Influential Texas rancher and traildriver who helped establish Union Stock Yards in San Antonio
1844-1907 | Artist: Ernest Sigmund Klempner (1867-1941)
Impact & Accomplishments
Born in Pennsylvania, John Lytle moved to Texas with his family in 1860. As a young adult, he worked on his uncle’s cattle ranch and served the Confederacy during the Civil War, rising to the rank of sergeant. Even so, he was thereafter known as “Captain” Lytle.
In 1867, he established his own ranch near Castroville. Four years later, Lytle formed his first partnership to drive cattle herds north, before rail lines had extended into Texas. The trail firm moved more than half a million cattle and directed a total livestock investment of a then-record sum—$9,000,000—by 1887, when Lytle left to become general manager for the American Cattle Syndicate’s Texas holdings.
In 1886, he helped establish Union Stock Yards in San Antonio; three years later, he invested in a half-million-acre ranch in Mexico. A founder of the Southwestern Livestock Commission Company at Fort Worth, Captain Lytle also became an officer of the Texas Cattle Raisers’ Association, serving as its secretary until his death. Lytle, Texas, is named for him.