by James Moore
Most likely, back in 1927, no one thought a four-year-old boy who moved with his parents from Houston to Galveston, where they created McCoy Roofing Company, would one day be on the list of America’s top landowners. It probably never crossed their minds that he would one day be remembered as one of the best and brightest entrepreneurs this country has ever seen. But…that’s exactly what happened.
The man, Emmett McCoy, is known best as being the founder of McCoy’s Building Supply – a huge lumber and building materials chain that includes over eighty stores nationwide. But there is far more to the McCoy story than that.
It was Tom Brokaw, the well-known journalist, who brought the phrase – The Greatest Generation – to the American people. He spoke about this generation as being the ones who had to grow up and struggle under the veil of the Great Depression. Going on to fight WWII, this generation also included those on the home front who worked, toiled, built and basically made America come back to life with their contributions to the war effort, as well as the country, itself.
Emmett McCoy was one of those people who truly was the epitome of all The Greatest Generation stood for. When speaking about hard work and commitment, as well as being a valuable asset to this country, Emmett McCoy could’ve been a poster child for what that generation was all about.
Working hard in the family business while growing up, Emmett worked his way through his early life before going on to New York Trade School. When WWII came upon the country, Emmett became a part of the Army and served in the Pacific theater.
When returning to Texas, McCoy went back into the family business, married and had a family before taking over the helm of McCoy Roofing in 1950. It was from there that McCoy Building Supply came into being, and the ‘cash-and-carry’ basis that Emmett used to sell became a remarkable concept to the business world – a concept that would be utilized in a variety of industries.
In 1962, Emmett put his hand in yet another pie, so to speak, when he and his wife purchased their very first ranch property on the Blanco River. This first purchase became the solid foundation that would allow the McCoy family to dive head-first into ranching and the cattle business. McCoy purchases continued when it came to the land; from the 7 Springs Ranch in West Texas to the historic Rockpile Ranch.
For those who are unaware, The Rockpile Ranch can truly claim their historic roots. In fact, it was part of a legacy in the Old West. The Reynolds family appeared in the Lone Star State in 1847, choosing Texas to begin what would one day become a real ranching dynasty. The brand was ‘X’ and the Reynolds found themselves living through droughts, hostile Indians and everything else the Old West had to offer back in the 1800’s. One Reynolds’ purchase was 380,000 acres in size, and included the town of Kent where the Rockpile Ranch was located.
It was in 1935 that the holdings were divided to the heirs and Rockpile passed from W.D. Reynolds to his son, John; then on to John’s daughter after a time. McCoy Remme Ranches, Ltd., which was then known as McCoy Land and Cattle, purchased the Rockpile Ranch in 1992.
But Rockpile is not only about elite ranching property or a very cool history, it is also a famous geologic feature of the Davis Mountains.
With Emmett McCoy’s passing at the age of 88, McCoy’s Building Supply still lives on, and is one of the largest family-owned lumberyard chains in the U.S.. And when it comes to the land, McCoy Remme Ranches, Ltd. is still a traditional cow-calf operation, keeping the goal of raising their Black Angus cattle with state-of-the-art range management and stewardship.
In the end, Emmett McCoy – a member of the Greatest Generation – left behind a great legacy. Hard work, a never-say-die attitude, and a pure gentleman – the McCoy name not only finds a place on the list of top American landowners, but it’s also etched a place in history as being the absolute best.
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