The Family of John and Rebecca James

Front cover of Memoir of John Y. James

Memoir of

John Y. James

A Young Texas Cowboy

of the 1870's and 1880's

by John Y. James

Released in February 2011

John Y. James began his cowboying career herding saddle horses in 1871 at the age of 9. During the next few summers working for the House and Harrison ranches in North Texas, Johnny took on more tasks. By his mid-teens, “Slim” had become a full-fledged Texas cowboy. His adventures and exploits with the ranchers’ daughters, stampedes, Indians, thieves, and swollen rivers are told with candor and humor.

The Memoir of John Y. James is 180 pages. It is available in softcover for $8.99 plus shipping on

Below are three excerpts from the memoir:

That winter my stepfather bought me a little single-barrel shotgun, a muzzle loader, and a big lot of ammunition. He told me to shoot and keep shooting. He went with me the first day and taught me how to load and handle it. He wouldn't let me carry my gun on my horse. I divided my time between my horse and my gun. I brought home plenty of squirrels, quail, and rabbits. . . . I wanted to be a regular cowboy, eat with the cowboys, sleep on my blanket on the prairie, and ride, rope, and shoot.


We went back and looked over the ground a little. "I make it that about twenty Indians were here about three days ago," Columbus said. Then he laughed and said, "That is more Indians than we need, isn’t it, Slim?" I said, "One would be enough for you, and I don’t need any at all."


When I got even with them bushes, a bullet passed me close to my face. I whirled my horse and leaned over beside my horse’s neck and started in a run toward the patch of brush. Two more bullets whistled by and a third hit my horse in the center of the forehead. He fell on his side and pinned my left leg. I was twisting around trying to get loose from my horse, and he was kicking and trying to die. More bullets hit the horse, faster than I could count them. . . . I put three quick shots into the patch of brush, and the fellow that was there started for a another little clump of trees. When he got in sight, I fired again and he fell.


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Revised February 2011.