Laureles Ranch - Charlie Burwell, and Ranch History

mcm_tx Member Photo

Clipped by mcm_tx

Laureles Ranch - Charlie Burwell, and Ranch History - CHARLIE BURWELL . . .Long at Laureles ONE OF...
CHARLIE BURWELL . . .Long at Laureles ONE OF BEST KNOWN COWMEN Charlie Burwell Has Headed Laureles Division 23 Years long b««n a custom among private i enterprisers trom acr«w .the Rio Grande to drive their oxcarts over to a. big salt Jake on the. Texas side and there fill their .carts with salt:scooped from the'dry lake bed. Burwell noted this rather brisk traffic;-,, and, apurred on by a severe shortage of,-folding money, he convinced himself 'that the salt merchants ougb.t to pay oomething for their ware*. So, equipped with a typV of armament ,· that would make his idea convincing and logical ta other folks, he hied himself off to the salt flat and awaited the arrival of the next trader ; f roiri across the river. Negotiation* were short and sweet;: and thereupon Burweli probably became the first price fixer in the nation when he established the price of once free salt at $3 a load. There were no re percussions to the arrangement. The Bait merchants continued to cross the river and load their carts; but during Harwell's regime^ they ehelJed out .two dollars for every load they carted away--and everybody, apparently, was happy. Fight Against TtcTw In 1921 Burwell went to the Santa Gertrudis Division of King Ranch, whera he remained for a year before going to the Laureles Division. In those days, Texas ranchers w'ore fighting a battle against the Texas fever tick; and Burwell got right Into the middle of the battle at Laureles. He recalls that he and his fellow workers were confronted with the task of. dipping as many as 30,000 cattle every two weeks. It was a big job, but bv 1023 the fight against ticks had been won; and tick trouble became a thing of the past on the Laureles as well as throughout South Texas. For seven years, following hisicowpony. first stay at Laurels, Bin-well worked for the Texas and Southwestern Cattle Raisers' Association. He became one of the best Ranch Uses 110 Motor Vehicles Operation of 'tha four division* th« King Ranch require*, the u*« of 110 motor vehicles, ranging from all .- t purpose jeep* to six- wheel :traiier. trucks. Among this nunvasr are 20 seps The sender caw, eight or t«n j«e and five six.wheel trucks, TJ remaining 75 vehicles art divided between pick-ups, one and two-ton trucks., . : / ; ' - · · . ' ' · · ' - ; . , ' Each -.cow/ fence, windmill and machine camp has a pick-up or truck .assigned to it, said .Cy Thera'tf a two-fold .reason for this assignment: One Is to Je««p camp supplied with materials and equipment from the :ranch warehouse and the other is to have fast transportation .available in case of the injury of an employee. · - . ' ; · ' "We've been especially fortunate on the low number of accidents requiring medical attention and "hospitaUzation," Yeary said. "But there's always a certain number unavoidable finger smashings sprains, cuts and rope baras that are serious enough to require immediate attention." Wh«n that emergency arises. nice for the injured man to faster and mora comfortabla of transportation at hand than a Comparatively speaking, Char- For as long as he can remember, Jie Bui-well is as big as the Lsureles Burwell has lived and worked among cowmen. His father operated a ranch in the Cotulta country, division of King Ranch, the division over which ho rules with competence and confidence. He's big in a lot of ways--big in understanding. b!g in mentality, big in. experience; and, in an anatomical \vay. he's big enough to take care of himself in just about any Situation. BunvcH has been hesd man at tho Laureles since 1930, and during tho last 23 years ha has kept operations at that vast expanse of- country running like an assembly line. There have been times when tho vagaries of Nature, manifested In such ugiy p h e n o m e n a as droughts, have worked diligently to upset his big applecart; but brush to be foiled by some lonely law violator xvho happened to wander into the territory he patrolled. Bunve!l put in two years with the where Charlie was born; and one Rangers and then returned to liia o£ the toughest jobs the senior had waa that o£ keeping hia son in the schoolroom instead of the cow camp. It just looked like Charlie was born to be a. cowboy. And a cofrboy he became. Before he had arrived at the legal nge oC long psnts, lie was sporting chaps like a veteran ana riding herd with the best cowboys in the whole CotuHa country. He learned tho cow business in an open classroom, in the brush and prickly first love, working cattie. Ke took a job on the Tom East spread during the early part of that decade marked by the 1920 % s. Cattle prices had dropped to tSte bottom; and many a rancher, particularly those who ran steers, found himself as f'at financially as an unfej tick in a vacated pasture. Money was scarce and steers plentiful; cowboys wei^e unpaid and bill collectors swarmed all over the country. Bunvell re- known cowmen .in South Texas; and today," wherever cowmen gather, sooner or later the name o{ Charlie Burwell i3 llltely to creep into tha conversation, along with that of Graves Peeler, another veteran in the ranching vrarld of South Texas. Returned Us "930 It was in 1930 that Burwell returned to the Laureles as man. It is the biggest division oi the King Ranch and, under normal weather conditions, its carrying ca- pear flats, with some of the best'calis that in those rugged days he vaquero Gamaliels in Uio country subsisted in a large part on tor- as his teachers. Joined Kfingcrs Charlie Bun.vell has been casting In 1917 BurweU joined the Texas a weather eye at South Texas too Rangers, and his company was long to let paucity of precipitation disturb his siestas. He knows from experience thai on ccur.Uess occasions ho has p\il!od cows out of bog holes tint! he- is fairly certain that history will repeat itself. stationed ut Hobbronvillc. Cattle rustlers, bandits, smugglers, and tillns and fi-ijoles he was able to "borrow" from the generous and kindly women who presided over tho jnesquito fires that burned before lonely jacals in the brush. A Resourceful Man pacity will exceed that of any other division of the ranch. Vast areas of the division have been cleared of brush and planted to improved grasses. It was here that the pro pagation of Rhodes grass reached its zenith: and there were timea that the "wonder" grass not only furnished tremendous amounts ol grazing for cattle at Laureles but also produced huge cropa of hay. Soil on the Laureles Division, for the most part, is heavy and biack. similar to that around Bishop and on the Chapman Ranch which was hewed out of laurels. Three Generations As foreman of the biggest divi as three generations in the same family working at Laureles. He starts the youngsters out early, giving: them do after and during the holidays. He observes the youngsters and learns their like a and aptitudes, and the time they are ready to begin full-time employment, they have found themselves and get into the jobs for -which they are best and for which they have a. natural 'altitude. I Old-Timers · j Among old-timers who work Burwell are Po.rfirio Trevino who! has spent 63 years at Laureles; Juan Chino who has been at division 69 years; Narcleso Sielgro. 68 years; and Tian Ciion Suva, Quintanilla, 33 70 years; years. other folks who ran afoul of the ] But he was always a resourceful law were as good as caught whenjrnan, and he didn't let tho incon- BurweU nnd his Ranger conipadrcs venlences of Ui 0 1920 recession get got on tlielr trnil. He had chased Shim down. He found a way to re- too many ealty steers out of the'coup his depleted finances. It had Families like the Tre'vinoa and Oulntsnillas have been-at Laureles more than half a century. Charlie Burwell has spent a lifetime among cowmen, and he seen and been a part of almost revolutionary changes in the ranching business. At Laureles is master of just about any situation that arises. His resourcefulness stays with him. Wh ether it is cleaning a country of ticks, presiding over a sion of the ranch, Burwei! also'camp in the brush, moving a has under his direction one of the biggest cow outfits on the ranch. And among the workers are some of the oldest men. both In years and in point of service, employed by the ranch. In fact, he has 3 many of steers, or collecting Irom salt merchants, Charlie Bunveil can depended on to do a bang-up H« was brought up that way, there is r.o likelihood that he ever change.

Clipped from
  1. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times,
  2. 12 Jul 1953, Sun,
  3. Page 65

mcm_tx Member Photo
  • Laureles Ranch - Charlie Burwell, and Ranch History

    mcm_tx – 19 Feb 2013

Want to comment on this Clipping? Sign up for a free account, or sign in