We discovered The Trail Drivers of Texas while researching the history of Gruene. It’s been our genuine pleasure — and, given the economics of book publishing, mostly a labor of love — to bring back, from across “the Great Divide,” voices of the cowboys who shaped modern Texas.
The 1925 edition of The Trail Drivers of Texas is well over 1,000 pages long and difficult to read. We heavily edited the original version to make The Gruene Cowboy’s length and weight more amenable to tourists strolling past the Gruene Mansion Inn, which H.D. Gruene, THE Gruene Cowboy, built as his home and surrounded with cotton farms following his last trip up the trail in the early 1870s.
The Gruene Cowboy includes only the more colorful stories from the 1925 edition. We’ve also corrected antiquated spellings and eliminated old-school hyphenations and punctuation that might distract modern readers from the trail drivers’ visceral storytelling.
We indexed the book, a feature not included in books of the 1920s, so that serious Texans, Oklahomans and Kansans can quickly browse for references to ancestors or wild cow towns.
Modern readers will find offensive many of the cowboys’ disparaging descriptions of “Indians” and “Negroes.” However, they are a matter of historical record and play an integral role in these retellings of actual events.
Lonesome Dove aficionados won't want to miss two accounts included in the book about "The Death of Oliver Loving," upon which much of the book and TV series is based.
J. Marvin Hunter, the book’s original editor, prepared his manuscript under great time constraints and after several disasters, including loss of the original collection of stories. Although we cleaned up most of the obvious mistakes, we did not presume to second-guess the very few places in these narratives where names were confused or numerical estimates seemed unrealistic.
Stephanie Lieber-Johnson, Editor
The Gruene Cowboy