Desert Peoples / New Industries

Johnny Wilson, Bill Garrison and Montaque at Hexie Cabin


ca. 1880

This star and crescent branding iron was used to brand cattle owned by local cattleman George Meyers. Meyers worked for the “McHaney Gang,” a band of reputed cattle rustlers operating in the Joshua Tree area in the 1880s. It is rumored that Meyers received cattle in payment for his part in the McHaney Gang’s murder of the owner of the Desert Queen Mine and subsequent takeover of the claim. Meyers later went into partnership with C.O. Barker, a cattleman from Banning, California, and looked after the Barker interests in the area until 1906 when Barker bought him out.

Brands, registered like trademarks or copyrights, serve to combat theft and fraud. They can be neither too complicated nor too simple and must be hard to alter. The Meyers brand does not appear in the San Bernardino County registry covering 1853 through 1917, so it may have been registered in another county.

Metal. L 40, W 12 cm
Joshua Tree National Park, JOTR 35978