The Story Behind the Collections

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"This whole project is based on sounds — they're echoes from the past callin' to us to be remembered. We're movin' too fast to hear them now; we'll have to go into the past to recover them, to recover a way of life that is gone, a better way of life. There was a lot wrong back then, but there was a lot more right. The good keeps on comin' back, tryin' to be heard. These people are the instruments of those righteous echoes." - Nathaniel Youngblood, Tophand

The Texas Coastal Bend Collection is a cultural heritage site focusing on the ranching culture in Victoria, Refugio, and Goliad Counties. Featuring black cowboys, vaqueros and the Irish immigration, our collection includes over 9,000 photographs and 1,400 hours of audio interviews as well as books, maps, family papers, 19th century ledgers, diaries, videos, genealogies, and artifacts all illuminating a unique tri-cultural history. Our collection will continue to expand as we bring additional assets online.

"May these stories live forever as beacons of hope, courage and decency in a world gone mad." - Louise S. O'Connor, Author


Project Genesis

"There it is... this must be done"
Louise O' Connor
The voice behind the Coastal
Bend Collection



"It was a dying culture"

Listen to a sample of the curated audio tracks


"He was dead as a hammer"


"Was I gonna breathe?"


"My first love"

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Read Books about the Texas Coastal Bend

Cryin' for Daylight

A Ranching Culture in the Texas Coastal Bend

"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."
- Monroe "Bailey" Shaw, Itinerant Cowhand