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Best Saddle Makers

author
James Lee
• Friday, 27 November, 2020
• 11 min read

We are including saddle maker information and photos that we have accumulated on this page. We invite folks to contribute information, maker's marks, and photos either to our email or to our Facebook page.

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Contents

Born in the 1860s in St. Louis MO, Mueller opened his first shop in Denver in 1891. He died in 1924. Bill Kane shared these photos with us, saying, “Here is a Fred Mueller that we own.

Don't know when it was made but his mark would indicate prior to selling his company to his workers.” Robert Thompson Frazier, the founder was born in 1850 and died on July 27, 1931.

His widow, Katherine (Kitty) R. Henry Frazier ran the business until its close in 1958. Frazier Saddle photos courtesy of Dave Fullerton, Australia.

He says, “A guy I knew brought a house in Rockhampton, QLD, (Australia) which contained a small locked shed out the back. The story is that some people were coming from England to Australia around the 1900s, and they brought some sea chests for their journey.

In the chests were a pair or angora chaps, a set of throwing knifes and this saddle. They found that a Frank Bregenz (of German ancestry) was born (assumed) 1857 in Wisconsin and died in Rifle, Colorado in 1925.

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Hemmer from August 1909 to January 1912 He continued making saddles into the1920s. Paul Knowles shared these photos of a pair of chaps he owns and would like to hear about any information on other Steamboat Springs makers if anyone has any.

Photos courtesy of Jake Du eland: “Hi I was looking at your list of makers and thought I would add my family saddle and see if you have any information about it. From what I could find on the internet withe made the pony Express saddles.

Editor's note: a mocha is a removable leather cover put over a saddle. In the case of the Pony Express, the cover held the mail relayed from one horse to the next.

Read learned saddle making beginning at the age of 17 working for Cornish & Walton in Ogden Utah during the 1870s. Joined him a year later and together they also purchased the small firm of Cheyenne Harness & Saddlery of Ogden.

The firm was active as a leather good, harness and saddlery store at that time, but as the years went by, adjusted to progress by selling motor car accessories (tires, batteries) and even later, household appliances and furnishings. He started his Ft. Worth, TX shop around the time of the Mexican Revolution to supply the US Cavalry or US Army.

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Louis’s wife Alien White closed the shop in 1972. Photos of the Price McLaughlin saddle below courtesy of Howard Nichols.

In 1929, J. H. Dance and Son was located at 105 South Commercial Avenue in Coleman, TX. They were manufacturers and dealers of saddles, harness, collars, bridles, a complete line of leather goods, shoe repairing, cowboy boots, automobile tops and seat covers, and awning.

Saddle photos were kindly donated by DE Too Alain, Gent, Belgium Europe. My grandfather, Vernon Poor, made saddles in Abilene Texas in the 40s-60s.

One that he was working on when he passed away and another neighbor had purchased and recently gave back to us. I would like to know their stories, get pictures, or possibly return them to our family members.

Lewis & Sons is a contemporary Hereford company building saddle trees. SIMC Leather Company, Chattanooga, Tennessee, active 1933 to present.

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Red Ranger Saddlery was a production saddle maker out of Chattanooga, Tennessee in the 1950s to the 1970s. Photo courtesy of Tess VoisardFrom 1908 until 1962, Sears, Roebuck & Company sold a wide variety of sporting goods and recreational equipment including saddles and rifles, under the brand name “J. C. Higgins.” We have been told Bond Allen made saddles for Sears, for Western Auto and for Montgomery Ward.

Montgomery Ward saddle maker's mark Action Company I specialize in ladies sidesaddles and have been dealing in them for 35+ years, these two are part of my private collection.

ASA Certified Instructor http://hundredoaksinc.com He has written extensively on this subject, and for further reading interested parties can purchase his book “The Sidesaddle Legacy”, through Amazon.com I think the mystery of the “medallion sidesaddles” has been solved! Both have the distinctive “medallion” or “sunflower” design on them, and have other very similar elements, such as a handhold (somewhat rare in sidesaddles) and a pretty purse on the right side of the saddle.

Fellow sidesaddle enthusiast and saddle maker Lillian Chaudhary of Willows, CA sent me the information shown on the attached black & white photos. Prior to finding the saddle in Oregon, nobody's had an exact date on these western sidesaddles.

The B&W photocopy I emailed you gives a date of 1866. It's quite possible that's correct, although documenting it will be difficult. Interestingly, I know of 3 of these saddles that were found in Oregon, and both of mine came from California.

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Most people think the sidesaddle is a thing of the past but many of my clients have orthopedic problems and can not ride astride a horse anymore. I have made off side sidesaddles for clients who have lost a leg to cancer but refused to give up riding horseback.

In the past there were men who rode aside, including George Washington and Thomas Jefferson and the Marquis De Lafayette. In their older years they were so stove up with arthritis and rheumatism they could not ride astride.

Kind regards, Lillian Chaudhary Heritage Tack & Saddlery Willows CA 95988 “I am going to sell this saddle, if you know of any collectors who might be interested. Newton Porter, originally from Texas, opened a shop in Phoenix, Arizona around 1898.

By the early 1900s, they had set up shop in Phoenix with clientele in Tucson and southern Arizona serviced by a traveling sales wagon. Harold picked up the reins of the family business in 1925 when his father passed.

In the 1930s, Harold moved to Tucson and set up a brick and mortar store, strictly saddlery, on Congress Street. Back then, squaw skirt outfits were what every well-dressed Tucson lady clamored to wear and Harold gave them what they wanted.

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In the late 1930s, Porter's moved, up-scaled they called it, to a store in the Pioneer hotel. He chose the location because it allowed his cowboy clientele to pull in and park with their horse trailers.

Porter's closed their doors on April 1, 1983, due to Harold's poor health. Interestingly, it wasn't Harold or any of his descendants or kin who built the saddles with the Porter stamp in Tucson, at least.

In the late 1920s, Porter's built and presented the trophy saddle to Lee Anderson at the Tucson Rodeo. In the Tucson area, if you sat a Porter saddle, it meant you had made something of yourself.

Information courtesy of Catherine Limit Device, Tucson, AZ The picture was taken at his shop in the rear of the Porter’s store on Stone Ave, in Tucson.

He did his apprenticeship at the famous Porter Saddle / Harness shop in Phoenix, AZ. California and worked at the San Fernando Valley Saddlery with Cliff Ketchup, Ellis Barnes.

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They made very high quality saddles for western stars like James Harness, Richard Boone, John Wayne and Walt Disney. In 1909, Charles E. Eggshell employees Clem Kathmandu, Frank Feline and Bert Coleman, bought out Eggshell and formed the Miles City Saddlery Co. At its peak between 1910 and the Depression years of the 1930s, there were up to 40 saddle makers working in Miles City.

During this period, the cattle range started closing up and there was a corresponding decline in the need for saddles. The company changed hands a number of times and Carl Wilson closed the saddle shop in 1982.

In 1989, Jack and Mary Lou Label bought Miles City Saddlery and reinstated saddle making. This is a Miles City #8 Bronco or Contest Saddle that originally sold for $66.

He set up the custom saddle making course at Spokane Falls Community College and taught there the first year, before Jesse Smith took over the position. Ernst and his family moved to Sheridan, Wyoming in 1900 where he worked at several jobs including making saddles for George Parameter.

Photo Courtesy of Chandra Weeks Albert F. Furrow, born 1862 in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, established the Al Furrow Saddlery Co. in Miles City, Montana in 1884. Furrow was known for his fancy leather work and fine workmanship and materials He carried a large line of cowboy goods.

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Unusual saddle made by the John Clark Saddlery Company in Portland Oregon. Some features are a brand marking on both sides which is the letter M crowned with a sun burst.

And the measurement from the base of the horn while touching the seat to the back edge is 18-inches. We would appreciate your emailing with any ideas about the original use of this light-weight saddle. Below is a great explanation from a visitor...

They came about as women in the west wanted some freedom from riding habits but the health risks associated with riding astride, let alone in a hard seated man’s saddle, were still feared. I have a nicely made, unmarked one here with a rough out mule hide seat and some very intricate and pretty stitch work.

In 1868, James Eaton began Eaton Bros. James began making whips and lashes in the stable of his father's home on Church Street in San Francisco. Shortly after the earthquake and fire of that year they bought out JC Johnson Co. makers of saddles and harness.

Photo courtesy of Terry James Abuse Jenkins & Sons were at 76 & 78 E Second South, Salt Lake City, UT. “Saddles and Harness of all styles, and everything pertaining to horse equipments.” JW Jenkins opened the saddlery in the mid 1850s.

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I discovered it in 1947 on Saturday morning excursions downtown to the double feature westerns. Other visitors included older Salt Lake police officers who frequented the store often.

The front was a large and nice saddle, tack, and sporting goods store including guns. We have two Jenkins saddles in the Museum of Northwest Colorado at Craig.

There are lots of antique saddles displayed in The Cowboy and Gunfighter Collection and a lot more of antique gun rigs by famous saddle shops. Hermann H. Laser (1836-1904) was born in Germany and moved to the US, apprenticed in saddlery and harness making in Wisconsin, and about two years later opened his own shop.

The famous HHH trademark stamped on all Laser's work was the ninth registered trademark in Colorado. After his death in 1904 his sons continued the business and subsequently diversified into the upcoming auto industry. Wald Laser bought his brothers interests around 1919 and continued with the saddle business until he sold it to Denver Dry Goods in 1945.

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Sources
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2 boatnerd.com - http://boatnerd.com/pictures/fleet/JohnDLeitch.htm
3 www.myshiptracking.com - https://www.myshiptracking.com/vessels/john-d-leitch-mmsi-316001701-imo-6714586
4 www.marinevesseltraffic.com - https://www.marinevesseltraffic.com/vessels/JOHN-D-LEITCH/CURRENT-POSITION/6714586/316001701
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6 www.youtube.com - https://www.youtube.com/watch
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9 www.ack.net - https://www.ack.net/obituaries/20170809/john-william-bill-leitch