Joseph McCrocklin “Mack” Kercheville
Blanco Co Cowhand – Life Cut Short
by Larry W. Luckett  <>
Born:  August 28, 1861 in Blanco County, Texas
Died:  March 1, 1881 near Fort Ewell, Texas

Joseph Mack Kercheville, the son of Andrew Jackson Kercheville (1821-1913) and Mary Milam McCrocklin (1837-1921) was born in Blanco County, Texas on August 28, 1861.  He was named for his maternal grandfather, Jesse L McCrocklin, who was called “Mack” by his wife Isabella.  At the time of his birth, the family lived on his grandfather's ranch on the Martin's Branch of the Blanco River, approximately seven miles east of the present city of Blanco, Texas.  

Mack grew up on the Blanco ranch enduring the deprivations wrought during and following the US Civil War. In his teens, he became a cowhand with the Johnson ranch in central/western Blanco County. In the late 1870s, the brothers J. T. and Sam Ealy Johnson started thousands of cattle up trails to Kansas and other shipping or market points from their ranch in Blanco County. They had the largest individual trail driving outfit in Blanco and six nearby counties, sending north several herds of 2,500 to 3,000 each season. [Sam Ealy Johnson, is known to history as grandfather of 36th president of the United States, Lyndon B. Johnson.]

In March of 1881 while bringing a herd of cattle from Mexico to the Johnson ranch, Mack Kercheville and another cowhand, Ed Grumbles, were murdered in their sleep by a band of desperadoes, near Fort Ewell, in what is now LaSalle County.  The thieves were especially angry with the Kercheville brothers (Dick, Asa and Mack) as the boys had given testimony against one of the gang who had been arrested for horse stealing.  The slayers of young Mack Kercheville were never brought to justice.
Frances Bramlette Farris, From Rattlesnakes to Road Agents: Rough Times on the Frio, TCU Press, Ft Worth, 1985.
Texas State Historical Survey Committee, Historical Marker – Blanco County Trail Drives, US Highway 290 West of Johnson City, 1969.
U.S. Census - 1870; Blanco Co, TX; (Interviews on July 18, 1870); Microfilm
Mack Kercheville
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