Archive for April, 2012

Six weeks from today the faithful will gather early in the morning outside the Howard House Museum and the adjacent Pavilion in Cross Plans, Texas. While many will wake bleary eyed and hung-over or tired from a long trip, a stop by Jean’s Feed Barn will leave them fortified after a hearty breakfast and ready for Howard Days to begin.

This year’s Guest of Honor is world renowned Howard scholar Charles Hoffman. Charles is best known for a having written the Robert E. Howard: Starmont Reader’s Guide 35 with Marc Cerasini. He and Marc also edited the first two issues of the journal Cromlech, which was the very first periodical publication devoted to serious scholarship and criticism of REH. Additionally, Charles also wrote, “Robert E. Howard: Twentieth-Century Mythmaker” essay for the first volume of The Best of Robert E. Howard and numerous essays for The Dark Man and other Howard journals, not to mention contributions to his blog. Here is an excerpt from Rusty Burke’s post at the REHupa website announcing Charles as this year’s GOH:

Chuck is one of the most formidable essayists in Howard studies. His “Conan the Existentialist,” which appeared in Amra 61 (March 1974), was the opening salvo of what has come to be called “the new criticism” of Howard, criticism that took him seriously as a writer whose work had depth and substance along with the excitement and adventure. Prior to that essay, most Howard “criticism” consisted of book reviews (though some, like those of Schuyler Miller and Fritz Leiber, showed real insight) or introductions by fans who failed to take him seriously (John D. Clark famously proclaiming, “Don’t look for hidden philosophical meanings or intellectual puzzles in these yarns–they aren’t there.”). Chuck showed that Howard could not only provide rousing action, but rewarded closer reading as well. Patrice Louinet says, “‘Conan the Existentialist’ is the essay that made me want to study and write about Howard. It was a pure revelation.”

In addition to Charles, there are two full days chock full of panels, tours, swap meets and the Barbarian Festival. Below is a summary secedule of events:

Howard Days 2012 Summary Schedule

Friday June 8th

8:30 – 9 am: Coffee and donuts at the Pavilion, compliments of Project Pride

9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public

9 am – 4 pm: REH Postal Cancellation at Cross Plains Post Office

9 am – 11 am: Bus Tour of Cross Plains

10 am – 5 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

11:00: PANEL: Glenn Lord Tribute

Noon: Lunch hosted by Project Pride. Donations Welcome.

11:00 am to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

1:00 pm: PANEL: Conan the Existentialist

2:30 pm: PANEL: Conan’s Birthday!

5:30 – 6:30: Silent Auction items available for viewing and bidding at Banquet site

6:30: Robert E. Howard Celebration Banquet and Silent Auction at the Baptist Church Family Life Center. (1 block north of the Library on Main St.)

Following the Banquet and Silent Auction: The Third Annual Robert E. Howard Foundation Awards at the Baptist Church Family Life Center.

9:00 pm PANEL: Fists at the Ice House

Afterward there will be some extemporaneous REH Poetry Reading at the Pavilion dedicated to Glenn Lord.

Saturday June 9th

9 am – 4 pm: Robert E. Howard House Museum open to the public.

9 am – 4 pm: Barbarian Festival held this year at Treadway Park, 3 blocks west of REH House

10 am – 3 pm: Cross Plains Public Library open

10:30 am PANEL: REH at the Gates of Academia

Noon to 4 pm: Pavilion available for REH items Swap Meet

Noon: The Robert E. Howard Foundation Legacy Circle Members Luncheon.

Lunch & Festival Activities at your leisure during the day

2:00 pm PANEL: The Illustrated Conan

3:30 pm PANEL:What’s Up with REH? at the Pavilion

5 pm: Sunset BBQ at the Caddo Peak Ranch

Please Note: The Robert E. Howard House Museum will be open again this year on Thursday (June 7th) from 2-4 pm. No docents on duty.

For a detailed schedule and everything you wanted to know about Howard Days, mosey on over to the REHupa website.

If you can’t make it to Howard Days this year, you can still contribate to the cause. Project Pride needs donations of Howard material for the Silent Auction. Typical donations include books, magazines, old pulps, comics, memorabilia, fanzines or other publications. Other Howard items such as t-shirts, bookmarks, wood carvings, original artwork or limited edition prints or posters are also great items to donate to the auction. Instead of selling your items on eBay, you can donate them to the Silent Auction and know the money will be supporting a worthy cause, plus it counts as a donation, so it’s tax deductible. Please send your donated items to:

Project Pride
P.O. Box 534
Cross Plains, TX 76443
ATTN: Howard Days Silent Auction

Make sure your name and address information is included since all donors are listed in a place of honor in the Howard Days Banquet program booklet.

The 16th issue of The Definitive Robert E. Howard Journal is currently in the works. I had planned to have the issue ready in time for Howard Days, however five weeks ago I suffered a serious injury from which I am still recovering. (This is why I have been mostly absent from this blog in recent weeks.) While it is doubtful the issue will be ready in time for a Howard Days debut, it will appear later in the summer.

Issue #16 features a stellar line-up of rare Howard fiction, articles and essays by leading Howard scholars and fantastic artwork by a group of talented artists who are also die hard Howard fans. Contents include: two pieces of hard-to-find fiction by Robert E. Howard, articles and essays by Dave Hardy, Brian Leno, Patrice Louinet, Rob Roehm and Jeff Shanks, with artwork by David Burton, Bill Cavalier, Bob Covington, Nathan Furman, Clayton Hinkle, Jim Ordolis, Richard Pace, Terry Plavet and Michael L. Peters.

Among the contributors listed is Dave Hardy, who has been having success recently with his fiction writing efforts. One of his novels, Crazy Greta, was just published as a digital book and several other stories are in the pipeline. For news on Dave’s upcoming fiction works, visit his Fire and Sword blog. As for Dave’s contribution to the new issue, he has written an in-depth analysis of Howard’s “Wild Water” titled “When the Dam Breaks: Violence and Wild Water.” Here are the opening paragraphs:

The entirety of Robert E. Howard’s fiction could perhaps be seen as an extended meditation on violence. The protagonists of Howard’s stories were gunslingers, boxers, and swordsmen. Conan is practically a synonym for violence. Violence is encoded in the name of the genre that Howard did so much to create: Sword and Sorcery. Note the sword comes first. Even Howard’s comedic characters are prone to slapstick brawling that would give pause to those other Howards, Moe and Curly.

Perhaps one might consider the corpus of Howard’s work an endorsement of violence. If that is the point of view one brings to Howard’s stories, then such a conclusion is understandable. A willingness to question the text of Howard’s tales yields a different conclusion. Resolving a plot with violence is not the same as resolving a problem with violence.

The essay is illustrated by Nathan Furman.

Check this blog during the coming weeks for more details, pricing, publication date and pre-ordering information.

Robert E. Howard knew and wrote a good deal about the blood feuds of his native Texas, and the old-time range wars that had been fought even before the Civil War. They became still more bitter and intense afterwards. Howard wrote to H.P. Lovecraft in January 1931:

I hope to some day write a history of the Southwest that will seem alive and human to the readers, not the dry and musty stuff one generally finds in chronicles. To me the annals of the land pulse with blood and life, but whether I can ever transfer this life from my mind to paper, is a question. It will be years, at least. Much of the vivid history of the Southwest is lost forever and the breed growing up now looks toward, and apes, the East, caring nothing at all about the traditions and history of the land in which they live.

Lovecraft at times became almost supercilious in his attitude to the violent frontier history of the Lone Star State. Well, much of it had been shockingly bloody, but so had much of England’s history, and Lovecraft admired England and the English to the point of affecting to regret the American Revolution. I’m not one to romanticize gunfights, but the solid fact is that in the old west there were very few activities that were free of physical danger, least of all the cowboy’s. He might meet armed cow thieves or fence cutters any day of his working life. He was understandably not willing to “ride the river” with a pardner who hadn’t shown that he was ready to fight. If he encountered rustlers, Comanches, or crooked lawmen who declared they were going to cut his herd on the excuse that they believed it had been stolen – well, he was better off with a hard-drinking braggart and bully beside him than someone who was yellow.

REH expressed it this way, in the same letter quoted above:

Western feuds have generally been fought over land – cattle – sordid commercial wrangles in outward appearance, but with the underlying reasons of stubborn independent pride. More men have been killed in Texas over fences than for any other one reason. When two men own each thousands of acres, it seems foolish for them to shoot each other to death because one insisted on setting his fence forward a foot or so, doesnt it? But its the old story of ‘the principle of the thing’. And after all, a man cant be blamed for defending what he thinks is his, or taking what he thinks is his. Say you and I own adjoining ranches and I claim that the fences werent run according to the survey. I claim a strip of your land four feet wide and half a mile long. You are just as certain that it dont belong to me. I come in the night and set the fence up four feet. You are patient and not quarrelsome, so you come back the next night and set the fence back where it was. I come again and start moving that fence once more. Well, there’s nothing left for you to do but take your Winchester and start throwing lead in my direction and you’re quite right, too. A man has a right to defend his property. Its not the money value or the grazing value of the land; its the sturdy resolve of the Anglo-Saxon or the Scotch-Irish-American not to be bullied out of his natural rights. And when both contestants are of the same breed, and both absolutely certain they’re right, well, by-standers might as well start ducking, because there’s only one way to settle a row like that, and if its taken to court, it wont do any real good, but merely make feeling more bitter on each side, whichever way the decision goes.

As he observed, land and cattle were the usual cause. Not always, though, and often not the direct cause. The Texas cattle barons of the early 1870s who cursed the Kansas legislators and their quarantine rules had no idea what other problems they were soon to face. Not because of rustlers, Comanches, northern politicians or cowhand unions. Because of one man by the name of Joseph Glidden, tinkering with an apparently harmless coffee mill.

Glidden was a prairie farmer in Illinois. He didn’t invent barbed wire – that was a man named Michael Kelly – but Glidden improved it until it was truly practical. He perfected the barbs, and the means of attaching them to double-strand wire, on a small scale at first, experimenting with a coffee mill. Then he designed machines that could economically mass-produce the wire. He applied for and received a patent in 1874. Other inventors challenged his application in court, but Glidden’s design won by November – not only through his lawyer, but also through its comparative efficiency and the number of sales orders.

Barbed wire across their ranges was about as welcome to the big ranchers as infidels eating pork in Mecca to the faithful.

The clashes between cattlemen and sheepherders on the big ranges had begun at about this time. Like Glidden, the sheepherders had to fight their cases in court as part of the Sheep Wars, and cattlemen had more money. A court case being a contest to see who can afford the best lawyer, the cattlemen mostly won.

Conflict between the two was in fact less intense and violent in Texas than in Wyoming and Colorado – but Texas did have the distinction of hosting one of the earliest such clashes. Shortly before barbed wire was patented, the famous Charles Goodnight’s cowhands met with incursions of sheepmen on that part of Goodnight’s range which comprised the north fork of the Canadian River, in the Panhandle. The clashes were made worse by ethnic prejudice; the sheepherders were Mexicans, and the Texans still remembered the Alamo. In the end, Don Casimiro Romero and Goodnight came to an agreement; sheep would graze on one side of the Canadian River Valley, cattle on the other. That dispute was settled peacefully.

It was in 1875, also, that the Hoodoo War broke out. Or the Mason County War, after the locale in central Texas. That wasn’t settled peacefully.

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During my Spring Break this year, Lou Ann Lord sent Paradox Entertainment seven large boxes of paperwork from the Glenn Lord files. Paradox is located in Beverly Hills—or “Down Below” as we call everything south of here; “here” being the High Desert of Southern California. With such a large cache of material so close, I used up three of my seven days going back and forth to help sort the stash. Two of the boxes were full of assorted papers with no rhyme or reason as to organization: newspaper clippings, photocopies of magazine pages, Glenn’s retypes of REH typescripts, notes on foreign REH editions, copies of Glenn’s various efforts for a variety of amateur press associations, etc. A big mess. The other boxes were comparatively neat and organized and consisted primarily of correspondence. This was separated into file-folders, each labeled with either someone’s name—“Price, E. Hoffmann”—or the dates the letters were received—“1979 / January—June.”

Paradox was, of course, most interested in the contracts; I had a different focus: here was the history of everything, letters from the agents, Kittie West and Oscar J. Friend, and Harold Preece and Tevis Clyde Smith and . . . So after Nikko, Paradox’s intern, had gone through a box and made notes on its contents, I went through it and pulled various items for scanning or photographing. I’d originally planned on just scanning everything, but it quickly became obvious that I just didn’t have enough time to do that. I did, however, look at every single piece of paper in all seven boxes. I quickly skimmed each sheet and made my determination: copy or don’t copy. So the Foundation will have Roehm’s version of what was most important in the boxes. I’m sure others wouldn’t agree with everything I selected, and some will whine at what I left out, but the good news is that it will all be available at a Texas University at some point down the road, at least that’s the plan.

Anyway, I’d work at Paradox for four or five hours, then collect the items I thought most important and take them home to scan (their scanner isn’t very good). I’d spend the rest of the day scanning what I had, plus most of the next day, and then return to do it all over again the following day. I found out early that I wasn’t going to be able to scan everything while making the detailed notes about what each scan actually was—I just didn’t have enough time—so now I’m sitting here with a pile of images that need to be dated and sorted. I have no idea how long that’s going to take.

I also discovered that I sometimes lack focus. Several times, something from the stacks would send me off looking for more information. Case in point: a Glenn-typed document beginning “Name: Robert Ervin Howard” and ending “Dime Sports Magazine / June 1936.” The document appeared to be a transcription of an unknown “about the author” letter that Howard had sent to that pulp around the time that “Iron-Jaw” was published (April 1936). Why had we never heard of this? Maybe, I thought, someone had sent it to Glenn and he discovered it was a fake; or maybe he could never verify it was the real deal; or maybe it was just lost in the stacks.

No one I know has that particular issue, so I started making phone calls and sending emails to various places with pulp collections. This took time away from scanning, but I really wanted to know about this letter. Two days later, one of my contacts came through and we now have a new, verified Howard letter for the correspondence collection.

The Score Board

[Dime Sports Magazine—June 1936]

So many of you fans seemed to like Robert E. Howard’s fight novelette “Iron-Jaw,” in the April issue, that we asked Mr. Howard to step up and introduce himself. Here’s what he says:

Name: Robert Ervin Howard

Ancestry: Scotch-Irish, old American pioneer stock.

Born: Peaster, Texas—which is about 45 miles west of Fort Worth—in the early years of this century.

Occupation for the past several years: writing. Occupations before that: picking cotton, working in grocery store, smashing baggage, working in tailor shop, working in dry-goods store, toting rod for geologist, working in drug-store, secretary in law office, ditto in gas office, jerking soda in oil-boom-town drug store, public stenographer, working in automobile agency, writing oil news for newspapers of Texas and Oklahoma.

Have sold many yarns to various magazines: sports, westerns, detectives, mysteries and adventures.

About the first half of my life was spent in various parts of West, East and South Texas and western Oklahoma, mostly following land booms and railroad booms. As a child I crossed the South Plains, not in a covered wagon indeed, but in a buggy, in what was about the last big colonization movement in Texas—the settlement of the Great Plains. (I did go down the Nueces in a covered wagon.) I also saw the beginning of the development of the Lower Rio Grande Valley. The last half of my life has been lived in the oil-belt towns of Central West Texas.

My personal appearance doesn’t matter, I suppose, but in case anybody’s interested I stand a little less than six feet, weigh a hundred and ninety-five pounds, like fried liver and onions washed down with lager, and my favorite pastime is holding down a ring-side seat and watching a good fight-card.

And that’s just one of the items that we’ve found in Glenn’s collection. Members of the REH Foundation can look forward to lots of previously unknown material in upcoming Newsletters.

This entry filed under Glenn Lord, Howard Biography, News.

This is the first post for 2012 of the online version of Nemedian Dispatches. This feature previously appeared in the print journal and is now on the blog. On a quarterly basis, Nemedian Dispatches will highlight new and upcoming appearances of Howard’s fiction in print, as well as Howard in other types of media.

In Print:

Blood and Thunder: The Life and Art of Robert E. Howard
In this revised and expanded second edition of  author Mark Finn’s Howard biography, many of those old, outdated myths that have grown up around Howard and his fictional creations. Armed with twenty-five years of research and a wealth of historical documents, Finn paints a very different picture from the one that millions of fans of Conan have been sold throughout the years. This item is nearly sold out.

Lone Scout of Letters
Now available from Roehm’s Room Press, Lone Scout of Letters, a volume that  collects a wide variety of material written by REH”s friend, Herbert Klatt. This includes 12 letters to Tevis Clyde Smith and 1 to Howard. Also included is a sampling of Klatt’s work from various tribe and farm papers, letters outlining the planned memorial collection, and an extensive appendix containing all of the known material written by Truett Vinson, including Lone Scout items, letters, and articles from The Junto.

Days of High Adventure
Subtitled “A Selection of the Works of Robert E. Howard,” this book’s webpage states it is not yet ready for publication, but it is available for the Kindle. This collection presents a nice sampling of Howard’s fantasy, adventure and weird menace yarns. El Borak, Black Vulmea, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn and King Kull are all represented in this volume. Edited by Gavin Chappel, with a cover by Margaret Brundage.

Sword & Fantasy #10
This new issue from publisher James Van Hise features an article on Virgil Finlay by Sam Moskowitz, a portfolio of the 1953 Kelly Freas art from the Tops in Science Fiction reprint of “Lorelei Of The Red Mist” (just the art, not the story), a five page reprint of the James Blish anti-A. Merritt reviews from the 1957 Fantasy Times, a facsimile reprint of Donald A. Wandrei’s 1926 Overland Monthly article on Clark Ashton Smith “The Emperor of Dreams,” a 2 page article written by H.P. Lovecraft in 1929 discussing his own horror stories “In The Vault,” “The Hound” and “The Colour Out of Space,” reprints of the 1933 and 1934 letters by Forrest Ackerman and others regarding whether the fantasy stories of Clark Ashton Smith belong in the science fiction mag, Wonder Stories (even H.P. Lovecraft weighed in on the debate), a tribute to artist James Cawthorn (1929-2008), and more. Full color front and back covers by Mahlon Fawcett.

Audio Books:

El Borak and Other Desert Adventures
This is an audio version of the Del Rey book of the same name that collects Howard’s adventure stories set in the Middle East and featuring Francis Xavier Gordon, known as “El Borak,” Kirby O’Donnell and Steve Clarney. This trio of hard-fighting Americans, civilized men with more than a touch of the primordial in their veins, are heroes on a grand scale and their stories are a hallmark of great adventure. This audio book from is narrated by Michael McConnohie; running time: 25 hours and 17 minutes.

Coming Soon:

Marvel Tales
Lance Thingmaker, the publisher of the complete collection of The Fantasy Fan, is back with a hardback book that collects the five issue run of William Crawford’s Marvel Tales. Each issue was chock full of fantasy from a who’s who of Weird Tales writers, with REH’s “The Garden of Fear” appearing in the second issue. A website for Lance’s books is coming soon, in the meantime, to order, contact the publisher. The price of the book is $50.00 (includes US postage), but if you mention the TGR Blog, you can save $10.00 and pay only $40.00 (includes US postage). The book is scheduled for shipping mid-May, with pre-orders shipping earlier.

Adventures in Science Fantasy
Pre-orders are now being accepted for the REH Foundation Press’ collection of Howard’s science fiction stories, which should ship around the first of May. The hardcover book will have a color cover by Mark Schultz and an introduction by Mike Stackpole who penned the Conan the Barbarian movie novelization.

Skullcrusher: Selected Weird Fiction, Volume One
Slated for September publication, Skullcrusher is the first volume of a two-volume collection of classic fantasy stories by REH. The stories in this collection feature all of Howard’s most famous creations — Conan, King Kull, Solomon Kane, Bran Mak Morn — alongside others such as Cormac Mac Art, James Allison, Red Sonya, and Cormac Fitzgeoffrey — in a definitive anthology of sword and sorcery, weird adventure, and occult horror in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft’s Cthulhu Mythos.

The Sword & Sorcery Anthology
Coming in June, a big collection of sword & sorcery stories from the world’s best  fantasy authors. In addition to Howard’s “Tower of the Elephant,” Jack Vance, C.L. Moore, Fritz Leiber, Charles Saunders, Karl Edward Wagner, David Drake and more writers are represented with some of their best yarns. An original story from Michael Shea rounds out this essential anthology. Edited by David G. Hartwell and Jacob Weisman.

Kamose the Magician – New Tales from Keith Taylor
Keith has just written three “Kamose the Magician” short stories  and is now working on a couple of novels. One is about Kamose and one is a “murder-at-a-tournament” medieval whodunnit set in Salisbury, England, in the year 1352. Looks like he is poised for a big comeback.

The previous post omitted a couple of things to do with the Texas cattle industry before the Civil War. The drives then were small compared to the ones that came later; but the Shawnee Trail, or Texas Road, from East Texas through Indian Territory, wasn’t the only cattle route, as I inadvertently made it seem. Texan cowboys drove herds west to California in the gold rush days of the eighteen-fifties, to supply the hungry miners with beef. The journey took five or six months and would usually start from San Antonio or Fredericksburg. From there the drive normally followed a southern route through El Paso to Los Angeles, and from there, north to San Francisco. Cattle worth five or ten bucks in Texas would sell for ten times that much in the gold rush boomtowns – or even twenty times as much, so the trail drives were worthwhile. But a glut in the beef market came in 1857 and prices went down.

I also seem (not deliberately – through sheer ignorance) to have slighted the Opelousas Trail over which Texas cattle were driven from the Gulf Coast to the New Orleans market in the early nineteenth century. Well, I never claimed to be expert on the history of Texas, just to find it fascinating. And putting every matter of interest into these two meager articles would be impossible. A thousand-page volume couldn’t contain that.

The Civil War shattered the cattle business, and much more. It was the bloodiest human butcher’s yard the USA has seen. At just one battle, Shiloh, over 13,000 Union soldiers died, and over 10,000 Confederates. The idiots on both sides, who had been confidently predicting a quick end to the war, and quick and easy victory, were silent after that.

Texas is often considered the archetypal Confederate state, but in fact about a quarter of the Texican population was for staying with the Union. Among the German immigrants in central Texas, that feeling was very nearly unanimous. (This may have contributed later to the genesis of the Mason County War.) Texas’s governor, the legendary Sam Houston, also wanted to stay with the Union. He thought secession at that time was “rash action”. He went as far as refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the Confederacy. Texas replaced him as governor and declared its secession from the United States of America early in March, 1861. Sadly, in a declaration of its causes for secession, it set out a fervent justification of black slavery and white supremacy. The declaration didn’t mention that the first man to die in the American Revolution against the British had been, in Harlan Ellison’s words, “a black dude named Crispus Attucks.”

Texas supplied some of the best cavalry soldiers the Confederacy had. It supplied beef to feed the southern soldiers, too. The legendary John Chisum, exempt from military service, became one of the major beef suppliers in the Trans-Mississippi Department. When the war ended – and the Confederacy, as we all know, lost – John Chisum was among the first to drive cattle into eastern New Mexico for sale to the army and the Indian reservations. Any number of Indian agents and their backers were rotten crooked low-lifes, who stole the Indians’ assigned beef to market on the sly, but that wasn’t Chisum’s fault; he just supplied the beef cattle, and seems to have done it honestly. Most people who’ve written about him without axes to grind seem to consider him a man of integrity.

Prolific western writer J.T. Edson denigrated Chisum as a manipulator exuding false bonhomie in one of his novels, but then Edson also low-rated Wild Bill Hickok and Wyatt Earp, describing the latter as a “fighting pimp,” in the interests of building up his fictional Texan heroes Dusty Fog and Mark Counter. The latter was, in Edson’s stories, better with a gun than Hickok and a better lover, too. The author had Calamity Jane, no less, forgetting about Hickok fast enough in Mark Counter’s arms. This blogger is skeptical about Edson’s portrayal of John Simpson Chisum, too.

Shortly after the Civil War ended, Chisum formed a partnership with those other cattlemen of mythical stature, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving. Their almost incredible efforts did much, in J.T. Edson’s words, to “set Texas back on her feet.” A majority of Texas’s best cowboys and riders had worn cavalry uniform through the war; until it was over, the Texas longhorns had bred wild and undisturbed, until there were about five million of them in the Lone Star State. The southern states’ economy had been ruined and beef cattle were worth very little – in Texas. But they were worth plenty further north. Taste had changed and beef had become a desired meat. At the Kansas railheads, a beast worth five or even two dollars in Texas might be worth forty if it could only be delivered there, past the storms, flooded rivers, rustlers and fierce Indian raiders who didn’t appreciate the benefits white men had brought them, but who did appreciate meat in their hungry bellies.

The Texas cowboys of the great cattle drive era included black former slaves who, like the Native Americans, still had to eat. Despite being depicted in Hollywood movies as exclusively WASP, they were about fourteen per cent colored, with an even higher proportion of them Mexican. The vaqueros, after all, had been the original Texas cowboys.

Charles Goodnight’s early career has been given a thumbnail sketch in the previous post. In 1866 he and Oliver Loving drove their first herd of cattle northward by the route that would become known as the Goodnight-Loving Trail. With a crew of eighteen cowboys they took 2,000 head of cattle to Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Food supplies were badly needed for the eight thousand Navajos interned at the Bosque Redondo Reservation – largely due to lousy planning by the government department responsible for them. They sold some of the cattle to the agent at Bosque Redondo, and then Goodnight turned back to Texas, while Loving went on towards the railhead in Denver, Colorado.

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This entry filed under H. P. Lovecraft, Howard's Texas.