Redbone Cattle Culture
The multiethnic character of early Texas cattle ranching is suggested by the diverse origins of the major stockmen. James Taylor White (Leblanc), a Cajun from Louisiana, owned the largest herds east of the Trinity River by 1830, though he was soon rivaled by the “redbone” Ashworths, Perkins, Dials and Johnsons who moved in from South Carolinian via Louisiana. The families of mixed white, black, and Indian ancestry. Thomas O’Connor, an Irishman from Wexford County, became the leading rancher in the Coastal Bend country north of Corpus Christi in the 1840s, and the German Klebergs later helped build the famous King Ranch in South Texas.
Among the early Angelina County stockmen were pioneering settler and cattleman James Ashworth and his wife Mary (Polly) Perkins and their son-in-law Patrick Johnson, who married their daughter Mary Vianna.
They arrived from Southwest Louisiana. The Ashworths and Johnsons as well as others such as Dials and Goins were members of a Southwest Louisiana group of Redbones. The Redbones are a dark-skinned people with Europen features who emigrated from the Pee Dee region of South Carolina to South Louisiana about 1810. The Redbones brought their cattle culture with them, and University of Texas geographer Terry Jordan credits the Redbones as inventing the Texas cattle industry in Louisiana and bringing it to Texas. James Ashworth’s brother, Aaron, was an early settler in the Orange area and supplied beeves to feed Sam Houston’s army. It is said that Aaron Ashworth had over 30,000 head of cattle in the woodlands of The Big Thicket.