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 Texas : Features : Columns : "It's All Trew"

Two men part of Texas lore
- but for different reasons

by Delbert Trew
Delbert Trew

Known as "the Jinglebob King of the Pecos," John Chisum cast a long shadow in the early history of cattle ranching. At one time his ranges stretched 150 miles along the Pecos River and his herds numbered into the thousands. Employees numbered into the hundreds.

John was not a part of the Chisholm Cattle Trail, but was unique in many other ways. He was a large man who worked right alongside his employees and was often mistaken for a common cowboy. John never married nor had children, and often slept on the hard floor beside his bed.

Known as "the best of the breed" cowman who could ride with the best, size up a cattle herd quickly, bargain with the biggest, and realized the day of the free-range grazer was limited and bought title to his land as quickly as he could afford.

Rustlers learned to not bother with Chisum cattle, as retribution was quick and fatal. The long dangling Jinglebob earmark and a long rail brand on the side provided instant recognition of ownership. Though famous for his cattle knowledge, his hospitality at the large "long house adobe" was equally well known. Under the direction of his niece who supervised two full-time cooks, his table could be set for 26 guests at a time. But that was a long time ago.

John died in 1884.

Almost as well known but standing alone at the opposite end of the spectrum was Edward Z.C. Judson, alias Ned Buntline. This "greatest rascal" was a proven bigamist, bounty hunter and ex-convict. He had a dishonorable discharge from the Union Army and left numerous partners to stand the losses of failed business efforts. In one incident, he was caught with the wrong wife, fought and killed the real husband, was captured by a mob and a rope noose slipped over his head. Somehow he escaped.

Why was he well known? He invented and developed the "western dime novel," eventually publishing thousands of stories about both real and make-believe western heros. He bragged he could write his average western novel in 60 hours, creating wealth to support his numerous wives. His favorite pastime was delivering temperance speeches while drunk.

Lessons from the Lone Ranger

Many who survived the rigors of the Great Depression in the 1930s often tuned to the radio to hear "The Lone Ranger" to take their minds off the hard times and Dust Bowl. The program was on the air for 22 years and produced a total of 2,956 live broadcasts. Starting in 1933, the program was kept a shining wholesome example of proper ethics and morals.

The first Lone Ranger was John Barrett, another was Brace Beemer. Various actors played the role of the Ranger, and also the part of Tonto.

I can attest to the popularity of the show as many times when I was a young boy I slapped my rear with one hand and galloped away shouting, "Hi-Yo Silver! Away."

July 6 , 2010 Column Delbert Trew
More "It's All Trew"
Delbert Trew is a freelance writer and retired rancher. He can be reached at 806-779-3164, by mail at Box A, Alanreed, TX 79002, or by e-mail at trewblue@centramedia.net. For books see DelbertTrew.com. His column appears weekly.

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This page last modified: July 6, 2010