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Black Cowboys



BBC Magazine - (British Broadcasting Company)
America's forgotten Black cowboys
By Sarfraz Manzoor - 22 March 2013

Quentin Tarantino's Oscar-winning Western, Django Unchained, is one of relatively few Hollywood films depicting a black cowboy. In reality there were many, some of whose stories were borrowed for films starring white actors. The most common image of the cowboy is a gun-toting, boot-wearing, white man - like John Wayne, or Clint Eastwood. But the Hollywood portrayal of the Wild West is a whitewashed version of the reality. It is thought that, on some Texas trails, about a quarter of cowboys were black. In the real Old West, as opposed to the film depiction, black cowboys were a common sight. "Black cowboys often had the job of breaking horses that hadn't been ridden much," says Mike Searles, a retired professor of history at Augusta State University. "Black cowboys were also chuck wagon cooks, and they were known for being songsters - helping the cattle stay calm," he says. Searles says his research, which included poring over interviews with ex-slaves in the 1930s, suggested black cowboys benefited from what he calls "range equality".

"As a cowboy you had to have a degree of independence," he says. "You could not have an overseer, they had to go on horseback and they may be gone for days." Life was, nevertheless, harder for black cowboys than for their white counterparts. Vincent Jacobs, 80, a former rodeo rider who lives near Houston, Texas, recalls the racism he faced when he was starting out. "There would be separate rodeos for blacks and whites," he says. "It was hard, real hard - they would only let me perform after all the white people had been led out of the arena."



"Being a black cowboy was hard work," agrees 88-year-old Cleveland Walters, who lives just outside the town of Liberty, Texas. "I hate to think of the racism I went through. When it was branding time, they'd put 20 cows in the pen and I was the one who had to catch them and hold them down. The brander was white - so in other words all the hard, dirty work was done by the black cowboys."

Not only did Hollywood ignore black cowboys, it plundered their real stories as material for some of its films.
The Lone Ranger, for example, is believed to have been inspired by Bass Reeves, a black lawman who used disguises, had a Native American sidekick and went through his whole career without being shot.

The 1956 John Ford film The Searchers, based on Alan Le May's novel, was partly inspired by the exploits of Brit Johnson, a black cowboy whose wife and children were captured by the Comanches in 1865. In the film, John Wayne plays as a Civil War veteran who spends years looking for his niece who has been abducted by Indians.


Britton Johnson??



Britton Johnson was reportedly born in Tennessee, Britt was a slave of Moses Johnson, who owned land in the Peters Colony (west of Dallas, in Young County). Unlike other slaves, Britt must have had some education. He was able to read and write and could manage basic accounting skills.

Indians kidnapped Britt’s family, including his wife and daughters, during the Elm Creek Raid of October, 1864. His son was killed in that raid. Some sources say that Johnson searched for his family, and personally negotiated their release, after living with the Comanche for a time. Other sources say that friendly Comanches—specifically Comanche chief Esahabitu (Asa-Havey)— helped Britt by paying a ransom for the Johnson family’s release. However it happened, Britt’s family was released by the Comanche during June of 1865.

As a black cowboy, who was now a free man following the Civil War’s end, Johnson was entrusted with trail responsibilities. In January of 1871, he and his colleagues encountered serious trouble from a Kiowa raiding party. The Texas State Historical Association tells us what happened:

On January 24, 1871, about twenty-five Kiowas attacked a wagontrain manned by Johnson and two black teamsters four miles east of Salt Creek in Young County. A group of nearby teamsters from a larger train of wagons reported that Johnson died last in a desperate defense behind the body of his horse. Teamsters who buried the mutilated bodies of Johnson and his men counted 173 rifle and pistol shells in the area where Johnson made his stand. He was buried with his men in a common grave beside the wagon road.

Johnson’s fascinating story was turned-into a novel by Alan LeMay in 1954. He called it The Searchers. John Ford, a movie maker, then turned the novel into a film, starring John Wayne. It was also called “The Searchers.”



Bill Pickett



Willie M. "Bill" Pickett (December 5, 1871 - April 2, 1932) was a cowboy and rodeo performer. Pickett's impae on a handbill advertising the movie "The Bull-Dogger," released in 1921 by The Norman Film Manufacturing Company. Pickett was billed as "the world's colored champion" in "death-defying feats of courage and skill."Pickett was born in the Jenks-Branch community of Travis County, Texas. He was the second of 13 children born to Thomas Jefferson Pickett, a former slave, and Mary "Janie" Gilbert. The family's ancestry was black, white and Cherokee Native American.

Pickett attended school through the fifth grade, after which he took up ranching work. He invented the technique of bulldogging, the skill of grabbing cattle by the horns and wrestling them to the ground. Pickett's method for bulldogging was biting a cow on the lip and then falling backwards. This method eventually lost popularity as the sport morphed into the steer wrestling that is practiced in rodeos today.







In 1890 Pickett married Maggie Turner, a former slave and daughter to a white southern plantation owner. The couple had nine children. Pickett and his brothers started their own company, the Pickett Brothers Broncho Busters and Rough Riders Association, to offer their services as cowboys. Pickett also made a living demonstrating his bulldogging skills and other stunts at county fairs. In 1905, Pickett joined the 101 Ranch Wild West Show that featured the likes of Buffalo Bill, Will Rogers, Tom Mix and Zach and Lucille Mulhall. Pickett was a popular performer who toured around the world and appeared in early motion pictures. Pickett was shown in a movie created by Richard E. Norman. Pickett's ethnicity resulted in him not being able to appear at many rodeos. He often was forced to claim that he was of Comanche heritage in order to perform.


Nate Love aka "Deadwood Dick"



Nate Love, also know as Deadwood Dick, was born a slave in Tennessee. He he had a love of the free and wild life on the range. Soon he was known as a good all around cowboy. Nate found a Texas outfit that had delivered its herd and was preparing to go back down to Texas. There were several good black cowboys in the outfit. After sharing breakfast with the crew, Nate asked the trail boss for a job. The boss agreed if Nate could break a horse named Good Eye, the wildest horse in the outfit. Bronco Jim, another black cowboy gave Nate some pointers and Nate rode that horse. He said later that it was the toughest ride he had ever had.

The work was very hard. Nate rode through hailstorms so violent that only strong men could withstand them. The first time he met hostile Indians, he admitted he was too scared to run. After going through a number of such trials he adjusted to the ways of the cattle country and could handle any problem, Nate had a forty-five and he took every chance he could to practice with it and he got very good with it. There came a time when he could shoot better than any of his friends. Nate left the Texas Panhandle, and rode into Arizona where he got a job working for an outfit on the Gila River. He had ridden many of the trails of the southwest and he believed that he was a capable cowboy. While in Arizona working with Mexican vaqueros, he learned to speak Spanish like a native and he became very good at reading brands.

In the spring of 1876, Nate Love's outfit received orders to deliver three thousand steer to Deadwood City in the Dakota Territory. They arrived July 3rd. The town was getting ready for the 4th of July. The mining men and gamblers had gotten together and organized a contest with $200 prize money. Nate said that six of the dozen men in the contest were Black. Each black cowboy was to rope, throw, tie bridles, and saddle a mustang in the shortest possible time. The wildest horses were chosen for this event. Nate roped, threw, tied bridles, saddled, and mounted his mustang in exactly nine minutes. The next competitor took twelve minutes and thirty seconds. In the rifle and Colt events, shooting at 100 and 250 yards with 14 shots, Nate placed all of his shots in the bulls eye and 10 of the 12 pistol shots in the bulls eye. Nate Love was the obvious winner and along with the prize money, the town gave Nate the title of "Deadwood Dick".



Jesse Stahl


Jesse Stahl, a Black cowboy legend! The birth of Jesse Stahl in 1879 is celebrated on this date. He was an African-American cowboy and rodeo star.
From Tennessee, Stahl, an inductee into the Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City, was a major saddle bronco rider. Although exceptionally talented, Stahl who had a brother Ambrose seldom placed higher than third at the major rodeos mainly because he was Black. At one rodeo where he'd clearly bested his competitors, Stahl was awarded second place. Perhaps to mock the judges, he rode a second bronco while facing backward. A spectacular ride by black Stahl, on a previously un-ridden bucking horse called "Glass Eye" was one of the highlights of the show.

Jesse Stahl




He repeated his triumph by riding another notorious bucker, "Tar Baby," backwards with a suitcase in his hand. Srahl retired in 1929 and was probably the most famous Black cowboy of all time. Another black cowboy, Ty Stokes, and Jesse Stahl rode a bucking horse seated back to back it was what was called "a suicide ride." The total attendance in 1912 was 4,000. Some rodeo enthusiast consider Jesse Stahl the greatest of all bronco riders; neither is surprising when one considers that approximately five thousand black cowboys rode the cattle trails in the 19th century.



John Ware



John Ware (c. 1845 to 12 September 1905) was the best known black on the early Canadian Prairie. Born into a South Carolina slave family young John was often forced by the slave master to take part in organized fights between young black males. With the end of the Civil War came freedom, Ware left the Carolina’s bound for Texas. Finding work near Fort Worth he began his career as a cowboy and became skilled with horses and the lariat.

John Ware arrived in southern Alberta, Canada in 1882, bringing the first 3,000-head of cattle for the North West Cattle Company from Idaho. Born into slavery on a cotton plantation near Georgetown, South Carolina, the second youngest of 11 children, and when he gained his freedom after the American Civil War he left for Texas. There he became a cowboy and learned the skills of a rancher. Due to his large stature (over 6 feet and 230 lbs.) and dedication to hard work he was able to work his way up to Canada driving cattle. After his arrival in Calgary, Ware continued to work for the North West Cattle Company which had formed the Bar-U Ranch near Longview, Alberta south-west of Calgary. As a ranch hand he was paid a daily rate with room and board included. Riders were allowed to sleep in bunks above the warm kitchen.

In 1884 he went to work at the Quorn Ranch on the Sheep River, owned by members of the Quorn Hunt Club in Leicestershire, England, with a cattle herd and imported Irish hunters from Ireland. Ware’s position in charge of the horse herd manifested his stature in the ranching community. In late May 1885, Ware, as representative of the Quorn, accompanied a hundred riders, five hundred horses and fifteen chuck-wagons from Fort Macleod on one of the last big spring round-ups to comb the entire foothills country from the Montana boundary north to Calgary. The Macleod Gazette observed: “John is not only one of the best natured and most obliging fellows in the country, but he is one of the shrewdest cow men, and the man is considered pretty lucky who has him to look after his interest. The horse is not running on the prairie which John cannot ride.” (2 March 1892. Macleod Gazette (Fort Macleod, [Alta])



Another incident on the 1885 round-up found Edward J. F. Hills, an English gentleman and novice cowboy, who was taken under the wing by John Ware. Hills wrote letters home of Ware’s reputation as “the best rough-rider in the North-West,” and of Ware’s personal kindness in helping him master range-land skills. By 1890 Ware had his own spread on the Red Deer River, known as the “Four Nines” with his own registered cattle brand as he had taken some of his wages in cattle. Ware had almost given up on finding a wife in Alberta, as there were few black people in the area, and when he heard the Lewis family had moved in with a daughter of marriageable age he borrowed a wagon to visit the new arrivals. Once there he took the family for a ride in the country, but unfortunately a storm blew up and the team was struck by lightning. No one in the wagon had been injured, but the team of horses were dead. It is reputed that Ware simply shook his head and said, “Now I’m going to have to break in a new team” and proceeded to drag the wagon back to Lewis farm by himself.*

He married the Toronto-born Mildred Lewis March 2, 1892. By 1900 they had five children, two daughters and three sons. In 1902 his first home on the Sheep River near Millarville was destroyed by the spring flood, then rebuilt on higher ground. Soon the arrival of more settlers signaled the end of the open range, and John Ware moved his family and 300-head of cattle 90 miles east of their old home to a location near Brooks. This location was near the banks of the Red Deer River and a stream now known as Ware Creek (located west of Dinosaur Provincial Park where the original Ware cabin has been preserved).

They prospered, their cattle herd growing to 1,000 head, with Mildred doing the bookkeeping for the ranch and teaching her children to read and write. Ware popularized steer wrestling which would later become a highlight of the Calgary stampede. Mildred died of pneumonia and typhoid in the spring of 1905 and a grieving John sent his children to stay with Mildred's parents in Blairmore. On September 11th, Ware was killed when his horse tripped in a badger hole and fell on him. His funeral held September 14, 1905 at the Calgary Baptist Church was the largest Calgary had ever seen. People from all over Alberta and British nobility came out to bid farewell to Alberta’s legendary black cowboy.

“In an era where roughness, dishonesty, bullying, and lawlessness seemed normal, Mr. Ware showed honesty, skill, hard work, and decency. He was known as, ‘a man of unquestioned honesty and agreeable nature...[who] boasted the rare distinction of never having been thrown from a horse. At rough-riding and roping he was an expert’” (Turner, 1950, pg. 461)*
Ware’s regional folk hero status centres on his remarkable horsemanship, strength, good-natured humour and general kindness, his loyalty to friends and neighbours, and his willingness to take novice cowhands under his guidance. Ware was a man of action and few words: an attribute shared by the heroes of the cowboys of the frontier. John and Mildred Ware’s children had no descendants. Their last surviving daughter, Nettie, obtained an honourary doctorate from the University of Alberta in 1982 for her work on the pioneer history of the province. Nettie died on her ninety-sixth birthday in March 1989.



James Pierson Beckwourth



James Pierson Beckwourth, born James Beckwith and generally known as, Jim Beckwourth (April 26, 1798[1] or 1800 Frederick County, Virginia – October 29, 1866 or 1867, Denver, Colorado Territory) was an American mountain man, fur trader, and explorer. A mulatto born into slavery in Virginia, he was freed by his father (and master) and apprenticed to a blacksmith; later he moved to the American West. As a fur trapper, he lived with the Crow Nation for years. He is credited with the discovery of Beckwourth Pass, through the Sierra Nevada (U.S.) Mountains, between present-day Reno, Nevada, and Portola, California, during the California Gold Rush years, and improved the Beckwourth Trail, which thousands of settlers followed to central California.

In 1864 Beckwourth was hired by Colonel John M. Chivington of the Third Colorado Volunteers to act as a scout for a campaign against the Cheyenne and Apache. The territory's campaign resulted in the Sand Creek Massacre, in which the militia killed an estimated 70-163 friendly Cheyenne men, women and children who had camped in an area suggested by the previous commander of Fort Lyon and flew an American flag to show their status. Outraged by the massacre, the Cheyenne banned Beckwourth from trading with them. Well into his 60s by then, Beckwourth returned to trapping. The US Army employed him as a scout at Fort Laramie and Fort Phil Kearny in 1866.




While guiding a military column to a Crow band in Montana, Beckwourth complained of severe headaches and suffered nosebleeds, most probably the result of a severe case of hypertension. James Beckwourth returned to the Crow village, where he died on October 29, 1866, with unstoppable nose bleeding. William Byers, a personal friend and the founder of the Rocky Mountain News, claimed the Crow had poisoned Beckwourth, as the tribe felt they could not trust him because of his involvement in the Sand Creek Massacre. Byers had no supporting evidence, which made the claim pure speculation.




In the 2015 film The Revenant, an un-named African-American is depicted, as part of Ashley's 100. Since the chronology of events in the life of Hugh Glass was changed slightly for the film, it is unclear if the African-American shown was intended to be James Beckwourth, Edward Rose, a lesser known black mountain man, or simply a representation of the wider acceptance and equality of blacks on the western frontier that gave rise to historical figures like Beckwourth. Hugh Glass' legendary return, after being abandoned and left for dead, occurred in 1823, and Beckwourth did not join the expedition until 1824. However, there was an intervening period of time, between the return of Glass and his confrontation with Bridger and Fitzgerald, that did occur subsequent to 1824, that was changed in the film for the sake of brevity.



Ned Huddleston aka "Isom Dart"



Ned Huddleston (also known as Isom Dart) was born into slavery in Arkansas in 1849. His reputation as a rider, roper and bronco-buster earned him the nicknames of the “Black Fox” and the “Calico Cowboy.” He was also a notorious Wyoming Territory outlaw. In 1861 twelve-year-old Huddleston accompanied his owner, a Confederate officer, into Texas during the Civil War. After being freed at the end of the war Huddleston headed for the southern Texas-Mexico border region where he found work at a rodeo, became a stunt rider and honed his skills as a master horseman.

Huddleston straddled both sides of the law. For a time he and a young Mexican bandit named Terresa survived as rustlers stealing horses in Mexico and selling them in Texas. Huddleston later joined a cattle drive heading northwest to Brown’s Hole in the Colorado-Wyoming area around 1871. The 6’2” Huddleston briefly found success mining gold and silver then claimed his partner cheated him out of his earnings.

After a tumultuous love affair with a Shoshone Indian woman in 1875, Huddleston joined the infamous Tip Gault Gang, a cattle and horse rustling outfit of southeastern Wyoming. After narrowly escaping death he went further west and started a new life as a hard-working man. He changed his name to Isom Dart and made a living as a bronco buster. Isom Dart later returned to Brown’s Hole around 1890 and established his own ranch, but local cattlemen suspected he had built up his ranch herd from cattle he’d rustled from their ranches. The ranchers hired the notorious range detective, Tom Horn, to punish Dart. Horn ambushed and killed Isom Dart on October 3, 1900 near Brown's Hole. Public opinion was (and continues to be) divided about Dart's guilt. Some Brown's Hole residents mourned his death, claiming Dart was killed by cattleman who wanted his land and cattle. They saw Dart as a good-hearted, talented horseman and a top bronc stomper. Others believed he never completely relinquished his life of cattle rustling and thus remained a menace to the community.




Bass Reeves



Bass Reeves-One of the first African American Deputy U. S. Marshals west of the Mississippi, Reeves served in Indian Territory for 32 years. During this time he killed 14 outlaws and served warrants on over 3000, including his own son who was wanted for murder. After Oklahoma statehood in 1907, Reeves worked as a patrolman for the police department in Muskogee, where "reportedly no crimes were committed on his beat."



George Fletcher



George Fletcher was born in 1890 in St. Mary’s, Kansas. Fletcher came west on the old Oregon Trail from Missouri with his family at the turn of the 20th century, nearly 30 years after the last pioneers used the Oregon Trail. The Fletcher family settled in a small western town of Pendleton, Oregon. Fletcher built friendships and relationships among the local American Indians on the Umatilla Indian Reservation in Eastern Oregon. The tribes adopted Fletcher as one of their own. He learned about the tribes’ culture and language, and most importantly their horsemanship, all of which the federal government did not want the Indians to practice on the reservation, because the government believed the Indians should be farmers and Christians to survive in today’s world.

Fletcher entered his first rodeo event at a Fourth of July Celebration in Pendleton, Oregon, which he placed second in the bronco busting contest. This was to be the initial beginnings of what would become the Pendleton Round-Up in 1910. In 1911, Fletcher made the Saddle Bronc Finals at the Pendleton Round-Up, which became known as the controversial finals and was the first time that Jackson Sundown, a Native American, John Spain, a European American, and George Fletcher, an African American, competed for a World Title in rodeo.

Sundown was the first to ride in the finals and his bucking horse charged into the one of the Round-Up judge’s horses and he tumbled from the horse. Sundown was not awarded a re-ride because of the interference with the judge’s horse. John Spain rode second and he made a good ride, but there was a claim of a foul, that he had touched the horse with his free hand. The Round-Up judges scored his ride despite the protest from the crowd of a foul.

Fletcher was the last to compete. He made an outstanding ride and brought the cheering crowd to its feet, but the judges requested another horse for Fletcher. The crowd grew restless as Fletcher mounted his second horse for the finals. The horse bucked wildly with Fletcher before the grandstands and the crowd roared its approval. Within a few minutes after Fletcher’s ride the Round-Up judges announced, “Spain first, Fletcher second, and Sundown third.”

A dissatisfied Sheriff Til Taylor took Fletcher’s hat, tore it into pieces, and sold the pieces to the protesting crowd of thousands. The Sheriff awarded the money to Fletcher, as their Champion, the People’s Champion, and wished for him to have a championship saddle like the one awarded to John Spain. Fletcher served in World War I, where he was wounded and ended his career in rodeo. He worked as a ranch cowboy until his death in 1973.



Dangerfield Newby


Dangerfield Newby (1815 – October 16, 1859) was the oldest of John Brown's raiders, one of five black raiders, and the first of his men to die at Harpers Ferry, Virginia. Born into slavery in Fauquier County, Virginia, Newby married a woman also enslaved. Newby's father was Henry Newby, a landowner in Fauquier County. His mother was Elsey Newby, who was a slave, owned not by Henry, but by a neighbor, John Fox. Elsey and Henry lived together for many years and had several children, although interracial marriage was illegal in Virginia. Dangerfield was their first child. Dangerfield Newby, his mother and his siblings were later freed by his father when he moved them across the Ohio River into Bridgeport, Ohio. John Fox, who died in 1859, apparently did not attempt to retrieve Elsey, Dangerfield, or any of his siblings. Dangerfield's wife and their seven children remained in bondage. A letter found on his body revealed some of his motivation for joining John Brown and the raid on Harpers Ferry.

Dangerfield Newby's wife, Harriet Newby, was the slave of Jesse Jennings, of Arlington or Warrenton, Virginia. She and her children were sold to Louisiana after the raid. Newby had been unable to purchase the freedom of his wife and seven children. Their master raised the price after Newby had saved the $1,500 that had previously been agreed on. Because all of Newby's other efforts had failed he hoped to free them by force. Harriet's poignant letters, found on his body, proved instrumental in advancing the abolitionist cause. Newby was six foot two.

On 17 October 1859, the citizens of Harpers Ferry set to put down the raid. Harpers Ferry manufactured guns but the citizens had little ammunition, so during the assault on the raiders they fired anything they could fit into a gun barrel. One man was shooting six inch spikes from his rifle, one of which struck Newby in the throat, killing him instantly. After the raid, the people of Harpers Ferry took his body, stabbed it repeatedly, and amputated his limbs. His body was left in an alley to be eaten by hogs. In 1899 the remains of Newby-plus remains of nine other raiders-were reburied in a common grave near the body of John Brown in North Elba, New York.



Amos Harris


Amos Harris, is said to have been Nebraska's first negro cowboy. He was reported to weigh between 250 pounds and 300 pounds, and was 6 foot 3 inches tall. He spoke 5 languages and it was reported that he was born south of Galveston, Texas, on the Brazos River, the son of freed slave parents. He was known as "One of God's True Nobelmen". He carried a raw-hide rope which he, himself, had braided. He was considered to be one of the best ropers in the Sandhills.

Legend has it that he drove 5 herds of cattle up form Texas over the Chisholm Trail to Nebraska in 1878 as a member of the famous Olive crew. He was reported to be only 15 when he started this trade. It is reported that they dorve over 15,ooo head of Texas cattle to the open range in Custer county and along the Dismal River. From here, Amos Harris began his colorful careet as a cowboy in the central counties of Nebraska. It was on one of these trips, that he brought and sold cattle to the Ed Cook and Tower Ranch at Ainsworth.

On the 1880 census he was listed as being in the household of Ed Cook, for whom he was working at the time around Ainsworth, Brown county and around Blaine and Loup counties for various other ranchers. It lists his birth year as 1852,and his parents as being born in Tennessee. His birthdate is questionable, unknown even to himself. It was known to be between the 1840's to the 1860's. He was a very cheerful and happy man. The people of the times, bankers, lawyers, lumbermen, editors, farmers and other people with whom he had a working relationship remembered his as picturesque, courteous, friendly and happy.

In 1897 he married a negoues, with whom he had corresponded, Miss Eliza Young, daughter of R. Young of Bollus, Nebraska. They started their married life on a ranch 18 miles north of Brewster on the Calamus River. They remined on this ranch until the turn of the century when they moved to Valley county where Eliza passed away in February of 1903. Mr Harris later remarried to Elizabeth Jane Fears in 1908. He was 38 and she was 20. She later died "under the surgeons knife", Amos was devastated. In 1904 Amos went to Wheeler county and took a 400 acre claim west of Lake Erickson. He eventually lost his ranch to a homesteader.

When Amos would come to Brewster Cafe to eat, he always came in the back door and ate with the cook at the kitchen table. Meals were twenty five cents. Amos had been brought up in this tradition from the South. No information is readily available just how Amos met his death, but with violence being such a part of the west, it is rumored that Amos may have died of "lead poisoning".One source states that he died of natural causes. He started suffering small strokes and was in ill health. He died 02-23-1911 at about 65 years of age. He is buried at the Grand Island cemetery. A tombstone, donated by the black people of Grand Island was erected at his gravesite.



George Glenn



GEORGE GLENN (1850–1931). George Glenn, black traildriver, son of Wash Glenn, was born into slavery on March 8, 1850, probably in Colorado County, Texas. He was raised on the ranch of Robert B. Johnson of Columbus and trained in ranching activities and as a trail cook. After the Civil War and emancipation, Glenn evidently continued at the Johnson ranch as a cowhand. In the spring of 1870 he accompanied Johnson on a cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. At the Red River, when a fresh group of cowhands displaced the original ones, Johnson and Glenn continued with the new group to Abilene, where they sold the herd.

Johnson fell ill and died at age thirty-six in Abilene in July 1870. Glenn had his employer embalmed and buried in a metal casket in the area. The following September he decided to bring Johnson's body back to Texas for burial and had the casket disinterred and placed in a wagon. Reportedly, Glenn traveled alone with Johnson's body for forty-two days across three states, to arrive in Columbus in November 1871. He did not continue as a cowhand but maintained a lifelong friendship with his former employer's nephew, Texas Ranger and cattleman John Edwards Folts. Glenn's death certificate lists his occupation as "laborer." He was honored as one of the handful of black members of the Old Trail Drivers Association at the 1924 and 1926 annual meetings. He married Lucy Conner on December 25, 1872, and they had at least one child. Apparently Glenn resided the rest of his life in Glidden, where he owned a homestead. He died there of pneumonia on November 28, 1931, and was buried in Columbus.


Lonesome Dove (T.V. Miniseries)




There a doctor amputates Gus' right leg. Gus knows that his left leg is septic and he is likely to die, but refuses to let the doctor remove it too. Gus tells Call (who has come in search of him) to give his money to Lorie, to bury him in Texas, and to admit that Call is Newt's father. Call arranges to store Gus' body in the town over the winter. He then leads the cattle drive to a wilderness lake where the party raises a cabin and a corral.

Call honors Gus' wish to be returned to Texas. Just before departing, Call gives Newt a pocket-watch that belonged to his own father and states that Newt will run the ranch in his absence. The moment is filled with anticipation, but he is incapable of actually calling Newt his son out loud. Call soon returns to Ogallala.

Sheriff Johnson, Clara, Lorie, and the ranch hand Dish live happily together. Dish is enamored with Lorie, but she does not return his affections. When Call brings Gus' body, she stays and mourns by the coffin all night long. Clara asks Call to bury Gus at her home, but Call declines. Clara then berates Call for the bad effect he and Gus had on each other, blaming their adventures as the reason neither of them could find happiness.

After a long journey, Call arrives at Santa Rosa, New Mexico Territory, the town where Blue Duck has finally been captured. Call visits Blue Duck in jail, where Blue Duck mocks Call's failure to capture him. While being led to the gallows, Blue Duck grabs deputy Robert Hofer and throws himself out a window, choosing a murder-suicide rather than allow himself to be hanged.

Despite blizzards, a broken wagon, and the loss of the coffin, Call finally succeeds in burying Gus after a journey of some three thousand miles. Call weeps for his friend after burying him, the first display of emotion he has allowed himself since Deets' death. After the burial, Call tours Lonesome Dove, reunites with his former cook Bolivar, and discovers that the saloon owner who once employed Lorie was so heartbroken by her departure that he burned down the saloon and killed himself. As Call walks out of town, a reporter recognizes him and tries to interview him about his remarkable feats. Call ignores the reporter's questions, aside from ironically agreeing with him that he was a man of vision. Call then walks away as the sun sets on Lonesome Dove.

No mention is ever made of GEORGE GLENN who obviously is the example for this part of the story.



Mary Fields



Mary Fields, also known as Stagecoach Mary and Black Mary (c. 1832–1914), was the first African-American woman employed as a mail carrier in the United States and the second woman to work for the United States Postal Service. Fields stood 6 feet (182 cm) tall and weighed about 200 lbs (90 kg), liked to smoke cigars, and was once said to be as "black as a burnt-over prairie." She usually had a pistol strapped under her apron and a jug of whiskey by her side.

Born a slave in Hickman County, Tennessee, around 1832, Fields was freed when American slavery was outlawed in 1865. She then worked in the home of Judge Edmund Dunne. When Dunne's wife Josephine died in 1883 in San Antonio, Florida, Fields took the family's five children to their aunt, Mother Mary Amadeus, the mother superior of an Ursuline convent in Toledo, Ohio. In 1884, Mother Amadeus was sent to Montana Territory to establish a school for Native American girls at St. Peter's Mission, west of Cascade. Learning that Amadeus was stricken with pneumonia, Fields hurried to Montana to nurse her back to health. Amadeus recovered and Fields stayed at St. Peter's hauling freight, doing laundry, growing vegetables, tending chickens, repairing buildings and eventually becoming the forewoman.

The Native Americans called Fields "White Crow" because "she acts like a white woman but has black skin." Local whites did not know what to make of her. One schoolgirl wrote an essay saying: "she drinks whiskey, and she swears, and she is a republican, which makes her a low, foul creature." In 1894, after several complaints and an incident with a disgruntled male subordinate that involved gunplay, the bishop ordered her to leave the convent.

Mother Amadeus helped her open a restaurant in nearby Cascade. Fields would serve food to anyone, whether they could pay or not, and the restaurant went broke in about ten months. In 1895, although approximately 60 years old, Fields was hired as a mail carrier because she was the fastest applicant to hitch a team of six horses. This made her the second woman and first African American woman to work for the U.S. Postal Service. She drove the route with horses and a mule named Moses. She never missed a day, and her reliability earned her the nickname "Stagecoach." If the snow was too deep for her horses, Fields delivered the mail on snowshoes, carrying the sacks on her shoulders.

Fields was a respected public figure in Cascade, and on her birthday each year the town closed its schools to celebrate. When Montana passed a law forbidding women to enter saloons, the mayor of Cascade granted her an exemption. After quitting the mail route in 1901, 69-year-old Fields owned her own laundry service and owned and operated her own restaurant with the help of Mother Amadeus.

Fields died in 1914 at Columbus Hospital in Great Falls, but she was buried outside Cascade. In 1959, actor and Montana native Gary Cooper wrote an article for Ebony in which he said: "Born a slave somewhere in Tennessee, Mary lived to become one of the freest souls ever to draw a breath, or a .38." In the 1976 TV documentary South by Northwest, "Homesteaders", Fields was played by Esther Rolle, in the 1996 TV movie The Cherokee Kid, Fields was played by Dawnn Lewis, and in the 2012 TV movie Hannah's Law she was played by Kimberly Elise. Fields appeared as a character in five episodes of the television show Hell on Wheels, and was played by Amber Chardae Robinson. Fields is the subject of the song "Stagecoach Mary" by composer Michael Hearst as part of his Extraordinary People project. Fields is also played by Erykah Badu in the 2013 short western known as They Die By Dawn.





The Cow (Cattle)

The Aurochs (Bos primigenius), is an extinct type of large wild cattle that inhabited Europe, Asia and North Africa. It is the ancestor of domestic cattle. The species survived in Europe until the last recorded aurochs died in the Jaktorów Forest, Poland in 1627.

Archeozoological and genetic data indicate that cattle were first domesticated from wild Aurochs (Bos primigenius) approximately 10,500 years ago. There were two major areas of domestication: one in the area that is now Turkey, giving rise to the taurine line:



And a second in the area that is now Pakistan, resulting in the indicine line. Modern mitochondrial DNA variation indicates the taurine line may have arisen from as few as 80 aurochs tamed in the upper reaches of Mesopotamia near the villages of Çayönü Tepesi in southeastern Turkey and Dja'de el-Mughara in northern Iraq.



Although European cattle are largely descended from the taurine lineage, gene flow from African cattle (partially of indicine origin) contributed substantial genomic components to both southern European cattle breeds and their New World descendants. A study on 134 breeds showed that modern taurine cattle originated from Africa, Asia, North and South America, Australia, and Europe. Some researchers have suggested that African taurine cattle are derived from a third independent domestication from North African aurochsen.



Bull Cults in Ancient Egypt

Bull cults were popular from at least the First Dynasty (Early Dynastic Period). The powerful and virile Bull was associated with the Pharaoh, who sometimes took the epithet "Strong Bull of his mother". As early as 3100 B.C, the king is depicted in the form of a Bull.

On these two ancient Bull palettes (circa 3,000 B.C.), the King in the form of a Bull, is shown goring and trampling the enemies of Egypt.



A sacred bull was identified by specific sacred markings. Once the bull had been confirmed as the incarnation of a god, it was housed in plush quarters, given only the best food, and provided with a harem of the best cows. The lucky animal would live in the lap of luxury until its death when it would be mummified and buried with full honors.

Apis Bull

The most famous of the bull cults is undoubtedly that of the Apis bull (also known as the Hapis Bull or "Hapi-ankh"). The bull was the incarnation of a god, but unlike the other animal totems (who only provided a link to the god) the Apis was thought to host the god himself. The Apis bull was originally viewed as the manifestation of Ptah. However, the Apis was soon linked to Osiris when Ptah and Osiris merged and so Plutarch described the Apis as the "fair and beautiful image of the soul of Osiris". According to one myth the Apis was the living embodiment of Ptah while he lived and Osiris when he died.


Cattle in Ancient Egypt





The Introduction of Cattle into Colonial North America

Cattle were imported directly to Virginia, Massachusetts, New York, New Hampshire, Delaware, and possibly southern New Jersey, from the colonizing European countries. Many cattle, however, were brought into the southwest, the Gulf area, Florida and the southeast from the Spanish possessions in the West Indies and from Mexico. It also appears that many cattle containing at least some Spanish inheritance were shipped into Virginia, Delaware, New Jersey, and Massachusetts. The initial mass importations of cattle from Europe into the North American colonies ceased about 1640. From that date to the American Revolution the cattle needs of the colonies were taken care of through intercolonial trade, or through trade with the Spanish colonies in the Western Hemisphere. A few cattle from the French Colonies in the St. Lawrence River Valley found their way into the “Old Northwest”.

The Texas Longhorn

The roots of the Texas Longhorn go back to the late 1400s. Cattle were not indigenous to North America, but were introduced by gold-seeking Spanish conquistadors. The first Spanish explorers turned their dark, thin-legged, wiry Moorish-Andalusian cattle loose on the Caribbean Islands. [The Moorish invasions from the 8th to the 13th centuries: The Moors brought cattle with them which had African genes, and of course the European cattle were there as well. All those influences come together in the cattle of the Iberian peninsula.]
These Andalusians, known as ‘Black cattle,’ also produced Spanish fighting bulls. Left on their own, the cattle strayed, grew larger and soon turned wild. In the wild they thrived, growing heavy-boned, skinny and swift. Their long legs and long horns provided offensive weapons and defensive protection. They also developed a fiery temper and a malicious cleverness.

In 1521, Spanish sea captain Gregorio de Villalobos, defying a law prohibiting cattle trading in Mexico, left Santo Domingo with six cows and a bull and set sail to Veracruz, Mexico. The explorer Hernando Cortes also set sail with Criollo, or Spanish, cattle to have beef while on his expeditions. He branded his herds with three crosses-the first brand recorded in North America.

As more Spanish explorers headed north, their crippled and exhausted cows were left behind, loose on the trail, to fend for themselves. These Spanish explorers held to the Castilian tradition that grass was a gift of nature. Spanish cattlemen did not fence in their fields or their herds, and cattle easily wandered off to join the wild population. In the 1820s, settlers in Texas, then part of Mexico, primarily raised European breeds of cattle. The Texas Longhorn is the result of the accidental crossbreeding of escaped descendants of the Criollo cattle and the cows of early American settlers, including English Longhorns.

The easily identifiable result is a wild, slab-sided, ornery, multicolored bovine weighing between 1,000 and 1,500 pounds and having a horn spread of 4 to 7 feet. A Longhorn was considered mature at 10 years, and by then averaged 1,200 pounds. The combination of these characteristics made Longhorns hearty and self-reliant. One of their drawbacks was their meat. It was known to be lean, stringy and tough, but was still better than beef from Criollo cattle. The New York Tribune, on July 4, 1854, described Longhorn beef: ‘The meat is fine-grained and close, somewhat like venison. It is apt to be a little tough.’ These feral cattle, being excellent swimmers, easily crossed the sluggish Rio Grande, but generally were stopped by the more turbulent Red River. By the Mexican War, 1846-1848, the Texas Longhorn had become a recognizable type. Worcester, however, points out that the real Texas Longhorn was ‘a fairly distinct type that appeared in South Texas in large numbers only after the Civil War.’

The Longhorn did not have many enemies. Native Indians did not hunt the wild cattle; they preferred the meat of the tamer and easier to kill buffalo. The Indians also found more uses for buffalo hides and bones than they did for Longhorn leather. Wolves that followed the migrating buffalo herds remained shy and wary of the mean and often deadly Longhorn cattle. With the waning of the buffalo herds, the prairie grasses from Mexico to Canada became fodder for this new, more marketable animal. Most non-Indian Americans never developed a taste for buffalo, and more and more people were taking a liking to beef. A single Longhorn cow needed 10 acres of good plains grass a year for feed, 15 if the ground was dry and scrubby, and there were millions of acres available. Living on the rich Texas plains, a cow would normally have 12 calves in her lifetime, ensuring a steady supply for the new market.

During the Civil War, the unattended Longhorns proliferated. By 1865, about 5 to 6 million Longhorns resided in Texas, and most were unbranded. Many Confederate Army veterans returning from the war built up herds by claiming unmarked cattle and branding them. At that time a steer was worth about $4 in Texas-that was if you could find anyone with the $4. In Chicago, Cincinnati and other meat-packing and market towns up North, that same steer sold for about $40. The problem was getting the steers to market. More than 250,000 steers were driven toward Kansas and Missouri in 1866, but many didn’t make it because farmers, worried about tick fever, would turn them back, and thieves would strike the herds. In 1867, Abilene, Kansas, at the railhead of the Kansas & Pacific, opened up as a major market and became the first of the cow towns: "Cows were transported by train from these Railheads". For the next two decades, Longhorns hit the trails on long but generally profitable drives. There had actually been long drives earlier-such as to New Orleans in the 1830s and to California during the gold rush-but the era of the great trail drives did not begin until after the Civil War.

The Cowboy

To build up herds, cattlemen often hired young ‘brush poppers.’ For $10 a month plus board, they combed the sage brush, popping out cattle as they went. After the spring roundup, the cattle herd was driven north. For this dangerous work a cowboy would earn $30 a month. A drive often covered 1,500 miles and took four to six months. The hours were long, the conditions brutal and the dangers very real. The outdoor work, mostly in the saddle, appealed to a certain breed of men-the American cowboy.

Unpredictable weather and swollen streams would break up the routine on the trails, and no single word could shake up a cow camp quicker than ‘Stampede!’ Every cowboy that ever trailed a herd was concerned about the threat and hazards of a stampede. It wouldn’t take much to get the Longhorns to run: a yelp from a coyote, the rattling of the chuck wagon’s pans, the hiss of a rattlesnake, a cowhand’s sneeze, the flair of a match. In Frederic Remington’s The Stampede, the cause was lightning. ‘Stompede was the old Texian word, and no other cattle known to history had such a disposition to stampede as the Longhorns,’ writes Dobie.

In an instant, a calm herd could become a solid wave of nearly unstoppable alarm and panic. Normally a Longhorn steer would not target a man on horseback, but neither man nor horse was safe during a stampede. The steers themselves usually were at great risk. In Idaho, an 1889 stampede led to the deaths of one cowboy and 341 Longhorns. In Nebraska, in 1876, four cowboys tried to head off 500 stampeding steers. Only three of the men made it; all that was found of their friend was the handle to his revolver Another herd took to running when a tobacco shred from a cowboy’s pouch stuck in a steer’s eye. That unfortunate crew lost two cowboys, and a score were injured. Out of their herd of 4,000 head, 400 cattle were killed. One of the worst stampedes occurred in July 1876 near the Brazos River in Texas. Almost the entire herd plunged into a gully; more than 2,000 head were killed or missing. When cattle stampeded they did not utter a sound, but a cacophony was raised by the clashing of horns and the crashing of hooves. The heat that the massed herd emitted was phenomenal.

Charles Goodnight, one of the 19th century’s most famous cattlemen, once described how the heat ‘almost blistered the faces’ of the men on the lee side of the herd. On a hot night, a steer that ran 10 miles might lose up to 40 pounds. There was only one thing, agreed most cowboys, that could be done to gain control of a runaway herd. That was to ride hellbent for leather toward the head of the herd and get the leaders milling, so that the herd would circle around into itself. The cowboys hoped the cattle would exhaust themselves during the process. The men would wave hats or slickers, beat ropes against chaps and sometimes fire pistols into the ground to try and keep the animals from running. A herd in flight could spread out over a vast area. If the herd ran for 25 miles, the cowboys might have to ride 200 miles rounding up the strays. Working alone, each man fanned out and began riding toward the herd’s new bedding ground. Sometimes small groups of cattle would be found and started back, but finding and driving singles was more often the case.

Every trail herd had its dominant steer, which by instinct strode to the front of the bunch to lead the way. Good lead steers were particularly valuable when crossing a river because hesitant leaders would cause most of the others to stop. If a steer did the job well, it would not be sold; it would be brought home to lead the other herds north. Charles Goodnight owned such a valuable steer in Old Blue, whom he had bought from cattleman John Chisum. During eight seasons, more than 10,000 head followed Old Blue to Dodge City- a one-way trip for them but not for Blue. Goodnight put a bell around Old Blue’s neck, and the other steers learned to follow the familiar ringing. Old Blue, according to range legend, ‘could find the best water, the best grass, and the easiest river crossings, and could even soothe a nervous herd during a storm with his reassuring bawl.’ After his last drive, he was retired to a permanent pasture and lived to be 20 years old. At his death his horns were mounted in a place of honor in the Goodnight ranch office. A good day’s progress for a herd was about 10 miles. Under favorable conditions, Longhorns put on weight while on the trail. Water was the most important necessity during a drive. A Longhorn could drink up to 30 gallons of water a day. Without plenty of fresh water, the cattle became irritable and would stampede.











































Joseph Sewell




















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