meyers, Shorty Saylor, Clyde Taylor, R. Lloyd Davis and Bo Hubble. In El Paso, Texas on July 2, 1952 Samuel Dale Myres died and is interred at the place of his death El Paso, Texas.
Samuel Dale "S. D." Myres 1940s
S. D. Myres & William James "W. J." Myres 1930s
S. D. Myres Sweetwater, Texas Saddle Makers Mark 1898 - 1919
S. D. Myres Sweetwater, Texas Chaps Makers Mark 1898 - 1919
S. D. Myres El Paso, Texas Makers Mark 1920 - 1969