Manuscript Brand & Tally Registers—Matagorda County 1870s & 1880s
77. [BRANDS & BRAND BOOKS]. MATAGORDA COUNTY, TEXAS. HAYNES, Amos. Two manuscript tally and brand books with ledger entries by Amos Haynes and others from 1870 to 1888. 30 pp. + 33 pp., written in pencil and ink, with many brands and earmarks illustrated. The page counts given represent only pages relating to cattle branding, tallies, and the cattle business. Omitted from the count are blank pages and those with writing by children and others, some perhaps Haynes’ wife, such as a note in a small, delicate hand along the side of one page: “Do you think of me when you are on the prairie?” 2 vols., both original bindings, one in old worn leather with covers detached (16.5 x 10 cm), the other a wallet-style leather binding (17 x 10.5 cm), in slightly more respectable condition than the first book. Both books were used on the range and exhibit wear in a rough country. The ink entries are quite legible, but the pencil notes can be read only with some effort in some places where the writing is light. At the front of the second volume is a contemporary clipping from a newspaper article Notes on Fencing commencing: &lquo;It takes 400 pounds of wire to run one stran[d] of fence a while, or about 1600 pounds for a four wire fence.&rquo;
These brand and tally books are a rare and colorful type of documentation on the cattle trade dating from an era when cattle, ranching, and trail drives flourished, and in a region of the country where the industry boomed followed by the inevitable bust, yet leaving an indelible mark on the enduring romantic imagination of the West. Among the cattlemen and cattlewomen documented are Julia M. Haynes (Amos Haynes’ wife), the Nail family, Mrs. Norton (widow of Milford Phillips Norton?), F.S. Stockdale (signed Secession Ordinance and promoted development of a refrigerator car for shipping beef), “Mexican Louis,” Thomas Sterne, Mrs. J.B. Foster, Benjamin Ward, Mrs. Ward, et al.
Copyright Dorothy Sloan 2009