Manuscripts/Mixed Material ["Bones"]
“Bones”, pioneer Negro bronco-buster of the Panhandle, has given 275 white flowers to relatives of old-timers who have crossed the Last Frontier. He has presented many others to those who have done something outstandingly “white”. Among those who have received this "[guardon?] of honor” are the president of the United States Mrs. Eleanor Roosevelt, Postmaster General James Farley, Governor James V. Allred of Texas, Governor Clyde Tingley of New Mexico and [Ruth?] Bryan [Owen?].
May 6, 1940, marked the forty-sixth year since he began the custom. At the time he was working on the Clayton ranch in the Pacos region, breaking, training and [racing?] horses with young Tom Clayton, to whom he became very much devoted. When Tom was injured in a fall from a horse, the colored youth gathered a bunch of white wild flowers to give to his young employer, thinking that they would remind him of the range that he loved. When he was informed that young Clayton was dead, the heartbroken Negro gave the flowers to Tom's mother with the request that they be placed upon his grave.
Bones was born November 3, 1867, at Orangeville in Robinson County, Texas, the son of [Eleck?], an ex-slave who bore the surname of his former master, and Annie Hooks. Christened Matthew, he received the nickname, Bones, when he was ten years old.
At that tender age he left his home to drive Buck and [Berry?], oxen that drew the chuck wagon, for Steve Donald to the latter's ranch near Lewisville in Denton County. Here he often watched the cowboys play dice in their leisure moments. Once, when they laid the dice down, the Negro boy, intrigued with the “galloping cubes”, picked them up to examine them more closely—and perhaps to experiment with them. When the cowboys again started their play, one of them yelled, Where's them bones? I'll bet that nigger's got'em”. Thinking that he was being called “Bones”, the boy vigorously protested, “My name ain't Bones”. By overwhelming majority the cow hands proved that his name was Bones, and Bones he became from that moment.