Why This Whole Thing Happened

Several people have asked, "Why a 3,000 mile road trip to the Texas Panhandle?" A fair enough question. Well, it started with a conversation with my cousin Duane Jackson. We were talking about family history and whatnot, and the subject turned to our parents' birthplace on a cattle ranch in Floydada, Texas. "You know why they were up there, don't you?", he remarked. "No", I said, "I don't". That's when I first heard about The Last Roundup.

Our grandpa, John Ollie Jackson, frequently told stories about when he and a bunch of cowboys took part in a roundup of the last wild horses in this big canyon called Palo Duro up near Amarillo. I knew that by the time he was 23 or 24 years old, he was married to our grandma Mary and on his own cattle ranch in Floydada. We've got pictures from that time. This picture is of grandpa Ollie and grandma Mary Ware Jackson taken around 1919.

But the earlier episodes in Palo Duro Canyon sparked my imagination, and I had to know more. What resulted was a 3,000 mile road trip to the Texas Panhandle and a search for times and places of days gone by.