This collection of papers and photographs assembled by family member Lewis E. Crawford, primarily documents cattle ranching and the Crawford family of Oklahoma Territory and Texas. It includes three short manuscripts by Lewis E. Crawford on ranching and cattle brands as well as 43 original and copy print photographs. In addition to documenting the Crawford family, the photographs illustrate cattle ranching and ranch life in No Man’s Land and the Oklahoma Territory in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Other photographs of interest include images of the cairn over a cowboy grave in the Texas Panhandle and two mining wagons hitched to an eight-horse team, photographed near Cornucopia, Nevada.
The family of Lewis E. Crawford had its origins in the South. The family of his mother, Martha Neal Crawford, arrived in Texas in 1864 from Virginia by way of Mississippi. There is some indication in the collection that the family of Lewis’s father, Thomas Alexander Crawford, originated in Georgia. Thomas and Martha met and married near San Antonio, Texas in 1880.
By the time he married at around age 19, Thomas Alexander Crawford was already an old hand in the cattle business. At age 15, he participated in his first trail drive and he later drove cattle for Schreiner, Light & Lytle. In 1879, Schreiner sold cattle to Crawford and his boyhood friend Sebe Jones and they established a ranch on Kiowa Creek in No Man’s Land. No Man’s Land included parts of northwest Texas, southwest Kansas, northeast New Mexico, and the Oklahoma Panhandle. Some of the collection photo captions use the “No Man’s Land” designation. After their marriage, Martha presumably moved to the ranch.
Later, after selling their ranch and cattle in No Man’s Land, the Crawford family moved to the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Country in Oklahoma Territory and established a ranch near what would become Crawford, Oklahoma. Crawford served as a trade center for the Crawford Ranch and surrounding area, but never grew very large. When this part of the Oklahoma Territory was opened on April 19, 1892, the county was designated County E, but at the first election, the name Day County was selected. When Oklahoma became a state on November 16, 1907, Day County was eliminated. Legislators divided the county along the Canadian River. The north merged with the newly formed Ellis County, and the south half became part of Roger Mills County. The Crawford Ranch was located in Roger Mills County, but the collection photo captions refer to Day County, not Roger Mills County.
Thomas and Martha Crawford had five boys: Carlous, Lee, Neal, Milton, and Lewis. Lewis became a collector of branding irons and writer on cattle ranching topics. Lewis also assembled this collection. Lee Crawford was the grandfather of Cathy Crawford Hardy who donated the collection to the Research Center. In 1918, Thomas Crawford sold the last of his Oklahoma ranch holdings and retired. Thomas Alexander Crawford died in 1929 and Martha Neal Crawford died in 1946.
Scope & Content Note
This small collection has been arranged in three series: Ephemera, Manuscripts, and Photographs. The collection had no discernable order when accessioned. The arrangement was created during processing.
Series 1: Ephemera (undated)
Consists of a few miscellaneous items related to Lewis E. Crawford and the Crawford family. Included are two examples of his letterhead stationary and some handwritten notes about the cattle trade in Texas, including a reference to a Crawford ancestor.
Series 2: Manuscripts (undated)
Includes four Lewis E. Crawford article manuscripts about cattle brands and cattle ranching in Texas. The article “Old Time Ranchmen of the Southwest” is present in two iterations, one of which includes photo captions that refer to collection photographs. It is unclear whether any of these articles were ever published.
Series 3: Photographs (1877-circa 1960)
This is the largest series in the collection, consisting of 43 photographs arranged in three subseries: Crawford Family, Ranching, and Western History. In the container list, when a photograph is a copy print, the original date of the image is stated first and the probable date of the copy print is indicated in parentheses. All photographs from the Lewis E. Crawford Collection are available on the Research Center photographic database.
The Crawford Family subseries primarily focuses on Thomas Alexander Crawford and Lewis E. Crawford. The family photographs include both original and copy prints. Notable images include a portrait of Thomas Alexander Crawford as a young man, Lewis Crawford posing with his large branding iron collection, and a group portrait of Lewis Crawford and his brothers. The Ranching subseries includes 17 photographs, both original and copy prints, which document life on the Crawford Ranch in Day County, Oklahoma Territory and other ranches. Included are images of branding, herding, and trailing cattle; cowboys and ranchmen; and cattle shipping pens. One unusual photograph shows two bulls fighting while a mounted cowboy scrambles to get out of the way. The Western History subseries includes a dozen vintage, contemporary, and copy prints documenting various aspects of life in the West. Included are four photographs of sites connected with landmarks on the cattle trails, two bear hunting photographs, and copy prints of a cowboy funeral. Notable images include an 1885 photograph that shows the cairn over a cowboy grave in the Texas Panhandle and an 1877 mounted albumen photograph that shows two wagons hitched to an eight-horse team near the mining town of Cornucopia, Nevada (a later, contradictory, and probably erroneous caption indicates that the photograph was taken on the Santa Fe Trail).
Crawford, Lewis E.
Crawford, Martha Neal
Crawford, Thomas Alexander
Rynearson, W. C.
YL Connected Ranch
Oklahoma Panhandle (Okla.)
Cathy Hardy of Houston, Texas, a Crawford family descendant, donated the collection. The bulk of the collection was donated in February 2004, with an additional eight photographs donated in March 2004. Jonathan Nelson processed the collection in July 2005.
The Lewis E. Crawford Collection is the property of the Donald C. & Elizabeth M. Dickinson Research Center, National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum. Literary right, including copyright, belongs to the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum, with the exception of copyrighted artwork images and published literary works, which are the property of the respective copyright holders. It is the responsibility of the researcher, and his/her publisher, to obtain publishing permission from individuals pictured, relevant copyright holders, and the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.
Restrictions on Access
The collection is open for research. It is advisable for researchers to discuss their proposed research with staff prior to visiting the Center.
Related Collections, Exhibits, & Links
The Crawford Family and the West: The L.E. Crawford Collection of papers and photographs assembled by family member Lewis E. Crawford, primarily documents cattle ranching and the Crawford family of Oklahoma Territory and Texas.
Series 1: Ephemera – n.d.
Series 2: Manuscripts – n.d.
|001/002||“Cattle Brands of Years Ago,” undated|
|001/003||“Old Time Ranchmen of the Southwest,” undated|
|001/004||“Outlaw Roundup in South Texas,” undated|
Series 3: Photographs – 1877-ca. 1960
|001/005||Crawford gravestone, probably in Hochheim, Dewitt, Texas, circa 1950  [2004.012.41]|
|001/006||Half-dugout where Lewis E. Crawford was born, circa 1893 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.12]|
|001/007||Lewis Crawford & Vic Smith & a bunch of old-timers at Old Hamburg Picnic, circa 1900  [2004.012.27]|
|001/008||Lewis Crawford and his branding iron collection, circa 1945  [2004.012.21, 2004.012.36]|
|001/009||Thomas Alexander Crawford behind two guys. He has vest and black hat on left side with a cup in his hand, circa 1890 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.20]|
|001/010||Thomas Alexander Crawford, Ben Stedman, Dodge City, Kan., 1885 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.14, 2004.012.15]|
|001/011||Thomas Alexander Crawford (L) and unidentified saddle partner, circa 1890, circa 1960  [2004.012.05, 2004.012.07, 2004.012.23]|
|001/012||Thomas Alexander Crawford, Martha Neal Crawford, daughter-in-law, circa 1925  [2004.012.40]|
|001/013||Thomas Alexander Crawford portrait, circa 1890  [2004.012.42]|
|001/014||Uncle Carlous died at age 93, Lee Crawford father, Neal, Milton, Lewis, circa 1930  [2004.012.43]|
|001/015||Branding calves, Crawford Ranch, Kerr County, Texas, 1890 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.16]|
|001/016||Branding on the range, Crawford Ranch, Day Co., Oklahoma Territory, 1899  [2004.012.32]|
|001/017||Clyde Young, Y+ brand, taken at the old ranch house on Dead Indian Creek, Day County, Okla. Terr., 1895  [2004.012.25]|
|001/018||Cowboy herding cattle, circa 1890 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.06]|
|001/019||Crawford trail herd, No Man’s Land, near Beaver City, 1887 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.18]|
|001/020||Crossing the Washita River, old Day Co., 1895  [2004.012.31]|
|001/021||Jack Preston, Pecos River Ranch, near Iraan, Texas, 1938  [2004.012.26]|
|001/022||Log house near Cheyenne, Okla., Ewing Ranch house, 1889 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.13]|
|001/023||Mr. Rynearson, horse ranch, Beaver River at mouth of Kiowa River, circa 1885  [2004.012.29]|
|001/024||Old time ranchmen of the Southwest by L. E. Crawford, circa 1930 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.19]|
|001/025||Round Up on the Cimarron, No Man’s Land, 1887  [2004.012.28]|
|001/026||Trail herd horses, No Man’s Land, Crawford & Jones Ranch, 1887 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.17, 2004.012.38]|
|001/027||Two old cow punchers, “Doc” Anshutz and “Irish” McGovern, circa 1890 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.08]|
|001/028||War: Bull fight on Ewing Ranch, Day County, Okla. Terr., 1900  [2004.012.34]|
|001/029||YL Connected Ranch, line camp on the Cimarron River, John Mattox & Scotch stag from Scotland, 1887  [2004.012.33]|
|001/030||YL Connected Ranch, W. C. Rynearson, mgr., 20,000 head of cattle, last great shipment of cattle, Nov. 25, 1893  [2004.012.30]|
|001/031||Bill Kent with his bear, circa 1955  [2004.012.09, 2004.012.37]|
|001/032||Cowboy grave on the lone prairie, Texas Panhandle, 1885  [2004.012.24]|
|001/033||Cowboys funeral, killed by his horse on a round-up, 1890 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.01, 2004.012.39]|
|001/034||Doan’s Store, circa 1960  [2004.012.11]|
|001/035||Doan’s Store Trading Post on the Texas side of the Red River, circa 1960  [2004.012.10]|
|001/036||Historical marker: Doan’s Crossing on the Red River by herds on the Western Texas-Kansas Trail, circa 1960  [2004.012.03]|
|001/037||Historical marker: The Longhorn Chisholm Trail and The Western Trail, 1876-1895, circa 1960  [2004.012.04]|
|001/038||Mr. Rynearson working at Cornucopia, Nevada, Santa Fe Trail, 1877, circa 1960  [2004.012.02, 2004.012.35]|
|001/039||Three armed cowboys standing with windmill in the background, circa 1900 (circa 1960)  [2004.012.22]|