George Glenn, black traildriver, son of Wash Glenn, was born into slavery on March 8, 1850, probably in Colorado County, Texas. He was raised on the ranch of Robert B. Johnson of Columbus and trained in ranching activities and as a trail cook. After the Civil War and emancipation, Glenn evidently continued at the Johnson ranch as a cowhand. In the spring of 1870 he accompanied Johnson on a cattle drive to Abilene, Kansas. At the Red River, when a fresh group of cowhands displaced the original ones, Johnson and Glenn continued with the new group to Abilene, where they sold the herd. Johnson fell ill and died at age thirty-six in Abilene in July 1870. Glenn had his employer embalmed and buried in a metal casket in the area. The following September he decided to bring Johnson's body back to Texas for burial and had the casket disinterred and placed in a wagon. Reportedly, Glenn traveled alone with Johnson's body for forty-two days across three states, to arrive in Columbus in November 1871. He did not continue as a cowhand but maintained a lifelong friendship with his former employer's nephew, Texas Ranger and cattleman John Edwards Folts. Glenn's death certificate lists his occupation as "laborer." He was honored as one of the handful of black members of the Old Trail Drivers Association at the 1924 and 1926 annual meetings. He married Lucy Conner on December 25, 1872, and they had at least one child. Apparently Glenn resided the rest of his life in Glidden, where he owned a homestead. He died there of pneumonia on November 28, 1931, and was buried in Columbus.
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Cattleman, June 1926, January 1932. J. Frank Dobie, "The Old Trail Drivers," Country Gentleman, February 14, 1925. Philip Durham and Everett L. Jones, Negro Cowboys (New York: Dodd, Mead, 1965). J. Marvin Hunter, Trail Drivers of Texas (2 vols., San Antonio: Jackson Printing, 1920, 1923; 4th ed., Austin: University of Texas Press, 1985).
Ranching and Cowboys
Cowboys and Cowgirls
Trail Drivers and Riders
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.
John H. Slate,
Handbook of Texas Online,
accessed June 27, 2022,
Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Original Publication Date:
January 1, 1995
This entry belongs to the following Handbook Special Projects: