Mabel Hanley

August 9, 1904 - May 22, 1997
Role: Ranch Family Member, Rancher
Maiden name: Stroebel

Mabel’s mother and father, Katherine and Robert Stroebel, were both born in Germany and separately immigrated to America in the late nineteenth century. They met in Illinois and moved to Texas on the Fleming Prairie in Victoria County. Her father-in-law, C.C.(Bud)Hanley, had accumulated about 2400 acres; and, upon his death, her husband, Dick Hanley, managed the ranch for his mother. He was the only one of the four children who was interested in ranching. Upon his mother’s death, the ranch was divided between the four children and Mabel and Dick ranched their part. During the screwworm days, Mabel helped him everyday. She would drive the truck and he would rope the cattle out of the back. They worked side by side until shortly before he died when Mabel took over and ran it just as her husband had done. “I’ve lived here since I was married at eighteen and I’m eighty-four now. Naturally, I love the place. I keep the cattle going even though it is hard work. Selling the cattle would be like selling part of Dick.” Mabel was a beautiful woman who was stylish and impressive in her split skirt working clothes as well as the dresses she made. She was an accomplished homemaker and her homemade noodles were legendary in the community.

Introduction to Mabel Hanley

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Mabel Hanley
Mabel Hanley - When I first married, I didn't know a thing in the world about a horse or cattle either. But, it didn't take me very long to learn. We had…it was during the dipping time, fever ticks and every two weeks we had to dip every cow we had. And we'd leave before daylight in the morning to ride way back there and gather the cattle. It would be daylight by the time we'd ride our horses back in there. It was so brushy and this old horse that they put me on, he was so rough. It was an old white horse. When I'd be running after a cow or something, he'd come to a bush, he'd just jump the bush. He wouldn't go around it; he'd jump it. And the only time I ever swam…rode a swimming horse was one day we were over in there and the creek got up on us, and I had to ride...our horses had to swim across the creek. Of course, I had never been on a swimming horse. It scared me to death. But I got on the down side of Dick's horse, you know, and that kind of protected me. It's kind of a funny sensation riding a swimming a horse. I had quit. I'll tell you how come I had quit. We were working cattle up in that front pasture one day, and I was running an old cow around a Mott of trees. And he stepped in a hole and threw me clear. And boy, I hit the back of my head. I had a headache the rest of the day. And Clark saw it when it happened. He was helping us, and of course he came on over to me and helped me up. But I got back on the horse, and I rode all day long; worked cattle all day. And Charles Scott – it scared him so bad, he made me promise I'd never help work cattle anymore. And I quit. But, I've been sorry ever since that I quit riding. I didn't quit riding, but I never did help work cattle anymore.