“His grandfather was the oldest of eight boys and the only one to live past the age of twenty-five. They were drowned, shot, kicked by horses. They perished in fires. They seemed to fear only dying in bed. The last two were killed in Puerto Rico in eighteen ninety-eight and in that year he married and brought his bride home to the ranch and he must have walked out and stood looking at his holdings and reflected long upon the ways of God and the laws of primogeniture. Twelve years later when his wife was carried off in the influenza epidemic they still had no children. A year later he married his dead wife’s older sister and a year after this the boy’s mother was born and that was all the borning that there was. The Grady name was buried with that old man the day the norther blew the lawnchairs over the dead cemetery grass. The boy’s name was Cole. John Grady Cole.”
From All the Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy
John Grady Cole is the protagonist of the novel, and this paragraph, which comes at the onset of the story, is our introduction to him and his heritage.
I now live part of my life out on a ranch in New Ulm, Texas. This picture was taken there this August, while I was laying under a tree and my horse, Spike, came and stood over me.