Black History: Nat Love

February 13, 2016

Nat Love, aka Deadwood Dick, was born a slave on a plantation near Nashville, Tennessee in June 1854. Love’s father taught him how to read and write. He had no formal education. In 1869, at only 15 years old, he left his family and headed west with $50 in his pocket. He reached Dodge City, Kansas where he got his first job working for the Texas Duval Ranch making $30 a month. Working on the Duval Ranch Love developed skills as a ranch hand and his shooting skills as well. Within three years Love earned a reputation as one of the best all-around cowboys in the Duval Ranch. He soon became a buyer and their chief brand reader. Love was sent to Mexico on several occasions and soon learned to speak fluent Spanish. In 1872, he moved to Arizona to nat Lovework for the Gallinger Ranch on the Gila River. There he traveled many major western trails and had numerous battles against Native Americans, cattle rustlers, and bandits. Love met many famous Western men including Pat Garrett, Bat Masterson and Billy the Kid. In 1876, Love earned the nickname Deadwood Dick when he won a “cowboy” contest in Deadwood, South Dakota. In 1889, he got married and moved to Denver, Colorado where he became a Pullman Porter on the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad. In 1907, Love published his autobiography, The Life and Adventures of Nat Love. He died in 1921 in Los Angeles.

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