J. T. Irick, Cheyenne & Casper Wyoming

James T. Irick Jr. was born October 21 1889 in Gainesvlle Texas. His father at the time was a merchant and he had three sisters and two
brothers. By 1910 the family had moved to Blackburn, Oklahoma where is father, James T. SR., took up a career as a saddle and harness
maker. About 1911 young James came west and took a job in Cheyenne Wyoming working as a saddle and harness maker for F. A. Meanea.
In 1917 he was drafted and his card stated he was still employed by Meanea. He was 27 by this time. Irick was a single man and roomed
with a fellow longtime employee of Meanea's, James Hagar after Hagar's wife died. It always struck me that Irick's leather goods looked a
lot like Meanea's and now we know why! Irick eventually left the Meanea shop and went North to Casper where he opened his own
Saddlery and operated it until the early 1930s, and took out a Patent for Land in the Rattlesnake Mountains of Wyoming in 1935 at Miller's
Springs. I believe he retired at this point. Many of his outstanding leather goods turn up here in Casper from time to time. This information
is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.

F. A. Meanea, Wyoming Territory, Cheyenne WY

Francis (Frank) A Meanea JR. was one of the original Wyoming Territory Saddle makers and probably one of the most desirable makers to
collect. He was born in Missouri 1849. He came West to operate a branch office of uncle's Saddle Shop, Gallup & Gallatin in Cheyenne
about 1868 and within 4 or 5 years he owned the shop outright and eventually employed 22 workers. He was considered to be a pioneer in
the Mail Order business and from time to time his advertising cards come available online where they command many hundreds of dollars.
Meanea developed some novel aspects in leather working, especially in his beautifully made gun holsters. Improving on the popular
Mexican Loop style, he style incorporated the Cheyenne Plug (closed toe/bottom) and made a bulge in the holster on the recurve between
the skirt loops which held the holster down in the event of a 'quick draw'. His saddles were extremely well made and very popular with the
Cowboys of the West, with his design of the Cheyenne Roll (cantle). He died in 1928. Beware modern reproductions! The old antique and
original goods were stamped F.A. Meanea. Family members operating the saddle shop in the 1980's (in the same location) use the stamp F
A. Meanea CO. His saddles were so enduringly popular that one enterprising company, Tony Holmes Saddle shop, stamped hundreds of
saddles with the Meanea mark and sold them through Western Ranch man Outfitters as the "Meanea" Cowboy saddle in the 1930's and
1940's. These saddles are stamped on the fenders, a spot in which Meanea never used. Noted Western artist Charlie Russell owned a fully
tooled Meanea Saddle. In addition, Meanea produced saddles for the Canadian Northwest Mounted Police. This information is my
exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.

Otto F. Ernst, Sheridan WY

Ernst was originally partnered with John Buckley in Sheridan Wyoming from 1902 until 1907 and after Buckley left, Ernst brought in many of
his family members. His brother John was master saddler, and his son Ernie joined the firm in 1921. Otto died in 1938. His beautiful leather
work remains as testament to the floral carved leather items of that time. Many reprints of his catalogues can be found online and are a
good resource for research. Popular Western artist E. W. "Bill" Gollings owned an Ernst Saddle with woolly saddle bags which he
treasured. Ernst was saddler to many of the Dudes who first stopped in Sheridan before going on to the area's many Dude Ranches. This
information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.

JS & GH Collins, Nebraska, Montana and Wyoming

John S and Gilbert Collins are generally regarded as saddle makers to Buffalo Bill Cody and Teddy Roosevelt (who also owned a pair of
Collins Sealskin chaps) Learning their craft from their father in Nebraska, they originally started as Saddlers and Harness makers at Fort
Laramie in Wyoming Territory ca 1872. They had shops in Cheyenne Wyoming and Miles City Montana and marketed to Texans driving
cattle through the area. Their sturdy Cheyenne Roll was famous as a preferred saddle among ranchers of the day. They also made holsters
in the Cheyenne style having the recurve bulge. Their early maker mark is a shield, which collectors look for in dating Collins goods. The
shop in Cheyenne closed in 1885. Gilbert died in 1880 and for a short while John teamed up with John Morrison and manufactured under
the name Collins and Morrison. John Collins died in 1910. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.

A. J. Williamson, Casper WY

Asher Judson Williamson got his start in saddle making late in life. He was born in Indiana and was a general farmer with a penchant for
leather work. He moved to Wyoming with his wife Althea Chloe, and four boys and owned his own saddle shop in Casper by 1920. After
serving in World War I, he returned to Casper and operated until about 1935 making some of the fanciest tooled saddles west of the
Pecos.  Williamson died in 1954. His King Tut saddle was inspired by America's fascination of everything Egyptian when Tut's tomb was
opened in 1927. An image of the sphinx is carved into the back of the seat. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not
This page is purely for your enjoyment. The men who manufactured leather goods helped forge the
young Western United States with innovative designs for working saddles and holsters.

Men like Gallatin, Meanea and Williamson turned their leather craft into an art form and is the basis of
all we come to know today, representative of those who shaped History
Did you enjoy reading this guide? Do do you have a question, comment or
suggestion for the site?

Please feel free to contact me via this form. Please note I
do offer Appraisal
Services, visit the
Appraisal Services Page to get all the details.

I also
buy leather goods from these and other makers please do drop me a line!
Questions, comments, or feedback:
Kirwan, Kirwan & Neilson, Lusk WY

John  William "Jack" Kirwan was born in Pennsylvania in 1885. He moved out west to Wyoming with his Missouri bride Anna around 1915.
He served in World War 1 in the Army and returned to Douglas Wyoming where he enjoyed spending time making saddles at his shop. In
the late 1930's his wife passed away and he moved to the nearby town of Lusk Wyoming where he partnered with T. C. Neilson in his shoe
shop, and together they built a reputation for finely crafted saddles under the name of Kirwan & Nielson. Kirwan died at age 54 of influenza
in 1944. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.

Phillips & Gutierrez, Cheyenne WY

Born in 1888 in Mazatlan, Sonora, Mexico, Gutierrez came to the United States and took apprenticeship with G. S. Garcia in Elko Nevada.
He eventually settled in Cheyenne Wyoming about 1910-1915 as a Bit and Spur Maker, partnering with Bill Phillips. From what I can
surmise, each operated independently as businessmen however combined their mark on certain items as "Phillips & Gut. Chey. Wyo"
Their partnership didn't survive long. Gutierrez signed up as an Alien during the Draft of World War One to serve the Army. When he
returned to Cheyenne their partnership dissolved and Gutierrez moved to San Francisco. This information is my exclusive intellectual
property. Do not copy.
Knox & Tanner Rawlins WY         

This Rawlins company was originally operated by Reuben Knox, b. 1844 in Missouri. Originally employed as a saddlemaker at Fort Bridger,
Wyoming Territory in 1870, he came to Rawlins in Carbon County opened his Saddlery in 1879.  He was not successful and eventually sold
the original company. In 1882 the new owners rehired Knox to work at the store and even as the shop changed hands several times, Knox
was always kept on as foreman and manager.  By 1900 he'd taken on another partner, his son in law George Tanner who was married
Knox's daughter Amanda. Tanner was in the grocery business and I believe his participation in the Saddlery business was limited to
financial backing, possibly purchasing the shop on behalf of his father in law in the waning years of the 1800s. They advertised in Wyoming
newspapers up until 1917. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.
Edwards Brothers, Saratoga WY   

Brothers Walter, Warren and George Edwards originally came west from Iowa to settle in Greeley Colorado with their parents. As the boys
neared adulthood the family moved to Saratoga, Wyoming between 1897 and 1900 where their father took up farming. As soon as Warren
was old enough he opened his own Harness making and Saddlery in Saratoga; this was just before 1910. Warren stamped the goods
"Edwards Brothers" however I could find no evidence Walter or George joined him at the shop. They did stay on to farm the area. Edwards
Brothers was in business for several years at least through the 1930's. Their items are considered quite rare. This information is my
exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.
John A. Donnel, Rawlins WY

Precursor to the Knox and Tanner Company. Details coming soon.
James Mattas, Rawlins Wyoming

James Mattas was born in Bohemia ca 1855 but as he immigrated at an early age, he would have considered himself as an American.  
He grew up in California but heard the call of the west and settled in Rawlins. He married Mattie in 1881 and they had a son named
Frank. Frank worked for his father at Mattas Saddlery (and eventually took over the business) until WWI (more to come)
information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.
Joseph and Fred Lohlein

information will be posted shortly
W. H. Holliday Company

information will be posted shortly
Edwin H Bohlin

Information on this Cody turned Hollywood maker coming soon
R. H. Oliver Buffalo WY
Alex Barrie Casper WYO
Oscar Hiestand, Casper Wyoming

Hiestand rode with the Carey brothers and when the railroad came to this part of Wyoming as far as the Carey ranch, Hiestand decided
this was the place to put down some roots. He purchased land and commenced to homesteading. In  June 1899 it was Hiestand, who
had been elected Sheriff of the newly formed Natrona County, rode to Wilcox Wyoming to assist Converse Country sheriff Josiah
Hazen in arresting Butch Cassiday and the Sundance Kid and the Hole in The Wall gang after they blew out the doors on the Mail car.
Oscar Hiestand is one of Casper's earliest settlers, lawmen and leather worker. What an interesting career he had! In the 1800's Who
doesn't remember the scene in the movie of Mr. Woodcock refusing to open the door to the gang? The sheriffs and their men were
involved in a skirmish with some of the outlaws, who included Flat Nose George Curry and the Logan Brothers as well as others
involved in the train heist. Hazen was shot during the scuffle and died the next day. The outlaws escaped. Perhaps the Lord came to
Hiestand that day, for as soon as his commission was up he gave up law enforcement and opened Hiestand's Harness and Saddlery in
Casper. The saddlery was in business from about 1900 onward making fine leather goods: Hiestand also served as Casper's Fire
Chief. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.
Oscar Hiestand rig
J. S. Van Doren, Casper Wyoming

Recently I saw a pair of spur straps with this maker mark which prompted me to further research this early Casper maker. John Van
Doren came from New Jersey to settle as a Merchant prior to 1900 but soon became active in Politics. He served on the Casper Council
in 1901 and as Natrona County Treasurer from 1905-1907. I cannot find where he actually worked as a saddle maker or harness maker
however he may have provided some of his customers and friends with simply-made leather goods. He may have made use of
Heistand's shop. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.
E. C. Burroughs Basin Wyoming area

Born in Illinois, about 1871, Elmer Burroughs made his way to Wyoming via Utah about 1915 and was the premier saddlemaker for
cowboys in the area. His saddles were well made and very popular especially among the Big Horn, Johnson and Wakashie County
residents. This information is my exclusive intellectual property. Do not copy.