Black Cowboys of Texas
Edited by Sara R. Massey
Introduction by Alwyn Barr
(Information submitted by
Dr. Marilyn Brady
Center for Big Bend Studies
In the early days of Texas, the work of the cowhand was essential to the newly arrived settlers building a life on the frontier. The story of the Anglo cowboys who worked the ranches of Texas is well known, but much more remains to be discovered about the African American cowhands who worked side-by-side with the vaqueros and Anglo cowboys.
The cowboy learned his craft from the vaqueros of New Spain and Texas when it was the northern territory of Mexico, as well as from the stock raisers of the South. Such a life was hardly glamorous. Poorly fed, underpaid, overworked, deprived of sleep, and prone to boredom and loneliness, cowboys choked in the dust, were cold at night, and suffered broken bones in falls and spills from horses spooked by snakes or tripped by prairie dog holes. Work centered on the fall and spring roundups, when scattered cattle were collected and driven to a place for branding, sorting for market, castrating, and in later years, dipping in vats to prevent tick fever.
African American cowboys, however, also had to survive discrimination, bigotry, and prejudice. The lives of these cowhands tell a story of skill and grit, as they did what was necessary to gain the trust and respect of those who controlled their destiny. That meant being the best?at roping, bronc busting, taming mustangs, calling the brands, controlling the remuda, or topping off horses.
From scattered courthouse records, writings, and interviews with a few of the African American cowhands who were part of the history of Texas, Sara R. Massey and a host of writers have retrieved the stories of a more diverse cattle industry than has been previously recorded.
Twenty-five writers here recount tales of African Americans such as Peter Martin, who hauled freight and assisted insurgents in a rebellion against the Mexican government while building a herd of cattle that allowed him to own (through a proxy) rental houses in town. Bose Ikard, a friend of Charles Goodnight, went on Goodnight's first cattle drive, opening the Goodnight-Loving Trail. Johanna July, a Black Seminole woman, had her own method of taming horses in the Rio Grande for the soldiers at Fort Duncan.
These cowhands, along with others across the state, had an important role that has been too long omitted from most history books. By telling their stories, Black Cowboys of Texas provides an important contribution to Texas, Western, and African American history.
SARA R. MASSEY is a curriculum specialist at the Institute of Texan Cultures, University of Texas at San Antonio.
Number Eighty-six: Centennial Series of the Association of Former Students
Black Cowboys of Texas
0-89096-934-5 cloth $29.95
LC 99-055339. 6 1/8x9 1/4. 384 pp. 22 b&w photos.
Index. Texas History. African American Studies.
Available in APRIL 2000
To order this book, please complete the on-line ORDER FORM at: http://www.tamu.edu/upress/books/2000/massey.htm
Part 1. The Early Cowboys
Chapter 1. Remembrances: Black Cowboy Life in Texas - T. Lindsay Baker
Chapter 2. Peter Martin: A Stockraiser of the Republic Period - Michael Rugeley Moore
Chapter 3. Robert Lemmons: A Black Texan Mustanger - Allan O. Kownslar
Chapter 4. Henrietta Williams Foster, "Aunt Rittie": A Cowgirl of the Texas Coastal Bend - Louise S. O'Connor
Chapter 5. Johanna July: A Horse-Breaking Woman - Jim Coffey
Chapter 6. Edward "Sancho" Mozique: A Buffalo Soldier Turns Cowboy - Ken Pollard and Vicki J. Hagen
Part 2. Cowboys of the Cattle Drives
Chapter 7. Ben Kinchlow: A Trail Driver on the Chisholm Trail - John H. Fuller
Chapter 8. Neptune Holmes: A Lifetime of Loyalty - Kitty Henderson and Charlie Woodson
Chapter 9. George McDow: A Black Cowboy - Ira V. Lott
Chapter 10. Bose Ikard: Splendid Behavior - Bruce M. Shackelford
Chapter 11. James Kelly: The Ebony Gun - James Smallwood
Chapter 12. Bill "Tige" Avery: "Rare Back There, Boy, Rare Back" - Lawrence Clayton
Chapter 13. George Adams: A Cowboy All His Life - Kenneth W. Howell
Chapter 14. Charley Willis: A Singing Cowboy - Jim Chilcote
Chapter 15. Daniel Webster Wallace: A West Texas Cattleman - Joyce Gibson Roach
Chapter 16. Addison Jones: "The Most Noted Negro Cowboy That Ever ?Topped Off' A Horse" - Michael N. Searles
Chapter 17. Jim Perry: XIT Hand - Ron W. Wilhelm
Part 3. Twentieth-Century Cowboys
Chapter 18. Mathew "Bones" Hooks: A Pioneer of Honor - Ana Carolina Castillo Crimm
Chapter 19. Louis Power: A Hero's Hero - Louise S. O'Connor
Chapter 20. The Paynes of Texas: Black Seminole Cowboys of the Big Bend - Marilyn Dell Brady
Chapter 21. Richard "Bubba" Walker: Best Cowhand Wilson County Ever Had - Lee N. Coffee, Jr.
Chapter 22. Troy John Williams: The Tennis Shoe Cowboy - C. A. "Tony" Sherman
Chapter 23. A. J. Walker: Cowboy and Rodeo Organizer - Alan Govenar
Chapter 24. Mack Williams, Sr.: Nobody's Fool - Anthony P. Griffin