Monroe "Bailey" Shaw descended from the "old timers" who lived around the Black Jacks on the coast. One of his grandfathers was an Irishman named Oâ€™Reilly and the other was a slave, old man Han Shaw. Bailey didn't play cowboy as a child like so many of the other cowhands, he just started cowboyin' real young. His family had a small farm and ranch with cattle and horses and a brand, the S-U. They were typically self sufficient, making their own meal out of the corn they raised, hunting rabbits and javelinas, and raising a few hogs. The only foodstuffs they bought were flour, sugar, and coffee. Bailey worked on these ranches most of his life, and in his later years was also engaged in digging water wells. He was forty-five years old before he ever left the area. "At one time cowboyin' was deep in my blood. If I wasn't working' cattle, I wasn't satisfied. I could get other jobs but I wasn't pleased with 'em. I like to work cattle - I like to be on a ranch". Bailey had a unique take on the colloquialisms of the African American dialect and life in the black community. He may have been the last repository of the pure black dialect and ranch language.
"You learned to eat all kinds of things out on these ranches. I ain’t never bothered no skunk and possum — I ain’t too hot on him neither, but you get used to eatin’ all kinds of things on a ranch."
“I wanted to be a sho’nuf cowboy, a wild rider. I felt free when I was workin’, young and strong. I was a cowhand right off the bay, out here livin’ like a wild dog, tryin’ to make a livin’. We used to work two days out of one. When night come, you’d be ready for that Dudlow Joe. That’s the life of a cowboy.”