A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from August 08, 2014
“Trust your neighbor, but brand your cattle”

"Trust your neighbor, but brand your cattle/calves/cows” (or “Trust everyone, but brand your cattle") is a saying that has been printed on many gift items, such as T-shirts. The saying is sometimes credited to West Texas rancher Hallie Stillwell (1898-1997), but her statement of “Trust in the lord, but brand your cattle” has been traced in print only to 2000.

Trust everybody, but brand your cows” was cited in print in 1982.


27 June 1982, Dallas (TX) Morning News, “Cattle raisers warned of rise in rustling” (Associated Press), pg. 41A, col. 1:
SAN ANTONIO—Urban cowboys are being advised to heed an Old West axiom: “Trust everybody, but brand your cows.”
(This story is also in the Google News Archive from June 24, 1982.—ed.)

11 August 1988, Taos (NM) News, “Unbranded horses rustlers’ target” by Dick Behnke, pg. A18, col. 1:
An old western saying goes: “Trust everybody, but brand your livestock.”

Google Books
Burntwater
By Scott Thybony
Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press
1997
Pg. 66:
As I stood up to go, I noticed a plaque on the wall of the rancher’s home: “Trust Everyone But Brand Your Cattle.”

Google Books
The Essential Guide to Internet Business Technology
By Gail Honda and Kipp Martin
Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall
2002
Pg. 186:
Hallie Stillwell, a famous West Texas Rancher, once said: “Trust everyone, but brand your cattle.” In the heyday of West Texas ranching, you protected your most valuable asset—cattle—by branding them.

21 November 2005, The Daily Times (Farmington, NM), “Cowboy Ethics,” The Four Corners Business Journal, pg. 33, col. 2:
And if there’s any rancor behind Owen’s cliched advice—unlikely for a man born again at the top of the pyramid—he would have to include the old cowboy saying, “Trust Everyone but Brand Your Calves.”

16 January 2007, The Gazette (Colorado Springs, CO), “BRANDS: System traced to old Egypt,” Life sec., pg. 3, col. 2:
Burk gives this ultimate advice: “Trust in God, but brand your cattle.”

Twitter
Rob Gilmour ☛
‏@robgilmour
Trust your neighbor, but brand your cattle. Be aware of consequence of person branding vs business branding - http://tinyurl.com/c5h784
8:22 AM - 16 Apr 2009

Twitter
newhampshireBNN
‏@newhampshireBNN
robboyce.com: Trust everyone, but brand your calves!: Yes, seriously, I am in cattle country. Saw that bumper st.. http://tinyurl.com/qardy7
1:38 AM - 28 May 2009

Google Books
Super Agent:
The One Book the NFL and NCAA Don’t Want You to Read

By Jerry Argovitz and David J. Mille
New York, NY: Sports Publishing
2013
Pg. ?:
“Trust your neighbors,” they say in Texas, “but brand your stock.”

Posted by Barry Popik
Texas (Lone Star State Dictionary) • Friday, August 08, 2014 • Permalink