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  • TEXAS RANCHES & RANCHING

    NEW >

    "It's All Trew"
    A column by Delbert Trew (Rancher, author, musician)
    >

    Sample Topics: Branding, Rawhide, XIT Ranch, Charles Goodnight, Smoking go along with cowboy life, Barbed wire telephones, Screen door was faithful fixture, Bugs provided hours of entertainment, Quilting was hub of family, social life... more

    Texas Ranches, Ranchers, Ranching, Cowboys, Cattle & Cattle Drives:

    Doan's Crossing
  • A comparison of ranching: past and modern days by Delbert Trew 5-23-11
    A comparison between modern-day ranching practices and equipment with that of yesterday shows a marked difference...
  • Cattle brands mark originality by Delbert Trew 2-22-11
    Recently I acquired a book, "The Manual of Brands and Marks," published in 1970 by The University of Oklahoma Press, authored by Manfred Wolfenstine. If you are interested in the history of brands, this is the book to study. Some of the interesting tidbits...
  • Discussing 'original primary Age of the Cowboy' by Delbert Trew 12-28-10
    Most historians agree somewhat, the age of the cowboy began in 1866, the first full year of peace after the Civil War. The end came in about 1895, when the main trails of the trail drives were closed by barbed wire fences with the railroads taking over transporting the herds. There is legitimate argument this is not entirely true...
  • Doan's Crossing - There is a large granite marker that includes many of the brands of the most famous ranches in Texas.
  • The Texas Longhorn: Shaped By Nature by Clay Coppedge
  • XIT was on cutting edge of ranching by Delbert Trew
  • The Western Cattle Trail Crossings at Fort Griffin
  •  Coppini's Charles H. Noyes Statue
  • In terms of description, 'cowboy' has been varied by Delbert Trew 2-6-10
  • Ballinger - Coppini's Charles H. Noyes Statue 11-5-10
    Photos courtesy Barclay Gibson
    A devastated father hires an acclaimed but hungry sculptor to erect a statue to his son.
  • Windmills
  • Windmills by Clay Coppedge
    "This may be a bitter pill for some Texans to swallow, but the windmill was not invented in Texas. Neither was the Colt revolver. Ditto barbed wire..."
  • The Days of Big Ranches by Mike Cox 10-23-13
    Predicting the demise of something – a way of life, a business, just about anything short of bananas – is a risky undertaking.
  • Cowboy Lullabies by David Knape 10-5-13
  • From Successful Cattleman to Man Burner by Murray Montgomery 10-4-13
    Print Olive could have been highly successful in life if he would have stayed on the right side of the law.
  • Brambletye 7-16-13
  • XIT Ranch - Gone but not Forgotten 2-16-13
  • The Old Cowboy by David Knape 8-22-12
  • Where Cowboys Come From by Fred O. Simon 8-22-12
  • The Big Boom of 1882 by Clay Coppedge 3-8-12
    The cycles of boom and bust, whether in the cattle industry or world economics, are always accompanied by people who said they saw it coming all along and who, after the inevitable crash are busy explaining why it happened and who is to blame. It’s that way now, and it was that way in 1882 when the beef market boomed as it had never boomed before...
  • Gunny sacks save the day by Delbert Trew 2-21-12
    For a long period of time in the old days, almost everything ordered from suppliers and hauled on freight wagons either came packed in a wooden crate, a wooden nail keg, a wooden barrel or a gunny sack. Once the items reached the frontier, the crate, keg, barrel or sack became a commodity just like the items packed inside.
  • Cowmen use stock pen logic by Delbert Trew 11-22-11
    Most old cowmen and cowboys have worked in hundreds of corrals during their lifetimes. Some pens were built with new welded pipe, galvanized panels and were painted. Others were...
  • The Pitchfork Kid by Mike Cox 11-17-11
    A cowboy’s cowboy, the Kid sat a horse well and had the reputation of being the best roper in the Panhandle.
  • Top dollar paid for Texas cattle in 1870s by Murray Montgomery 11-9-11
    A newspaper becomes an eyewitness to history as it documents the story of those cattle drives and markets in 1874.
  • Red River Station 7-26-11
  • Animals adjust to barbed wire by Delbert Trew 7-5-11
    Because of the nature of the subject, a significant chapter of Old West history - bloody livestock injuries - is often ignored or forgotten. However, it did happen, and here is the story.
  • Lizzie Crosson had true grit by Mike Cox 6-30-11
    Ranching in West Texas
  • The Wonderful Boy by Mike Cox 6-9-11
    His father a respected Uvalde County rancher, the quiet, good-looking Guy O. Fenley seemed like a typical teenager except for one thing – he could see underground water.
  • Old Trail Drivers by Mike Cox 2-24-11
    No matter the old cowpoke’s backstory, in his dotage he could round up words on paper just about as well as he once rode down and roped strays.
  • Old West boots, vests have well-ridden history by Delbert Trew 2-2-11
    Among the myriad of changes occurring in the Old West let us examine the common boot.
  • Bose Ikard by Clay Coppedge 2-1-11
    One reason the relatively brief cattle drive era, which lasted from the end of the Civil War to the early 1880s, had such an impact on history was because the cattle drives allowed men to rise above the circumstances of their upbringing and education to make a little money and earn a measure of respect. As good an example of that as anybody is Bose Ikard, who was born into slavery and became rancher Charley Goodnight’s most trusted and respected cowhand....
  • Longhorn: Texas' first industry by Delbert Trew 1-17-11
    The book "The Long Trail" by Gardner Sowle, published in 1976 by McGraw-Hill, tells the real story of early cowboys, longhorns and the first industry developed in Texas. This was the chore of capturing, branding, taming, raising and driving longhorns to market. Legends and myths, plus the exaggerations of many publications are omitted boiling fact down to common sense explanations...
  • Brands Have Rich History by Delbert Trew 1-11-11
    Currently, there are 32,609 registered brands in Colorado... Retaining a registered brand in Colorado is not cheap, costing $225 for a five-year period...
  • Fire, bricks and early chimneys by Delbert Trew
    Few of the tools needed by man equaled that of fire. He needed it to cook, heat, make light and to use for making other tools, like in blacksmithing...
  • Selling the Calves by Robert G. Cowser
    In the late 1940s cattle auctions were common in the towns of Northeast Texas. Each town picked a different day of the week so as not to compete with nearby towns...
  • 'The times, they are a'changing' by Delbert Trew
    As we modernized our farming equipment and methods after the Great Depression and Dust Bowl ended, it seems we were making big changes almost every week. The same holds true today...
  • Digging post holes by hand was hard work by Delbert Trew
    Among the hundreds of jobs associated with farming and ranching, digging postholes by hand is by far my least favorite... Of interest is the fact the Devil's Rope Museum in McLean has approximately 60 patented post hole diggers on display all showing different designs and mechanisms to make the job easier...
  • Branding is an old tradition by Delbert Trew
    Of all things "truly western," probably the brand, applied with a hot iron to the hide, is one of the most authentic. I will not argue with those who say it is barbaric, painful or cruel...
  • Alice - McGill Brothers Building
  • XIT General Office
    Texas Historic Landmark
  • Two men part of Texas lore - but for different reasons by Delbert Trew
    Known as "the Jinglebob King of the Pecos," John Chisum cast a long shadow in the early history of cattle ranching... Almost as well known but standing alone at the opposite end of the spectrum was Edward Z.C. Judson, alias Ned Buntline...
  • Midwife to Livestock, Heavy Labor Defined by Nolan Maxie
    You can bet calving time is always in the spring and many births will happen in the worst thunderstorm you have ever seen...
  • Photos serve as reminder of boundaries' importance by Delbert Trew
    In our modern times when eminent domain and development arrogance often dominate the evening news, we received the story and photos of John Prather, a rancher who lived in Otero County, N.M. Prather garnered national attention in the 1950s by taking a heroic stand against the U.S. government's attempt to condemn his ranch in order to add it to the nearby McGregor Missile Range, a part of Fort Bliss...
  • Cow feed, from slab to sack by Delbert Trew
    Like all progress, the evolution of ranch livestock feeding has changed greatly, and for the better.
  • Bovina - AKA Bull Town
    Early in the 20th century, this was one of largest cattle shipping points in the United States.
  • Barnhart by Mike Cox
    Dust, bawling cattle, hell-raising cowboys and trains a half-mile long – that was Barnhart in the 1920s and ‘30s...
  • Horse hobbles were a vital tool by Delbert Trew
    Of all the cowboy gear used down through history, horse hobbles are among the most important. These restraints around the front legs of your mount...
  • Spanish Cattle by Mike Cox
    "All those longhorns that revitalized Texas’ post-Civil War economy had to come from somewhere. And where the breed came from was the interior of Mexico. Via trail drive."
  • Range Wisdom by Mike Cox
    Cattle roundup in the free range days, and the dispute over branded steers.
  • Before miracle materials, rawhide ruled by Delbert Trew
  • It was burdensome training the beasts by Delbert Trew
    For every mule, horse, oxen, steer or jackass used as a work animal down through history - and there were probably millions - someone had to train or break the animal to work...
  • Silver - A Pioneer ranching center in Coke County
  • Wainwright's Buck by Mike Cox
    Anyone who knows anything about the history of World War Two has heard of Gen. Jonathan M. Wainwright. Far less known, however, is the story of the last skirmish in which he was ranking officer, a brief engagement that occurred on a West Texas ranch in the late 1940s...
  • For your vocabulary pleasure - Words can have odd origins by Delbert Trew
    Historians continually write of nesters, settlers, settlements and free-range cattlemen. Exactly what were the origins of these terms?
  • Well water, in the past, was work - Settlers dug with crude equipment by Delbert Trew 12-01-09
    The most significant problem facing the first Panhandle settlers was lack of water for their families and livestock...
  • On your mark, go ... Big day was all important by Delbert Trew 11-10-09
    Few events were as important to my mother as when the neighbors came over to help with branding or shipping of our cattle...
  • Hughes' Stock Book by Mike Cox 10-8-09
    Labeled “Horse Record – Hughes Bros.” the book contains hand written records of horses sold and traded by two brothers who owned a 76-acre spread in the vicinity of Liberty Hill on the Travis-Williamson County line.
  • Trip to the Old West as child vivid as ever by Delbert Trew 10-6-09
    Among my cherished memories as a 12-year-old boy is a trip taken with my father, his cattle partner and his grandson, another boy my age, to New Mexico to receive cattle purchased...
  • Coyote Lake - Watering spot for cattle 10-3-09
  • Captain J. D. Reed - The Story of a Cowboy by Linda Kirkpatrick 9-2-09
    James Duff Reed, the Cattle King of the West
  • Texas' First Cattle King by Archie P. McDonald, PhD
    James Taylor White, East Texas' first cattle baron. Taylor's JTW brand became widely known, as was his reputation for innovation in ranching practices.
  • Early Cattlemen saved Texas from financial ruin by Murray Montgomery 7-10-09
    After the Civil War, Texas and the rest of the South were in a bad economic situation. The war had drained the resources of the defeated states and when the soldiers returned home, they found it extremely hard to make a living. But Texas had an untapped resource roaming wild on the open range – longhorn cattle provided an industry that grew to become the largest in the state.
  • Texas Fever by C. F. Eckhardt 7-5-09
    From the late 1860s into the 1870s, Texas was, in effect, divided into two armed camps. The battlers were south Texas cattlemen who needed to drive their cattle north to the railheads in Kansas, Nebraska, and Missouri—and north Texas cattlemen, joined by cattle raisers in the Indian Nations, Kansas, and Nebraska, who stood ready, with rifles if necessary, to stop the drives.
  • Don't count out us old folks by Delbert Trew 5-12-09
    The years of 1951 and 1952 went down in ranching history as the worst screw worm infestation ever...
  • Black Cowboys by Murray Montgomery
    The black cowboy has been part of the ranching industry in Texas for a long time. They were born into slavery in the beginning but after the Civil War they continued to work on the ranches as free men...
  • Barbed wire called 'Devil's Rope' for a reason by Delbert Trew
    Most Panhandle historians agree that Brinkerhoff ribbon was the most famous barbed wire in Panhandle history as the XIT Ranch used some 6,000 miles of the invention to fence their vast grasslands...
  • Scales revolutionized ranching by Delbert Trew
    I once asked my father what he thought was the greatest innovation or improvement made to the ranching industry during his time. I was thinking in terms of four-wheeled vehicles, stock trailers, livestock auctions and long-distance livestock hauling. His answer came as a surprise...
  • Horse Troughs by Mike Cox
    Water troughs, better known in Texas as horse troughs, were intended for the hydration of livestock. But Texas ranchers and their families found far more use for these open containers of water than merely affording Old Dobbin a place to drink...
  • Stetson led way for modern cowboy hats by Delbert Trew
    In about 1860 the "perfect headpiece" was invented by John B. Stetson. He was the son of a Philadelphia hat-making family and suffered from tuberculosis, an occupational disease of hat-makers. Forced to travel west for his health he was on a Pike's Peak camping expedition when the need for a hat arose.
  • Technology replacing old ranching ways by Delbert Trew
    Many changes have occurred in the ranching business over the years. Some are good, a few are sad and occasionally one is somewhat ironic or funny.
  • No journey too far for determined cattlemen by Delbert Trew
    From the stockman of biblical times to the modern day rancher, he has always been out in front of civilization looking for fresh graze for his livestock. His trials were many, often more than his share as he challenged the vast prairies, unpredictable weather, one disease after another and the continually changing financial world...
  • Horse-to-tractor switch laborious by Delbert Trew
    The big switch from equine horsepower to gasoline power was about over when I became old enough to remember...
  • Dust Bowl was deadly by Delbert Trew
    Until 1930, most agriculture workers, and especially the cattlemen, had retained their independence from government help and interference. However, the Crash of 1929 ushered in the beginnings of the Great Depression. By 1931 severe drought set in all across the Great Plains from Canada to Texas with annual rainfall averages cut in half from normal. By 1933, areas in the Southern Plains began to experience dust storms that eventually grew into the Dust Bowl...
  • It's a wonder the Panhandle was ever settled by Delbert Trew
    From 1850 to 1900, new settlers flocking to the Panhandle and West Texas prairies faced almost insurmountable odds in establishing a legal homestead. Most had few resources at hand or the time to waste as they searched and settled...
  • Hog Drives of Frio Canyon Texas - Part I:
    “Git Along Little Piggy” Late 1890’s - Early 1900’s
    by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    The Frio Canyon suffered hard times in the late 1800’s... The folks, who built up the early ranches in the Leakey area, did what they could to just get by... Like the cattle drives of old but just not as classy or as romantic or as written about were the hog drives of the Frio Canyon.
  • Old-time improvisation in branding and jailing by Delbert Trew
  • Early ranchers formed well-organized groups by Delbert Trew
    Since the beginning of livestock domestication of sheep and goats in 6,000 B.C., problems of ownership of livestock and regulation for grazing the public domain have occurred. As numbers of livestock increased, pastoral customs, grazing regulation and preservation of ownership problems grew in proportion...
  • Bull Durham tobacco the 'cheapest luxury' by Delbert Trew
    ...The tobacco became famous after 1860 when the trademark was registered, as almost every posed photo of a man showed the small round paper tags hanging from a vest or shirt pocket. This product took center stage in the West just like Arbuckle Coffee and Stetson hats...
  • Cow Patties by Mike Cox
    ...On the High Plains, where trees were scarcer than sinners at a revival, finding fire fuel took more effort. While folks traveling in a wagon might haul an emergency supply of split wood, travelers, scouts, and cowboys soon realized that a ready source of fuel surrounded them – buffalo chips...
  • B. F. (Frank) Payne, Texas Ranger by Linda-Kirkpatrick
    ...Annually they would round up the herds and brand the calves according to the brand of their mother. Thus each rancher was able to keep up with the herd size and the cattle belonged to him even though the cow herds ran free. This process worked well until the Civil War. Many of the young men who had hired out to work these cows were called to fight...
  • Conditioning a saddle into tiptop quality by Delbert Trew
    venture a guess that only one in 10 readers will be familiar with the term "Neatsfoot Oil." This oil has been a mainstay in saddle and harness maintenance for centuries. No old-time, self-respecting rancher, farmer or cowboy would be caught without a can sitting in his saddle or harness storage...
  • Sarge Cummings Master of the Long Loop Linda-Kirkpatrick
    Robert H. “Sarge” Cummings was known as a master of the long loop, a cowboy term for rustler. This old coot was loved by all, except for maybe the Texas Rangers. Children were ecstatic whenever he came to visit a spell. Some would crawl under his chair just to spin the rowels on his spurs as he spun tales of the wild west...
  • Trail drivers brought in income, coined phrases by Delbert Trew
    Texans owe a round of applause to the old-time trail drivers who in a period of years drove more than 5 million head of livestock to the northern markets. This income helped the state of Texas recover from the effects of the Civil War. The following terms were coined during the Trail Drive Era and many are still with us today...
  • Hungry cowboys foil pickle plan by Delbert Trew
    In the early days when a cowboy "sold his saddle" it meant he was down and out, finished, disgraced or maybe doing time in jail. In short, he was no longer a cowboy...
  • "Vaquero" - Cowboy statue by Luis Jimenez in Houston
  • Chisholm Trail: Fording the Brazos at Kimball Bend Bosque County Texas by Angela Blair
  • Stampede Mesa by C. F. Eckhardt
    "Not many people know about Stampede Mesa these days, but from the early 1880s until Texas cattlemen quit driving beef north, those two words would make a cold-footed rat run up and down a cowboy's spine. Stampede Mesa was-and may still be-one of the most thoroughly haunted places in Texas."
  • Withers by Mike Cox ("Texas Tales")
    Back in Texas' trail-driving days, a cow pony could cause a man an awful lot of worry - especially a horse with idiosyncrasies...
  • The Devilin' of Old John by C. F. Eckhardt
    Old John was about the oldest man I knew who was still working as a cowboy, and I don't know how old he was when he died...
  • Cowboy Life on a Small Spread by C. F. Eckhardt
    Cowboyin' ain't all it's cracked up to be. It's not all horsebackin' and branding and Saturday night at the dance hall. Herewith a view of some of the cowboy chores Roy and Gene never did in the Saturday matinee...
  • The Chisholm Trail Rides Again by Clay Coppedge
    Anyone wanting to follow the Old Chisholm Trail through Bell County would find part of the quest relatively easy, at least as easy as driving on IH-35...
  • Deere was a man farmers could really dig by Delbert Trew
    " In 1838, a village blacksmith named John Deere created a plow from a worn saw blade. Amazingly, the new design blade sheared the soil cleanly and the moldboard laid the new soil aside in long, neat ribbons..."
  • Cowboys: Stand-up comedians for the Lord by Delbert Trew
    "Few occupations experience everyday hazards quite like that of the cowboy..."
  • Cowboy Tree by Mike Cox
    "...In a way, it’s natural enough that Pleasanton would have such a tree, unnatural as the combination of the words “cowboy” and “tree” seems to be. The Atascosa County community south of San Antonio has long claimed to be the birthplace of the cowboy..."
  • Stampede
  • Odessa WPA Mural - "Stampede" 1-28-10
  • Amarillo WPA Murals - Gang Plow, Disk Harrow, Cattle Branding, Cattle Loading, Coronado's Exploration Party, and Oil 8-11-10
  • Cadillac Ranch by M.M. Harris 12-15-07
  • Tom Jones at the Cadillac Ranch A photo essay 12-15-07
  • Patrolling the Mexican Border by Air
    Cruse Aviation in the late 40s and early 50s
    by John Troesser, Photos courtesy Cruse Aviation
  • Shortly after World War II, the threat of invasion from Mexico was far different from the perceived threat today. Then the menace was disease. Mexican cattle infected with the dreaded hoof and mouth disease could easily wander (or be herded by smugglers) across the shallow, drought-stricken Rio Grande. .... more
  • Donna Howell-Sickles
    Cowgirl Art
  • Whiskey Funeral by Mike Cox
    "...A cowboy who worked on ranches along the Concho River in the top part of McCulloch County, Whiskey was known to take a drink or two or three. He won his nickname when he got so desperate for a drink that he traded his horse and saddle for a gallon of whiskey..."
  • "Ten Things you should know about "Shanghai" Pierce by Brewster Hudspeth
    "So You Want to be a Cattle Baron?"
  • Life On The Trail by Murray Montgomery
    The cowboy legacy is very much alive in Texas and it has been that way for a long time.
  • Bluffton by Mike Cox
    Some cowboys' overindulgence at one of those establishments led to ...
  • Wild Times in Old McDade by Murray Montgomery
    Again the outlaws retaliated... Two cowboys were killed and the ranch house was burned...
  • Find Two Willies and a Max In Hall of Fame, At Tracks by Bill Bradfield
    Texas ranches and stables have been closely linked with the sport of horse racing for generations...
  • The Lonesome Plains: Death and Revival on an American Frontier
    Cowboys rode miles to attend dances or just to see a woman from a distance...
  • The Spanish America War Chronicles by John Troesser
    Texas provided men and a place to train "The Rough Riders", the group composed of cowboys, adventurers and polo playing aristocrats from New York.
  • Donley County by Lou Ann Herda
    A saloon and dance hall were going to be erected by some outsiders at one point. This didn't set well with several local cowboys, who offered to scalp them if they didn't leave. It took legendary cattle driver .....
  • Metador, Texas - The saga of the Matador Ranch
  • Waco, Texas
    Waco became a spur on the Chisholm Trail and cattlemen and their cowboys often stopped in Waco for ...
  • Fargo, Texas - This is where an estimated six million Longhorn cattle crossed on their way to the railheads in Dodge City, Kansas.
  • Bandera, Texas - Cowboy Capital of Texas
  • Tioga, Texas - Gene Autry's hometown?
  • Torn Between Two Cowboys in Moulton, Texas
    Being Tossed on the Horns of a Dilemma can be as Painful as being Drawn and Quartered
  • The Cowboy Silhouette by John Troesser
    You've seen him if you've driven through the country. He's a booted and hatted cowboy, leaning up against a building or fence post with no visible means of support other than his fence post.
  • Watering Trough in Sudan
  • Cartoons:
  • Branding Cattle 7-18-13
  • Cowboy Lingo
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