(2 of 2)
Moursund comes naturally by such talents. His father, A. W. Moursund Jr., had developed ranch holdings in Blanco County, founded Johnson City State Bank (it survived the Depression but closed in the late '30s), and married Mary Frances Stribling. The Striblings, largely through Mary's mother, Lurania, who had a knack for acquiring land and stocking it profitably with cattle, sheep and goats, owned some 100,000 acres near the Pedernales River. Lurania was once asked how much land she thought was "enough." "Just what's mine," she said, "and that which joins mine."
The Judge worked as a boy on his grandmother's ranch, earned a law degree from the University of Texas and learned practical law from his uncle, Anton N. Moursund, who at 88 is still a respected circuit judge in San Antonio. After 42 months' duty as an Air Force staff sergeant in World War II, A. W. set up practice in Johnson City. He also gradually expanded his inherited lands into a millionaire's fortune of his own.
"More Little Places." It was a land deal that brought Johnson and Moursund, who had been neighbors and friends for years, closer together. In the early '50s Johnson sought the lawyer's help in putting the LBJ Ranch together from land held by Lyndon's grandfather, Samuel Ealy Johnson. Moursund handled the legal work efficiently, also proved a sharp adviser on new grasses, breeding and pasture planning. As Lyndon rose in Washington politics, he came to rely more and more on A.W. to tend to business matters at home.
Two ranches, now part of the Johnson trust, are jointly owned by Johnson and Moursund. Acquired in 1961 and 1962, they are the 2,186-acre Three Springs Ranch along the Pedernales in Blanco County and the 4,500-acre Haywood Ranch in the lake region of nearby Llano County. They consist chiefly of pastureland on which cattle, sheep and Angora goats thrive. Moursund explains his interest in such land acquisition with typical understatement. Says he: "The more little places you have, the better off you are."
Nowadays, when Lyndon is at the LBJ Ranch or even taking one of his patented auto tours of his property, Moursund can reach him by radiotelephone either from the Moursund office, his car, or from the Moursund house. And when Lyndon is in Washington, all Moursund has to do is pick up a white telephone on a counter in his kitchen. A small blue White House symbol on its face indicates that it is a special, direct line to the President.