By Delbert Trew (Rancher, author, musician, columnist)
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... Click
Ranches, Ranchers, Ranching, Cowboys, Cattle & Cattle Drives:
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..."
a Locomotive by Mike Cox 9-21-16
Hirsch - Wizard of the Race Track by Michael Barr
Cowboys' Christmas Ball by Michael Barr 1-1-16
Frank Norfleet by Clay Coppedge 10-2-15
Red - ugliest man living or dead by Murray Montgomery
One of the greatest horsemen and bronc riders this country has
Not So Great Cowboy Strike of 1883 by Clay Coppedge 12-5-14
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.
Successful Cattleman to Man Burner by Murray Montgomery
Print Olive could have been highly successful in life if he would
have stayed on the right side of the law.
Ranch - Gone but not Forgotten 2-16-13
Cowboys Come From
by Fred O. Simon 8-22-12
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...
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.
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...
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.
dollar paid for Texas cattle in 1870s by Murray Montgomery
A newspaper becomes an eyewitness to history as it documents the
story of those cattle drives and markets in 1874.
River Station 7-26-11
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.
Crosson had true grit by Mike Cox 6-30-11
Ranching in West Texas
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.
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.
West boots, vests have well-ridden history by Delbert Trew
Among the myriad of changes occurring in the Old West let us examine
the common boot.
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
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
- McGill Brothers Building
Texas Historic Landmark
men part of Texas lore - but for different reasons by Delbert
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...
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...
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
feed, from slab to sack by Delbert Trew
Like all progress, the evolution of ranch livestock feeding has
changed greatly, and for the better.
- AKA Bull Town
Early in the 20th century, this was one of largest cattle shipping
points in the United States.
by Mike Cox
Dust, bawling cattle, hell-raising cowboys and trains a half-mile
long – that was Barnhart in the 1920s and ‘30s...
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...
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."
Wisdom by Mike Cox
Cattle roundup in the free range days, and the dispute over branded
miracle materials, rawhide ruled by Delbert Trew
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...
- A Pioneer ranching center in Coke County
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
your vocabulary pleasure - Words can have odd origins by Delbert
Historians continually write of nesters, settlers, settlements
and free-range cattlemen. Exactly what were the origins of these
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...
your mark, go ... Big day was all important by Delbert Trew
Few events were as important to my mother as when the neighbors
came over to help with branding or shipping of our cattle...
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
to the Old West as child vivid as ever by Delbert Trew
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...
Lake - Watering spot for cattle 10-3-09
J. D. Reed - The Story of a Cowboy by Linda Kirkpatrick
James Duff Reed, the Cattle King of the West
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.
Cattlemen saved Texas from financial ruin by Murray Montgomery
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.
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
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.
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
switch laborious by Delbert Trew
The big switch from equine horsepower to gasoline power was about
over when I became old enough to remember...
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...
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...
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.
improvisation in branding and jailing by Delbert Trew
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...
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
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...
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...
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...
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...
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
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...
- Cowboy statue by Luis Jimenez in Houston
Trail: Fording the Brazos at Kimball Bend Bosque County Texas
by Angela Blair
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."
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...
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...
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
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...
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..."
Stand-up comedians for the Lord by Delbert Trew
"Few occupations experience everyday hazards quite like that
of the 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..."
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
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..."
Things you should know about "Shanghai" Pierce by
"So You Want to be a Cattle Baron?"
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.
Mason County Hoo Doo War by Mike Cox
A complicated tale with a lot of twists (some at the end of a rope),
.... a cattle theft problem that quickly morphed into vigilantism
and finally into an ever-escalating quest for revenge.
by Mike Cox
Some cowboys' overindulgence at one of those establishments led
Wild Times in Old McDade by Murray Montgomery
Again the outlaws retaliated... Two cowboys were killed and the
ranch house was burned...
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...
Lonesome Plains: Death and Revival on an American Frontier
Cowboys rode miles to attend dances or just to see a woman from
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.
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
Texas - The saga of the Matador Ranch
Waco became a spur on the Chisholm Trail and cattlemen and their
cowboys often stopped in Waco for ...
Texas - This is where an estimated six million Longhorn cattle
crossed on their way to the railheads in Dodge City, Kansas.
Texas - Cowboy Capital of Texas
Texas - Gene Autry's hometown?
Between Two Cowboys in Moulton, Texas
Being Tossed on the Horns of a Dilemma can be as Painful as being
Drawn and Quartered
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.
Trough in Sudan