On Tuesday, February 23, author Cheryl Foggo will be presenting on the life story of cowboy John Ware and the ways in which his legacy has intersected with her life in present-day southern Alberta.

John Ware

Born a slave in South Carolina, Ware moved West after the end of the American Civil War. He found work in Texas as a ranch hand and began moving cattle north. In 1882, he was involved in a drive to bring 3,000 cattle to southern Alberta. The cattle were successfully delivered to for the Bar U Ranch, located near Longview, and Ware ended up staying in the area.

Though he had no horse and no saddle, he asked to join the Bar U cowboy crew. He quickly impressed others as he successfully rode and saddled one of the wildest mustangs at the ranch. Ware saved his Bar U earnings and, in 1890, established his own ranch using the brand 999 (three nines). His horsemanship skills were renown throughout the region.

He married a woman named Mildred Lewis and they had five children. Tragically, Ware was killed when his horse stepped in a badger hole, tripped and fell on him, killing him instantly. Those who knew him, like Bar U’s George Lane and Fred Ings of the OH and Midway ranches, spoke publicly about the John Ware they knew: a gentleman, an excellent cowboy and a fellow pioneer of the southern Alberta range.

His legacy is an important one. It highlights strength (both personal and physical) and the extraordinary experiences of an African-American pioneer in southern Alberta.

To learn more about Ware’s life and legacy, be sure to attend Cheryl Foggo’s talk:
When: Tuesday, February 23 at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Fort Calgary (750 9 Ave SE)
Cost: There is no charge for the event