Frank Maynard--Cowboy, Poet and Author


Frank H Maynard, Block 77

Cowboy, Carpenter, Poet, and Author

Francis Henry Maynard, known as Frank Maynard was an old-time cowboy of the American West who claimed authorship of the revised version of the well-known ballad, "The Streets of Laredo". After a decade of roaming the West, Maynard settled down in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Yet, his interest remained in reminiscences of his time as a cowboy and the desire to tell his special story for posterity.

Maynard was born in Iowa City in Johnson County in eastern Iowa, the second of five children of Horace Maynard and Georgiana Maynard. At the age of sixteen, Maynard left home to look for adventure, first along the Platte River. He lived for a time in Towanda in Butler County, Kansas. The other Maynard family members soon moved to Butler County, and for a time young Maynard and his father hauled freight from Emporia to Wichita, Kansas. In 1870, Maynard went on his first buffalo hunt in Kingman County, Kansas.

In the spring of 1872 at the age of eighteen, Maynard was "officially" a cowboy, a livelihood that he maintained until his marriage in 1881. In the spring and summer of 1872, he helped to drive a herd of horses, which had been wintered in Kansas to Jacksboro in Jack County in north central Texas. On the return to Kansas, he joined other drovers on a cattle drive.

After nine years as a cowboy, Maynard married and began work as a carpenter. He joined the Pikes Peak Chapter of the Modern Woodmen of America and was the treasurer of the organization by 1890. He became a partner in a speculative venture, the Buckeye Gold Mining and Milling Company located near Cripple Creek, Colorado.

Maynard began writing articles and poems about his western experience, particularly by 1911. He put new words to what became "Cowboy's Lament" as early as 1876. Maynard sang one of his poems over the grave of his friend, Ed Masterson, Marshal of Dodge City and brother of Bat Masterson. Marshal Ed Masterson was killed in a gunfight on April 9, 1878, in Dodge City, Kansas. Maynard wrote the author Jack London, who urged him to write short articles for magazines before trying to produce a book-length manuscript of Maynard's days in the Old West. In 1911, Maynard produced Rhymes of the Range and Trail, copyrighted and self-published, probably in few copies.

Maynard left a memoir that was discovered, edited, and published in 2010 under the title Cowboy's Lament: A Life on the Open Range, by Jim Hoy. In his memoir, Maynard relates about many events of the West, including stampedes, grasshopper pestilences, how to kill buffalo with a single shot, white outlaws posing as Indians, instances of genuine friendship on the plains, mistaken hangings, and his acquaintance with prominent western figures, such as Bill Tilghman, Wyatt Earp, and Buffalo Bill Cody.

Maynard was ill for much of the last year of his life, apparently a victim of cardiovascular disease and other ailments. The Maynard's are interred at Evergreen Cemetery in Colorado Springs.

Most of the information for this article is from Wikipedia


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