Helms Family

History of the Helms family in Texas and the SanJac River Ranch

The Texas edition of the Helms family got it’s start in 1967 when Bill and Mary met their senior year at “Ole Miss” and married after graduation.   Although both were seniors at the same time, it is important to point out that Bill is almost five years older as he spent a few years pursuing his interest in drag racing and honky tonks.

Meeting their last year in college took divine intervention as Bill grew up 700 miles away in Clearwater, Florida while Mary’s early years were spent only a few miles from the college campus in Water Valley, MS.  Bill obtained his degree in Mechanical Engineering and Mary’s degree is in Education.

Bill’s interest in engineering/construction involved new locations almost every two or three years bringing them to Houston in 1973.   Texas soon became home and roots grew deep.  However, career opportunities moved the family to the Mid-East , California and Europe, always returning to home base in Houston as the projects were completed.

While Bill focused on engineering, Mary put her energies into family and home.  During this period our son, D Jay Helms, was born in 1974 keeping Mary very busy.  Today, grandchildren and gardening get a lot of her attention but she always has plenty of time for ranching.

The “SanJac”

The love for family, the great out doors and a passion for cattle all came together  in 1994 when we found this tract of land on the San Jacinto River in San Jacinto County.

The main criteria for property was “it had to have character” and with tracts of timber, hills, woods, pastures and the river this piece of land had more than its fair share of character.  With the river, it just seem natural for the infant ranch to be called the SanJac and once you visit you will know why we call it “our piece of heaven”.

The rural location just out side of the small East Texas town of Coldspring,  is the ideal location to raise grandchildren, cattle and recoup from an international career.

The SanJac is truly a family operation.  Family means everyone!  Mary is the herd manager and knows every cow by name.  She has developed an eye for the herd and their genetic value.  Bill’s retirement in 2005 resulted in the ranch having a full time engineer which can result in a lot of “over thinking” and “planning”.  There is always something that needs repair or improvement.

The ranch is not all work as we have lots of wildlife, the ponds (tanks in Texas) are stocked with bass and cat fish and there are lots of deer and feral hogs if you want to hunt.  We even have a pond for swimming that the grand-kids indulge in.  Plus there are plenty of trails to ride and enjoy the great outdoors.   .