After visiting with a very sharp lady, she told me I was remiss in not publishing the stories behind the songs on my new CD. I asked and people said they would like to know them, so I am going to start posting these stories on here. One song and story per day.
This song is about an old Texas cowman who came to this country in the late 1800’s. He said he was a Spaniard and the only picture I can find of him, he looks it. I have written several poems about him and then found out new info so would write another and this song is my fourth attempt at telling his story. He was a drover for the Butler brothers who bought and sold herds of cattle. By all accounts he was a top hand. Thus the line, “I rode at the point of the herd” as that is where your best men would ride on most trail herds. He was married and had at least two children, a boy and a girl, from what I can find out. He came north with a herd and then stayed and never left this country. I always wondered why.
He never married while living here. I found that his wife had died and he left the two small children with family, evidently a brother or sister of his as in later years he had a “nephew” who came and visited him. I was to later find out that the nephew was, in fact, his son and he stayed and lived with his wife an children, in this country until Coy died and then the records lost track of the son, who was said to be a nephew.
Coy was the wagon boss on all the major roundups in this area, which were posted for all to read, telling when the general roundup would start and the way they would cover the country. The wagon boss or roundup boss was the final say in all matters concerning the roundup, even above the men who owned the cattle. If there was a disagreement between two owners on the ownership of a cow or calf or yearling, the wagon boss decided who it belonged to. Along with any other detail where there was discord. When the homesteaders came and put an end to the open range in this country, Coy took up a homestead and ran a small ranch, as did so many of the old cowboys and cowmen, along with the new people who moved in and learned to make a living on a “small plot of earth” in this area.
My father told of his father and Coy making arrangements to swap bulls, a common practice at that time. Grampa started off driving his bull north and Coy evidently started driving his bull south. They met, somewhere in between each others property, traded bulls and each drove his bull home, thus ensuring that there would be little to no inbreeding in their herds of cattle.
By all accounts, Coy was loved by all and a friend to all. He was always ready with sage advice and I am sure helped mentor many of the younger men and cowboys of this area.
While reading a paper in the early 1900’s he saw that one of his brothers in Texas had died, so sent word to the family. This is the first they had heard of him in years and they were astounded as they had assumed he was dead.
His family was well known and well thought of in the area of Texas he had originally came from. He obviously was a good man and could have found good work at good wages wherever he decided to live, so why did he come north and stay, with no correspondence between him and his family for so many years? The only reason I could see was because he did not want to return to Texas and be constantly reminded of his love, “mi amour” who was dead and buried in Texas.
So, he stayed here because of a broken heart, never remarried and is buried in our little local cemetery, with a stone made of native rock, in-scripted, “Manual Coy, Pioneer Cowman”. And “the coyotes toll over my bones”…
Incidentally, because of a poem I wrote about him, I received correspondence from a relative. A great grand nephew, if memory serves… he filled me in on many details about the family and history. I have lost the address or I would send them a CD….
So there you have it. The rest of the story, as Paul Harvey used to say….