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Cowboy poet goes home

November
02
1940

On this day in 1940, the cowboy “poet laureate,” Lysius Gough, was found dead at his home in Amarillo. His latest poem, still scrolled in the typewriter, was appropriately titled “Gone.” Gough, born in Lamar County in 1862, was a man of diverse talents and interests. After running away from home as a teenager, 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. 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.

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