Posted 11 months ago
This buckle has a slightly legendary status in my family, as it was originally worn by my great uncle, Billy Cox, who was killed in a plane crash in 1953. I'm guessing it was made in the mid-late 1940's when the Double Heart Ranch was still hosting a pretty happening rodeo. My great-grandparents produced rodeos all across the U.S., based on their property about 12 miles south of Sweetwater, Texas. The initials "OSO" are my mother's brother's - for Ollie Stephen Oatman - and were added a bit later.
After serving in overseas in the military, it seems Billy suffered from depression and was possibly cheating on his young wife...Following a long, drawn-out radio conversation with friends on the ground wherein he described things as "all messed up," the 23 year-old Billy Cox crashed his plane into a gravel pit, killing him instantly. Supposedly, Billy was wearing the buckle when he died and it had to be-reshaped to fix damage from the impact (you can still see the dents).
I recently found a great melodramatic article about the whole event, and the last line really sums it up nicely: "Conspicuous on the fuselage was the double heart insignia of the Cox ranch. Now it had taken on a double significance."
See the complete article here (apologies for the low quality scan):
My brother also pointed out the awesome ad on the right side of the article for "Cheese-Bean Cake: So easy, so good...with America's handiest slices" :)
The buckle was made by Holland's Jewelry in San Angelo, TX: it's mostly sterling silver, with what appears to be a gold inlay double-heart, my family's official brand (see the 14K mark on the back). Another interesting detail is that the buckle was made for a left-handed person, so that it attaches to the right side of the belt and hooks into an eyelet on the leather end coming from the left.
Holland's has been in business since 1918 and is still kicking! http://www.hollandjewelry.com/