Jones, Otto F 1959, 1971, 1974

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Otto Jones, a former Renderbrook-Spade Ranch employee, recalls the operations and working conditions of the ranch, the sheep and cattle business, water and feeding problems, trail-driving, and the oil and gas development on the ranch; relates details of ranch life and Spade Ranch policy in the early Twentieth Century, in addition to his personal career. Note: Sound reproduction is distorted near the end of Side 2 of Tape 2. Otto Jones discusses various aspects of ranching between 1910 and 1920, including ranch life and personalities of some of his associates. Mrs. Jones adds to the conversation occasionally. On Tape 9, Linda Webb reads an article about Mr. Jones and notes written by him about the Renderbrook-Spade. Note: Mrs. Webb says October 6 on tape, but it is August prior to her interviews with Mr. Jones.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Otto F. Jones

Additional Parties Recorded: Mrs. Jones

Date: December 30, 1959; July 29, 1971; August 6-7, 1974

Location: Colorado City, Texas

Interviewer: Virgil Lawyer, Elmer Kelton, Linda Webb

Length: 6 hours, 35 minutes (total)


Abstract

Tape 1, Side 1: Otto Jones’ employment on the Renderbrook-Spade, Number of cowhands, Wages, Facilities provided for employees, Water problem during drought, Grasses and cattle feed, Purchase and breeding of cattle, Major diseases, wild animals and other hazards, Weaning, castrating and dehorning calves, Shelter for cattle and horses.

Tape 1, Side 2: Horses, Bedrolls and rattlesnakes, Fencing, Corrals, Sheep-raising business, Trouble with eagles and coyotes, Lambing season, Reason for quitting sheep business, Government purchase of cattle, Account of slaughter of 1,200 cattle, Cattle and sheep grazing, Profits in wool, Branding and marketing sheep, Diseases among sheep, Shelter not needed for sheep, Wild game on ranch, Best years on ranch, Use of automobiles on ranch.

Tape 2, Side 1: Work done in the winter, Spring roundup, Equipment, fuel and diet on roundup, Methods used in roundup, Summer work—spraying for flies, etc., Number and size of pastures, Fall roundup, Farming on ranch, Value of land, Gas and oil development, Windmills.

Tape 2, Side 2: Use of automobile vehicles on ranch, Cowhands not allowed to drink or gamble, Construction on ranch during past 20 years, Trail driving, Dipping for fever ticks caused cattle to get hot, Account of stampede caused by rainstorm, Guarding cattle at night, Cattle usually lost weight on drives, End of Lawyer interview.

Tape 3, Side 1: Began work for Spade Ranch in Hockley and Lubbock Counties (1907), Drove herds to Borden County, Describes pre-emption of ranch land by farmers and subsequent purchase by ranchers, Recollection of Gail land rush, Process of dipping for ticks explained, Origin of Spade Ranch’s various brands mentioned, Accommodated fences to trail drives, Cattle had tendency to stampede, Changed from Durham to Hereford cattle after the drought of 1916-18.

Tape 3, Side 2: Clarification on various Spade Ranch holdings, Partial liquidation of various holdings reviewed, Shipped cattle from Roscoe and Sweetwater, Explanation of return to driving techniques (1921-1923), Problems encountered, Drove cattle through present-day downtown Lubbock, Description of early Lubbock, Relates details of cattle drive and cattle management, Anecdote about stampede, Comments on guarding the cattle, Comparison of earlier and later cattle drives in relation to dipping cattle.

Tape 4, Side 1: Schedule for dipping ticks explained, Relates role of drought in tick control management, Speculations on the origin of the screw worm and cattle ticks, Cattle sold to Kansas market, Practice of pasturing cattle in Kansas examined, Discussion of market prices and practices, Shipped cattle from Smyer, Texas, Anecdote on cattle behavior, Social changes in ranch personnel explored, Mention of large Mexican families, Use of lantern for directions described, Recalls use of horses, Examination of the role of roping in ranching, Medication for screw worms mentioned, Individuals distinguished in photographs, Socially-taboo Spanish slang phrase was origin of a nickname, Review of history of Spade Ranch.

Tape 4, Side 2: Review of Spade history (continued), Justifies prairie dog extermination, Notes the emergence of mesquite brush, Traces changes in stock grazing acre ratio over approximately 25-year period, Drought of 1950s mentioned, Sheep-raising discussed, Characterizes Dolph Briscoe, Mesquite extermination efforts related, Use of wagon discontinued after 1950, Discusses cattle breeding program (c. 1966), Value judgements on the past and present, Comments on retirement.

Tape 5, Side 1: Tried to improve Hereford cattle since 1918, Changed to Herefords before other ranches, Tells of last big roundup (1925), Discusses reason for breeding cattle on one ranch and then moving them to another as yearlings, Tick eradication described, Describes method of moving cattle, Relates anecdote concerning fruit and canned tomatoes, Recalls grocery bill of $100 per month (early 1900s), Tells of swimming yearlings across river, Remembers killing of 3,000 cattle, Government paid $20 a head for cattle, Cattle died during drought of 1910, Began feeding cottonseed cake (1910), At death of W. L. Ellwood, Bill Eisenberg and Perry Ellwood were executors.

Tape 5, Side 2: Discusses personalities of cowhands Remembers firing an employee.

Tape 6, Side 1: Review notes Mr. Jones made, Largest pasture was 60 sections (1917), Fenced into smaller areas (mid-1960s), Not one pasture over 15 sections (1966), Cross-fenced in order to rotate grazing, Mr. Jones reads about Renderbrook Ranch, History of Spade brand, History of Renderbrook, Jones came to the ranch in 1907, Ellwood family members described, Promoting of barbed wire by Isaac L. Ellwood, Major jobs at Renderbrook (1907-1918), Dipping cattle to eradicate fever ticks, Remembers wagon cooks, Uncle Dick Arnett characterized, Built tanks for stock, Bogholes formed, Tromping cows out of quicksand explained, First election in Mitchell County described, Bought horses until 1930s, then raised own, Used two horses per day.

Tape 6, Side 2: Married (1914), Describes changes in chuck wagon, Oil field on Renderbrook Ranch and drilling (1940s), Discussion and explanation of spraying mesquite and pulling it up with tractors and chains, Trail drives, Pointers, swing men, drag driver explained, Recalls land leased from other ranchers, Still employ about same number of cowhands, Hire people to build fences and tanks, Identifies points of interest on ranch map, Ed Bills only person killed on ranch, Discusses magazine.

Tape 7, Side 1: Started sheep business (1935), Compares cost of cottonseed cake, Screw worm eradication program, Sold sheep because of drought, Membership in Southwestern Cattle Raisers Association mentioned, Discussion of current breeding techniques on Renderbrook Ranch, Sale of cattle discussed, Relationship between ranch personnel and office in Lubbock, Lists cattle and sheep census from 1910 to 1950, Remembers wife living in Colorado City.

Tape 7, Side 2: Blank

Tape 8, Side 1: Autobiographical data presented, Father owned a stock farm, Education summarized, Wife’s autobiographical data, Courtship and marriage remembered, Recalls driving cattle down Avenue Q in Lubbock, Forms of entertainment mentioned, Talks of associates, Reasons for success of Renderbrook, Springs and good grassland, Further description of sale of cattle, Walter Jones recalled, Lee Wilson, tick inspector, remembered, Tells of death of black cowboy, Identifies photographs.

Tape 8, Side 2: Discusses horses that he owned, Further identification of photographs, Tells of cutting horse and chuck wagon contests, Remembers Walter "Coosey" Jackson, Relates anecdote of public announcement in barber shop, Business associates in Colorado City discussed, Remembers early automobiles on ranch.

Tape 9, Side 1: Reads article on Otto Jones from the newspaper, "The Coming West," September 19, 1970, Jones comments on arrival at Renderbrook-Spade Ranch, Lists pastures at Renderbrook Ranch, Describes wildlife, Poisoning of prairie dogs, Cowboys and other Renderbrook employees named, Inventory of ranch from 1908, Adjoining ranchers named, Autobiographical data, History of Renderbrook Ranch, Article written by Aline Parks, Notes by Mr. Jones read, Renderbrook House (hotel in Colorado City) owned by Mrs. William M. Dunn, Location given, Prairie dog towns mentioned, Rattlesnakes killed on Spade property, Population of wild game animals.

Tape 9, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1907-1974

Bulk Dates: 1907-1970


Access Information

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Recording Format Notes:

Transcript:



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