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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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...

Article

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 ...