Nathaniel Youngblood, Sr.

May 18, 1922 - September 10, 1996
Role: Tophand, Cowhand
Nicknames: Little Baby, Toota-Baby, Slim, Whang
Known for: Knowledge of Nature, Keen Observer of Life

Nathaniel was born and raised on the Welder Vidauri Ranch. He worked as a cowhand there untill he was drafted for World War II. He had so many nicknames it could be difficult at times to know who was being talked about. “Whang”, “Indian”, “Little Baby”, “Toota-Baby”, or “Slim” and when someone called out any of those names, the same man would answer to each one. Nathaniel was a “sho-nuff rider and a can't to can't cowboy.” He had an enormous appreciation for the world of nature and his community in Lewis' Bend, the freedman settlement on the banks of the San’tone River. For Nathaniel, the camaraderie he experienced as a cowhand left a lifelong impression. He was not fond of the changing world and it's estrangement from his sense of sharing, his sense of duty, and his sense of honesty. He was a renowned storyteller and listening to Nathaniel's insights gives one a real sense of what is being lost when we turn our backs on nature and the past. A charter member of the “A” team in this project, Nathaniel was a delight. His sense of humor was original and his enthusiasm for telling his stories, some quite amazing, made each day with Nathaniel a real joy.

Introduction to Nathaniel

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Nathaniel Youngblood
Nathaniel Youngblood – I really enjoyed it. I like it, that ranch work. That's was strength to us because you know, that was just like leanin' up against somethin', you had the strength to hold you up. That strength, you know, somebody to back you up. You ain't got no backbone, well, you kind of weak. It seems impossible the things that we done that don't look like it happened, but it did. We do it and the leave the sun running. Wasn't no days from can't to can't. And didn't get no coffee break. Well, the only thing hurt when you look back over the stuff I done that I didn't get nothin' for it. And guys now is makin'… and can't do what I can do now. That kind of shakes you up…it puts you on the one.

Rufus Moore - That's what gets ya.

Nathaniel Youngblood – Well, he get better breaks than you got because you had to come on with the come on. And it wasn't no if, ands about it. You had to put it out. I found out that there was sweet life. I wouldn't give nothin' for that. I loved to ride. Man, when they say you can work cattle, I wouldn't sleep.


“These ranches were strength to us. It was our backbone — like leanin’ on somethin’. You didn’t worry about nothin’. It seems impossible, the things we done. We’d do it and leave the sun hangin’. There wasn’t no eight—hour days. It was from can’t to can’t and no coffee break.

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

That was a sweet life. I wouldn’t take nothin’ for it. It couldn’t be beat.”

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