In his own words, he had a hankering to roam when he was 15
years old. Black, broke and young, he left home in Denver to travel and
work in Wyoming, Idaho, Nebraska and Colorado.
In March 1921 he was in Elko, Nevada looking for a job. For almost fifty
years he worked, off and on, for area ranches. Some of them were the big
ones in the heyday of the cattle business in Northern Nevada: Spanish
Ranch, Fred Gorhams Double Square, Abel and Certner and John G.
Taylors outfits. He did an excellent job and made friends wherever
His story is not a narrative of a Black, but is an account of the Wests
famed Buckaroo. Not the fabled cowboy who drew his six gun with lightning
speed, but the honest-to-goodness rawhider who spent long muscle-bruising
days in a hard saddle and got his guts mixed up every morning before his
horse would settle down for a day's work.
The pay was bad and those leather pounders of the desert and sagebrush
battled everything nature could muster - broiling sun, freezing nights,
wind, rain, dust, snow and mud. Add to that burden, short rations, cantankerous
animals and off times, men who were meaner than the critters they herded.
At the first dim light of the day they were up to battle the elements,
men and animals for 16 to 18 hours, then crawl into their blankets. Only
to do it all over again the next day.
It is no wonder at all that a Buckaroo, when he finally made it to town
after months on the range, would often blow his seasons pay in one
night with much the same zeal he exhibited chasing cows.
Jay Fowler said Lawrence Jackson was the best Wrango he had been around.
While working for the IL, he had over 100 head of horses in the cavvy
and knew all of them by heart and could tell you about any one of them.
If they lost a shoe, he could tell you which horse and how many shoes
he had lost.
Jay spent one winter batching with Jackson near Mountain City, Nevada,
for the IL and said he was one of the easiest men to get along with he
had ever been around.
One time Jay remembers while driving a thousand head of steers on the
Chicken Creek working for the IL, Jackson was driving a sled (it was in
the winter and the snow was deep) with a team of horses and one of the
horses got tangled up and fell on an embankment. When the Buckaroo came
back to look for Jackson cause he was late, they ask what they could do
to help and Jackson said, cut the harness off and so they did and the
horse tumbled and rolled clear to the bottom of the gully. They had to
ride back down the road to the nearest ranch and ride up the gully to
get the horse and lead him all the way back around the way they had come,
so it held up the day's work for several hours. Jay said Jackson was so
mad he turned white. That was the only time he had ever seen him so mad.
Lawrence Jackson was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September
Phil White, Clyde and Lee Reborse, Lawrence Jackson; 1939
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