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Kenneth Wayne Howell

cowboy and rancher, may have been born into slavery and escaped from bondage before the Civil War, though information about his life prior to his arrival in southwest Texas in the 1870s is limited. Based on stories he later told to his co-workers it seems likely that Adams spent his early adult life working as a cowboy in the brush country region of Texas, probably south and west of San Antonio. Given the circumstance of his birth and the times in which George came of age, he never received a formal education. As recent historical scholarship has made clear, black cowboys on the Texas plains enjoyed greater freedoms than did African Americans living in more settled regions of the state. However, their freedoms were always tainted by the persistent racism that prevailed during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. George Adams's life was a vivid example of ...

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Kenneth Wiggins Porter

According to biographer J. Evetts Haley, Add had “drifted up from the Guadalupe bottoms” of southeast Texas to the high plains; other accounts say that he had been “raised” by cattleman George W. Littlefield, with whom he had been “since Emancipation days.” In any case, he apparently worked almost his entire active life for various Littlefield outfits—particularly the LFD brand, used to mark Littlefield's 40,000 head of cattle—first in the Texas Panhandle and later in eastern New Mexico.

While some top hands white and black were noted as riders or bronco busters Add was almost equally distinguished in both roles Stocky and strongly built Add had such powerful hands that he could practically twist the hide off a horse He would walk into a corral of bad broncos get any one of them by the ear and nose smother it down lead it out of the bunch and ...

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Carl V. Hallberg

Isom Dart, also known as Ned Huddleston, was born in Arkansas. Dart's early life is an enigma. Biographical accounts give a lively “Wild West” picture of an itinerant cowboy and occasional gang member based on legend and folklore. What is known is that sometime in the mid-1880s Dart settled in Brown's Hole, an isolated area where the borders of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah meet. He worked initially for the Middlesex Land and Cattle Company but later found gainful employment on the Bassett Ranch.

Dart was adept at many practical trades but his true calling was as a cowboy His skill in handling horses and the use of the rope soon distinguished him as one of the best cowhands in the region Dart s congenial personality also helped him gain acceptance in social circles He became an adopted member of the Bassett family In time he became quite knowledgeable ...

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Carl V. Hallberg

black cowboy and rustler, also known as Ned Huddleston, was born in Arkansas. Dart's early life is an enigma. Biographical accounts give a lively Wild West picture of an itinerant cowboy and occasional gang member based on legend and folklore. What is known is that sometime in the mid-1880s Dart settled in Brown's Hole, an isolated area where the borders of Colorado, Wyoming, and Utah meet. He worked initially for the Middlesex Land and Cattle Company but later found gainful employment on the Bassett Ranch.

Dart was adept at many practical trades but his true calling was as a cowboy His skill in handling horses and in the use of the rope soon distinguished him as one of the best cowhands in the region Dart s congeniality also helped him gain acceptance in social circles He became an adopted member of the Bassett family In time he became quite ...

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Deadwood Dick was born Nat Love, a slave in a log cabin in Davidson County, Tennessee. He was the youngest of three children. A lucky raffle ticket brought him enough money to buy some clothes and to seek greater opportunities, so he started on foot for the West in 1869. Upon his arrival in Dodge City, Kansas, he found work as a cowboy. He earned admiration at once for his ability to ride a bucking bronco. This feat earned the “tenderfoot” a job with the Duval outfit at thirty dollars a month.

At a Fourth of July celebration in 1876 after a cattle drive to Deadwood South Dakota Love found himself in competition with the best cowboys in the West He won the contest to rope throw tie bridle saddle and mount an untamed bronco a feat he accomplished in a record nine minutes He also won ...

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J. C. Mutchler

cowboy, was apparently born in the Indian Territory (later Oklahoma). Little is known of his parents or early life. According to “The Ballad of Charlie Glass,” by William Leslie Clark, Glass was “one quarter Cherokee” (Wyman and Hart). Legend has it that he moved to western Colorado after shooting the man who had killed his father. What is known to be factual is that by 1909 Glass was working as a cowboy for the S-Cross Ranch in western Colorado.

Glass was, by reputation, a colorful character. He was known for going to town in fancy silk shirts and enjoying the saloons, card games, and brothels of the “Barbary Coast,” the red-light district of Grand Junction, Colorado. By 1917 he had found employment with Oscar L. Turner a cattleman with large ranch holdings in the counties of Mesa Garfield and Rio Blanca in western Colorado and ...

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J. C. Mutchler

Charlie Glass was apparently born in the Indian Territory (now Oklahoma). Little is known about his parents or early life. According to “The Ballad of Charlie Glass,” by William Leslie Clark, Glass was “one quarter Cherokee” (Wyman & Hart). Legend has it that Glass moved to western Colorado after shooting the man who had killed his father. What is certainly factual is that Glass was working as a cowboy for the S-Cross Ranch in western Colorado by 1909.

Glass was, by reputation, a colorful character. He was known for going to town in fancy silk shirts and enjoying the saloons, card games, and brothels of the “Barbary Coast,” the red light district of Grand Junction, Colorado.

By 1917 Glass was employed by Oscar L. Turner a cattleman with large ranch holdings in the counties of Mesa Garfield and Rio Blanca in western Colorado and Grand and Uintah ...

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Jon L. Brudvig

also known as “Nigger Ben” or “Nigga Benjy,” cowboy, cattle rustler, card cheat, and con artist, was born Benjamin F. Hodges in Texas, the son of an African American buffalo soldier assigned to the Ninth Cavalry stationed in San Antonio and a Hispanic mother, neither of whose names is known. Nothing is known about Hodges's family, childhood, or education, or indeed of his life before he arrived in Dodge City, Kansas.

Hodges arrived in the newly established town of Dodge City in 1872 with a herd of Texas cattle. Robert M. Wright, author of Dodge City, indicates that Hodges, then in his late twenties, was one of the earliest Texas drovers to arrive in Dodge City. Although not as famous as some of the town's other residents, notably Wyatt Earp, Bat Masterson, and Doc Holliday Hodges was one of the most ...

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Rayford W. Logan

Ben Hodges was the son of a black father and a Mexican mother Little is known about him until his arrival in Dodge City Kansas with one of the first herds of cattle from Texas Laying claim to descent from an old Spanish family he presented apparently legitimate documents to support legal action for recognition of his right to a large land grant in Kansas While his case was pending in court he also obtained a letter of credit that showed him to be the owner of thirty two sections of Kansas land Armed with this evidence he contracted for the delivery of thousands of cattle from ranges near the Beaver and Cimarron rivers Unable to secure the necessary financial banking for the purchase he obtained free railroad passes and used forged receipts in an attempt to swindle two cattlemen After his forgery was discovered he settled for a small ...

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Mathias Hanses

a cowboy and town founder most famous for honoring enduring pioneers with single white flowers, was born in Orangeville, Texas, the eldest son of two former slaves, Alex and Annie Hooks. While still at the Hooks Plantation, located outside of Texarkana, Alex had learned to read and write (his owner taught him in defiance of the law and used him as a bookkeeper), which helped him avoid the economic toils so many penniless freedmen faced in the postbellum South. In Orangeville, Alex Hooks became a preacher and prominent educator in that tiny town's black community, and the Bible, accordingly, played a dominant role in the education of his five sons and three daughters. Wiry, skinny Mathew Hooks soon went by the nickname Bones and developed such rugged attitudes and salt of the earth perseverance as would enable his successes in the Lone Star State Among them were ...

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Liz Stephens

cowboy and trail-driver on the Goodnight-Loving Trail and close associate of the cattleman Charles Goodnight, was born a slave in Summerville, Mississippi, and later moved to Parker County, Texas, with the family of his owner and probable father, Dr. William Ikard. Bose Ikard's mother was named King and was also William Ikard's slave. Though the Texas Historical Commission lists Ikard's birth as 1843, and Ikard's own headstone lists 1859, a probable year of birth was 1847, the same year as that of William Ikard's “legitimate” son, with whom Bose was largely raised.

Ikard's association with Goodnight arose from their proximity as neighbors in Parker County, working in the same industry. With a move from Mississippi to Texas in 1852 the Ikard family became part of the primary industry of the region, cattle. The sale of one female slave, possibly Ikard's mother, to another neighbor, Oliver ...

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William F. Mugleston

cowboy and author, was born in Davidson County, Tennessee, the son of Sampson Love and a mother whose name is unknown. Both were slaves owned by Robert Love, whom Nat described as a “kind and indulgent Master.” Nat Love's father was a foreman over other slaves; his mother, a cook. The family remained with Robert Love after the end of the Civil War.

In February 1869 Love struck out on his own. He left because Robert Love's plantation was in desperate economic straits after the war, and he sensed that there were few opportunities other than agricultural work for young former slaves in the defeated South. Although his father had died the year before, leaving him the head of the family, Love nevertheless left because, as he admitted, “I wanted to see more of the world.”

After a short stay in Kansas Love worked for three years on ...

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Charles Rosenberg

renaissance man of diverse interests who spent most of his life as a cowboy and foreman on New Mexico horse and cattle ranches; amateur natural historian, geologist, astronomer, and archaeologist; and self-taught violinist and surveyor, discovered what was later identified as North America's first Paleo-Indian site, in Wild Horse Arroyo near Folsom, New Mexico. This discovery pushed back the date of known human settlement on the continent from 3,000 years to over 10,000 years.

McJunkin was born in 1851 on a ranch near Midway, Texas, where the laws of that time defined him as the property of persons unknown. The names of his parents have never been established, and even the origin of his surname is disputed; accounts that he worked for a Jack McJunkin in Texas (whether before or after emancipation is not clear), point to John Sanders McJunkin of Midway. In 1910 he informed a U S ...

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Mary F. Germond

George McJunkin was born in rural Texas. His father, a blacksmith, became free before the Civil War began in 1861. On the horse-raising ranch where he grew up, George McJunkin acquired ranch skills and—remarkably, for a rural child of that time—four years of schooling. As a boy he worked as a freighter's helper and buffalo skinner. It was his knowledge of horses and cows, however, that led to his unique place in the annals of prehistory.

At twenty one McJunkin helped herd several hundred horses up Texas trails to the Colorado New Mexico borderlands He stayed to work on those high plains for almost fifty years as a broncobuster top hand and ranch foreman While foreman at the Crowfoot Ranch near Folsom New Mexico he also homesteaded Later he traded his land for cattle that under his brand were run with those of his employer As foreman at ...

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Michael N. Searles

cowboy, roper, and bronc rider, also known as Negro Add or Old Add, was born Addison Jones, reportedly in Gonzales County, Texas; his father and mother are unknown. The early life of Add is clouded in conjecture. He may have been a slave on the George W. Littlefield plantation in Panola County, Mississippi, and relocated with the Littlefields when they settled in Gonzales County, Texas, in 1850. It is also possible that he was born in Gonzales County and was purchased by the Littlefields after they arrived. There is no record of his youth and early adulthood.

There are many stories about Add in cowboy memoirs and biographies but the only name given is Nigger Add or Old Negro Add It apparently seemed of little consequence in cowboy country that Add had a last name Addison Jones s full name was revealed in print for ...

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Michael N. Searles

cattleman sometimes known as “80 John,” was born near Inez in Victoria County, Texas, to Mary Wallace, a slave. Mary was born in Virginia, lived in Missouri, and sold to Mary O'Daniels of Texas. Little is known of Mary's other children born in Missouri or of Daniel's father. Neither Webster's birth nor his young life distinguished him from other slave children born in that region of the state. Webster, as he was then known, spent his earliest days performing menial chores and graduated to field work by the time he reached adolescence. However, chopping cotton never was his preferred activity, and he looked forward to a day when he could become a cowboy.

Wallace began his cowboy career as a teenager in the mid 1870s on a cattle drive from Victoria to Coleman County While Wallace was a tenderfoot he carried out his responsibilities and finished the trail drive ...