Austin Man Patents Side-Saddle

Austin saddle maker, Fenwick Smith, perfects the western side-saddle. Women and sissy men can now enjoy riding their favorite steed without need to straddle an uncomfortable saddle. The rider will enjoy the absence of the obtrusive horn. The U.S. Patent #105734 was issued July 26, 1870.

Mr. Smith states in his patent application, “a new and useful improvement in side-saddles. It consists in forming the saddle-tress hollow with air-chambers within.” He also developed a special saddle for roping wild mustangs on the open prairie. Its oversized saddle-horn could better manage an unruly mustang.

Fenwick Smith was born June 5, 1821. When he was eighteen he left Coosa, Alabama in a wagon train that included twelve members of his family spanning four generations. Eleven members of the family arrived in the Spring of 1839; at the site for the first permanent Capitol. In December, the Capitol City was named Austin.

Off his horse on January 21, 1841 in the woods near Shoal Creek, Fenwick witnessed his brother, Judge James W. Smith, murdered by Comanche Indians. Unarmed, out manned and on foot, Fenwick watched the Indians whisk away his nephew Fayette Smith; it was Fayette’s ninth birthday.

Seven months’ later on August 7, 1841, Fenwick’s father and Travis County Treasurer, Thomas W. Smith, was killed by Indians. Half of the male members of his family were victims of Indian depredations.

Records show he served as Justice of Peace for Travis County 1860-1866. No record of marriage, children, or death has been found.

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