James. L “Jimmie” Powell was born February 22, 1930 to Virgil James Powell and Johnnie Dell White Powell. He was a brother to twin sisters Marilyn Powell Dean and Madolyn Powell Mertz. These third generation Texans were the descendants of Leonidus Polk “L.P.” Powell and Essie Dora Vaughn. L. P. Powell came to Texas from Tennessee in 1894 and married his Central Texas bride. They began running steers on a six section homestead, later sold out after “proving up” the homestead and moved into the foothills of New Mexico with a herd of sheep to find sever winters requiring large bonfires to keep his flock warm. The sheep got so close to the fires that their wool was singed and turned black.
He returned to Texas the next spring and purchased a ranch in northern Crockett County on the Reagan County line that extended up to the now Big Lake, TX city limits. L. P. and son Virgil went on to work a 47,000 acre ranch near Ft. McKavett founded in 1876 b Colonel William L. Black. L.P. Powell had purchased the ranch in 1932 from the family of Harold H. Bevans. In 1937 the Powell family moved into San Angelo where Jimmie and sisters would complete their education.
Jimmie went on to graduate from Rice University in 1951 and gained another degree from the University of Texas at Austin. He served in the U. S. Navy on the aircraft carrier USS Oriskany off the coast of Korea from 1952-1955. Upon completion of his military service Jimmie returned to begin his ranching career in Schleicher County near the Menard County Line at the Six Mile Ranch.
He soon married Nancy Bryan Hunt in 1960 and began their family at the Six Mile Ranch resulting in two daughters, Laurie Powell Uhl, and Victoria Powell Johnson. Nancy passed away in 2013 after a courageous battle with cancer.
Jimmie developed banking and other business enterprises and offered service to higher education as a past Chairman of the Texas State University System Board of Regents and service on the University of Texas System. He served as Past President of the Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers’ Association, the National Wool Growers Association and the Texas and Southwest Cattle Raisers Association. His family has been breeding purebred Hereford cattle since 1954. The 20th Annual Powell Ranch Production Sale will be in October of 2017. Jimmie was a strong believer in diversification of assets and has been in oil and gas production and banking over his working lifetime.
Jimmie now enjoys his home in San Angelo and his time at the ranch. His family “partners” of daughters, sons in laws, and six grandchildren are all available at his call.