Thursday, January 29, 2009

Cattle Drives and a Hymn Book

Lulling the cattle to sleep.
When Charles B. Wilson was still in his teens, he started working on cattle drives with his older brother, Billy Wilson.  Charles, or "B" as he was often called by others, would carry a small hymn book with him that had belonged to his mother.

Before Maymie died, she gave me her father's (Charles B. Wilson) hymn book. She said that her Dad Wilson carried the little hymn book with him when he was working as a cowboy or
drover on the cattle drives. The little hymn book had belonged to his mother, Mary "Polly" Huff Wilson.

The hymn book is 3" X 4-3/4" in size, so it was small enough to carry in a pocket. As you will see in the pictures below, the hymn book had been covered with red cloth that had some embroidery stitches on it (no particular pattern). The book is badly worn and soiled.
The title page is missing and most of the first page. I could make out the term"Gospel H***, No. 5, With Standard Sel***". After doing some research online, I found reference to "Gospel Hymns No. 5 With Standard Selections" by Sankey, McGranahan & Stebbin, John Church Co. 1887. (Copies can be readily found in online book stores.)

Front cover of Hymn Book

Inside Front Cover

Back cover of Hymn Book
The name "Mary" is written several times.
The only notation or writing in the book that seems original to the book is found on page 155. The name "Rosa" is written on the bottom of the page. Rose or Rosa was the daughter of Mary.

On the back pages of the book, written in Maymie's handwriting is the following:
"B carried this book in his pocket when on cattle drives in Texas"
"Dad Wilson's mother's book"


Anonymous said...

If only the little book could speak to us and tell some stories. Would love to hear stories of Grandpa Wilson when he was out driving cattle. I've heard that he had a good voice and could sing quite well. Maybe he would sing hymns to the cattle to calm them down.

Anonymous said...

It's quite amazing that the little hymn book survived the cattle drives. No wonder a new cover had to be applied. Love the picture you attached of the cowboys singing/playing-violin to the cattle. Where did you find it?