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FOLK COLLECTION 11: The Skaggs Foundation Cowboy Poetry Collection

Date of Items: 1890-present
Register Prepared by: Randy Williams and Susan Gross, April 2004
Register Updated by: Randy Williams, 23 December 2009
Excel database transfered to MYSQL and uploaded (replacing PHP data): Colin Jackson, Fall 2010
MYSQL database updated: Randy Williams, January 2012
Linear Feet:20

Historical Note & Provenance

Folk Coll 11 is Utah State University's cowboy poetry collection. The collection, originally created by a generation donation by the L. J. and Mary Skaggs Foundation, includes books gathered during a fieldwork project in the early 1980s to document cowboy poetry in the U.S. west (see Folk Coll 11f). From this important fieldwork project came the impetus for the first Cowboy Poetry Gathering held in January 1985 in Elko, Nevada. Since that time, each January, the Fife Folklore Archives staff take the collection and Access database (that details each book, poem, author, first line and key words), to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for offsite use. Through University purchases and generation donations from poets and collectors, this collection continues to grow.

Scope and Content

The collection consists of 20 linear feet of books on cowboy poetry, including press and self published works. The collection can be accessed through USU Libraries online catalog.

As well, poem titles and keywords found in each book in the collection are included in the database below. To use, type in the search term. Tip: Try and use an uncommon word from the poem to ensure less "hits." For instance, if you enter "boots" you will get many hits; but if you enter "bones" you will most liley get fewer "hits" or poems and find the item you seek faster. To return to the search page, click "home" at the bottom of the page.


Poetry table.

First Previous Next Last
IDBook TitleComposerIndexPagesAuthorPoem TitleFirst LinesKeywords
23038 On the Trail FC 11 J-21 12 Billy James Sunday on the Trail I pulled that bedroll up real snug and turned and shook a bit. The air is crips and sweet and clean as sunrays start to hit.
23039 On the Trail FC 11 J-21 22 Billy James Comanche Comanche was a horse I had When I was just a strapling lad And he was just ayoung colt, too; So me and him together grew, His coat was grey, with main dark black
23040 On the Trail FC 11 J-21 26 Billy James Riding Drag I got my kerchief pulled up snug That helps me quite a bit; My hat brim's bent down o'er my eyes; I wish some wind we'd git.
23041 On the Trail FC 11 J-21 29 Billy James A Tree on the Trail One day on the trail I looked at a tree That seemed to be somewhat a mystery. It stood there alone on what old cattle trail;
23042 On the Trail FC 11 J-21 30 Billy James Leaving Camp The campfire's warm, the coffee's hot With all us wranglers round that pot. We laugh and talk and jaw a bit; And tell tall tales to show our wit.
23043 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 1 Billy James Do Cowboys Pray? Well, I don't know them fancy words that's sweet, and nice and grand; But out here on the range I know I see the Master's hand.
23044 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 4 Billy James Fed on this Grain Oats for your horses and barley for still Wheat for the flour and corn for the mill, Flax for the oil and linen cloth, too.Rice for the hungry, like me and like you. Rye for the pasture, and sorghum for feed
23045 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 6 Billy James Bridle that Horse Put a bridle on that horse He breaks out with such a force Gates are broken, fences torn People hurt from all his scorn
23046 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 8 Billy James Day Stary, Night Star While I was camping out one night, and looking up on high, I saw this star so powerful bright, just centered in the sky. It brought to mind a story that I heard when I was small.
23047 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 10 Billy James Signs in the Mind I sure forget a lot of things now that I'm getting' old; Like where I tied my horse up last, or my coat when it's cold. I forget where I put my cup when coffee's to be drunk,
23048 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 13 Billy James I'm Home I wandered from home with my heart to the world. I wanted to have all this life could afford; But Christ there came to me, salvation unfurled,
23049 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 14 Billy James Look back, Thou Cross of Christ Look back, look back, thou cross of Christ! Look back where time began; And see your image sculptured there, Etched deep in God's Own plan Then with His hand He formed that land
23050 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 17 Billy James Mixed Feelings Hav eyou ever felt a brand new rope when it's so stiff and rough? You feel those little burrs on it, and throwing it is tough Or, have you felt a new born calf;
23051 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 20 Billy James The Pew was Due A special speaker came to town. Excitement filled the air. Why, He'd been out in Africa; There's lots of missions there. So we had planned to treat him well
23052 At the Church House FC 11 J-22 23 Billy James A Cowboy Sunset Today the sun was sinking in the west; And as it sank, its beams spread out around The herd of cattle as they looked for rest. It peked beneath the trees to spy the ground.
23053 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 1 Billy James Running Circles They've got me runnin' cirlces; I wish that I was free. I've heard they was no fences In days that used to be
23054 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 3 Billy James Burned Hide I remember when they burned my hide If horses could I woulda cried, It hurt so bad down on my rump When it was done I bucked and jumped
23055 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 5 Billy James Perfect Horse Perfect horse! Yes, I am he! Listen to my life story. I am groomed and standing square Raise my high steps in the air. I stare down some worried steer.
23056 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 7 Billy James Hammerhead "Hammerhead' they call my kind. Ugly name, but I don't mind. I got water, grass and mares. Call me names; I say, "Who cares?" Tangled mane and scarred up hide,
23057 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 9 Billy James The Plight of the Mustang My days are over, course is run. That younger stallion finally won. I'll leave the herd, my mares behind. I know that he will treat them kind. Not many left now, anyway They have to scavenge food each day
23058 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 13 Billy James Three Steps, You're Out I stepped to left, and stepped to right, And circled when they told me. I bowed and pranced and kept my gait So that they wouldn't scold me,
23059 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 15 Billy James Tossing a Cowboy I'm gonna buck of fthis cowboy; Toss him right off on his rear! He chose to ride me on drag but I'm not supposed to be here. I should be point, or at right flank
23060 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 17 Billy James The New Horse? That new bought horse is mighty strange, The ugliest I've seen; Ain't got no legs, ner mane ner tail; What's more, the horse is green.
23061 Horse Tales FC 11 J-23 23 Billy James A Trip Back Home Sometimes I think of going home, so up that hill I climb To find velvet textured holes woven in th looms of time painted red, rust colored by some oxidizing nails
23062 Ropin', Ridin' and Ranchin' FC 11 F-22 1 Dennis Flake There is Something About Ranching I'm always following cattle, no matter where I go, If it's Idaho, Oregon, or far off Mexico. They have a fascination for me that I can't seem to shake. I guess I have a love for them that I don't want to break.