|Libraries Home | Mobile | My Account | Renew Items | Sitemap | Help|
Select a method to view the page:
Alarmed at this prospect and determined to preserve for posterity the historical contributions of the trailriding cowboys, George W. Saunders, himself a veteran of the cattle trail, founded the Old Time Trail Drivers' Association in 1915. The new organization and the heavily attended annual reunions that it sponsored provided members with a sense of community and family as well as a place to reminisce. G. 0. Burrow, an active member of the association, remarked that in his old age "the only real enjoyment I have is our reunions of the Old Trail Drivers." Many others apparently felt the same, for during its first year of operation membership in the Old Time Trail Drivers' Association rose to 375 and represented several states. By 1921 the organizational rolls had swelled to more than 1,000.
At the annual convention held in San Antonio in 1917, a crowd estimated at between seven hundred and eight hundred individuals listened eagerly as George Saunders, president-elect of the body, unveiled a plan to publish a book compiled from the members' own recollections of droving. Saunders had been soliciting narratives for at least two years and many in the assembly enthusiastically volunteered to add their stories for publication. Responsibility for editing the volume was offered to A. C. Williams of Fort Worth, who was the assistant secretary of the Cattle Raisers' Association of Texas and editor of the Cattleman.
Problems that "would have tested the patience of Job," as Saunders later put it, plagued the enterprise from the beginning. Few drovers responded quickly, and most had to be cajoled into submitting their stories with follow-up telephone calls, telegrams, and letters. Moreover, neither Williams nor his successor, a columnist for the San Antonio Express, was able to complete the project. World War I intervened and, even more disastrous, the San Antonio firm hired to print the volume went bankrupt and disappeared with virtually all of the previously edited source material.
Undaunted, the determined Saunders embarked afresh on his task, soliciting orders at the 1920 convention for