During the great depression, my grandfather John Bowles had accumulated more sheep than his Pedernales ranch could handle. The ewe’s gestation period is five months, and they can have a lamb twice a year and sometimes two sets of twins.
A small flock of sheep doubles in size every year. Texas was in the worst drought in history during the 1930’s and everyone was trying to sell their livestock.
There was no market for sheep around Spicewood, Texas. He found buyers in Fort
Worth. After the spring shearing was done, he decided to herd them to Austin,
which was the nearest railhead. It was a thirty-mile trip on horseback. My father,
Malcolm and his brothers, LeRoy, and Lester, rounded up the woolly critters.
Leonard East Provisions had a wagon yard and pens on East Second Street, not far
from the Congress Avenue bridge. It took several days herding the sheep down
Bee Creek Road to Bee Cave Road. The last evening, they herded the flock to the
south bank of the Colorado River and camped under the only bridge across the
river. Early the next morning they moved the flock across the narrow two-lane
bridge to the pens. Horse drawn wagons and motor vehicles waited patiently for
the bleating sheep to cross. At the rail yard, they were loaded and shipped north
to the Union Stockyard in Fort Worth.
Granddad was disappointed when he received a freight bill with no check. Inside
the envelope was a note that read. “I am sorry to inform you that the sale of your
sheep did not cover the cost of freight charges, this invoice is for the difference
you owe.” Granddad wrote back that he did not have any money to pay the bill,
owed. He got a prompt reply from the railroad agent that read “Let’s just call it
It’s interesting that my parents’ generation always made lite of the hard times
they endured. I invite you to read more stories at www.davidabowlesauthor.com