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#6893541 - 09/20/17 03:17 PM Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger
George - w/ Map My Ranch Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/09/12
Posts: 2065
Loc: Houston, Texas


I just saw Traces of Texas post on FB about Bob Lemmons - and my family has some investing connection with him. I thought I'd share the photo I got from the Library of Congress that was taken in the 1930's by Dorothea Lange.

A little history on Bob:

"Bob Lemmons was one of the greatest mustangers of all time. He became a legend in his day by perfecting his unique method of catching wild mustang horses.

Bob Lemmons was born a slave in Lockport, Caldwell County, Texas in 1848. He moved to Dimmit County, Texas; then a sparsely uninhabited land overrun by wild horses. Lemmons gained his freedom at the end of the Civil War at age seventeen. He found employment with Duncan Lammons, a man who taught him about horses and gave Robert the surname “Lemmons,” (a variant spelling that evolved over the years). Robert Lemmons farmed, hauled supplies, and went on cattle drives for Duncan Lammons.

No other cowboy equaled Lemmons in capturing mustangs, which were in high demand for roundups during the cattle drive era of the 1870s and 1880s. Lemmons usually worked alone totally isolating himself from humans to gain a mustang herd's trust and thereby infiltrate the heard. He then uprooted the herd hierarchy by mounting the lead stallion and then taking control of the herd, which followed him into a pen on a nearby ranch.
​
In 1870 at age twenty-two, Robert Lemmons had earned a small fortune of $1,000 for gathering wild mustangs. He bought his own ranch and learned how to read and write. Eleven years later he married Barbarita Rosales, a Chicana, on September 3, 1881. During that time inter-racial marriage was a big deal. The couple had eight children. During his life Robert Lemmons had amassed 1,200 acres of land and impressive holdings of horses and cattle. With his own financial security achieved, Bob and Barbarita Lemmons became well known as people who helped their neighbors during the Great Depression. Robert Lemmons died on December 23, 1947 at the age of ninety-nine years."

My great great grandfather and Bob ranched together and my great grandfather, Erskine Rhodes, took care of Bob in his last 15yrs of life, when his eye sight started to fail. He lived on our family ranch in a humble one room building. The chimney still stands today, and I hope to one day replicate his house where it once stood.

I have a webpage that has a lot more information about him that I put together, below. I think I may even get an ebook together on the stories we have of his life.
My mother wrote her Thesis paper on him and we even have his old rifle.


Here's a link to the page I put together, if you want to read more about him:
http://www.mapmyranch.com/mmr-blog/bob-lemmons-the-original-mustanger

Also, here is a picture of his old shotgun:


Notice the hand carved stock, that Bob himself carved:





Some historians believe that the character in Lonesome Dove that stayed with the horses and never spoke or stayed with the other men, was based on Bob Lemmons. I've always wanted to ask Larry McMurtry and the people who put the movie together for verification. If anyone has a contact for Larry or the production team, let me know please. J Frank Dobie also wrote about time spent with Bob in the book, "The Mustangs."
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george@mapmyranch.com
www.MapMyRanch.com

"Keep your aim as true as your word" - GB

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#6893584 - 09/20/17 03:48 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Stub Online   happy
THF Celebrity

Registered: 04/27/05
Posts: 16660
Loc: Dallas 2 Jacksboro
That is really interesting and how cool it must be to have those historical family ties, thanks for sharing up
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#6893587 - 09/20/17 03:50 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Red Cloud Offline
Pro Tracker

Registered: 09/04/09
Posts: 1828
Loc: Weatherford, Texas
Thank you for posting this extremely interesting part of Texas history. I have spent part of my horse career in the company of mustangs.
Regards,

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#6893604 - 09/20/17 04:01 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
George - w/ Map My Ranch Online   content
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 10/09/12
Posts: 2065
Loc: Houston, Texas
Glad to share! I love Texas history and this was a very interest part of our history.

Here's a pic of the chimney that remains form Bob's house at our ranch:
_________________________
george@mapmyranch.com
www.MapMyRanch.com

"Keep your aim as true as your word" - GB

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#6893642 - 09/20/17 04:45 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
ErnestTBass Online   content
Bird Dog

Registered: 08/12/16
Posts: 276
That is very cool. Great Texas history. And what an heirloom.

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#6893695 - 09/20/17 05:26 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
colt45 Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 08/19/06
Posts: 7324
Loc: bastrop county
great history story, to be proud of, try to get that house done.
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#6893717 - 09/20/17 05:42 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Elkhunter49 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 06/21/11
Posts: 3983
Loc: Oak Harbor, Slidell La
Very very interesting read, thank you sir for sharing with us!
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#6893719 - 09/20/17 05:43 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
NDN98 Offline
THF Celebrity

Registered: 09/07/09
Posts: 10297
Loc: McKinney, TX
Very interesting read indeed. Thanks for sharing.

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#6893760 - 09/20/17 06:16 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Teal28 Online   happy
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 12/10/08
Posts: 3763
Loc: Hen House Tx
Very cool story. Will be checking out Mr. Dobie's book.
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#6893771 - 09/20/17 06:24 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
HuntnFly67 Offline
Extreme Tracker

Registered: 07/27/10
Posts: 4806
awesome!

There is a museum at Texas State with a whole lot of Lonesome Dove and cattle drive era artifacts. Perhaps that'd be worth a trip?

Ran across this 2009 vid on youtube:


Edited by HuntnFly67 (09/20/17 06:26 PM)
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#6893778 - 09/20/17 06:33 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Nogalus Prairie Online   content
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Registered: 11/22/10
Posts: 22640
Loc: Corsicana
Thanks for sharing that! Very, very neat.
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#6893794 - 09/20/17 06:57 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
TEXASLEFTY Online   content
THF Trophy Hunter

Registered: 10/26/07
Posts: 8730
Loc: The Island Cres
Yep, cool! Thanks for posting this!
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#6893825 - 09/20/17 07:19 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: TEXASLEFTY]
bobcat1 Offline
Veteran Tracker

Registered: 07/22/07
Posts: 2480
Loc: Sanger, Texas
That is one of the stories I would very much like to read. Earlier in life I was privileged to share several conversations with Watt Matthews. Man he had stories to tell and me and my boys would sit mesmerized by them. He would always invite us to stay for supper or lunch and spend the night. The Lambshead Ranch was a special place and miss going out there. Everyday we were there Watt and his nurse (he was in his late 80's at the time) would be driving around on the ranch and at 4:30 he would have his Crown. He died April 13, 1997 at 98 years of age.
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#6894034 - 09/20/17 10:27 PM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
Da' Hitman Offline
Outdoorsman

Registered: 01/23/17
Posts: 96
Loc: Fort Worth TX
Awesome read! I would absolutely be interested in the e-book. Thank you for sharing
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Hunting and fishing...Yankees, Knicks, NY Giants junkie


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#6894081 - 09/21/17 01:03 AM Re: Bob Lemmons - the Original Mustanger [Re: George - w/ Map My Ranch]
dogcatcher Online   content
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Registered: 07/17/06
Posts: 83139
Loc: Abilene or on the road...
Thanks for sharing the rest of the story.
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