Thursday, September 30, 2004

Vernon, Texas - Rest Day

The Cowboys and Cowgirls:

Howdeee, Podnuh....!!!
Shelly Crowe, a cowgirl who has spent extra time bringing cheer to school kids and nursing home residents all along the trail, greets a group of 2nd and 3rd graders in Vernon.
Photo by elderbob.Posted by Hello

The cowboys and cowgirls of the Western Trail have been greatly romanticized over time. They were often so young, desperately in need of work, not afraid to do what was needed and skilled around animals. There was a cultural mix of European, Tejano, African-American, and other cultures. There were both male and female riders. I will be adding some information here about cowboys as we go along the trail so check back often for new information.

Tejano Cowboys:
One third of all the cowboys of the Western Trail were either Tejano (Mexican/Spanish decent) or African-American. I interviewed the author Dr. Andres Tijerina regarding his point of view of how the Tejano cowboy culture affected the Western Trail:

This is part one of the interview with Dr. Tijerina:

This is part two of the interview with Dr. Tijerina:

European (American) Cowboys (check back later)

Black Cowboys (check back later)

The Cowgirls (check back later)

Wednesday, September 29, 2004

Vernon, Texas

Even German/American videographers can become cowboys...(Eric Seeger on horseback).
Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

Waggoner Ranch

Waggoner Ranch
Photo by elderbob. Posted by Hello

Monday, September 27, 2004

Slim's Diary - Week Three

Slim...that's the wrong one, Dude. Go down on the other end of the line... Posted by Hello

Seymour, Texas

Sunday, September 26, 2004

Hash Knife Ranch / L W Hunt Ranch

Hash Knife Ranch

The Hashknife Ranch
Photo by elderbob. Posted by Hello

Saturday, September 25, 2004


Dave Burrell helps plant another marker across from the Court House in Throckmorton.
Photo by elderbob.Posted by Hello

Dave Burrell was one of the early organizers of Celebrate Bandera - The Western Trail. Dave worked on coordinating the drive alongside Sylvia Mahoney from Vernon. Both were present to help plant this marker across from the County Court House in Throckmorton. Sylvia even brought in Red River water to consecrate the place where the marker was to be planted. These markers will eventually mark every six miles of the actual Western Trail route.

Friday, September 24, 2004

Cliff Teinert's Collin Creek Ranch - Fort Griffin, Texas

Arrival at Steinert Ranch, just outside the fence at Fort Griffin State Park.
Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel Posted by Hello

The trail riders stayed at Cliff Teinert's Collins Creek Ranch overnight. It's a lovely ranch and we had the pleasure of staying under a beautiful clear night sky full of stars and an almost full moon.

When Fort Griffin was at it's apogee, the oaks and mesquite of the area were minimal. The soldiers could sit on top of the overlook of Fort Griffin and look down on miles of grassland covered with trail drives, indians and the town below. Today, it is hard to imagine how much has changed.

Just down below the ranch is old Fort Griffin . The Fort Griffin State park marks the site of historic Fort Griffin and home of one of the wildest of the original towns on the Western Trail. Listen to the interview below to find out more about the town and the Fort and the events that surrounded both:

The Towns and Settlements of the Western Trail:

Fort Griffin and The Flats:

Here is an interview with Lester Galbraith regarding Fort Griffin and the area. Mr. Galbraith was Park Ranger at Fort Griffin for over 30 years. He has a unigue knowledge base to tell us about a real frontier town and Fort along the Western Trail, "The Flats" and "Fort Griffin".

Thursday, September 23, 2004

Rest Day (Albany, Texas)

What does one do on a "rest" day?
Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel Posted by Hello

Cattle Brands of the Western Trail:

While at rest at Albany, I had an opportunity to interview Robert Wanat about the history of the Texas' cattle brands. Mr. Wanat has created several wonderful calfskin maps of Texas that display the first registered cattle brand for not only each county in Texas (after statehood), but also for the Republic of Texas and the even older, registered Spanish brands. Here's more about Robert and his work:

Robert Wannett's hide with first registered cattle brands.
Photo by elderbob. Posted by Hello

This is an interveiw with Mr. Robert Wanat. Mr. Wanat has created miniature cattle brands based on the first registered brand in each county in Texas and affixed them to a cow hide map of the state. Here is how he came up with the idea and how he did his research.

Close up of Wanat's cattle brand map.
Photo by elderbob. Posted by Hello

You can buy tickets for a drawing to win one of Robert's awesome maps, at the traveling Western Trail goody wagon from Dave Burrell. Just ask at camp and anyone can point you in Dave's direction.

Wednesday, September 22, 2004

Albany, Texas

...nearing Albany...
(Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel)Posted by Hello

A welcome sign in Albany...
(Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel)Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 21, 2004

Baird, Texas

Like several of the towns along the fringe of Texas civilization in 1860, Baird has it's roots in another community. In fact, in this case, it's roots can be traced back to two early efforts at settlement.

The first, Callahan City was established at a popular watering hole along the cattle drive route of the Western Trail. Callahan County was established in 1858, but the township of Callahan City did not come into existence until 1876.

The first Callahan County Commissioners Court was held in Callahan City in 1877, but in spite of its early foothold in the county, it lost it's status as the central community with the establishment of the county seat in Belle Plain, in December of 1877.

Belle Plain, was a more "planned" community with well laid out streets and a commerce district. It was established on state school lands in 1876. As a community, it knew that once the railroads came, it's existence would extend well into the future. By 1877, Belle Plain College had been established as an intitution of higher learning. It had a newspaper by 1879 and a growing population.

But the Texas and Pacific Railroad had other plans and built its route through the town of Baird. Belle Plain suffered pretty much the same fate as the earlier Callahan City. Once the railroad bypassed the community, the population moved, as well as the county seat in 1883. The newspaper moved Baird, and even the jail was dismantled piece by piece and moved to Baird. The college continued until 1892, when it too closed it'd doors.

Baird, was established in 1880 and remains the county seat to this day.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Slim's Diary - Week Two

It's time for Slim to check in from the Trail again.

Where's Slim? Posted by Hello

Miller Scott Ranch

An Historic View of Trail Drives:

Interview with author Elmer Kelton:
Elmer Kelton is a prolific western writer of reknown. He was kind enough to allow me to interview him about his knowledge of cattle drives in general and more specifically the Western Trail. You can listen to his interview below:

Sunday, September 19, 2004

Joe Hemphill Ranch

Saturday, September 18, 2004


this is an audio post - click to play

...over the tracks into Coleman... Posted by Hello

...someone celebrated an anniversary today... Posted by Hello

Friday, September 17, 2004

Santa Anna

this is an audio post - click to play

powered by

Thursday, September 16, 2004


this is an audio post - click to play

...the Rockwood that was... Posted by Hello

Click here to listen to my audio notes on my first weekend at the trail camp.


Click here to view my mini-movie about Rockwood. You must have Windows Movie Player to view this small movie.

Wednesday, September 15, 2004


this is an audio post - click to play

"It's like moving an entire town, everyday." - Suzie.

Scene of camp from cotton gin tower at Lohn.

(Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel)Posted by Hello

One fellow told me that he enjoyed staying here because of how far one could see. There is not much more than an old cotton gin here, but good things happen in the strangest of places as you can see from the photos of the school kids.

...some of these kids had never been on a horse, much less up close to one... Posted by Hello

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Brady - Rest Day

this is an audio post - click to play

...explaining the cowboy gear... Posted by Hello

Monday, September 13, 2004

The Cattle

The Livestock of the Western Trail

The Longhorn:

The Texas Longhorn, also known as the Spanish cattle were an integral part of the old trail drives. Had it not been for this particular breed of cow, then it is likely that no cattle drives would have ever existed. It was indeed, their hardiness that not only allowed them to proliferate but also caused them to become a part of the cowboy culture of the Western Trail.

Please note that even the Handbook of Texas Online disagrees with some of the material presented here regarding whether the Texas Long Horn is a pure breed or not.

Let's take moment out of our trek Northward and investigate what we know about this special breed of animal.

Interview with Fayette Yates, an extraordinary longhorn breeder:
Mr. Yates is one of the last four true Texas Longhorn breeders who grew up on a ranch. He is third generation livestock breeder who has specialized in Longhorn or Spanish cattle. His herd undoubtably has some of the purest Longhorn blood of any herd today. His cattle have sired much of the Longhorn herds at both the Texas State Park system and the Wichita Mountain National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. NOTICE: Some of the language is a bit colorful but it is a great interview.

Interview with Mr Frank Sharp: Mr. Sharp is also an expert on the history of Spanish Cattle or Texas Longhorn. He has a keen understanding and a wealth of research material to back up his claims that the Texas Longhorn is a direct descendant of the Spanish Cattle:


...restin' time... Posted by Hello from a post card from Postcards from Texas

this is an audio post - click to play

Z-donks, Tweetie Bird, and if you look carefully, a tiny pet pig on the left.

(Photo by Eric Seeger, Have Camera Will Travel)Posted by Hello