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Hill W. Corker

1866 - 1939

Source:  Burnet Bulletin, Sept 14, 1939; From Barry Caraway

An Old Trail Driver Passes On

Hill W. Corker, old trail driver, and a native of Burnet county, answered the last roll call, Tuesday night, September 5th, 1939. The body was interred in the Post Mountain Cemetery, with the W. Northington Funeral Home in charge. The service was conducted by Rev. Buren Sparks, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Burnet. The pallbearers were Frank Atkinson, Charley Chamberlain, Ben King, Jess Ellett, Max Dorbandt, Dale Corker and Tom Whitaker.

Hill Corker was born June 1st, 1866 in Burnet County, Texas, on Hairston Creek, and lived in this section practically all his life. He is survived by his wife [Alice Fagan], two sons, H. W. Jr. and M. H. , two brothers, O. O. and Boyd Corker, and two sisters, Mrs. Lillian Boyce of Los Angeles, California, and Mrs. Jeanette Sorell of San Antonio.

While he engaged in other pursuits during his life. Mr. Corker was by inclination and training a cow man, and followed such business during his early life, making several trips up the trail. His first drive was to Montana, in 1884, when he was only 18 years of age. His companions on this drive were Arch McCoy, Lee Slaughter, Joe Slaughter and others. He helped to drive two herds to what was then Indian Territory, one of which was for his father, the late M. H. Corker.

In 1890 he was in a party that drove 2300 cattle to Montana for John Blocker. Some of those with him on this trip were Marion Clymer, now of Llano, and whose father was an early day Sheriff of Burnet county, Press Levingston, now residing in Burnet, Tom Turner, Jim Massey, Joe Newton, Will Baylor and Nath Smith, the later being the foreman Ike Coon, colored, who will be remembered by many of the older citizens of this place, was their cook.

They left Burnet on March 14th, 1890, going as far as Lampasas by stage. There they took the train to San Angelo leaving that place on March 26th, with 2300 head of cattle. They arrived at Powder River, Montana, on the 4th day of July, where they threw two herds together, making 4700 cattle in one bunch.

At that place they branded the cattle, LX, and drove still further north 200 miles to the Yellowstone River. There they remained and worked until September, when they took a train load of beef cattle to Chicago for Stoddard & Howard, and then returned to Texas after an absence of more than six months. Hill could relate many interesting incidents that occurred on his trail driving trips which he enjoyed to the fullest.

I can first remember Hill Corker as a leading figure in the tournaments that used to be held at all picnics and other public gatherings in Burnet county. He was an expert rider and usually won some of the prizes.

He was several years my senior in age and our acquaintance remained limited until after I purchased the Bulletin, when we became fast friends, which extended over a period close to 40 years. I had several business transactions with him during this time and always found his word to be as good as a bond.

In his days of prosperity, a more liberal man than Hill Corker could not be found. No person in sorrow or distress ever called upon him for help and departed empty handed. He would divide his last cent with a friend and the money he gave away in his younger days would have kept him in affluence as he grew older. In his declining years Hill often called at my office. He knew that I was his friend, and such was reciprocated.

Peace to his memory!
- L. C. C.

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