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 Levi Babers Anderson

Levi Babers Anderson

Mississippi, USA
Death 17 Mar 1931 (aged 81–82)
Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA
Burial Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA
Memorial ID 36185025 · View Source
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Trail Drivers of Texas
University of Texas Press
Last Published: 1923


By L. B. Anderson, Seguin, Texas

I was born in Amite County, Mississippi, March 24, 1849. Came overland with my parents to Texas in the spring of 1853. Our outfit consisted of two wagons and a buggy, and we also brought several of our negro slaves. My mother and the youngest children rode in the buggy, which was drawn by an old mule. We crossed the Mississippi River on a ferryboat. I do not know how long it took us to make the trip, but we must have made very slow progress, for the older children walked almost all of the way and drove an old favorite milch cow that we called " Old Cherry." I remember one amusing incident about that old cow. She had a growing hatred for a dog, and never failed to lunge at one that came near her. One evening about dusk as we were driving her along the way we came to a large black stump by the roadside, and "Old Cherry," evidently thinking it was a dog, made a lunge at it and knocked herself senseless.

The one thing that stands out most vividly in my recollection of that trip is the fact that I was made to wear a sunbonnet all the way. I hated a bonnet as much as "Old Cherry" hated a dog, and kept throwing my bonnet away and going bareheaded, so finally my mother cut two holes in the top of the bonnet, pulled my hair through them and tied it hard and fast. That was before the days of clipped hair, and as mine was long enough to tie easily, that settled the bonnet question, and I had to make my entrance into grand old Texas looking like a girl, but feeling every inch like a man.

We stopped in Williamson County, near Georgetown, then in the fall of the same year we came to Seguin, Guadalupe County, where I have lived ever since, except when I was following the trail. My father bought a tract of land west of Seguin for $1,000 cash. As it had not been surveyed by either the buyer or the seller neither of them knew how much land the tract contained. Twenty years later father sold it for just what he had paid for it, and when it was surveyed it was found to be several hundred acres, and is now worth $100 per acre.

There was but little farming carried on in those days, the settlers depending on grass for feed for their work teams and other stock. The crops of corn and cane were made with oxen. Many times I have seen the heel flies attack a yoke of oxen and they would run off, jump the rail fence and get away with the plow to which they were attached, and sometimes it would be several days before they were found. Of course we did not make much farming after that fashion, but we did not need much in those days. We lived care-free and happy until the outbreak of the Civil War, when father and my older brother went into the service to fight for the South, leaving me, a lad of only 11 years, the only protection for my mother and younger brothers and sisters, but mother was a fearless woman and the best marksman with a rifle I ever saw, so we felt able to take care of ourselves. My duties during the war were many and varied. I was mail carrier and general errand boy for all of the women in the neighborhood. Among other things it was my duty to look after the cattle. During this trying time the cattle accumulated on the range and after the war when the men returned cow hunting became general. From ten to twenty men would gather at some point, usually at old man Konda 's, in the center of the cow range, and round up the cattle. Each man would take an extra pony along, a lengthy stake rope made of rawhide or hair, a wallet of cornbread, some fat bacon and coffee, and plenty of salt to do him on the round-up. Whenever we got hungry for fresh meat we would kill a fat yearling, eat all we wanted and leave the remainder. On these trips I acquired my first experience at cow-punching. Our route usually would be down the Cibolo by Pana Maria and old Helena to the San Antonio River, and up Clate Creek, gathering all the cattle that belonged to our crowd and some mavericks besides. The drives would generally wind up at old man Konda's, from where he had started, and here division was made, each man taking his cattle home, where they would be branded and turned out on the range again. Some of the men who went on these trips were Gus Konda, considered the best cowman in Guadalupe County, John Oliver, Frank Delaney, Dud Tom, Whit Vick, W. C. Irvin, John and Dud Jefferson, Pinkney Low and sons, and General William Saffold.

There was no local market for the cattle, and the Kansas drives started about that time. Eugene Millett and his two brothers, Alonzo and Hie, engaged in buying beeves and work oxen to send up the trail in 1869. My father sold them several yoke of oxen which he had freighted to Mexico with, and I helped deliver them to Mr. Millett at the Three Mile Water Hole north of Seguin. I was already a cowboy in my own estimation, those hunts on the range having given me a taste of the life. Hearing Millett's men tell of their trips up the trail, I decided at once that that was the life for me, so I told my father I wanted to go with the herd. He very reluctantly gave his consent, but made me promise that if I was going to be a cowman that I would be "an honest one." He then proceeded to give me a lot of advice, and presented me with a ten-dollar gold piece for use on the trip. My mother sewed that money in the band of my trousers (breeches, we called them in those days) and I carried it to Kansas and back that way, and when I returned home I gave it back to my father.

The next fall and winter I worked for Pinkney Low, gathering cattle on the range to be taken up the trail in the spring. I went on the trail every year thereafter until 1887, when the trail was virtually closed. I went twice as a hand and sixteen times as boss of the herd. I drove over every trail from the Gulf of Mexico to the Dakotas and Montana, but the Chisholm Trail was the one I traveled the most. The men I drove for were E. B. Millett, Alonzo Millett, Hie Millett, Colonel Seth Maberry, W. C. Irvin, Tom and John Dewees and Jim Sherrill. The places I most often delivered cattle to were Baxter Springs, Great Bend, Newton, "Abilene, Ellsworth and Dodge City, Kansas, Ogallala and Red Cloud Agency, Nebraska, Fort Fetterman, Wyoming and Dan Holden's ranch in Colorado on Chug River. Some of the most prominent cattlemen I knew in those days were Pressnall and Mitchell, John Blocker, Jim Ellison, D. R. Fant, John Lytle and Dick Head.

My experiences on the trail were many and varied, some perilous and some humorous. I remember one exciting time in particular, when I was taking a herd for Millett & Irvin from the Panhandle ranch to Old Fort Fetterman in the Rocky Mountains. The Sioux Indians made a raid on us, got off with most of our horses and all of our provisions. We had nothing to eat except buffalo and antelope meat until we reached North Platte City, a distance of two hundred miles.

In 1871 I went up the trail with T. B. Miller and Bill Mayes. We crossed at Red River Station and arrived at Newton, Kansas, about the time the railroad reached there. Newton was one of the worst towns I ever saw, every element of meanness on earth seemed to be there. While in that burg I saw several men killed, one of them, I think, was Jim Martin from Helena, Karnes County.

One fall after I returned from Wyoming, Millett sent me to the Indian Territory to issue beef to the Indians on a government contract. I was stationed at Anadarko on the Washita River, and issued but once a week at Fort Sill and Cheyenne "Agency on the Canadian River. There I saw my first telephone. It was a crude affair, and connected the agent's store and residence, a distance of several hundred yards. The apparatus consisted of one wire run through the walls of the store and house with a tube at each end through which you had to blow to attract attention of the party called, and then you could talk over it as well as any phone of the present time.

I was in "Abilene when Wild Bill Hickok had full sway in that town and it was dangerous for a man to walk the streets. I was there when he killed Phil Coe. Some of the old cowboys who followed the trail from this country were the twin brothers, Cap and Doc Smith, Dud Tom, Joe Ellis, Haynes Morgan, Mit Nickols, John and Fenner Jefferson, Whit Vick, Bill Coorpender, Frank Rhodes, Leroy Sowell, Billie McLean, Billie Thompson, Pat Burns, Tom Terrell, John and Tom Lay and many others.

The journeys up the trail were beset by many dangers and difficulties. Savage Indians often attacked the herd in attempts to cause a stampede. Few outfits were strong enough to repel the Indians by force and were compelled to pay them tribute in the form of beef. To do the work required on those drives took men of strong nerves, iron bodies and alert brains.

The last trip I made was in 1887, when I drove horses. I bought them from Redman and his partner through Mr. George Saunders. They were a bunch of Spanish mares just from Mexico, and I remember a squabble I had with two other buyers over a big white paint stud that happened to be in the bunch. I got the stud, all right, and made big money on him as well as all of the other horses.

In 1888 I married and settled down on my farm, but never could quite give up the cattle business, and on a small scale have handled some kind of cattle ever since, but the Jersey or any other kind of milch cow has never appealed to me as the Texas longhorn did. "After thirty years of settled life the call of the trail is with me still, and there is not a day that I do not long to mount my horse and be out among the cattle.

record title: Texas Deaths, 1890-1976
name: Levi Babers Anderson
death date: 17 Mar 1931
death place: Seguin, Guadalupe, Texas
gender: Male
race: White
death age: 81 years 11 months 24 days
birth date: Mar 1849
birthplace: Mississippi
marital status: Married
father's name: John R. Anderson
father's birthplace: Mississippi
mother's name: Ann Hattfield
mother's birthplace: North Carolina
occupation: Retired Farmer
cemetery: San Geronimo Cem
burial date: 18 Mar 1931





  • Maintained by: Jayne
  • Originally Created by: Donna Schulte Loth
  • Added: 22 Apr 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 36185025
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Levi Babers Anderson (Mar 1849–17 Mar 1931), Find A Grave Memorial no. 36185025, citing San Geronimo Cemetery, Seguin, Guadalupe County, Texas, USA ; Maintained by Jayne (contributor 47579751) .