Gail Borden, also a big Texas rancher, attempted to create a meat biscuit so that cattle could be processed in the South and owners would not have to pay for shipping to the North. King himself tried "injecting salt brine into the veins of butchered cattle as a preservative," but somehow the idea of embalmed cattle didn't sell well in the Northeast. Investors demanded better management techniques, a greater emphasis on cost cutting, and even greater returns on their investment.
By , cowboys were beginning to attract the attention of the American public. Men on horseback have always appealed to the earthbound pedestrian, and cowboys were no exception. Horsemen have epitomized grandeur and glory, and statues often portray great heroes on rearing chargers. The term cowboy, however, had originally meant a simple Irish cattle herder, although Scottish highlanders who protected their owner's cattle were portrayed in a more noble fashion, "always ready to perform for their lords every kind of service.
By the s, however, a dichotomy had developed. On the one hand, city dwellers read of the exploits of heroic Wild West cowboys while on the other hand ranch owners distrusted their cowboy workers as drunken, carousing drifters. Young men flocked to the West dreaming of glorious exploits. Teddy Roosevelt, drawn by the image of knights errant on horseback, spent part of his youth as a cowboy on Western ranches.
Over 35, young men came West to drive herds to northern markets. They formed a distinct social group that held distinct cultural values. Although they did not always abide by them, their values included faithful service, willingness to risk life and limb, silence at injustice, honesty, stamina, and lack of fear.
Cowboying was a young man's job, a challenging, demanding, and exhausting job. It provided exhilarating danger and exciting competition.
On January 23, , the U. Immigrants elsewhere find their jobs being shipped back to their motherland. Engineers, modern wizards whose scientific mastery drives American industrial progress, are the people who create America's wealth. Fernando de Rivera y Moncada. However, Bill Clinton lost Florida.
As Will James commented, "The Cowboy's life can't be learnt in a day or even a year, it's a life you got to be raised at to understand. On the negative side, however, cowboys were usually those who left the East because they had nothing to lose, and when they came West they found they had nothing to gain. By fencing the ranges and hiring seasonal help, there was less of a need for "labor units," as the corporate owners euphemistically called the cowboys. These laborers became expendable employees on Western ranches where corporate investors were concerned with the bottom line.
Because many young men dreamed of being cowboys, ranchers had an overabundance of workers.
Such labor surplus kept the wages low. The highest wages went to full-time employees, while seasonal workers received as much as thirty percent less. Mexican cowboys, although they often had to train the tenderfeet Easterners, were paid one third to one half what Anglo cowboys were paid. Cowboys were required to furnish their own saddles, bridles, clothing, and bedrolls. Compounding the problem for cowboys and vaqueros both—except, of course, for those on the King and Kenedy Ranches—was the seasonal nature of the work.
Since cattle required little care during the winter, cowboys were laid off after the last roundup or cattle drive in the fall. They spent the winter "riding the chuck line" in hopes of a free meal and a place to stay in exchange for chopping wood or doing other menial chores. Some moved in with relatives, others took advantage of ranches where absentee owners might not know of the generous hospitality they were providing.
Since these young, improvident cowboys were often paid off in one lump sum for the five or six months of work, the few hundred dollars vanished in a matter of days into the pockets of gamblers, bar owners, and dance hall girls in the towns at the end of the trail. Cowboying did not look so glamorous after several days without food.
A few cowboys tried to unionize to protect themselves by demanding year-round wages. Because the ranch owners could replace them almost immediately and often used violence and strike-breakers against them, because cowboys had difficulty getting together for meetings, and because many a young man believed that cowboying was a way of life and not a job, they failed. With no way to protect themselves or demand higher wages, the chances of a cowboy improving himself were almost nonexistent.
It was little wonder that many turned to crime. During the formative years on both ranches, the vaqueros became the backbone of the ranching operations. The younger boys in the families were also encouraged to earn money by doing odd-jobs around the camps. During the years of the Mexican Revolution from to and again during the Depression of the s, both the Klebergs and Sarita East hired needy Mexicans in search of jobs to dig out the plague of mesquite trees which had infested the ranches.
In fact, the Mendietta family had three consecutive generations of caporales. The vaqueros became the cow bosses and horse bosses on different divisions of the ranch, taking command, organizing work details, and making decisions. The vaqueros were given responsibility for, and trusted implicitly with, extensive cattle and sheep herds, with the prized Santa Gertrudis cattle, with the best of the cutting and racing horses, with the operation and care of outlying ranchos. When the men were away, the women knew they could count on each other and on the patrona for help.
In their old age, the men were kept on the payroll and given jobs which still helped the ranch but allowed the older men to take life a little easier. It was with regret that the men left the hard work of the round-ups and cattle drives, one even apologizing for having to die. The men repaid the trust with unmatched loyalty, and King and Kenedy repaid their loyalty with affection and cradle-to-grave protection. No other Western cowboys would have such a life. The Eastern image of the cowboy was not the Western reality. The Eastern press might view the cowboy as a paragon of virtue, far from the corrupting influence of the big cities, but, unlike Richard King, Western ranch owners usually saw cowboys as lazy, violent, immoral, lowclass, lawless, drunken derelicts.
The Cattlemen's Associations of Montana and Wyoming kept blacklists of cowboys who were prone to cause problems, and they updated and passed the lists around to their members frequently. Ranch owners warned each other of particularly difficult cowboys. Even cowboys who wanted to improve their lot had little chance to do so.
Early Texas ranchers had allowed cowboys to begin their own small herds by branding one out of every four or five calves for themselves in exchange for their work during the roundup. Northern ranch owners, however, soon learned that a hired hand with his own herd could far too easily brand ranch cattle which had been missed during the roundup or alter the brands on his employer's cattle. Association members agreed not to hire cowboys who had their own herds. Ranch owners and lawmen found that the worst thieves and rustlers were often unemployed cowboys who were familiar with the ranges, knew that the cattle would be unattended during the winter, and needed money to survive.
Cowboys also lacked the opportunity to marry or raise a family. In addition to the problem of the limited number of women in the West, cowboys held seasonal jobs, drifting from ranch to ranch. Unemployed during the winter, they had no means to support a wife and family. Married cowboys could not take their wives with them to the ranches, and their pay was not sufficient to buy their own bit of land. And, finally, when a young cowboy was injured or became too old to work, his only options were to work as a cook or horse wrangler. The life of the cowboy, poor as it might be, was not to last.
By , the decline of the cattle boom was already looming and it only took a small nudge from mother nature to push it over the edge.
After the panic of huge potential profits had brought hundreds of new investors into the market both from the eastern United States and from Europe. The overpopulation of cattle on the grasslands had forced the price of beef down from seven cents per pound in to two cents per pound in The costs of transportation and feed far outweighed potential profits. The increased number of cattle also had damaged fertile grasslands, and successful ranching now required more acreage, more fencing, and more outlay of capital.
Finally, during , with cattle prices already depressed, a drought destroyed much of the grass, forcing owners to send cattle to market early. That winter, terrible blizzards extended across the country and reached far into Texas, killing off thousands of head of cattle, and, in some cases wiping out whole herds along with the investors who owned them.
The disasters of forced hundreds of ranches into receivership and ended the cattle boom.
Its demise marked the end of the era of the cowboy. From this end was born the myth of the Anglo Nordic cowboy. Pulp novelists, authors, and screenwriters cleansed the cowboy of all evil, all sin, and all Hispanic traces, and created an image of the cowboy who was modest, truthful, brave, democratic, and a proud defender of Anglo Manifest Destiny. He appeared first in the form of Owen Wister's Virginian and was followed by thousands of similar apparitions, mirages which supplied a safety valve for the American culture, a John Wayne West where freedom, equality, and democracy for white Anglo males still existed.
The King Ranch, under the widowed Henrietta King and her son-in-law, Kleberg, survived the end of the cattle boom by hardscrabble fighting for every dime. Kenedy, who had reinvested his money in ranching, also faced staggering problems. King, like thousands of other ranchers across the West, had over-stocked his ranges. The cattle had destroyed the grass, the drought killed what was left, and the low-growing, scrub-brush mesquite tree began to spread across the ranch and ruin any hope of grazing. King's death in left Henrietta and Kleberg with the job of pulling the ranch through the drought and the blizzards.
Henrietta King: La Patrona (Texas Heroes For Young Readers) [Mary Dodson Wade, Bill Farnsworth] on mousgardburtandpu.gq *FREE* shipping on qualifying offers. Editorial Reviews. About the Author. Mary Dodson Wade is a retired educator and librarian and.
They did so by following the ideas first used on the Mexican haciendas. They diversified into horses, sheep, and agriculture, cotton, in particular. They dug water wells to create irrigation for a cotton crop, and the wells saved them from disaster.
The discovery of oil on King Ranch in solidified the ranch's financial position, and while many of the other large Texas ranches were closing their operations, the Klebergs and Kenedys received new business capital through the successful exploitation of their mineral interests. The Klebergs continued improving their cattle breed, eventually producing the Santa Gertrudis, and branched into horse racing and cutting horses.
They preserved their culture, made Spanish the language of the ranch, and they ate their pan de campo, tortillas, meat, beans, and rice while other cowboys survived on cornbread, bacon and coffee. All rights reserved. This site was generously funded, in part, by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Share this book. Texas: History. Voices from the Wild Horse Desert.