Introducing 2008 Montana Cowboy Hall of Fame Legacy Award Inductee…
EC "Teddy Blue" Abbott (1860-1939)
Edward Charles "Teddy Blue" Abbott was born in England in 1860. He came to the United States in 1871, settling around Lincoln, Nebraska with his parents. He is hailed as one of the greatest of the cowboys who brought herds of Longhorns north from Texas. His charming looks and renegade ways have forever etched him into Montana history.
By the time Teddy Blue came on the scene, the Texas trail had only been in existence three or four years. But it was already a big business and a steady stream of herds was moving north. Lincoln was at that time the northern end of the trail, as there were no ranches above that point... only Indians and buffalo.
There were worlds of cattle in Texas after the Civil War. They had multiplied and run wild while the men were away fighting for the Confederacy, especially down in the southern part, between the Nueces River and the Rio Grande. By the time the war was over, cattle were down to $4 a head - if one could find a buyer. Cheap Longhorn cattle were overrunning Texas while the rest of the country was crying for beef. Unfortunately there was no railroad in Texas to get them out to the states. So cowboys began trailing them out, across hundreds of miles of wild country.
Teddy Blue and his father went by train to New Orleans, then by boat to Texas, to partake in the cattle drives. Teddy Blue made his first trip up the trail in 1871, at 10 years of age. The cattle were received near Red River and Teddy Blue fell in love with the cowboy way of life.
By 1874, the trails moved west on account of the country becoming settled, and so Dodge City, Kansas and Ogallala, Nebraska became the big cow towns. By 1880, Texas cattle had gotten as far north as Miles City, Montana, and Texas cowboys came with them, Teddy Blue being no exception.
After that first trip up the trail in 1871, Teddy Blue took three more trips down to Texas for cattle. He came back up the trail with a herd of cattle in 1879, 1881, and 1883. On the last of those trips, he went all the way to the Yellowstone River in Montana and decided to stay.
By 1884, Teddy Blue was hired by Granville Stuart as a cowboy on the DHS Ranch. Ultimately Teddy fell in love with one of Granville's daughters, thus permanently entwining himself in Montana's history. In 1886, as the roundup commenced in June, Teddy Blue was sent to "rep" for the DHS on the Moccasin Roundup. Here he met Charles M. Russell, marking the beginning of a lifelong friendship between the two.
Since the winter of 1886-87 brought about the demise of the DHS herds, Teddy Blue sought employment elsewhere until in 1889, when he started his own spread: the Three Deuce Ranch. This ranch was located approximately 13 miles east of Lewistown in the Judith Mountains. Teddy Blue lived the remainder of his life there, raising his family. There are many stories of his friendship with notable historic figures, including Calamity Jane.
In 1937, along with Helena Huntington Smith, Teddy Blue wrote a memoir of his life from 1871 to 1886. The book was completed by 1939, shortly prior to Teddy Blue's death. In 1993, Time Life Books produced a documentary film called "The Cowboys," based on Teddy Blue's much-loved book "We Pointed Them North."