Cowboys had been herding and driving cattle and wild horses for hundreds of years by the time they became part of the Texas ranching landscape. The cowboys were so renowned for their skills that rancher Richard King traveled to Mexico in 1854 to recruit cowboy families to manage his herds. King knew that these Mexican cowboys knew what to do with horses and cattle much better than he did. Seasoned cowboys could stop a horse in its tracks or send it into a flat-out gallop with the slightest sway of the reins. The cowboys understood the social structure of cattle herds so well that they knew just where to look for the hiding strays. Their roping, riding, and ranching knowledge was unsurpassed.
King fed and housed the entire cowboy community on his ranch and paid the cowboys a monthly wage. Boys and girls went to a ranch school until they were old enough to learn to be a cowboy or a cowgirl. These families became known as the Kineños - King's people and through generations of service, they revolutionized the cattle business and helped build the King Ranch into the legend it is today.
The Cowboys' Story | Texas State History Museum
" I was not afraid of anything, and loved working the cows. The men at the race would pick a horse for me. The men were very respectful. I held the cows during branding and helped bring them in. We would change horses about two
- Maria Luisa Montalvo Silva , King Cowgirl Cowgirl