Wayzata, Minnesota

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Sepia Saturday 64: Saturday 5 March 2011

Tom Mix (standing on horse) and his troupe at the State Theater Courtesy The Minneapolis Public Library, Norton & Peel,  May 7, 1929. Tom Mix was the King of Cowboys-Hollywood's first western megastar.

Back then it was either entertainment or work if you rode a horse.  There was no in between!

I’m opening this week’s Sepia Saturday first with an attention-grabbing, horseback riding cowboy showmanship troupe presented live in Minneapolis at the Minnesota (now State) Theater May 7, 1929. This performance happened during the city’s heyday about 5 months before the stock market crash (Depression of 1929) officially on October 29, 1929, Black Tuesday. Next, it’s all about Sepia Saturday’s theme of the longhorn cattle and my answer...... “It’s all about the cows!”

If you want to join along with your own piece of history just go here

In drouth years thin cattle create a problem for Arizona cowmen.  Water, was gold in Arizona!
They weren’t all cowboys.  Those men with weather-beaten faces who saddled their horses before daybreak and rode nature’s most beautiful garden until well after sun down were also known as the cowman.  Proudly I admit my grandfather (my father’s father) was one for most of his life.  My grandfather Harold by birth and later called Jake by his fellow cowmen comrades, was indeed a college educated man.   He spoke excellent English but on the range they had their own unique language.  My grandfather left his successful job as a banker in Michigan by way of divorce and remarriage to his soon to be soul mate, (not my grandmother) and took up roots in Arizona.  I’m still thanking him today for choosing such a magnificent place on earth.  There was a brief spell of storekeeper madness for my grandfather but for whatever reasons he returned to full time cowman life style until the day he died. 

Dust, smoke, sweating men -- the round-up continues.....
It’s amazing how you can reach for a dusty book off your living room bookshelf and discover within one visit to google that you are holding in your hands an out-of-print fortune. This book was presented to my father on the day of my grandfather’s funeral from his Box O family.

It all began when my Grandfather took a position as cowman with one of the richest ranching families in Arizona. They valued his labor and friendship so immensely that he became of part their family. I’m submitting a few photos from that very book originally written in 1950 and a few quotes from the book as well.
My grandfather, Jake (on the left)  the cowman.  The photo reads, "Marked like his mammy" they're branding the cattle!

My grandpa pictured center stage......Captain read, "Old mesquite corrals still used in Arizona."

My heart and soul still yearns for those desert days we would spend with my grandfather. This book details the dramatic sense of humor and affection those cowman had for their herd and cowman life style, and it’s thoroughly charming, an intimate chronicle of their days, the tales of desert villains, heroes and wrapped with wit, irony and a sprinkle of oddities and names I’d never heard of.

Like cattle being called doggies, for those cattle that were difficult to keep in line on the trail and need extra attention they called it, “dogging the herd.”  Also refers to pretty much what is happening in Alan's theme photo this week.....move on little doggies move on! Yip- EE (did they really talk like that?!)

Captain reads, "Hike along, little dogie."

You’ve just stepped briefly into the world of the Arizona Cowman, as written by H. W. Reed, drawings by Richard H. Reed and my grandfather’s photo is featured on page 17 branding a cow, and 124. A few of the photos were care of my special hero and cowman, my grandfather who rests peacefully from the land he so loved.

Captain reads, "Contented steers make tender steaks for hungry Americans.
I still remember a time when I was a wee little girl following along with my grandpa when it came to feeding time at the corral. Loving animals I thought I could just run up and make friends.  I never saw my grandpa move so fast. 
With much respect and admiration my oldest son (only child who had the luck of visiting my grandpa on the ranch) having a stroll near the corral!

A glorious day on the ranch (photos taken by a cowman)....the perplexed man pictured is the artist responsible for the drawings in this book.

 last line from The Singing Cowboy, (cowman) ....

"This long lanky cowboy, with soul full of laughter, rode out to the world a-singin' his tune."


Howard said...

Wonderful post and amazing pictures Karen.Good on him to give up banking to become a cowman.

Bob Scotney said...

You have a book to treasure here Karen and for it to feature you grandfather is a bonus. My favourite post for sepia this week! And I liked a lot.

Christine H. said...

What a treasure that book is, and what an adventurous life your grandfather led. I also liked the photo of Tom Mix. I would like to have seen him in person.

Unknown said...

Karen, there is a wealth of history there and really a treasure! So many photos of the men at work. I especially love that sketch of the cowboy and doggie! It's good that you had contact with your grandfather, so often divorces prevented that. Not like you I would never miss the desert, AZ or NV, that's why those places were not on our radar screen for moving out of CA. So here we are in the deep freeze of MN. Tom Mix was born in northern PA mts. on many of our trips home, Grandpa took our son up to see the birthplace of Tom Mix, of course Steve had not a clue who that was but he was idolized by Barney, my stepdad.

Postcardy said...

I always thought of cowboys as being farther back in history.

I collect Minneapolis postcards. I have one of that theater and was just reading about the theater recently.

Tattered and Lost said...

Well now I really do need to go pull out those DVDs of the old tv show RAWHIDE. I'm wishing to sit by a campfire hearing the doggies bemoaning the night in the background.

Bruno Laliberté said...

quite a nice tribute to your grandpa!! and you sure me laughed when you said how swiftly he moved as you approached the cattle. they're good beasts, but beasts nonetheless...

Alan Burnett said...

Oh Karen : You take the simple thread of the chance theme and you weave a wonderful garment of words and images. Simply delightful.