Louis Power


October 11, 1875 - 1949
Role: Foreman, Old Head
Known for: Extraordinary Cowman

Louis Power was born in 1875 in the Shelly Field area down around Twin Mott Lake on the O’Connor Melon Creek Ranch. His father, JIm Power, was the son the empresario, James Power who together with James Hewetson had contracted with the Mexican government to colonize the Texas Coastal Bend with two hundred Irish families. His mother was Lou Power. Louis became a foreman for O’Connor and Company, the entity set up between Dennis O’Connor [I] and his half brother Thomas Marion to manage the vast holdings left to them by their father, the pioneer Thomas O’Connor [I]. Louis was well known throughout the Coastal Bend as an extremely capable cowman achieving almost revered status, certainly among the cowhands but also among the ranchers, particularly the O’Connors. Louis did not read or write but he had a reputation for counting cattle, a highly prized skill used daily as cattle were bought, sold and moved from pasture to pasture. He used some kind of knotted rope and his accounting books had some kind of symbols that Rosie Jones, his cook at the Duke, talks about. When the O’Connors divided for the first time in 1907 it was Louis Power who oversaw the operation so well trusted was he. After the division Louis went to the O’Connor Duke Ranch and stayed there after Joe O’Connor died when Martin and Tom [III] took it over. When Tom O’Connor Jr., [IV] took over management of the Duke from his brother Dennis [II] who had gone into the Navy in 1941, Louis was still at the Duke. Tom Jr., as a 26 year old, needed all the help he could get. “He knew every cow, knew her mama, where she was born. Over by such and such well. It was incredible his knowledge of that herd of cattle…He was very quiet spoken, very unpretentious, but he was absolutely without a peer in his world…As I say, he was rather physically a large man. But, a quiet, slow moving, easy going fella. He just was a presence."

Introduction to Louis Power

Louise S. O'Connor
Talking about Louis Power
K.J. Oliver - When you start talkin' 'bout cows, Louis Power's name was a household name.

E.J. Garza - Uncle Louis Power.

John Brown - He's the best one that I know about.

E.J. Garza - He was a cowman.

John Brown - That was a man... he knowed cattle.

K.J. Oliver - He was a cowman.

John Brown - I was a kid so I never worked under him but what I hear from my days on up to now he was one of the best.

Jesse Jones - One of the best.

E.J. Garza - He was one of the best.

Jesse Jones - All the older hands, they give it to him.

E.J. Garza - Yep.

Jesse Jones - Big men give it to him.

E.J. Garza - He could count cattle.

John Brown - They say... I know he could count, but he couldn't read, couldn't write, but he could count.

Jesse Jones - Knowed how to work cattle, knowed how to work his men.

John Brown - That's right.

E.J. Garza - He knowed how to work his men.

Tom O'Connor - When I remember Louis, he could look at an ole 15 year old cow at the Duke Ranch and tell you exactly where she was born, where her mother dropped her, what her mother looked like and how her mother usually went through the winter. Cause there were three thousand cows on the Duke ranch, he knew every one of them, individually. Because that's all he did, he lived with them. He didn't read, he didn't have television to look at or radio to listen to, he went to bed at night and he got up in the morning and he fooled with cattle.

Bailey Shaw - Who that, Louis Power?

Quinn Love - Yeah

Bailey Shaw - He borned on a cow's back.

Buster Bickford - He'd look at a steer and guess within five pounds of his weight

Milam Thompson - I'll tell you one thing he could look out across the praire and see a calf following a cow and he could tell you whether it was a bull or a heffer. I know Uncle Louis.... he could tell by the way an animal moved, as far as he could see he could tell whether that thing had worms in him, you know, in his body.

L.V. Terrell - In his body.

Jesse Jones - Everybody looked up to him. he was one man...he taught many a cowboy, all the Greens. When they left that ranch they was educated.

Rafael de la Garza - He learned me how to work cattle.

Milam Thompson - He did?

Rafael de la Garza - Showed me how to hold a rope. He put me to cuttin cattle in 1917

Milam Thompson - I don't know how he got it and where it come from but he was smart. Something like Soloman.

K.J. Oliver - When they made him they throwed the pattern away. There ain't no more cowmen like him.

Rafael de la Garza - Louis worked about as hard as his men did, or more.

Bailey Shaw - But Uncle Louis could dip more cattle.... Louis Power could dip more cattle than any man I ever seen. But he worked more cause he worked night and day, you know. You were up at three if you were workin' for Louis Power.

Jesse Jones - He rattle that gate between the camphouse and yours house..... and "here come the boss", and we all be jumpin' up cause he already had his saddle and horse saddled up and everything, cause when he get there and he get his horse he'd say "Let's go". I mean he ready for everybody to be ready, too.

Bailey Shaw - You've got a round up out there somewhere, you can't see 'em, but the cattle is there.

Rosie Jones - If he didn't say "Let's go", he'd say "Let's ride....let's ride".