February 27, 2014
The Moise Cerf Memorial Fellowship Endowment was established by Mr. and Mrs. Edwin C. Jolesch in 1986. The purpose of the Endowment is to support the study, control and eradication of mesquite, cedar and noxious weeds found in Pecos County, Texas, by providing graduate students support and research funds to the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources at Texas Tech University. Moise Cerf was born in Ennis, TX on January 25, 1886, of pioneer settlers. Moise Cerf grew up in Ennis and attended public school there. He attended business school in Quincy, Illinois. His early life was that of cattleman, farmer, and trader. He owned and managed many farms in and around Ellis County. As did most Texans, he raised cotton, corn, small grains, and livestock. He gradually gave up farming and concentrated on the raising of sheep and cattle. He enjoyed trading at all times and acquired many tracts of land. In September, 1921, Cerf acquired his Pecos County ranch of approximately 24,000 acres from Guy Rachal, and immediately formed a partnership with Guy for the management and raising of livestock. This partnership lasted and prospered for more than forty years. During this partnership, Cerf and Rachal leased several other well-known ranches in Pecos County. Many years 25,000 head of sheep were under their brand. Cerf helped to pioneer many ideas in the sheep and cattle industry for West Texas. He was active in sheep and cattle organizations, including Angus, Brangus, and Suffolk breeders associations. In earlier years, he raised Hereford and Shorthorn cattle, both in Ellis and Pecos Counties. He was often a delegate to the National Shorthorn Cattle Breeders Association. He believed in quality breeding, and for years H 6 Pasture Company was well-known for its outstanding Suffolk bucks. He improved his ranch by building sheep-proof fences and drilling many water wells. Miles of pipelines and cross fences were constructed on his properties. He was among the first to rotate grazing, even though he seldom followed government programs. Cerf was instrumental in getting the highway, now known as U.S. 285, straightened and improved to Fort Stockton. When he purchased his ranch there were thirteen gates to open and close between the ranch and town. He also had on his ranch one of the first telephones in Pecos County. Moise was very interested in history and was an avid reader. He traveled extensively to foreign countries and at one time considered purchasing a ranch in Australia. He and Guy also considered the famous King Brothers sheep ranch with its renowned purebred sheep in Wyoming. Upon seeing the beautiful place, excellent grasses, barns, and huge stacks of hay for winter feeding, they were inspired, but upon being told of the sub-zero winter temperatures that lasted for weeks they decided it was not for them. Moise Cerf retired from active ranching in 1961. He had moved to Dallas in 1933 and lived with two of his sisters. He passed away in 1968, less than two weeks before his eighty-second birthday, and is buried in Dallas.