Julian Tijerina, Jr.

February 22, 1937 -
Role: Tophand, Cowhand

Julian was born somewhere around the Fleming Prairie on the Fagan Ranch where his parents, Julian Tijerina, Sr. and Nicolasa Vasquez, worked. His brother was Henry Tijerina, a pasture rider for the O'Connor Ranches. His maternal grandfather told stories of Julian’s great grandmother coming across the river into Brownsville and settling on the Fagan Ranch. The Tijerinas, as did the de la Garza’s, owned much of the cattle country in the Coastal Bend prior to the Texas Revolution. The Tijerinas were loyal to Mexico and lost most of their holdings. They lost the rest after the Civil War when paperwork was "lost" and they "couldn’t" pay their taxes. Julian’s father was the first Tijerina on the O’Connor Brothers Ranches and was a cowhand as long as he can remember. Like his brother Julian always wanted to be a cowboy remembering his first round-up at ten years old as a very big event. Julian went on to become a tophand on the O’Connor Ranches where he worked his entire life.

Introduction to Julian Tijerina

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Julian Tijerina
Julian Tijerina – I always wanted to be a cowboy, ever since I was small. Since I remember my dad was a cowboy. We would see him take off to work cattle and we always wanted to go. And then my brothers started…my older brothers. He took one of 'em first, then he took the other one. And I was left behind till I got to the age. About ten when I worked on my first big roundup they called it. My dad and I left the house, we was living below the hill. He told me that I was goin' go work cattle the next day. It was one big event for me. And the next morning we got up early in the morning, it was dark. And we went to the Hollow. They had the cow camp there at the Hollow. We got to the Hollow and that's the first time I saw Milam. He was cooking. It was about '46 or '47. And after that, well, I was going to school, but after that, every time they had cattle work, we'd go help 'em. 'Cause when we was going to school, Mr. Long would go to the school house and ask the older boys to go help. And later on, that's when Mr. Long asked me if I could go scare off the birds from the corn because they would eat up the corn and pull it up. Til it got grown to where the birds wouldn't bother it, then we'd come back to school. Then about two years later, it was my turn to go work cattle. And Nick Rodriguez, Juan's boy, he and I went to work cattle. It was exciting!


“Hot or cold, we were there. If I hadn’t gotten hurt, I’d still be out there. I miss bein’ a cowboy. ”

Cryin' For Daylight: Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend