click here to return to Homepage

Rankin Crow

Rankin Crow (1900-19__)

Rankin Crow was born September 7, 1900 at Cedarville CA, to David and Martha (Mattie) Crow. His brother John (Buckaroo Hall of Fame Inductee, 1994) was born there in 1902. Their mother passed away four years after Rankin was born. After her death David Crow became the buckaroo boss at the 7T ranch at Lakeview, OR owned by Dr. Daly. He kept the two small boys with him until they were school age and then they went to Cedarville and boarded out with a Mrs. Perry.

In March of Rankin's eighth grade school year, he and his brother John helped his father and uncle trail 135 cows they had purchased from Fort Bidwell, CA to the homestead David Crow owned at Clover Swales, a distance of over 100 miles. The trip took eleven days in deep snow and cold weather conditions. Growing up around ranches and horses, Rankin said ‘If a man lived to be a hundred years old, there would still be something for him to learn about horses, as horses are like people, no two horses are alike and you have to handle each horse differently.’ If anyone tells you they know all there is to know about horses, they probably don't know very much.

Rankin married Gladys Cawlfield on January 10, 1918 at the Cole Hotel in Burns, OR. They had four children, Jessie, Donald, Ramona and George. Rankin worked for the P Ranch in 1919 - 1922 controlled then by the Eastern Oregon Land and Livestock Co. Judd Wise was the foreman at that time. He helped break 20 to 30 work horses per year. He said the Chinese cook, cooking for the hay crew disliked the buckaroos because they were always grabbing food in between meals. One day Rankin saw the Chinese cook chasing a cat with its whiskers covered with cream screaming "You damn no good buck-a-Ioo cat you, all the samee no good buck-a-Ioo."

Rankin and partner Bob Hughet furnished the bucking horses to the early rodeos in Lakeview. Molalla, Lebanon, Portland and other Willamette Valley towns in the early 1930's. They would gather their bucking horses from the desert rangelands on the Oregon-Nevada borders near Denio, NV. Then take the best bucking horses and trail them to the rodeos, sometimes more than 350 miles and 200 horses. It was "cheaper" Rankin said to drive them and feed the horses along the way on open range than to ship them. Plus, they liked the time spent trailing the horses.

After the rodeo season ended around Labor Day, they returned to the Narrows and turned the bucking horses out for the winter. During the fall and winter Rankin worked as "trail boss" on some of the West's last big cattle drives. He was well qualified for the job, he knew the country like the back of his hand and knew how to get along with men that worked for him.

Rankin work as a buckaroo for several ranches in southern and eastern Oregon including the Circle Bar outfit in 1937 headquartered at the Alvord ranch on the east side of the Steens Mtn. Rankin had ranches of his own first at Home Creek then later compiling 20,680 acres of land and running 2,500 head of cattle on Rose Creek, near Ironside, Oregon. As a ranch owner, he was also a successful land developer, having drilled irrigation wells in the once arid Cow Valley.

Rankin was a member of the Oregon Cattlemans Association, the Ontario Elks Club and the Mule Skinners of Lake County. Rankin Crow considered his most outstanding achievement in life to be the long list of friends he had made throughout the West.

He remains one of the all-time Pioneer characters to help develop and build the western communities in southeastern Oregon. Everyone seems to recall the name Rankin Crow.

Rankin Crow was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 2004.

(This information compiled from excerpts from book titled, Rankin Crow and the Oregon Country by Rankin Crow)