Cowboy Strike of 1883 and the Ghost Town of Tascosa

Image credit: Boston Globe, Marcy 24, 1883

In the spring of 1883, the newspapers like the Boston Globe reported that hundreds of cowboys went on strike for higher wages. The next day, a Wyoming newspaper gave more details, repeating the $50 per month demand. This article alluded to the possible threats of danger facing cowboys who declined to participate in the strike, but gives the number of strikers to be two hundred. Both have typographical or transcription errors. “Tosasa” in the Boston Globe article is probably a misspelling of Tascosa. The Wyoming article calls the county of the strike “Lascasa” and places it near the Texas-New Mexico border. The articles begin to settle down in a few days and give the location to be Tascosa.

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Shankleville Love Story

Shankleville is an unincorporated community located about as far east in Texas as a person can go, since in that area the border follows the river which takes a bend to the east. The community is situated in Newton County, a long and narrow county that extends to the Sabine River which at that point marks the border between Texas and Louisiana. Shankleville itself sits a few miles north of Newton, the county seat, and less than ten miles west of the Sabine.

Shankleville was founded by formerly enslaved people, Winnie and Jim Shankle and their friend Stephen Alexander McBride. By this time, many people have heard the story of Jim and Winnie Shankle, but it bears repeating.

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Buck Ramsey

Kenneth Melvin “Buck” Ramsey was born January 9, 1938 in New Home, Texas to David Melvin Ramsey (1909 – 1985) and Pearl Lee Williams Ramsey (1913 – 2004). Buck was a well known cowboy poet and singer. The nickname “Buck” was given to him by his father. Buck was the author of “Anthem” and many other poems and songs that describe the cowboy way of life. He also made numerous musical recordings and made personal appearances around the country reciting his poetry and singing his songs.

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Gale Storm

The actress known as Gale Storm was born Josephine Owaissa Cottle in Bloomington, Texas on April 5, 1922. Her middle name was not an ancestral name. The family legend is that it was an Indian word suggested by an older sister and that it meant “blue bird.” Her parents were Walter William Cottle (1886 – 1923) and Minnie Lee Greenhaw Cottle (1887 – 1978).

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Dave Rudabaugh

Dave Rudabaugh was known as an outlaw from Dodge City, Kansas to Texas and to the New Mexico Territory. Quite possibly, he was born David Raudebaugh. At least one account says that he was orphaned when his father was killed in the Civil War, but another likely family history is that he came from a very large family who lived mostly in and around Wayne County, Ohio. Indications now are that Dave may have been born in 1854 to John A. Raudebaugh (1826 – 1910) and Susanna Soliday Raudebaugh (1830 – 1910). While the genealogy records on this family are somewhat thin at this time, the 1860 federal census showed a David Raudebaugh of the right age as the second of five children to a farming family by that last name. The 1870 federal census shows this same David as the second oldest of six siblings of what appears to be the same family unit. This particular family is mentioned later in local Ohio newspaper accounts from time to time, usually around Wooster, Ohio. Dave or David is not mentioned in newspaper accounts among the very few than refer to this family. So, the two census records indicate that Dave may have been part of that family unit at one time, but there are no obvious records that tie him as an adult back to the Ohio family.

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