An aviation pioneer, ag businessman
William Clent Breedlove pioneered aviation on the South Plains.
Early on he was a Levelland auto dealer who loved airplanes. Breedlove was hired in 1930 as Lubbock Municipal Airport’s first full-time manager and remained until 1940.
Though proficient as a barnstormer, he promoted aviation as a safe mode of travel. He organized a flying club and instructed pilots. He secured weather equipment for the airport and was responsible for the paving of the runways. As an Army Air Corps pilot, Breedlove participated in Gen. Billy Mitchell’s battleship bombing test in 1921.
In the 1930s, he taught in the civilian pilot training program, a precursor to the war training service, during World War II.
On December 20, 1941, Breedlove moved his aerial service to his commercial airport southwest of Lubbock. From there, he carried on a glider training program, and operated related training programs at Plainview and Lamesa
S. E. Cone
Stephen Elsemere Cone saw financial opportunity developing on the South Plains and grabbed it.
The West Texas grain dealer, real estate and oil man, was born in Yarrellton.
He entered the grain business while still on the family farm, but it was the growing lure of the Lubbock area that led Cone to establish grain elevators in Muleshoe, Bovina, Hereford, Amherst and Anton. By the early 1930s, he was one of the largest dealers in sorghum and sudan grass seed in the Southwest.
In partnership with Col. “Sheb” Williams of Paris, Texas, he bought about 20,000 acres in eastern Lubbock County and sold off parcels of land to newcomers.
In addition, Cone managed or owned a number of farms. He also leased land on which he grew cotton and row crops. In 1928, he began buying and selling oil rights on West Texas lands.
His most active period in this business came in 1940-41, and a considerable share of his fortune resulted from it.
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