July 25, 1888-October 28, 1951
Harry Burgess, as he was known by everyone, all his life, was a cowboy of the old school. Born at Eddyville, Texas, his Mother died when he was only sixteen months old. His Father remarried later, but Dad and his step mother couldn’t get along, so at the age of nine he ran away from home. He rode a little white mare, bareback, with a halter, to the Tongue River Ranch of the famous Swenson ranch, where his seventeen year old brother was a top hand.
A.J. Swenson let Dad wrangle the remuda that was between two to three hundred saddle horses for his board and room. This was with the Swenson “wagon” which consisted of thirty men. At the age of eleven, he was put on the payroll. The “wagon” would pull out in March and come back to the ranch anytime between Thanksgiving and Christmas. He learned to ride broncs and handle the mean horses, so he rode the rough string until May of 1911.
He came to Hyannis, Nebraska where his brother Bert, Fred and his father had come and homesteaded, which Dad did also. He worked for the Davis OLO ranch and managed for Mrs. Davis after her husband’s death. At a rodeo in Hyannis, Nebraska in 1911, he rode the famous bucking horse of the Abbott ranch that had never been ridden before.
Before coming to Nebraska from his home town of Stamford, Texas, he also rode the famous “Swenson” mare that had bucked off two of the top riders of Texas, Tack Kennedy and Robert Hooks, a black cowboy.
Dad also worked for C.C. Slaughter where he also rode the rough string.
He met my Mother after he came to Nebraska and with nothing but hard work and determination, they put a ranch of eight sections together, nine miles south of Ashby, which was debt free at the time of his death, on October 28, 1951. Dad fell off his horse, dead, of a heart attack, on his own land, driving his own cows. He was 63 years of age.
Dad was a very kind man and no one was ever sent away, if he had no place to eat or sleep. His word was his bond…once given, it was never broken.
I am very proud to nominate my Father, Edwin Harrison Burgess, better known as Harry, to the Cowboy’s Hall of Fame, where I believe he belongs.
Bob Burgess and Brothers and Sister