The Palo Pinto Old Jail Museum presents "Vaquero: Genesis of the Texas Cowboy," an exhibition created by the Wittliff Collections at the Alkek Library, Texas State University-San Marcos. The exhibition will be on display for the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays through Saturday, Oct. 26. In the early 1970s, noted Texas historian Joe Frantz offered Bill Wittliff a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity - to visit a ranch in northern Mexico where the vaqueros still worked cattle in traditional ways. Wittliff photographed the vaqueros as they went about daily chores that had changed little since the first Mexican cow herders learned to work cattle from a horse's back. Wittliff captured a way of life that now exists only in memory and in the photographs included in this exhibition. The exhibition features photographs with bilingual narrative text that reveals the muscle, sweat and drama that went into roping a calf in thick brush or breaking a wild horse in the saddle. The Cowboys of Palo Pinto County are represented in an extensive exhibit on the second floor of the Old Jail Museum building. Saddles, bridles, bits, boots, chaps and other ranch equipment used for years on local cattle raising scenes have been collected for preservation. Cattle in early Palo Pinto County were a vital economic force in the rugged heritage of the county. See the tools of the trade of the early Palo Pinto County Cowboy and Cowgirl. Humanities Texas develops and supports diverse programs across the state, including lectures, oral history projects, teacher institutes, traveling exhibitions and documentary films.


To arrange group visits, contact Ann Reagan at 940-659-2555. For more information, visit Humanities Texas online at or call 512-440-1991.