Tony Lott


November 4, 1906 - November 21, 1999
Role: Tophand, Cowhand
Nicknames: Tony
Known for: Bronc riding

Stephney was only known as Tony throughout the Coastal Bend. He was born on the San’tone River down on the Johnny Power Ranch. He grew up in Lewis’ Bend, probably the best known of the freedman communities in the tri-county ranching country of Refugio, Goliad, and Victoria Counties. Tony started working cattle at twelve years old when James Welder asked him if he wanted to go out. Tony remembers riding a saddle all night long waiting for daylight to come. He became a fine horseman and fondly remembers an area rancher challenging Mr. Welder’s cowhands to a horse riding contest. If anyone could ride a little sorrel horse named “Buckshot”, he would pass the hat for him. Tony volunteered, and then Mr. Jim said, “Hook him, Tony” and I hit him. That horse went crazy. He had me all over him. “Buckshot” finally slipped and fell and when I rode back to Mr. Jim, he told me to pass my hat. I got about thirty dollars out of that ride. I was rich that day. Not so much from the money, but because Mr. Jim thought enough of me to let me represent his ranch.” Tony was an “A” list colleague on this project. His love of his work came through in every sentence and his knowledge of cowboying was unsurpassed. With a voice like Louis Armstrong, he would sing and act out stories to the delight of all.

Introduction to Tony Lott

Louise S. O'Connor
00:01:02
Voice of Tony Lott
00:00:55
Tony Lott – I was born down on Lewis' Bend on the San'Tone River Ranch. When we go to Refugio, it's just like goin' to Chicago. You know all them houses there close together. See where we live over there, houses about a mile apart, you know. The first time I went to a picture show, I was about twenty years old. And they had a cowboy picture on. And I sit down there in one of those seats. And they open the gate and one them horses come out a jumpin'. I said, "Ride 'em, cowboy!" I said, "Hook him!" Yeah, I jumped up and hollered, "Ride!" That horse comin', that rider were so pretty, you know. I had to stand up. And people just looked at me! You know, country! That's the truth. I was a grown man before went over to the picture show. Now, I'm about the oldest one here. I'm seventy-six years old. I paved the way for these young boys to come by. And I know all these boys.

Documents

“I was born on the San’tone River. Goin’ to Redlew was like goin’ to New York. I was twenty years old before I seen a picture show. We pounded out the way for these young boys.”

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