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This is Page 50.

See some past weeks' photos below.

See an index of all past weeks' photos here.

See Page 1 here with the current photo of the week.


We welcome your pictures. We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We're looking for vintage photos and contemporary photos: family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo to share, email us for information about sending it to us.

Each week, we'll post selected photos from those received. We'll also share some photos posted previously elsewhere at CowboyPoetry.com.


Send your photo.

 Email us for information about sending it to us.



If you enjoy this feature, you may also be interested in our 
Western Memories Project, the personal recollections— many with photos— contributed by BAR-D visitors.  Your stories and photos are welcome.

previous weeks' photos

index of all photos

June 1, 2009

Poet, writer, and 7th generation Floridian cowboy David L. Carlton shares information and photos about his family's Florida cowboy roots, some background about Florida's ranching history, and a poem: 

What most Westerners don’t know is that cattle were first introduced to the North American Continent in 1521, when Ponce De Leon landed on Florida's west coast. Records indicate that by the 1600s, the Spanish missions in Florida had over 20,000 head. It is also reported that Native Americans learned to raise cattle from the Spanish and became very good cattlemen. Some herds were owned independently by Indian chiefs. During the English occupation of Florida, they brought English Shorthorn and English Longhorn cattle to cross with the small Andalusian stock which pretty much ran wild throughout the whole Florida territory by then. These crosses are now recognized as the Florida “Piney Woods” cattle of the 1800s. 

Southwest Florida in the 1800s was a lucrative market for Florida’s growing herds. Cuba had lost most of her cattle in revolutions, but they had Spanish gold to exchange for Florida cattle. Large cattle herds were driven from all over Florida to Punta Rassa, south of Tampa, where they were loaded onto ships bound for Cuba. A long pier was built to load cattle on these ships. Before the pier was built, cattle had to be driven into the water and made to swim to the ship's side, where a harness was attached and the cattle were lifted aboard. In 1840, 30,000 cattle were exported to Cuba from Punta Rassa. Trade was so profitable that cattlemen risked running Union blockades during the Civil War. During the Civil War, Florida supplied the Confederate army with over 50,000 head of cattle. Cattle drives in Florida during the Civil War were done to feed the Confederacy. The Cow Calvary pushed thousands of cattle north to feed the troops. The cattle were driven north to Georgia and South Carolina for distribution. These drives were done in easy stages when possible, so the cattle would not lose weight. Weather has always played a part in everyday life in Florida, and made life really rough for the cowboys.  

Lieutenant Alderman Carlton

My family came to the territory of Florida in the early 1840s. Lieutenant Alderman Carlton and his extended family moved to the Florida frontier from South Georgia. Alderman was a rancher and Indian fighter who was looking for an opportunity to better the family's life. He had fought in the Wire Grass Indian War of South Georgia, so he was not overly concerned about moving into the hostile interior of Central Florida. He was stationed out of Ft. Brooke (Tampa) at Ft. Mead, about forty miles inland. Ft. Mead was established on the Peace River, across from a large Indian village where Osceola had been raised. In June of 1856, during the 3rd Seminole War, Lt Alderman Carlton was killed in a fight with about 30 Seminoles. He and a small group of mounted militia rode to the rescue of the Tillis homestead, where he was mortally wounded and died in his son Daniel’s arms. Two more of the rescue squad died that day, and Daniel was wounded before they chased the Indians from the battle ground.

 The home of Francis A. Hendry (Alderman’s Nephew)
Once he had an estimated 50,000 cows, and was a member of
the Cow Calvary, during the Civil War.

My family tree goes back to Alderman as such:

Alderman Carlton – Indian Fighter/Rancher/Pioneer
  Issac Carlton – Indian Fighter/Preacher/Rancher
   Francis Marrion Carlton - Preacher
    Parley Lawton Carlton – Rancher/Farmer/Citrus Grower
     Louis David Carlton – Rancher/Farmer/Citrus Grower
      David Leslie Carlton – Rancher/Deputy Sheriff (My Father)
       Me – Cowboy/Retired Military/Texas A&M Employee/Writer

Alderman’s Grandson
Francis Marion Carlton

My father’s mother was a Parrish. The Parrish family came to Northeast Florida from Southeast Georgia in the 1840s. After the Civil War, they lost a plantation way of life, and moved to the edge of the frontier in Central Florida in an attempt to escape the carpetbaggers, and to seek a new beginning. They brought an extensive family and settled in the Manatee County area south of  Ft. Brooke (present-day Tampa). Though the Indian Wars were over, Southerners still suffered from a post Civil War atmosphere that was found in rural Florida. Crawford Parrish was the patriarch of the Parrish family. He established and maintained a family reputation that still stands to date. After moving to Central Florida, he decided that the territory was better suited to raising cattle and citrus than it was to raising cotton and tobacco. He purchased Oak Hill Plantation, in the area of present day Parrish, Florida. The town still bears the family name, and though not large, it’s still considered a strong community in eastern Manatee County. The Parrish’s have proven to be exceptional ranchers who are thrifty and strong of spirit.

 John and Eula Parrish with Grandma’s flock of turkeys.
The only time I remember her scolding me was the day I roped on of her turkeys.

William F. Parrish continued the family business, and was active in community affairs. He was elected to public office and was respected by all who had dealings with him. He was the father of John Brown Parrish, the father of my grandmother. When each of John’s kids was born, he would register a brand in their name, and brand a dozen heifer caves with their new brand. When each kid was old enough to go out into the world, they had a ready-made herd to take with them. As a result of their life-time exposure, each one was a very good rancher. Each daughter carried her own cattle into her marriage, and they all maintained cattle until their death.

My Great Aunt Mary Murphy
Indian Creek Ranch, Sarasota County, Florida

My great aunt Mary Murphy was a respected cattle woman. She just recently passed away, and during the past few years I was really blessed with the opportunity to spend some treasured time with her. We had so many things in common, that she often said it had to be passed in our genes. All I can say for sure is that when she died, the State of Florida, Manatee County and our entire family lost a very important and beloved cowgirl. John and Eula’s oldest daughter, Josephine was my grandmother. She married Louis David Carlton, and their eldest son was my father, Leslie.

 My dad’s parents
Louis David and Josephine Parrish Carlton

My dad managed different ranches, until he became a deputy sheriff in Hendry County. Hendry County was named after Francis A. Hendry, who was Alderman Carlton’s nephew. Even after my dad became a Deputy, he still remained involved with managing others cattle. After sixteen years as a deputy, he returned to full-time ranch management, and remained involved in cattle until his retirement. Even after he turned 60, when someone had a bad bull that needed roping, they would call my dad. He was always proud of his reputation as a good cowboy.

About 1980
David Leslie (Les) Carlton, my dad, at the Bar-A Ranch in Hardee County Florida

I am a 7th generation Florida cowboy who did not inherit the family ranch. My family history and pioneer heritage is more precious to me than silver and gold. Early families of Florida were rather large. Unless a family had lots of kids, there were few people around to assist with day to day ranch work. When the old folks passed on, the property was divided to a point where little was left by my generation. I worked on cattle ranches from the time of my birth until I joined to US Air Force in 1967. I didn’t plan to make the military a career, but always considered any job I took worth “riding for the brand” so I stuck it out. In 1987, I retired from the Air Force. I decided that it was time to move on to greener pastures. Even during my military career, I had time to train a few horses, become involved in Team Roping, and got into training a few bird dogs. In 1993, I took a job with Texas A&M University as a Laboratory Animal Facility Manager, and that job has evolved into a Facilities Coordinator position. I now have enough time with Texas A&M to retire a second time, and I’m still not old enough for Social Security. I really enjoy my present job, and also still love ranch life and all things cowboy. It is too late in life to start another career, but if I could, I’d go back to being a ranch cowboy. I still love the feel of a good horse under me, and seeing mama cows and baby calves on green grass. I rely on my cowboy heritage and love for nature in all that I do, including my writing.

1967- Me and a colt named Chief. A couple years later, I was attempting to break
him, while on my honeymoon, and he broke me instead. I ended up under the front
bumper of a ford truck with a saddle wedged between my knees.

And old set of cow pens built from cypress wood. Some of these old
cow pens are over 100 years old and still standing.

 Devil’s Garden

The jingle of spurs
the smell of leather
As I saddle my trusty steed

To be a cowboy
in the Devil’s Garden
It takes a special breed

When the sun is not shining
and the weather turns bad
It brings nightmares to your sleep

Five inches of rain
for five days straight
The water gets pretty deep

Between fighting mosquitoes
and cottonmouth snakes
It gives you the shivering creeps

And just the thought
of all those bites
Can make even an old cowboy weep

I’ve seen my saddle
turn green overnight
With a powdery greenish mold

It takes a boat
just to open the gates
Dry socks are better than gold

I’ve seen cattle swim
trying to reach a levee
Or just a piece of high ground

The mosquitoes so bad
the air turned pure black
To get eaten or to nearly drown

But when the sun shines
and the weather is clear
The job is not so bad

Of all the jobs
in all of the years...
It’s the best I’ve ever had

© 2009, David L. Carlton
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Read more about David L. Carlton
 and some of his poetry here.



   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.

May 25, 2009


Lynne Pedler Boren came upon LaVonne Houlton's poem about her father, Ern Peddler, and shared photos and stories about him.

In 2003, Lavonne Houlton introduced her poem, written, she commented, "the night I learned that Ern Pedler had passed away":

You may be familiar with Ern Pedler, the author of The Big Lonely Horse, And Other Stories. Ern was a family man, yet he still loved to go off into the back country of Utah, with only his Morgan stallion for company, and track mustangs—not to harm or capture, but mostly for the sheer exhilaration of the chase. His stories were first published in The Morgan Horse Magazine, and were much admired.

In 1989, already ill, scant months before he died, a group got together for a last cattle drive, in which Ern participated, and during which time he read from his wonderful stories, as the video cameras rolled. The rare footage that was shot back in '89 still sits "in the can," but there is hope yet of raising the funds to produce the film at last.

Ern Pedler

Out of the shadows a lone man rode;
'Twas a Morgan Horse that the man bestrode,
Chestnut coat and a gleaming hide,
A prancing step and a look of pride.

A stallion he was, with spirit strong,
To carry a man where the miles were long,
To cross the gullies of rolling stone,
And to suit a man who would ride alone.

Then out of the dim a brightness grew,
Over endless vistas and mountains blue,
And the trail led up to a distant height
Where mustangs grazed in a meadow bright.

And the man turned his horse through the chaparral
Into pinon trees, past an old corral,
Breathing air as sweet as man ever knew,
Over grass that sparkled with morning dew.

While up ahead the mustangs twirled,
And ran away, leaving dust that whirled.
Then the man snaked his rope and laughed with glee—
"This is the Heaven for one like me!"

And late that night to a tall pine stand
By a campfire bright came an angel band,
To hear the tale of a lonely horse,
And of mustangers who had run their course.

While the stars winked down and coyotes cried,
'Til the night grew pale and the fire died.
Then the man saddled up his chestnut friend,
To ride the trails that would never end

© 1989, LaVonne Houlton
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Lynne Pedler Boren writes:

Ern Pedler was my father. He spent as much of his adult life riding the mountains and deserts on his horse as he could manage while working to support his family. He loved the lovely, lonely high places in the mountains and the austerity of the desert equally.

Until it was outlawed, he ran mustangs on that desert many times. The first horses he had that I remember were Mex and then Buck, both of them captured and tamed mustangs. As a teenager, I had my own little mustang mare, Vixen, he brought home from one of his chases.

Eventually, he became an owner and lover of the Morgan Horse breed, and he spent the remainder of his years proving a purebred Morgan could equal and outperform the mustangs on the desert while carrying a man and a stock saddle and any other horse in the rugged mountains for northern Utah.

He broke, trained and conditioned his horses himself, even did his own shoeing. Anyone who has read his published stories can rest assured that he lived what he wrote in those stories, and there was no exaggeration in either the performance of the man or the horse.

This photo above was taken in 1980, while Ern was still living in Alpine, Utah, at the foot of the Wasatch Mountains, where he rode high and hard almost every day. It looks to me like that is where he is on this ride. He would have been 66 years old.

The above photo was taken in September of 1985, in the mountains above Rush Valley, where Ern had moved to live his life-long dream of being a working cowboy. This valley is on the west side of the Oquirrh Mountains in Utah and is called the west desert, and for good reason. It is arid and hard country, the soil in the valley having a high salinity, and crops being wrested from the soil with lots of hard work and water drawn from deep in the ground. The ranch where he lived was large, raising alfalfa for winter cattle feed and grazing rights in the mountains for summer range. His mount is a purebred Morgan, Mary Mels Dingo, whom he fondly called Adios. He would have been 71 years old at this time.

Taken in October, 1988, while Ern was working the fall roundup. This picture gives one the real idea of the ruggedness of the country where the cattle grazed from late spring to early fall, and what a challenge finding and moving them to their wintering grounds in the valley would be. It was demanding and exhilarating all at once, to convince those cows they wanted wanted to leave the mountains for the valley. Ern was 74 when this picture was taken, and the horse is Adios. This was his last roundup. He died of cancer in November, 1989.


   Share your photos for Picture the West.

Send your views of the West.

We're looking for images that give a glimpse of the ranching, cowboy, and rural and working life of the West of today and yesterday. We welcome vintage and contemporary photos:  family photos, images of where you live and work, and the area around you. 

If you have a photo and story to share, email us.

















Tell us your stories!  If you have a photo to share, email us.

See an index of all past photos here.








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