TexasEscapes.com  
HOME : : NEW : : TEXAS TOWNS : : GHOST TOWNS : : TEXAS HOTELS : : FEATURES : : COLUMNS : : BUILDINGS : : IMAGES : : ARCHIVE : : SITE MAP
PEOPLE : : PLACES : : THINGS : : HOTELS : : VACATION PACKAGES
TEXAS TOWNS
Texas Escapes
Online Magazine
Texas | Columns | Lone Star Diary

Black Cowboys

by Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery

There was a time back in the early 1980s, that I sort of fancied myself as a rodeo photographer. A big, nasty bull soon put an end to my macho ideas of working inside the arena; I bought a telephoto lens and stayed as far away as possible.

Although I had a full-time job, I also worked as a freelance photographer and some weekends would find me at the rodeo arena in a little place known as Mcbeth, Texas. The little community of McBeth is located near Angleton, in Brazoria County. The small rodeo had it all including wild bulls, bucking horses, crazy clowns, and pretty cowgirls.

I guess the only thing that the McBeth Rodeo lacked was an ugly thing called “racism,” and none of the good people there seemed to miss it at all. You see this little rodeo was made up of black and white cowboys. They rode together, competed against one another, laughed together and more often than not, celebrated together. The black family who ran the rodeo didn't care what color you happened to be as long as you acted in a civilized manner. Any troublemakers, regardless of their heritage, would soon find themselves being escorted to the gate.

It just might be that cowboys have dealt with racism better than most folks over the years, of course they fight now and again but they work hard at their profession and more often than not respect the man working along side, regardless of his color.

The black cowboy has been part of the ranching industry in Texas for a long time. They were born into slavery in the beginning but after the Civil War they continued to work on the ranches as free men.


George Glenn was one of those individuals. According to “The Handbook of Texas Online,” Glenn was born in Colorado County, Texas, and was raised on the Robert B. Johnson ranch at Columbus. In 1870 he accompanied Johnson on a trail drive to Abilene, Kansas. While in Abilene, Johnson became ill and died. George Glenn took care of the arrangements and buried his employer in Kansas.

Evidently Glenn didn't like the idea of his old boss being in a Kansas cemetery. He went back to Abilene and had the casket disinterred and placed on a wagon. Reports indicate that he traveled with Johnson's body for 42 days before he arrived in Columbus, Texas, and put Johnson in his final resting place. At their annual meetings in 1924 and 1926, George Glenn was honored by the Old Trail Drivers Association as being one of only a few black members of the prestigious organization. Glenn died of pneumonia in 1931 and is buried at Columbus.

Another black cowboy, Bose Ikard, was known as a top hand and drover for rancher Charles Goodnight. Ikard eventually became a chief detective and banker for Goodnight. His employer trusted him to make many important financial decisions.

In more modern times, the black cowboy has distinguished himself on the rodeo circuit as well. One of those, William Pickett, was considered to be one of the most outstanding rodeo performers of his day. Pickett has been credited with originating the event known as bulldogging and he was inducted into the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in 1971.

When you stop and think about it, nothing has really changed much for the cowboy. Sure, he probably drives a truck more often now than he rides a horse but it's still hard work and low pay. As long as the other fellow does his part I doubt the hard-working cowboy has the time or inclination to worry much about skin color. And I'll bet at the end of the day, regardless of your color, you'll still be expected to buy your share of "cold ones."


© Murray Montgomery
Lone Star Diary
February 3, 2008 Column

More Ranching and Cowboys | Texas Black History
Related Topics: People | Columns | Texas Towns | Texas

Custom Search
TEXAS ESCAPES CONTENTS
HOME | TEXAS ESCAPES ONLINE MAGAZINE | HOTELS | SEARCH SITE
TEXAS TOWN LIST | TEXAS GHOST TOWNS | TEXAS COUNTIES

Texas Hill Country | East Texas | Central Texas North | Central Texas South | West Texas | Texas Panhandle | South Texas | Texas Gulf Coast
TRIPS | STATES PARKS | RIVERS | LAKES | DRIVES | FORTS | MAPS

Texas Attractions
TEXAS FEATURES
People | Ghosts | Historic Trees | Cemeteries | Small Town Sagas | WWII | History | Texas Centennial | Black History | Art | Music | Animals | Books | Food
COLUMNS : History, Humor, Topical and Opinion

TEXAS ARCHITECTURE | IMAGES
Courthouses | Jails | Churches | Gas Stations | Schoolhouses | Bridges | Theaters | Monuments/Statues | Depots | Water Towers | Post Offices | Grain Elevators | Lodges | Museums | Rooms with a Past | Gargoyles | Cornerstones | Pitted Dates | Stores | Banks | Drive-by Architecture | Signs | Ghost Signs | Old Neon | Murals | Then & Now
Vintage Photos

TRAVEL RESERVATIONS | USA | MEXICO

Privacy Statement | Disclaimer | Contributors | Staff | Contact TE
Website Content Copyright Texas Escapes. All Rights Reserved