Friday, May 30, 2014

Profile: John Redus - Texas Cattle Trail Driver

Will share this bit of Redus history for the younger members of our Redus family. The Redus family was deeply involved in the cattle business in Texas. Here is one account from Sally McLemore-Redus, wife of John Redus, courtesy of the old Trail Drivers of Texas book.

JOHN REDUS (Trail Drivers of Texas page 811-813)

Mrs. Sallie McLamore Redus

John Redus was born in Athens, Alabama, December 25, 1833, and moved to Mississippi when a boy. He lived there until he was about twenty-two years old, when his health failed and he got in with a party coming to Texas. His father furnished him with a buggy and negro driver, and on the way he was so sick he had to be helped in and out of the buggy. When they reached Austin, there was a big crowd from San Antonio to hear General Sam Houston speak, and he met up with some people from his home town, Aberdeen, Mississippi.

My father and some others from Mississippi had bought land and settled on Hondo Creek, ten milers west of Castroville, then the county seat of Medina county. I don't know how he ever found us, but he did, and came right out and joined us. This being a stock country, he soon got in with the stock men, and his health improved so rapidly that he decided to stay and go into the stock business. His father sent money with which to buy land and cattle, and he purchased land from the Adams brothers, who had a big ranch on the Hondo, thirteen miles south of us.

John Redus was soon joined in his undertaking by his brothers, William and George Redus, and they started business on a small scale. I was the first girl Mr. Redus got acquainted with in Medina county and naturally we had to be sweethearts, and on December 11, 1859, my twentieth birthday, we were married, and the next day we went to our new home as happy as any couple could be, although I knew I did not have a neighbor nearer than four miles. The Indians came in every light moon and stole horses, killed a man occasionally, and were very troublesome, but all went well with us.

John Redus and Sallie McLemore-Redus
We were prosperous until the Civil War came on, and all the white men joined the army, and the negroes and I had to go back to my father's place near the German settlements. When the war was over the men came home and we went back to our ranch and began anew. The men had to be out on the range for weeks at a time to round up the stock, which had had but little attention during the period of the war, only our nephew, Tallie Burnett, and the negro boys would go once a week to put out salt and look around. But all hands had to hustle.

The Indians were bad for a long time, and we always had to keep guns handy, although luckily we never had to use them. Notwithstanding these troublous times, we prospered. Mr. Redus would buy more cattle every year and locate more land, and finally he bought the Adams brothers' land when they went west to get larger holdings. About this time the drives to Kansas started. Mr. Redus was one of the first to engage in trail driving and one of the last to stop. He was successful for awhile, but got to speculating, buying remnants of herds wintered in Kansas, and when the great panic of 1873 came on, and so many banks failed, he had to sell for less than he gave, and we went broke.

I made one trip with Mr. Redus to Kansas, taking along my baby boy, Robert. I have always regretted that I did not go every year, for I could have gone if I had known it. At that time the railroad came only as far as Luling, and we had to go there by stage from San Antonio. In looking back it seems a long time, and many changes are noticeable, but really I believe we had better times and were happier then than now. Everybody was your friend, and were glad to entertain you.

In reading the first volume of the old Trail Drivers' book I find many familiar names, people I knew personally, and many who did business with my husband, but most of them have passed on, and some, like us, had lost everything they had accumulated. Mr. Redus died July 25, 1895, of the same disease he had left Mississippi to escape lung trouble. I am now eighty-two years old, am in good health, keep house and do all my work. I have written this by request of my friend, Mr. W. B. Hardeman.

The landscape picture below is a mural in a local Castroville restaurant of the John Redus ranch and stagecoach stop. I originally saw this picture in George Redus "Redus in America" history, and I had my dad go out to C-ville and take a fresh picture for me. Hope you enjoy this bit of Redus family history.