Cowboy Poet Is Gone But Not Forgotten



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On July 29, 1862, the cowboy “poet laureate,” Lysius Gough, was born in Lamar County. Gough was a man of diverse talents and interests. In 1876, at the age of 14, he ran away from home and got his first job as a cowboy for B.L. Murphy, who ran cattle in Hopkins and Hunt counties. Then he punched cattle on several drives and earned the nickname “Parson” at the T Anchor Ranch because he never swore.

In the mid-1880s Gough obtained his teaching certificate and became principal of Pilot Point Institute, Pilot Point, Texas. During this time he also published his first book of cowboy verse, Western Travels and Other Rhymes. Eventually he studied law, married Ida Russell, and was one of the first settlers of Castro County, where he taught school at Dimmitt. He later engaged in real estate, irrigation well drilling, and farming. In the 1920s Gough served as president of the Texas Wheat Growers Association and also helped organize the Panhandle-Plains Historical Society. He published Spur Jingles and Saddle Songs in 1935. The last poem by Gough was still scrolled in the typewriter when he was found dead in his home in 1940. It was entitled “Gone.” 

From Texas State Historical Association, cowboy poetry.com/judge gough2.htm

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