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Charles Schreiner III

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Charles Schreiner III, known as Charlie III, or Three (January 6, 1927 – April 22, 2001), was an American rancher, author, publisher, entrepreneur, collector of guns and Western art and memorabilia, and historian from Kerr County in the Texas Hill Country. He was the grandson of cattle baron, businessman, banker, landowner, and philanthropist Captain Charles Armand Schreiner.

Charles Schreiner III
TX rancher Charles Schreiner, III.jpg
Schreiner in undated photo apparently standing against a fence
Born(1927-01-06)January 6, 1927
DiedApril 22, 2001(2001-04-22) (aged 74)
San Antonio, Texas
Resting placeGobbler's Knob, YO Ranch in Kerr County, Texas
ResidenceMountain Home, Kerr County
Alma materSan Antonio Academy

Schreiner Institute
Texas Military Institute

University of Texas at Austin
OccupationRancher; Businessman
Historian of the Texas Rangers
Spouse(s)1. Audrey Phillips Schreiner (married 1949-1972)

2. Patricia Lopez (married 1974-1975) 3. Marion Sullivan Vandenburgh (married 1975-1977) 4. Norma Inman Cude (married 1978-1980) 5. Lynn Penafiel (married 1982-1984)

6. Karol Schreiner (surviving widow)
ChildrenCharles Schreiner IV

Walter R. Schreiner
Gus L. Schreiner

Louis Albert "Louie" Schreiner
Parent(s)Walter Richard and Myrtle Viola Barton Schreiner
RelativesCaptain Charles Armand Schreiner (grandfather)


Charles Schreiner III (Charlie III) was born in San Antonio, Texas, thirty-four days before the passing of his namesake paternal grandfather. He was the only child of the former Myrtle Viola Barton (1896-1972) and Walter Richard Schreiner (1877-1933). Walter Richard Schreiner was one of the eight children of Captain Charles Armand Schreiner. Charlie III married the former Audrey Laura Lee Phillips (1928-1988) in 1947. They divorced in 1972. With Audrey, Charlie III had four sons, Charles Schreiner IV, and wife Mary Helen, Walter R. Schreiner (1954-2014), and his wife, the former Teri Suzanne Richburg,[1] Gus L. Schreiner and wife, Lori,[2] and Louis Albert "Louie" Schreiner (1959-2001), and his wife, Christine. Louie Schreiner, who managed the YO Ranch, died at the age of forty-one of a heart attack in Kerrville, nine days before the passing of his father in San Antonio from congestive heart failure.[3] In 1974 Charlie III married Patricia Lopez. They divorced and in 1975 he married Marion Sullivan Vandenburg. They also divorced. In 1978 he married Norma Inman Cude from whom he was divorced in 1980. In 1982 he married Lynn Johnson from whom he was divorced in 1984. He was married to his sixth wife, Karol Schreiner, when he died.

Schreiner attended San Antonio Academy, a private military school; his grandfather's namesake Schreiner Institute in Kerrville, and Texas Military Institute in San Antonio, now TMI — The Episcopal School of Texas, dates of attendance not available. He graduated from the University of Texas as a Plan II student with a Bachelor of Art degree. While there he was a member of Sigma Alpha Epsilon (SAE) fraternity.


Charlie III and his mother, Myrtle B. Schreiner, inherited the YO after the sudden death of his father from peritonitis in 1933. After graduating from the University of Texas in 1948, Charlie returned to the YO and begin running the ranch with his mother and the ranch foreman/manager, Clarence Hyde. Charlie became her "junior partner" as she and Clarence Hyde tutored him in the points of ranch management. When the seven year drought of the 1950s begin, Myrtle and Charlie, phased out Herefords and begin breeding Charolais, Brangus and Charbray cattle. To survive the drought, the cattle were moved to a lease near Two Dot, Montana for the next four years.

Once the drought ended, Myrtle begin spending less time running the ranch, turning over the responsibility to Charlie III. A series of ranch managers became responsible for the day to day operation of the YO and Charlie begin pursuing the thing he did best, putting his ideas into actions. Though day hunting had been a source of income on the Y.O. during Myrtle's tenure, Charlie took it to a new level, purchasing deteriorating log cabins, bringing them to the ranch and restoring them as quarters so hunters could stay over night.

In 1957 Charlie began creating a longhorn herd, in part as a tribute to the ranching legacy of his grandfather and the longhorns he ran on his ranches. Five heifers and one bull calf were purchased for $75 each from the Wichita Mountains Wildlife Refuge near Lawton, Oklahoma.[4] In 1964 Charlie founded the Texas Longhorn Breeders Association of America (TLBAA). The YO herd were the first cattle registered with the Association. To draw attention to the longhorn and its new association, in 1966 Charlie organized a trail drive of longhorn steers from San Antonio, Texas to Dodge City, Kansas. The drive was promoted as a centennial commemoration of the earlier Chisholm Trail drives. Always a stickler for authenticity, Charlie arranged for an Indian attack as the steers were crossing the Red River at Doan's Crossing. The attack was so authentic that the steers stampeded with cowboys in close pursuit. It was four hours before the herd was reassembled. In 1976 Texas Tech University in Lubbock persuaded Charlie to stage another trail drive to celebrate its new Ranching Heritage Center.[4]

In commemoration of these trail drives, an abbreviated trial drive was held one weekend every spring on the YO. In 1989, the Neiman-Marcus Christmas catalog advertised a YO adventure in trail driving. One hundred and fifty spots on the ranch trial drive were sold at $767.00 per person and sold out in two hours after the catalog was released.

In the early 1960s the curator of the San Antonio Zoo, Fred Stark, mentioned he had surplus animals and suggested Charlie take some of them to the Y.O. to see how they would adapt. The first animals to arrive were blackbuck antelope and auodad sheep. They adapted very well and were soon followed by axis deer. Charlie's plan was to breed the animals for conservation purposes. The effort was successful and soon animals were being sold to zoos and some sent back to their native lands to replenish dwindling herds. As the herds prospered, management was required to limit size. Hunting the exotics for profit became one of the revenue sources for the ranch. Exotics on the Y.O. soon included fallow deer from England, sika deer from Japan, barrasingha deer from India, Pere David deer from China, and aoudad sheep from North Africa. While all of these were hunted, other exotic animals which were not hunted were added. These included fringe-eared Oryx, eland, zebra, and the flightless birds, rhea, ostrich and emu. In 1978 a pair of giraffes were added who produced a calf two years later.

As part of his experiment with exotics Charlie III cross-bred a domestic goat from the YO herd with an ibex, a species of wild goat, to produce the YO ibex. He also experimented with cross-breeding cattle.

In 1960, Charlie III was elected president of the 12,000-member Texas Sheep and Goat Raisers Association. For three years, he was the president of the Hill Country Boys Livestock Association, based in Kerrville. In 1967 he founded the Exotic Wildlife Association (EWA) and served as its first president.

In 1969, Charlie expanded his skills when he collaborated with his wife, Audrey, Robert Berryman, and Hal F. Matheny to compile "A Pictorial History of the Texas Rangers "That Special Breed of Men." A limited edition of two hundred copies with longhorn steer hide was published and a limited number of commemorative Colt single-action pistol was manufactured.[5]

In 1979 Charlie and his wife, Norma, became publishers when they purchased "The Album of Gunfighters" by J. Marvin Hunter and reissued it.

In addition to these endeavors, Charlie III was also a builder. In addition to the log cabins he restored and modernized as guest quarters on the YO, he also built a hunting lodge and a pavilion both of which were used for events and parties at the ranch. In the mid-seventies, after the ranch's main house, the Casa Grande, burned, Charlie designed and built a new house for himself and finished it in time for him to marry Norma Inman Cude there. The house was sketched on yellow legal pads and built by ranch labor. The nine thousand square foot house had one bedroom and was furnished with antiques, artifacts and family heirlooms.

In the late 1970s, Charlie III and Charlie IV started an Outdoor Awareness Program and Camp at the YO. The program was a combination African safari and Old West experience. The young people attending the program lived in tents and learned about the animals, both exotic and domestic, on the ranch. They also learned how to saddle a horse, and round up cattle and sheep on horseback, shoot, rock climb and study conservation and the environment.

In the 1980s Charlie designed and built the two hundred room YO Hotel in nearby Kerrville, Texas. The decor includes game heads, Indian and western collectibles, and chandeliers composed of branding irons representing the herds that went up the Chisholm Trail. Chairs are covered with leather and longhorn hides. Meeting rooms are named for historical figures in Texas history.

Schreiner also ventured beyond ranching to serve on the boards of First Federal Savings and Loan Association, San Antonio, Texas (1960-1983); Frost Bank, San Antonio (1961-1984), and Schreiner Bancshares in Kerrville (1952-1992). Governor Dolph Briscoe, also a Hill Country rancher and landowner from Uvalde, appointed Schreiner to the board of the Lower Colorado River Authority (LCRA), which regulates the southern portion of the Colorado River of Texas. Schreiner's tenure on the board extended from 1974 to 1980.

No matter what the economy does, you can count on a Texan for two things. He wants to own a ranch, and he's proud of being a Texan. It's bred into us," said Schreiner.[6] The ranch shrank from 500,000 acres in the heyday of the first Charles Schreiner to 70,000 acres in 1949 and 50,000 by the time of Schreiner's death.[7] It survived because of the longhorns, visiting tourists, and hunters of both native and exotic wildlife. Unlike the windfall experienced on many other ranches, no petroleum was found on the cactus-laden, rocky Y. O. lands.

After Schreiner's passing, the Los Angeles Times referred to him as "a bona fide cowboy who had the business savvy of Bernard Baruch, the showmanship of P.T. Barnum, and the Texas pride of Sam Houston". The publication attributed Schreiner to having saved the Longhorn from extinction and the Y. O. Ranch from bankruptcy with the introduction of the exotic animals for hunting, sometimes called "Texotics."[7]

Charlie III was buried on Gobbler's Knob, his favorite place on the Y.O. Ranch.


Charles Armand Schreiner was born February 22, 1838 in Alsace-Lorraine. He arrived with his family by boat in Indianola, Texas in 1852. The family made their way by foot to San Antonio and north to Camp Verde, an Army outpost about 55 miles to the northwest. Within four years first his father and then his mother would die. When he was fourteen he joined the Texas Rangers and begin scouting for Captain John Samson throughout the Texas Hill Country. In 1857 he left the Rangers to join his brother-in-law, Caspar Real, in ranching on Turtle Creek. When the Civil War broke out, Schreiner enlisted serving until the war ended. In 1861 he married Mary Magdalene Enderle. After returning from the Civil War, Captain Schreiner returned to his ranch and raised sheep for the next four years. On December 24, 1869, Schreiner opened a one room general store in Kerrville that would become Charles Schreiner General Merchandise.

Captain Schreiner begin acquiring land around Kerrville and running hereford and longhorn cattle. In the early 1880s, the Captain brought Hereford cattle from Oklahoma to improve his longhorn herds. In 1880 the Captain bought a ranch and cattle in Mason, Texas from a Mr. Taylor. The cattle were branded YO for Y.O. Coleman from whom Taylor bought the cattle. Rather than rebrand the cattle, Captain Schreiner bought the rights to the brand and renamed the ranch the YO. When Captain Schreiner divided his assets between his eight children, Walter Schreiner, the father of Charlie III, received the YO Ranch.

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Walter Richard Schreiner, II". July 21, 2014. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  2. ^ "Charles Schreiner, III". Southern Livestock on findagrave. May 4, 2001. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  3. ^ "Louis Albert "Louie" Schreiner, II". Southern Livestock on findagrave. April 20, 2001. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  4. ^ a b Barrett, Jr., Neal (1980). Long Days and Short Nights, A Century of Texas Ranching on the YO. Y-O Press. pp. 106–108. ISBN 0-87833-315-0.
  5. ^ "A Pictorial History of the Texas Rangers "That Special Breed of Men." Compiled by Chas. Schreiner III, Audrey Schreiner, Robert Berryman and Hal F. Matheny.
  6. ^ Douglas Martin (April 29, 2001). "Charles Schreiner III, 74, Dies; Colorful Texas Rancher Fought to Save Longhorn". New York Times. Retrieved October 16, 2015.
  7. ^ a b Myrna Oliver (May 8, 2001). "Charles Schreiner, III: Rancher Helped Save the Texas Longhorn". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved October 17, 2015.
  • Long Days and Short Nights,A Century of Texas Ranching on the YO 1880-1980,"" Neal Barrett, Jr. Authorized history of the Y.O. Ranch written to commemorate its centennial in 1980.
  • "Charles Schreiner General Merchandise 1869-1969," J. Evetts Haley.
  • Correct name for Captain Charles Armand Schreiner, Charles Schreiner III, Charles Schreiner IV, Walter R. Schreiner and Louis Albert Schreiner verified by Charles Schreiner IV.
  • "The YO Ranch and the Texas Legacy," essay by Charles Schreiner III in "Forever Texas" edited by Mike Blakely and Mary Elizabeth Goldman.