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Full text of "Bill Jones of Paradise Valley, Oklahoma; his life and adventures for over forty years in the great Southwest. He was a pioneer in the days of the buffalo, the wild Indian, the Oklahoma boomer, the cowboy and the outlaw;"

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Class Zld_£2iL_. 

Book _.I>_-^' .IIL_ 

coni-RiGirr deposft. 

/ ..I ( ' :hn)U:t BoonU 

Bill Jones 

OF Paradise Valley 













Copyright 1014 by 
J. J. Callison. Kingfisher, Oklahomf 

Printed by 

M. A. Donohue & Co. 


AUG 31 1914 



In the old clays, when tluit part of the West, stretching 
from the Missouri rivir to the Rockies, and from the Rio 
Clrande to the British possessioas, was an almost unbroken 
wilderness, inhabited by roaming Indians and wild animals, 
there came a class of men, lured by the love of adventure, 
who were not afraid to brave the hartlships of pioneer life. 
They did a great work in making this vast region liabitable 
for the millions of people who now occupy it, with their 
farms and factories, their villages and cities. 

The romance of the West has largely disappeared. 
The great cattle ranges have; been divided up into farms, 
and the cattle, instead of plodding on foot, now rido to 
market in palace stock cars. The cowboy of the old cattle 
trail and the free range may now be seen only in story 
books, and as he is represented (and sometimes misrepre- 
sented) in moving i)ictures. Most of the rough-and-ready 
men who did the pioneer work have pa^ssed over the Great 
Divide, and a new generation, of milder manners but no 
truer hearts, have taken their places. 

This book is the story of one of the pioneers, who still 
lives to tell the tale. He followed the trail; he rounded 
up the cattle; he chased the jackrabbit; he worried the 
tenderfoot; he fought with the cook, the prairie dog and 
the horned toads; he did many other things too numerous 
to mention here, but interesting to read about later on in 
the book. He swore some in those days, otherwise he 
would not have harmonized with the landscape. He was 
able to see the funny side of things as he went along, which 
was a fortunate thing; for it kept him going, and often 
smoothed over rough and dangerous experiences. 

This lK>ok lays no claim to literary excellence. It 
just tells what Bill Jones did, saw and felt during his forty 
years in the Southwest, in his own way. If he has con- 
tributed something to the reader's enjoyment , he is content. 


Two Oklahoma Boomers. Frontispiece 

Hunting Buffalo in Kansas and the Indian Territory. 22 

A Western Home 28 

A Tenderfoot out West 47 

Twenty-five Years later a Millionaire. 52 

Fording a River on the Old Cattle Trail 61 

The End of the Trail in the Mountains 69 

A Broncho Buster 98 

A Cowboy CJirl 136 

Dodge City's P^imous Cowboy Band 159 

Dreaming of Home Sweet Home 168 

Early Days in Guthrie 214 

City Court and Judges, Guthrie 235 

George CalUson's Famous Rabbit Trap 238 

What do You Eighty-Niners know about This? 240 

A Cyclone in Paradise Valley 242 

Please Don't Shoot the Fiddler, He is Doing the Best He 

Can 244 

Holding Down a Town Lot in Guthrie 246 

Opera in Lipscomb 261 

General Pascual Orosco 272 

Mexican Cavalrymen 276 

A Burro Battery in Action 277 

A Tenderfoot Back East 312 

A Vision of the Boy Out West 326 


My First Experience with a Stenographer. — What Mr. 
Wilson and Mr. Bryan are supposed to have said 
about Bill Jones , Page 13 


Boyhood Days. — The Bender Farm in Kansas. — Killing 
My First Buffalo. — Hot Winds, Grasshoppers and 
Government Aid. — With the Choctaw Indians. — 
Teaching School in Arkansaw. — The Goat Party. — 
A Mishap in Joplin, Missouri. — A Printer's Devil in 
Cherokee, Kansas Page 20 


Dodge City, Kansas, the Wickedest City in America. — 
The Chain Game. — A Night Hike to the Cim- 
arron. — The Snuff Mines. — Caught in a Blizzard. — 
Rattlesnakes and Indians. Page 42 


A Trip to the Black Hills Prospecting for Gold. — Caught 
in the Circle. — Back in Texas Hunting Buffalo. — 
First Experience as a Cowboy. — Dro^^-ned in the 
Canadian River. — Back in Dodge. — A Trip to Kan- 
sas City. — My First Appearance on the Stage. — A 
Hard Ride of Fifteen Hundred Miles after Horse 
Rustlers Page 57 


Off to Colorado with a Herd of Cattle.— An Ail-Night 
Fight with Mexicans. — A Month in Alamosa, Colo- 
rado. — On a Prospecting Trip to Western Colorado. — 
Cook in a Surveyors' Camp and Boss of a Pack Train. 
— Two Thousand Feet alx)ve Timberlinc. — Carrying 
the United States Mail in a Dishpan. — The Buried 
City Page 65 


Railroading and Punching Cattle at the Same Time. — Nine 
Miles and No One Hurt. — Caught in a Hotel Fire in 
Newion, Kansas. — Bog Riding in No Man's Land. 
Page 73 


Back in Texas \N-ith a Bunch of Cattle. — The Fight in 
Sweetwater and a Troop of United States Cavalry. — 
Arrives at Ft. Sitting Bull more Dead than Alive. — A 
Life-Saving Crew. — Death of Jim Springer. — Freezing 
to Death. — On a Tear in Wichita, Kansas .... Page 81 


The Rendezvous Camp near Camp Supply. — An English 
Ixjrd and a Millionaire. — The Heart and Hand. — A 
Farewell Bachelor Dinner. — A Bear Hunt. — Roping 
a Mountain Lion.^ — Our Wild West Show and a Meth- 
odist Preacher. Page 90 


On the Round-up. — The Crazy Cowboy. — Fight with the 
Cheyenne Indians. — The Bloody Trail across Kansas. 
—Death of Colonel Lewis Page 102 


Stuck-up by a Highwayman, a Hack Driver and a Bar- 
ber. — Bitten by a Deadly Tarantula. — The Indian 
Dog Feast. — Saving the Mormon Immigrants from 
the Indians Page 110 


The Mirage Page 125 


The Diamond Arrow Ranch. — Teaching a City Girl to 
Ride and Shoot. — A Thrilling Night Ride over the 
Mountains. — Killing a Mountain Lion. — Too Late. 
Page 129 


The Pool Ranch in Colorado. — Frank and Jesse James, 
Cole Younger. — Bill Gregg and the Berry Brothers. — 
The Fight wth Billy the Kid Page 144 


Mysterious Dave and the Bad Man from Crooked Creek. 
—$150,000 on the Turn of a Card.— The Famous Cow- 
boy Band. — The Swellest Funeral Dodge Ever Had. — 
The Sawed-Oflf Shot Gun Page 153 


Hardships of the Cowboy on the Trail. — Jesse Chisholm, 
the Man Who wont Ahead. — The Cowboy will Always 
Live in Story and Romance. — The Finest Horseman 
the World Ever Produced.— The Stampede.— The 
Blizzard. — The Lonely Grave by the Trail. — "Bury 
Me Not on the Lone Prairie." — Dying of Thirst. — 
Shooting up the Town. — A Perfect Specimen of 
Physical Manhood Page 161 


The Passing of the Six-Shooter. — The Coming of Prohibi- 
tion. — And that Red-Headed Biscuit Shooter. Page 180 


If You are Still Hunting Trouble, Come to Chivington. — 
The Kingdon Hotel. — Wild Horse Johnson. — John 
Savage Reading the Riot Act to Sixty-five Would-be 
Bad Men. — Music by the Band Page 192 


The Green Country Boy and the City Man. — The 
Badger Fight. — Attacked by a War Party of Indians. 
—And the Race for Life Page 203 


The Opening of Oklahoma in '89. — The American Indians. 
— The Boomer and the Sooner. — Captain Payne and 
Couch. — The Signal Guns. — A Race for a Home. — A 

Mule Seventeen Feet High. — A Prairie Dog Hole and 
the First Claim. — Paradise Valley. — Hatching Lit- 
tle Chickens while You Wait. — Dutch Henry, a Noted 
Horse Thief from Dodge City. — Doc. — Kaffir Corn, 
Turnips, Rabbits and Cow-peas. — George Callison's 
Famous Rabbit Trap. — Roping a Crazy Man. — A 
Case of Blind Staggers. — A Case of Appendicitis. — 
Please don't Shoot the Fiddler, He is Doing the Best 
He Can. — "Nevermore." — A Bad Case. — A Cyclone. 
— Four Dead in the Mulnix Home. — A Railroad 
Wreck Page 208 


A River Pilot.— Bitten by a Gila Monster.— The Wharf 
Master at Lipscomb. — The Landlord of the Good 
Chuck Hotel. — Buried Alive for Three Days. — Carry- 
ing More than Two Guns Prohibited in Texas. — 
Ticks, just Ticks. — Mister, Have You a Snake that 
^vill Bite a Woman?— A 60-40 Cut Page 248 


Johnsinger's Wild West Shows, El Paso, Texas.— A Night 
in Santa Rosa, New Mexico. — With Orosco's Mexican 
Sharpshooters, $10.00 per. — On Outpost Duty. — 
Capturing an Enemy. — The First Battle at Juarez. — 
A Mounted Burro Battery. — With Madero at Cases 
Grandes.— Chased Out of Mexico by the Soldiers and 
a Bunch of Coyotes. — Back in God's Country. 
Page 267 


From El Paso to Alpine. — $50.00 for a Carload of Water. — 
A Real Estate Agent and the Steam Roller Gang. — 
San Antonio, One of the Glory Spots in Texas, and 
the Alamo. — "Lungers" and the Landlady where I 
Stopped Page 281 


The Beautiful Gulf Coast Country.— Two Thousand Dol- 
lars' Worth of Oysters to the Acre. — A Toothpick 
Garden and a Cordwood Farm. — Pearl Buttons and 
the G. A. R. — Grandpa Always Ran. — Blue Ribbons, 
Salt Water, a Shark and a Pretty Girl.— Mr. Mc, 
Conductor on the Sea Wall Special Page 290 


409 Austin Street. — Real Estate Agents and the Banana 
Farm. — Orange and Fig Orchards. — A Destructive 
Fire in Conroe and a Month in New Waverly. 
Page 295 


Hunt^sville and the State Prison. — Raising Pears, Per- 
simmons, Goats, Crawfish, Fleas, Mosquitoes and 
Telephone Poles in Ejist Texas. — Slugan Week in 
St. Louis and the Veiled Prophets Page 299 


Detroit, Michigan, and Windsor, Canada. — Marriage Cer- 
tificates, Green Trading Stamps, Baby Wagons, 
Burial Caskets, while You Wait. — Something to Eat 
First, Please Page 302 


Hunting Trouble in Old Chicago Town. — If You want to 
get Rich, Send Me SlOO, and I will Tell You How.— 
Traveling with a Musical Comedy Company, Chorus 
Girls — Tom and Jerry. — A Drunken Mixup and the 
Police Station Page 307 


Hunting Trouble and Seeing the Sights in Old Chicago 
Town Page317 



"Wanted: A lady typist." 

I inserted the above advertisement in the paper, and 
then I was ready for business. The first appHcant was a 
woman about forty years old and as ugly as a coyote. I 
gave her the job, and after she had removed her wraps and 
hung them up she sat down at the machine, fixed the 
jingle-bob and adjusted the do-flapper. Then she asked 
mv if we would commence the day's work in the usual way. 
" I guess so," I replied, and went on with my WTiting. I 
expected to hear that machine start off on a piece of rag- 
time music alx)ut like K. C. Jones, but nothing of the kind 
hai>pened. She turned around and looked at me. I asked 
her what was the trouble. 

"Are we going to start the day's, work in the usual 
way?" she repeated. 

I will admit that I can give a jack rabbit a running 
start of one hundred yards, and catdi him in a thousand- 
yard dash; but I am too slow for the jx'ople of the East. 
"Please put me next to the way of starting work here in 
Illinois," I said to her. 

" Every place where I have worked for the last twenty 
years," she replied, "when I was ready to go to work in 
the morning, the boss would always take me in his arms 
and me." 


14 B I L L J O N E S 

"My dear girl," I answered, "as I already have a 
^^'ife and a little boy, I don't think it would be right for me 
to do anything of that kind." 

With that, she grabbed her hat and wraps, and out 
she went, while the phonograph in the next room played 
the "Rogue's March." 

About 1 :00 p. M. another one showed up. I gave her 
the job. She was a blonde, about twenty, and as pretty 
as a sunkist peach. After the usual preliminaries in such 
cases, she sat down at the machine Thinking I ought to 
start the afternoon's work in the usual way, I stepped up 
behind her, put my arm around her neck and was going to 
put a kiss where it would do the most good. Then some- 
thing happened. After I got through seeing stars, dia- 
monds and a few other things, the lady where I have my 
office opened the door and windows to let out the smoke, 
swept out the dust and feathers and rearranged the furni- 

"Mr. Jones," she said, "I think it is safe for you to 
come out from under the bed." 

With the help of two plumbers and a doctor, I got the 
machine fixed up that evening. Next morning I wrote my 
wife that I had been attacked the night before by half a 
dozen burglars and nearly beaten to death. And what 
next? Too slow for one and too fast for the other! 

About ten o'clock next day another one dropped in. 
I gave her the job. I asked her a good many questions, 
and her answers were satisfactory. She sat down and was 
starting to WTite, when she turned around and looked me 
square in the eye. I could feel the touch coming, I got 
up and opened the window and the door, so I could get 


out at one while slie went out at the other. Slie wanted 
to know what I did that for, as the weather was extremely 
cold. I told hev that out West where I lived, when we went 
to church, we always raised the windows and left the door 
open, so tiie congregation could get out in a hurry without 
getting run over or burned to ileath, if the sky pilot failed 
to give satisfaction. I also told her that we always carried 
our guns to church with us, so that in case we were attacked 
by Indians we could stand them off. 

All this time I wius standing within about four feet of 
the window, with my writing table between us. She looked 
me in the eye, and wanted to know how I happened to be 
battered up so badly, I told her I had attended a banquet 
a few days ago at Danville, 111., and in coming back there 
w:us a wreck, coaches all burned up and everybody killed. 
She said it was funny she had not heard of it before, as 
she knew .all the brakemen between Bloomington and 
Dan\'ille, I told her that I was the onlj' one who escaped. 
Then she looked me in the eye the third time and wanted 
to know if this was to be an open shop or a union job. 
I told her if she would promise to behave herself, I would 
shut the door and window. Then she wanted to know if 
I belonged to any union. "I don't know," I said, "my 
father was a Union man during the Civil War times." 

" My, but you are slow," she said. " I mean, do you 
belong to any kind of an organization where people who 
do noi have to work meet for various reasons?" I tokl 
her that at one time I had joined the Knights of Labor, 
timt I h&d lx?longcd to the Orange, the Alliance, the I. O. 
(). v., the Knights of the Orient, the Owls, the Horse 
Thief's Ar«ociation and several others, but I had dropped 


all of them except the Benevolent Order of Jack Rabbits. 
Then she wanted to know how many days in the week I 
worked, and how many hours each day. I told her I did 
not know. 

"Well, what in blazes do you know?" she replied. 
"I know that out West in a cow camp we work thirty 
days for a month and twenty-four hours for a day, and if 
it is raining or snowing or real bad weather, we have to do 
a double trick, all for thirty-five a month." 

Then she acted as if she was coming round the table. 
I got in the open window and looked out to see if there was 
a policeman in sight. Then she picked up sone of my 
copy, read a little and said that it was all a lie. 

I reached for my gun, without thinking I was in Illi- 

"Yes, I know that," I replied. "I carried tho belt in 
Oklahoma about a year A young lawyer came along one 
day and the boys made me give it up to him." 

Then she reached for her hat and said she would only 
work six hours a day with three half-holidays each week for 
refreshments, and the price would be $25.00 per. Then 
she beat it while the phonograph in the next room played 
"See the conquering hero comes." As she went out, she 
stopped in the hall long enough to tell me that as soon as 
the McNamarras got back from California, where they are 
spending their vacation, she would have me dynamited. 

Tlicn I went to see a blacksmith, to get him to hammer 
it out for me. He said that he could do it all right, but I 
would have to furnish the hammer and a few pounds of 
shingle nails. 


Paradise Valley, Okla. 
Mr. Woodrow Wilson, Washington, D. C. 
Most Esteemed and Worshipful Miister: — 

I enclose you, under separate ^vrapper, a typewritten 
copy of my new book, entitled " Forty Years on the Hum- 

I enclose stamps for return postage. 
Do you think Bill Taft and Bill Bryan will run for 
President in 1916? Respectfully, 

Bill Jones. 

Paradise Valley, Okla. 
Mr. Billie Bryan, Washington, D. C. 
My Dear Sir and Brother: — 

I enclose you under separate cover a typewritten 
copy of my new book, entitled, "Forty Years on the 

Enclosed find stamps for return postage. 

Respectfully, Bill Jones. 

White House, Washington, D. C. 
Mr. Bill Jones, Paradise Valley, Okla. 
Dear Sir:— 

I have delayed answering your favor of recent date 
until I could read your book. The other day I thought 1 
would have a chance to read it, when a messenger boy 
rushed in and handed me a telegram. Here is what it 

** Woody, quit your smiling. You have T. 11. and the 

18 B I L L J O N E S 

Kansas Progressives on the run, thinking there is a cyclone 
headed West. John lliggs, Committeeman, 

"Dexter, Kansas." 

At a meeting of the Cabinet this evening, it was 
unanimously decided to appoint you to a very responsible 
position. I instructed the Secretary of War to make it 
out at once and forward it to you. 

I hope you ^\^ll receive it in a few days. I think you 
can sell all of the first edition of your book here in Wash- 
ington, as all the Cabinet Members wanted to borrow the 
tj-pewritten copy you sent me. 

Thanking you for the favor, I am, respectfully, 


P. S. Yes, I think the three Bills— Taft, Bryan, and 
Jones — and the Niagara Falls, will always be running. 
Respectfully, W. 

White House, Washington, D. C. 
Mr. Bill Jones, Paradise Valley, Okla. 
My Dear Bill:— 

Will say in reply that I think your book will prove 
to be a great seller, as everybody here in Washington 
wants a copy as soon as it is off the press. 

Respectfully, Billie. 

A few days later the postman handed me a oig official 
envelope that looked like it might contain a government 
blanket, or a copy of the Patent Office report. As it was 
from the Secretary of War, I knew that it contained my 
commission as Ambassador to China, Mexico or Cuba, 


when' a man with a steady nerve and an iron jaw was 
badly needed. 

I hiid it on the tal)lo in my office, and went out and 
notified the landlatly and all the boarders, especially the 
young lady with the violet eyes, that my commission to 
()shkosh had arrived. "All come in and I will read it to 
you." After I had read all the "Be it resolved" and 
"^^^lereases," I came to the place where it said, "ap- 
pointed Porter at the Military Prison at Ft. Leavenworth, 
Kansivs. You will i)roeeed there at once and report to the 
warden for assignment." After I had finished reading it 
I laid it on the table and looked around the room to see 
where the young lady with the baby-blue eyes was. I was 
surprised. While I w;i.s reading they had all got up and 
silently departed. I was alone in my office, with that com- 
mission on the table. 

I had been to Leavenworth several times, and I knew 
that it was not an open shop. They were all bound to- 
gether by an iron-lx)und oath or something else that would 
prevent me from accepting the position as a porter. I 
wrote them that I was suffering from a nervous break- 
down, contracted while I was detained at Huntsville, 
Texas, and that I would have «-o decline. 


printer's devil in CHEROKEE, KANSAS. 

I was born and partly raised in old Missouri. That 
settles it — you will know from the start that I have had 
plenty of trouble. A boy born in Missouri is sure to have 
trouble, and lots of it; and if I had to be born again, it 
would be in Missouri, for I am still hunting trouble. If I 
had been born in Hoboken, N. J., perhaps I would have 
owned the Standard Oil Company; then I would have 
given my money to the Methodists, and see what a row 
that would have caused in the Baptist camp. If I had 
been born in Arkansaw — the land of the big red apples 
and where the girls with the sun-kist cheeks are the pret- 
tiest in the world — there is no telling what good fortune 
might have come to me. 

When I was old enough to wean, mama put a muzzle 
on me, and father put us all in a wagon and lit out for 
Kansas. We stopped about fifteen miles east of Cherry- 
vale for a few weeks, where Daddy tried to buy a claim. 
While we were camped there, the Bender trouble came up; 
the Bender family had killed a lot of people and buried 
them in the garden. Among the victims was a Dr. York. 


When ho was niiss«xl a soarcli which rosultod in the dis- 
covery, I think, of about thirteen men who had been killed 
and buried in that garden. There were lots of good honest 
people who would tell you the Bendirs were hung; others 
would say that they were shot, and sometimes it would hi' 
reported that they escaped. I don't know as much about 
it as some people do who were not there, but I do know 
that if the Benders got away, they got so far that the 
shrewdest officers in the United States have not found 
them to this day. What I saw at the Bender farm was a 
plenty for one chunk of a boy to see. 

We went on farther west and located about half-way 
between the county seat and the woodshed. Dad could 
have bought the land where Peru, Kansas, is for a plug of 
tobacco, but he did not have the plug. Another thing, he 
was looking for a farm and not a stone quarry. Millions 
of gallons of oil have been taken off that farm since then. 

Father bought a claim, and we all turned in and made 
it a good farm, and he slill owns it. 

That Fall a lot of settlers went to Barber County, on 
a buffalo hunt, and that is where my trouble started. As 
I was the youngest one in the crowd, I had to keep camp 
and do the cooking. The first day they all had a good 
time hunting, and brought in a few turkeys, jack rabbits, 
and a coyote. All they talked about that night was buffalo, 
antelope, turkeys, mountain lions and coyotes. But they 
let all the big game get away. Next morning they were 
up and gone again; I decided that I would do a little 
iiunting myself. We were camped on a little creek; they 
all went on one side and that left the other for rac. 

I had one of those old human guns, about seven feet 





long, tluit grandfatluT used when hv was in Kentucky, 
hunting Indians along with D. Boone. About ton o'clock 
I discovered tlirt'c huiTalocs stamling around looking wise, 
about a mile away. I walked and crawled until I was 
within a hundred yards of them. They could see me just 
as plain as I could see them. One young cow wa^ standing 
with her side to me, and the other two had their heads 
toward me. I got ready and cut loose at the cow. As I 
had heard that you could not kill a buffalo by shooting 
him in the head I expected to see the cow drop and the 
rest run off. But nothing of the kind happened. I was 
more surprised than they were. I loaded up my old gun 
and tried another shot. When the smoke cleared away, I 
was still there and so were the buffaloes. Tliird shot, 
same result — I began to think there was something AVTong 
in Denmark, I could take that old gmi and knock a squir- 
rel's eye out in the highest tree in Missouri, and I could 
kill a wild goose or a prairie chicken at that distance every 

Just why I could not hit one those big buffaloes was 
a mystery to me. I was very careful when I loaded that 
old rifle next time. I took an invoice, and here is the way 
it showed up — one b<jy, one big gun, tiiree buffaloes one 
hundred yards away, plenty of ammunition, nothing in 
sight but the prairie and the l)uffaloes. Would I go away 
and leave them there? No; I would try again. I took 
good aim, shut both eyes and pulled the trigger. Wliat 
happened in the next few minut«'S I have not to this day 
found out. I took a sudden notion to go to camp and 
.•started there in a hurry. I tried to fly. I noticed that the 
buffaloes were g'jing toward the camp and it looked like 


they were trying to beat me to it. I did not want them 
to beat me, because I had gone away that morning ^\^th- 
out washing the dishes, and the camp was not in good con- 
dition to receive visitors. I also noticed that one of them 
had a lame foot. I did not stop to see what was the mat- 
ter, as I was not a veterinary surgeon anyway, and I was 
in a hurry to get to camp. I had business there that needed 
my attention. 

All this time I was headed for camp — so were the 
buffaloes — I thought I would stop, get on one and ride to 
camp like Bill Cody. Would they stop and pick me up? 
I was doing my best to beat them to camp, when I began 
to feel their hot breath on the back of my neck. I turned 
my head to see how close they were and the unexpected 
happened. It most always does happen to me at just such 
a time. I stepped into a hole and down I went. That 
hole proved to be a little gully about two feet wide, two 
feet deep and about two hundred feet long, partly covered 
over with grass. I don't know whether I fainted or not, or 
how long I stayed in that hole. Any^vay, when I looked 
out there was not a buffalo in sight. I crawled out and 
took a good look around and then went back after my 
gun and hat. I had no trouble in finding them, for I had 
left the gun where I started, I am not going to tell you 
how far it was from where I started from to that hole, as 
you might think I was telling the truth. I have been on 
several buffalo hunts since this one, but none that had 
such a moving effect on me. I started on to the camp, and 
about half a mile from there I found Mrs. Buffalo as dead 
as Jim Jeffries. 

When the rest of the crowd came in that evening I 


had about four bushels of buffalo meat nicely cooked for 
supper. During our stay we got several others — all we 
wanted to haul home. 

I almost overlooked the bob-cat that I had a fight 
with. I had been out all day and had run out of gun caps. 
About four inches of snow had fallen the night before, and 
when I came on to Mr. Cat, squatted down in the snow, 
the problem was how to get him without any way to shoot. 
I was raised to believe that if you do not attack trouble, 
trouble will attack you, so I laid the gun down, got a good 
club, and at it we went. First round Mr. Cat got the 
worst of it; second round, Willie was slightly damaged, 
but still in the race. In the third round I received quite a 
bite and several scratches, but a good uppercut with my 
club laid him out for good. 

There are lots of people who remember the summer, 
fall, and winter of 1874; hot winds, grasshoppers and 
government aid. First, came the hot winds. They were 
like a furnace, and would blister the hands and face like 
fire. We had to get into the house and shut the windows 
and doors to keep cool. A few days later came the grass 
hoppers, and they were a hungry bunch of tramps. They 
got everything that was green, and ate a good many things 
that were not green. They ate up forty rods of stone fence 
in thirty-seven and a half minutes by the watch. They 
destroyed more stone fences that fall than all the boys, 
dogs, and rabbits put together. The green headed horse- 
flies were pretty bad that fall, and they made it hot for 
the stock. We had a pet cow, and in order to keep the flies 
from eating her, we covered her with some green paint that 


we had left over, after painting the house. The hoppers 
came along, ate up the cow, paint and all. 

The hoppers would hold up the children on their way 
to school and take their lunches away from them. After 
the grasshoppers had eaten everything, we turned in and 
ate the grasshoppers. One old fellow said he used to live 
with the digger Indians in Idaho, and they considered a 
grasshopper equal to or better than oysters, crawdads, 
clams, chili, or chop suey. So we all learned to eat grass- 
hoppers, and I can say from experience that they were 
fine; but I do not want to live long enough to eat them 
three times a day again. After that we had grasshoppers 
for about six weeks and had them cooked and served in 
every way that could be thouglit of. ^ Then the cry went 
out that the people of Kansas were starving to death. 
Thousands of carloads of aid were sent by the good people 
back home to starving Kansas, and even the government 
sent hundreds of carloads. Ten years later you could not 
find a man in Kansas who would acknowledge that he 
went up and got his little pile. 

I remember that the men who received and distributed 
the aid were quite a bunch of jokers. We would get in 
line and pass by the house, and when we would stop at 
the door, the clerk would grab up what he thought you 
needed most and hand it out to you. My first draw <'on- 
sisted of an old beegum hat, about fifteen inches high and 
four sizes too big for me, which some good old preacher 
had thrown in the car; a pair of number 12 boots; three 
pairs of government socks; a pair of pants that some 
skeleton had worn, as they fit me like a lady's kid glove; a 
coat and vest fifteen sizes too big; an old blue overcoat 

<) V r A i: A 1) 1 s I-: \- a i. i, i; v •_>: 

t!.:it saw service when Sherman marched t<» the sea: s ime 
uiidershirts {hut wnv just rij^ht, and several i)airs ol 
drawers. Several years later, after 1 iiad been inarrie(l n 
few times. I found out Mhere they came from. 1 think 
they were donated i)y dilTerent ])arties, as they wi're all 
(lifTerent in size, material, and make-up; but they kept 
me warm that winter. One Sunday, bright and early, I 
dressed uj) in my new suit and liiked out to siiow it to my 
jjjrl. When she met me at the door she looked like an 
anirel from wonderland. It would take some one Ix'tter 
jiosted on women's clothing than I am to describe what 
she had on. I went in. She hooked me over, connnenced 
to laught, and so did I. Pretty soon the wiiole family came 
in and began to laugh; then we all laughed together. We 
laughed all that day and all that winter, and everytliing 
we had on that Sunday morning makes me laugh, when I 
think about it now, and I just sit down and have a good 
laugh. I have made it a business through life, every time 
that I would get discouraged and troubles would come to 
n:e in great big bunches, I would have a smile all to myself. 
I expect I have been asked a thousand times what 1 was 
smiling about. My answer always was "nothing." .As 
all our neighl)ors got about the same things, we ail hail a 
good time. 

I never enjoye(l myself, in all my life, before or since, 
more than I did that winter. I forgot to tell you that I 
f(»und thirty cents in five and ten-cent pa]>er money in 
the jxuits pockets. Shin plasters, we called it. and that was 
all the money I had for five months. 

I never will forget the first (hmce I went to. .After 
that, we got up a dance for the purpose of showing o\n- new 

]'. I LL .1 OX i:s 

O F P A R A D I S E \' A L L E Y 29 

clothes, with the understanding that each boy and girl 
was to wear just what he or she had. I went with my 
sister and £ny girl. I have attended many masquerade 
balls since that night, l)ut I can say truthfully that I never 
.^aw a bunch of young people enjoy themselves half as 
much as we did in Southern Kansas that cold winter. 

A year later four of us started to Arkansaw, to put in 
the >\-inter hunting, fishing, and trapping, 'with the inten- 
tion of having a good time. We started about November 
1st. I think we crossed the Kansas line about where Elgin 
is now. We traveled in a southeast direction, crossed the 
Arkansaw River at Ft. Gibson, and the Canadian River 
not far from Webber Falls. 

We camped one evening about thirty-five or forty 
miles west of Ft. Smith, Arkansaw, and had our supper. 
Then I went to an Indian hut to buy some feed for the 
horses. I got back to camp about sun-down. The other 
three had the team hooked up and were ready to start 
back to, and were waiting for me. It certainly 
was a surprise party for Bill. I had never heard a word 
alx)ut gtjing back, and when they told me to climb in, I 
did so; but, before they could start, I threw my war bag 
out on the ground, grabbed my old fiddle, and jumped out. 
The outfit started back to Kansas and I camped there by 
the fire that night. It got pretty cold before morning and 
I stayed there because I had to. 

Next morning I gathered up my traps and started to 
Ft. Smith. I walked about a mile and came to a house 
that proved to be inhabited by a white family. After I 
had breakfast, I hired to the man to make a thousand 


rails, and I put in a month making rails, hunting, going to 
dances and clearings. 

A clearing is something like an old-fashioned apple 
paring, a husking bee, or a house raising. The man I was 
working for had a girl my age, and there was a young 
alfalfa widow living about a hundred yards away — the 
only two white women in that part of the then Indian 
Territory, except the girl's mother, where I worked. The 
Choctaw Indians at that time were trying to live like 
white people, so I would go and help them make a clearing. 
The white women would go along and help the Indian 
women do the cooking, and that just suited me. The girl's 
name was Marie. I have forgotten the alfalfa widow's 
name — I don't care to remember it — for she was a holy 
terror anyway. But Marie was a well-raised Kansas girl 
and as full of fun as any girl I ever met. The woods were 
full of pretty Indian maidens, who could talk good Choctaw 
but very poor English. Mrs. Alfalfa furnished the wagon 
and team. I did the driving and Marie made the fun. 

The first clearing I went to was about two miles from 
where we lived. The outfit consisted of an old rickety 
farm wagon and two balky mules. Tliat was before they 
had good roads or automobiles. About 9:00 a. m. we all 
got in and started. The mules had a very bad attack of 
what Mrs. Alfalfa called cold shoulder. I called them a 
pair of democratic mules, because I never could tell which 
way they were going, when they started, or what they were 
going to do next. 

After an hour experimenting, we surely did start. I 
think a four-pronged pitchfork in Mrs. Alfalfa's hands was 
the cause of it. The mules started so suddenly that Marie 


wont off the sent backwards, with one foot under my left 
arm. Mrs. Alfalfa was standing up in the front end of the 
wagon, tickling the mules with the pitchfork. She fell 
over on me, I fell on Marie, and then she fell on both of us. 
Before I could get straightened up, the mules ran onto a 
side hill, partly upset the wagon, and threw all three of us 
into the road. As I went out first, the girls both fell on 
top of me; but Marie and I were enjoying the fun, while 
Mrs. Alfalfa was surclj-- mad both ways. 

We put things in shipshape order and started the 
second time all right. We got ^^'ithin half a mile of the 
clearing, when the mules balked again. Mrs. Alfalfa took 
the linos from me and got the pitchfork. Marie and I got 
out to see the fun from a safe distance. What she did to 
those mules was a-plenty, and what she said to them would 
not look well in print. But we got to the place about 
eleven o'clock — two hours going two miles. Marie and I 
laughed until we cried. I certainly enjoyed myself that 
day. I found an Irishman in the bunch of Indians, and I 
turned the widow over to him. Then I had Marie to my- 
self. After the dance was over, we decided that it would 
be safer and quicker to walk home, so the four of us 
walked. The Irishman and the widow's uncle went and 
got the mules next morning. 

Wliile I was making the rails, Marie's brother and 
another young follow came out from Ft. Smith to go hunt- 
ing. We wont fifteen or twenty miles west into the Cana- 
dian Hills, where we camped that night. There were all 
kin<ls of game — deer, wild rats, panthers, and turkeys by 
the thousand. We stayed there two days and got a wagon- 


load. I had a very close call from a big panther — closer 
than I ever want again. 

I went out one daj' with an Indian to help hunt up 
some cattle. I had not got into the habit of carrying a 
pistol, and Mr. Indian did not have a gun either; but we 
both had big cattle whips, and the Indian had a big dog 
along. Mr. Dog showed us that he was on to his job that 
day, when we ran across a big bear. Mr. Dog, Mr. Indian 
and Willie went after that bear and, after a running fight 
of about three hours we had him dead. That was the 
first bear meat I ever ate, and it was fine. 

About Christmas Marie's swectheat came from some- 
where and I was at the wedding. I rode to Ft. Smith in a 
wagon and started to walk to Van Buren, five or six miles 
down the river. About a mile from Ft. Smith I was over- 
taken by a man driving a good team and a double-seated 
spring wagon. He asked me to ride with him and I got in 
the back seat. We caught up with a young wom^m who 
was walking in the road, and she kept in tlic middle of the 
road. The man turned out and drove past her. He was 
driving in a fast trot and never stopj^ed. When we pas.sed 
her, she grabbed the rear end of the wagon and jumped in. 
As she climbed over the seat I was on, I noticed she had a 
big pocket knife in her hand, and the blade looked to me 
as if it were a foot long. She had me guessing some, but 
I did not have long to wait. It happened quicker than I 
can write it. She climbed over the front seat, and with 
her knife just reached out and cut both lines in two at one 

It looked to me as if there was going to be a runaway 
and a wreck, but nothing of the kind happened. The man 

O F P A R A D I S E VALLEY 33 said: "Whoa, pots," and the team stopped. She 
made a vicious stab at his neck, but he dodged quickly 
and jinnpod out on the ground. She followed after him, 
and at it they %vent. I jumped out and held the team. It 
was his business to look after the woman. After about 
five minutes of rougli-and-tumble fighting, the man had 
the knife; but lie also had several cuts that bled pretty 
freely. He hog-tied her and put her in the wagon, while 
I tied the lines together antl we went on to the river. When 
we got on the ferryboat, I made my getaway. There was 
not a word spoken between them during that time. I 
asked the ferry-lx)at man about it, and he said "jealousy." 

I stayed in Van Buren that night. I bought me a 
pony, and I also hooked up with an old cowboy from Texas. 
We joined forces and agreed to go and capture Northern 
Arkansaw from the natives. We took the old wire road 
that went from Van Buren to Springfield, Missouri. It 
got that name from being the telegraph line from Spring- 
field to Ft. Smith, during the Civil War. We traveled 
along till noon and stopped at several houses for dinner, 
but failed to get any. We finally got. a corn-pone. We 
went on a little farther and camped by a cornfield. While 
my buddy fed the ponies and made the fire, I went out to 
get a rabbit or anything else I could find for us to eat. I 
y,-\\\ not describe the hog I slipped up on and killed with a 
elul> — you have already been told about him by others. 
I took him to camp, slcinned him, and cooked him on the 
coals. While I was out hog hunting, my budily got some 
coffee, salt and a tin can to make our coffee in. We cer- 
tainly enjoyed that meal. 

We stayed there that night, sleeping in an old rail 


pen that had some seed cotton in it. It got very cold 
before morning and I thought I would freeze. It was just 
like having an iceberg for a bedfellow — sleeping with that 
man from Texas. If that old rail pen had not tangled the 
wind up a little, I believe I would have frozen. I got up 
before daylight, built a fire, and thawed out. We had 
breakfast and lit out. 

The next night we stayed at a farm house, had a good 
supper, a good bed, a good breakfast, a good stable, and 
plenty of feed for our ponies. We asked what our bill 
was, and the man said he would leave it to us. My buddy 
gave him a nickel and he was satisfied. I gave the old 
lady a quarter and the fun commenced. The old man said 
it was too much and they gave me the nickel. That was 
all the change they could dig up and we finally settled by 
them giving me a gallon of buttermilk. I poured it in my 
fiddle and we moved on. Just as quick as we got out of 
sight, we drank all we wanted and poured the rest out. 
But that buttermilk made a good fiddle out of it. I gave 
a dollar and a half for that fiddle and sold it for seventy- 
five dollars to a man in Carthage, Missouri, and he said it 
was the finest toned fiddle he ever played on. I saw him 
twenty years later, in Colorado, and he told me he sold it 
to a man in Chicago, two years later, for two thousand 

We stopped one night not far from the Missouri line 
and stayed all night with a man by the name of Jackson. 
He wanted me to stay and work for him, offering me five 
dollars a month; and, as the weather was too cold for 
traveling, I took the job. As I was not going any place, 


just seeing the sights, I bid good-bye to my buddy and he 
went on. 

The first week in January, I helped Jackson chop wood 
and pick up rocks olT of a piece of lantl he was clearing. 
He asked me one night if I could teach school. I told 
him I never had, but I thought I could, if I could get a 
certificate. He said it was a subscription school and I 
would not need one. He asked me a great many questions 
and finally said I would do. The old log school house 
stood on a hill, about a mile from his home. He found 
sixteen kids for me at fifty cents each, a month, rangings 
from a five-year-old to a twenty-five-year-old. There was 
a girl in the bunch, about my age, and two brothers — one 
twenty and the other twenty-five. I got along the first 
day all right; and, as I had to board around among the 
people, I went home with that girl the first night. 

Her father was a very religious old fellow, and talked 
about the Bible all the time. I let him do most of the 
talking and agreed with him. Next day one of the brothers 
thought he was too big to get a pail of water and said he 
could whip me if I did not like it. Each one of them 
weighed twenty-five pounds more than I did. Well, those 
two fellows ran things to suit themselves that evening. 
That night I went back to the man's house, who got me 
the jol), to get m.y bearings. He toUl me those fellows 
had broken up ever>' school and cleaned out every teacher 
for three years, and if I would whip both of them he would 
see me through it. I went next morning, loaded for bears, 
wild cats, buffaloes, or anything else that was on that hill. 
I did not have long to wait. They were already there and 
came out to meet me. I knew I was in for it. They made 


a run for me. I dodged the big one, stuck out my foot, 
and down he went. Before he could get up, I had the other 
one down. I had one or the other down all the time, until 
they told me they were satisfied. Before the week was 
out they were as good friends as I had there. I was the 
whole works after that, as long as I stayed in that part of 
the country. 

Wednesday night I was invited to a dance and asked 
to help make the music. Thursday night I went to prayer 
meeting and did my share. Friday night I went to the 
school house and started a class in singing. Saturday 
night I got thirty-five cents to play for a dance. I wont 
to church Sunday' morning; and, as the regular class- 
leader was not there, I made them a pretty good talk. 
They passed the hat and gave me a quarter. I also went 
home with that big girl and her pa. Tuesday night I went 
with one of the little girls, as there was going to be a 
bussing bee, they called it. There were two big girls at 
that place; and, as there were only two rooms to the house, 
one inside and one out, and a loft above, the upper floor 
was just a lot of clapboards laid across the poles that took 
the place of joists. The old folks, the little girl, and Willie 
went out to the stable to do up the chores. After about a 
half-hour the little girl and Willie went back to the house. 
The two big girls were up in the loft, dressing for the 
party. I was reading a chapter from Jesus Christ, when 
all at once there was a crash overhead. One of the girls 
had stepped on a board that gave way and down she came. 

I had the pleasure of attending what the boys called 
a goat party while I was teaching school that winter. 
This is about the way it happened, as nearly as I can re- 


niombor. Some one in the settlement had an old billy 
p;i)at that had been a prize winner in his younger days. 
About twenty young fellows and some that were old 
enough to know better made arrangements to steal that 
goat, take him out in the woods and have a feast. They 
started the game Saturday morning, by procuring five 
gallons of mountain dew and other articles too numerous 
to mention. About sundown we gathered at the ap- 
pointed place. We drew lots to see who would go get the 
goat and, of course, I was one of the boys that drew a 
prize number. The other boy was the son of the man who 
ov.ned the goat. The agreement was we were to bring 
him into camp alive, which we did. We started after him. 
Up to that time I had never made the acquaintance of a 
goat or heard of Peck's bad boy. We climbed over the lot 
fence where he was, and as it was rather dark, I could not 
tell Mr. Goat from the rest of the sheep. I have been told 
that an old dog or a wolf won't attack a. bunch of sheep 
where there is an old goat in the bunch, and I think I 
know the reason why. It is said that a man knows more 
than a dog. In some cases this is true, but not always, 
and that's what ailed Willie that night. While we were 
looking for the goat, he found mo all right, and something 
struck me about where a man wears his hip pocket. I 
remember hitting the ground, and that flock of sheep 
running over me a few times. I tried to get up, when the 
.^ame thing happened again; so I knew there was no use 
for me to try to catch that goat. I just lay there and let 
the other fellow catch him We finally captured him all 
right and took him to camp alive. Some of the boys 
killed and dressed him and put him on to roast, like they 

38 lU L 1. JONES 

iisoil to bjirluHnio :\ borf, nt an old tinu> Fourth tif July 
pionio. \Vhilo Mr. doat was cooking, wo toUl slorit's, 
sung all the songs wo know, samplod that mountain (low 
pirctty frtvly, and ph\yod sovon-up. About ono o'olook 
A. M. wo proooodod to oat Mr. (loat. I was satistioil all 
the timo that 1 did not liko goat moat, and bosidos, I had 
a pood suppor boforo I startod that ovoning. By that 
timo I was boginning to got soro antl stifT from holping 
oatoh tho goat ai\d was oommonoing to fool siok. Somo 
of the boys said I had samplod tho jug too frooly. St)mo- 
how or other, my foot got mixed up and I laid down by a 
tree to rest. It was the custom in that country when a 
mj\n got siok to put him in the crtvk to cure him, and I 
was tho first victim on this occasion. They had no trouble 
imdrtv^sing mo: and. as we wore cami>etl on the crook 
bank, it took only a fow minutes to put mo in tho water. 
After about fifteen minutes in ami out of that ice water, 
I made up my mind that I wasn't sick anil never had bivn. 
The boys made me siuuplo tho jug again and then I was 
rt\'»dy for the next act on tho program. Kvory man and 
Inn- in that crowd had to try that crook that night, and we 
ilid not wait to unilross ."^omo of tiiom. 

When the old man n\issod his goat ho was mail, and 
mad both ways. Ho carried an old blood spillor around 
to tix the man that stole his goat. After about a week he 
cix>lod off, and son\oono told him who did the job. He 
said he thought all the time it was that dum Yankee school 
teacher. No mort^ goat parties for mo. I came very near 
losing my place as chu^s loader and Sunday school teacher 
over that night's ftxilishnoss. They had me up on tho 
carpet, and I pleaded guilty to my part of the af^'air. 


Several others who were there helped me out by taking 
the blame on themselves. I wjus reinstated and told to 
go my way an<l sin no more. I got along very well the rest 
of the winter, but was kejit on the go all the time. I don't 
think I averaged three hours sleep a night for three months. 
When I went home with one of the little kids I would 
always help do the chores. Sometimes I would help do 
the milking. At one place they had one of the meanest 
rows I ever saw. On one occasion she broke out of the 
lot and swam across the creek, with the old man after her. 
He finally got her back into the cow lot and, as there was 
plenty of ice in the creek, we had ice cream for supper. 

f I went to another place to stay all night; and, a.s they 
had a lot of cows to milk, the whole family went along. 
The old man was milking a cow that was bad about 
switching her tail; first, into the milk bucket, then in the 
old man's face. I a^ked him if he had ever tried tying 
her tail to his boot strap. I told him that was the way the 
Dutch do, and he thought it was a good idea. He tied 
the cow's tail to his bcxjt strap and went on milking. It 
worked all right for awhile. But suddenly she got scared at 
something and started off in a hurry, jerking the old man 
ofl his stool. That spilled the bucket of milk all over him, 
and she dragged him around the lot a few times through 
the mud. All the time he kept yelling, " Head her off and 
don't let her get into the brush." The cow stopped once, 
long enough to let the old man get up on his feet, but away 
she went again. Part of the time he had his hands on her 
hips, and part of the time he had her by the tail, and all 
the time he was running. Sometimes he could use both 
feet. It put me in mind of a lot of boya playing leap frog. 


All the time the old man and the cow were playing circus, 
the rest of the family were laughing to beat the band. 
When the boot strap gave way, the old man was on the 
ground out of breath, covered with mud and slime, and 
mad. Yes, he was all swelled up. After he got over it, he 
said he did not care to try any more Dutch tricks, especially 
if a Yankee school teacher was mixed up in it. 

My school was out about the first of April, and before 
I went North they all met and gave me a farewell dance 
and supper. I promised to come back next winter, but I 
did not. I never found a better hearted lot of fun loving 
people than I met in Arkansaw that winter. 

On my way north, I stopped one night at a little place 
called Gadfly, AVhcn I got to the railroad I sold my pony 
and outfit, and went to Carthage, Missouri. I stopped 
there only a couple of days, as I was hunting trouble, and 
went on to Joplin. 

At that time Joplin was a small place. In fact, it was 
two small places. Half the town was known as Murphys- 
burg. It was a mining toAvn, and the miners would dig a 
hole any place it suited them. If thoy did not strike ore, 
they would move and dig another hole. I tried mining 
for so much per, but it did not suit me. 

I was on the night shift and, in going to my boarding 
house about 4:00 a. m. one morning, I missed the way. 
But I did not miss one of the old holes that was uncovered, 
and in it I went. Some of the holes were pretty deep, and 
some were half full of water — not a very good place to pass 
the night, I discovered. When I fell into that hole, I 
grabbed for anything I could reach. About two feet from 
the top there was a stake driven into the wall, for some 


purpose, and by clmnc-c I got hold of it and hung on. I 
tried to raise someone by yelling, but nobody came to 
help me out, so I stayed; because I had to. My arms 
began to ache and get longer, and I was getting tired. 
After it got light enough for me to see, I discovered that 
the bottom of that hole was not over two feet from where 
I was hanging. I let loose, sat down and said a few words 
to myself, as there was no one else to say them to. I 
climbed out and wont home, and it was a week before I 
got over it. 

I stopped a few days at Weir City, Kansa,s, and tried 
digging coal. There was too much work and dirt mixed 
up with the job, and I went on to Cherokee. After hanging 
around fur a few days, I concluded I would be a printer. 
I started in one Monday morning as a printer's devil, 
and some people in the town said I was a sure enough 
devil. Anj-^vay I had a devil of a good time that summer — 
I was a devil, printer, pressman, assistant editor, and part 
of the time I was editor-in-chief, also baseball playi r on 
the side. 

Along about the first of July atiother young f How 
and myself took Horace Greeley's advice and started West, 
As neither of us had much money, we decided to try the 
box-car route. As it was our first trial as tramps or hoboes 
we did not have very good luck, l)ut after a week of walk- 
ing, riding, running, and flying, we arrived at Dodge f^'ity, 





At that time it was said to be the worst place on 
earth, and if there was any such place as a hades on earth, 
it was this same little cattle town out on the frontier. 

Dodge City was first settled in 1872, the same year 
that I went to southern Kansas. Larry Degar was City 
Marshall, and he was as good, if not the best, City Mar- 
shal that Dodge ever had. 

The first settlers went there in wagons. They lived 
in tents, sod-houses and dugouts. When I first went there 
everybodj'- was running a saloon, a dance hall, or a gam- 
bling house. Usually all three would be under the same 
roof, right on the main street, with the doors wide open 
for twenty-four hours a day, and for three hundred and 
sixty-five days in the year. 

The town was full of gamblers, man killers, cattlemen, 
soldiers, buffalo hunters, bull-whackers, mule-skinners, 
railroad men, cowboys, fast horses, fast women and tender- 
feet. I belonged to the last-named class. 

If there was anything about Dodge that was slow, I 
failed to see it. Everybody was making money; every- 
body had money to burn, and spent it as freely as they 


made it. Anj-thing worth less than two bits was not worth 
carrying, and such a thing as a penny was never seen. A 
cigar was two bits, so was a drink at the bar. It cost two 
bits to get a shave; a box of matches cost the same, and 
so on. 

Such an institution as a laundry was not known. 
Everj'body went down to the river and washed his owti 
clothes, and something would get into your clothes besides 
sand and gravel that would make life a burden to you. 
The only remedy was a hot fire, a camp kettle, plenty of 
soap and hot water, and a little salt. It was nothing 
unusual to see the gambler, the tramp, and the bad man 
side by side on the river bank doing their ovm laundry. 
Everj'body had too many dirty clothes of their own and 
too much money to be bothered ^vith those of other people. 
It was the custom out there, at that time, to change your 
under clothing every six months, summer and winter, 
whether there was any need of it or not. 

Dancing and gambling were the main pastime and 
business. You could see every class and kind of men, all 
crowded together in the gambling and dance halls, 
from the high rollers of the cast and west to the cowboy 
from the south, all putting their money on the card that 
usually won for the dealer. You could see the prosperous 
business man, the rich banker, the tramp, and the cowboy 
with his high heeled boots and big spurs all on the dance 
hall floor at the same time; and occasionally a preacher 
would happen along, stop to look on a minute, get the 
Dodge habit and join in the wild revels. It was catching 
and 3'ou could not resist the temptation. It was in the air 
and you just had to join in, that's all there was to it. 


For ten years or more Dodge City was continually 
in the limelight. It was the whole show, a regular three- 
ringed circus, with something new going on in each ring 
all the time; most interesting, how'cver, at the evening 
performances. The full story has never been told, and 
never will l)e. Perhaps it is best that one-half the world 
never knows what the other half is doing. 

There was a class of men in Dodge who were opposed 
to such scenes as they saw daily, but there were too few 
of them. Nearly every day brought a good citizen to 
Dodge, and nearly every day thej'- had a bad man for 
breakfast, until the time came when there were enough 
law-abiding citizens to put a stop to such deeds as gave 
Dodge City the reputation of being the wickedest little 
to^^^l on earth. 

There was only one Dodge City. There was no room 
for another. It was strictly against the rules and regula- 
tions for a man to carry more than two revolvers, a Win- 
chester rifle, a butcher knife in one bootleg and a toma- 
hawk in the other, fifty years ago, and when that class of 
men died, it was with their boots on and Boothill was 
their final home. 

I was in and around Dodge City for eleven years, 
from 187G to 1887. When I went there I was in the class 
known as tenderfeet. I was not hunting trouble and I 
never found any. If a man exercised a little good common 
horse sense he was not molested. If he tanked up on dance 
house whiskey and began to hunt for trouble, he was sure 
to get what he was looking for. That was the class of men 
who gave to Dodge the name of the wickedest little city 
on earth. No man or woman ever came to Dodge City 


wlio did not have the i)rivik'ge of going to church and hs- 
tcning to the minister, or to the dance hall. People could 
have their choice and, with very few exceptions, I never 
saw strangers in the town molested. 

Everyone had a nerve-wrecking story to tell you 
about the Indians, the cowboys, and the bad men, and 
everj'one had a practical joke to play on you, as I found 
out. I took all the jokes that were played on me good 
naturedly, and it was not long until I could play a joke on 
the other fellow and tell a story that would make the hair 
stand straight up on the tenderfoot's head. 

I had not been in the town an hour when a young 
fellow asked me if I wanted to make some easy money. 
Sure, that was what I came for. He said that I could make 
four dollars in four hours, easy; that he was making from 
ten to twelve dollars a day — just the quickest way to got 
rich that he knew of — and for one dollar he would tell me 
how it was done. To make the story short, I gave him 
the dollar, and he told me to hunt up another tenderfoot 
and talk him out of a dollar, just as he had done me. He 
called the game an endless chain affair; and, to the best 
of my knowledge, that is where the endless chain game 
started. I don't think it has stopped yet, but is still going 
under different names. 

Next day I found a job herding antelope. The man 
who got me the job saitl I would have to be a foot racer, 
as the antelopes were afrind of a man on a pony and I 
would liave to walk after them. I told him I had outrun 
a herd of buffalo once and thought I could outrun an ante- 
lope. "You are just the kid I am looking for," he said, 
"and I know you will have a job just as long an the ante- 


lope last." He told me the man who owned the antelope 
ranch lived ten miles north of town, on Sawlog Creek. 
He said I would have no trouble finding it, as everybody 
in that country knew Bill Tilghman, and he would pay me 
forty dollars a month and board. Well, I went out to the 
Sawlog, but I could not find the ranch, or Tilghman, or 
any one else. I was back in Dodge by ten o'clock that 
night and I think I traveled about seventy-five miles that 
day. I afterwards put in about fifteen years looking for 
that antelope ranch. My side partner got a job hunting 
coyotes, and was known as Coyote Bill after that. Then 
we got a job as broncho busters. I think the first broncho 
we attempted to ride threw up the game. 

Another man said he wanted to hire a lot of men to 
work in the Snuff mines on the Cimarron river, fifty miles 
south of Dodge, and he would pay four dollars a day to 
men who could stand that kind of work. He wanted ten 
men, as it would take that many to stand off the Indians. 
They had attacked the mines the week before and killed 
all his men. As the country was full of Indians, we would 
have to make the trip to the Cimarron river after night, to 
keep the redskins from capturing us. After we got there, 
we would have no trouble in standing the Indians off, as 
there was a good doby house to camp in, when we were 
not at work, with lots of guns and plenty of ammunition. 
All we had to do was to dig snuff, keep camp, hunt and 
kill Indians. 

As that was what I wanted to be, a great Indian 
hunter, I took the job. He told me I could be the boss if 
I could find ten or fifteen men to go along the next day. 
I started out to find the other men; and, as there were 



lots of tramps going west on the Santa Fp, I had no troublo 
in finding that many. I could have gotten a humlrcd if 
I had wanted that n\any. We were ready to start by dark. 
The man said we need not take anything along to eat, as 
we could easily get there before daylight the next morning, 
and the cook would be up and have breakfast ready for 
us, so we could go to work that day, if we wanted to. We 
crossed the bridge over the Arkansaw river about dark^ 
and away we went, Coyote Bill in front and I in the rear, 
to see that none of the men quit and went back. Co3'ote 
was as good a flat-footed walker as ever left the plow 
handles to go West to dig snuff, and for the first hour we 
went at a rate that would have made Weston, the great 
walker, ashamed of himself. 

At the end of the first hour some of the men began to 
grumble at the pace we w-ere going. I told Bill to let up a 
little to give the other men a chance to get their breath. 
By twelve that night we got to Bluff Creek, thirty miles 
south of Dodge. 

When we left Dodge the man who hired us told us 
to be on the lookout for Indians, and if we saw any tepees, 
or camp fires on Bluff Creek, we had better go around 
them, as the Indivans might capture us. He said they 
would eat us just as the}' eat dogs. Sure enough, when wo 
got to the bluff where we could sec down in the Bluff 
Creek Valley, there were a few camp fires burning dimly. 
We held a council of war and it was decided we would go 
a mile or two west before we crossed the creek. As the 
night was pretty dark, we had quite a time after we left 
the trail that ran from Dodge to Camp Supply. 

As I was the boss, I had to take the lead. The count rv 

O r P A R A D I S E \' A L L E Y 49 

on both sides of BlufT Creek is very hilly, and we had lots 
of troul)le. I was going at a pretty good pace myself when 
I w alki'd over a MufT and down I went. I must have fallen 
and rolled a hvmdred feet, and when I stopped in the 
bottom of the gully I eould see by the skyline that the other 
fellows were all taking the same tumble, and they all 
lauded in the same gully with me. We all escaped with a 
few bruises, except one; he sprained his ankle and could 
go no further. It was decided to leave him there, and two 
of the men said they had changed their minds and would 
stay and help him back to Dodge. I told them they had 
better stay hidden in the hills until the next night and, if 
the crippled man could walk by that time, to get back to 
Dodge before the Indians got them. 

The rest of us hiked on to the Snuflf mines, twenty 
miles further on. When we struck the head of Bear Creek, 
two more of the men played out and hid in the hills to 
wait until the next night to get back to Dodge. Five or 
six miles farther on three more gave it up. Just before 
daj'light all the men played out except Coyote Bill 
and little "Willie, and the two of us went on. About sunup 
Ave cros.sed the river, but we could not find the house, the 
mines, or anything else. Bill called me a tenderfoot sure 
enough, and I didn't deny it. We hid in the j)Ium thickets 
all that day, without anything to eat or drink. As soon 
as it got dark we started back to Dodge, fifty miles through 
the sand and forty over the hills. When we got back as 
far art Bluff Creek wo overtook the fellows who had played 
out, and fifteen miles further on we caught up with the 
first tb.ree who had given it up. By the time we got back 
to Dodge we had walked over a hundred miles without 


anything to eat or drink — two nights and a day. Of 
course, there was plenty of water in the Cimarron River, 
but it was so salty we couldn't drink it. Our job in the 
Snuff mines and our Indian fights were all a dream. 

When we got back to Dodge we rested up and then 
went to hunt another job. We found some men who were 
going buffalo hunting, and we hired to them to skin buffa- 
loes, at twenty-five cents a skin and our meals included. 
But we had to furnish our own blankets, as that was the 
custom out there. We got back to Dodge about Christ- 
mas, and we had about a hundred dollars apiece coming 
to us. We killed about eight hundred buffaloes and their 
hides brought the three hunters something like two thou- 
sand dollars. It took the five of us only two weeks to 
spend that roll. 

On the eight day of January I hired out to Fred 
Patterson as a night herder in a bull outfit. The train 
consisted of six teams, seven yoke of oxen, and two wagons 
to the team, with the boss, six drivers, or bullwhackers 
as they were called, and little Willie, as night herder. 
We had no trouble of any kind until we got to the Cimar- 
ron River. We crossed it and camped where the Snuff 
mines were supposed to be. I told Patterson about my 
job in the Snuff mines and I thought he would surely kill 
himself laughing. All the time I was getting vase and my 
feet were getting all right. The boss told me I could even 
up the case on the four tenderfeet that he had picked up 
as bullwhackers. The boss and I arranged to give them 
an Indian scare, to break them in. A bunch of buffalo 
hunters were camped close to us, and it was fixed up 
between us that about ten o'clock that night, I would come 

OK P A KADIS !•: \ A L I. 1-: Y .M 

i-uiiiiinj!; into caiiip yclliuj:;, "IiHliansI" and shooting my 
j:un, when tlu' luintiTs, tlio boss, anil tlio otlicr two nicn 
would all fo'nnncncc to shoot and yell, ''Indians! l'!v( r\- 
hody. run and hide." 

The Indian scare worked all rijilit. Next niornin{>; we 
founil two of the tcndert'eet ai>out a mile from cam]") hid- 
den behind the river bank, and the other two I found ahcut 
t\\i» miles from eamj) hiding in the plum bushes. 

Two weeks later, whilo wo were camped on W\>\( 
("reek, we were attacked by sure enough Inilians, and 
they did not care a darn if tlie\' did shoot a few of us. 
Hut we stooil them olT without any loss. It is not so funny 
when you are attacked !)>■ real Imlians as it is when it's 
only a joke. 

Tlie next night we camped on a little creek and, as 
usual. I took the work cattle out to graze for the night. 
The weather %\as rather warm for that time of the year. 
.\bout ten o'clock the wind shifted, conunencing to IjIow 
from the north, and it began to get cold. By twelve 
o'clock it wa.s snowing and a regular blizzard was coming. 
I turned the cattle loose, so they could find their own 
shelter, and started to cam]> — al)out three miles away. 
.\s I had to face that l)lizzard, I thought it would be better 
to get otT the horse and walk, but the horse would not lead 
against the .storm. I then turned him loose to follow the 
eattle, and I started on foot. I got to camp about four 
o'elock that morning, more dead than ali\-e. Kind reader 
I will not try to tell you what I suffered from cold that 
night. I was caught out on the o|)en j)rairie in one of those 
western blizzards that sweej) across the Dakotas, .Nebraska, 
western Kansas, and the Pan Handle of Texas. If you 




were ever in one of them, even in a good warm home, you 
know how people who are caught out have to suffer. 

But bail as my case was, I was better off than the men 
in the camp. Three of them were sleeping in a wagon and 
the other four on the ground. When I got to camp, the 
blankets of the men on the ground had blown away, and 
they were lying there freezing to death. If I had been 
thirty minutes later getting to camp, all four would have 
been frozen. When we camped that night, I had gone to 
the creek, about a hundred yards from the wagons, to get 
some water and wood. I found a lot of drift wood piled 
up behind a big bunk, and that pile of drift wood saved 
all eight of us from freezing that night. I roused up the 
three who were in the wagon, got some matches from one 
of them, and lit out for that drift wood. I started a fire 
and then ran back to camp. By that time the three men 
in the wagon were up, and by the time we packed those 
four men to the fire, they were nearly gone. That was 
where I learned how to doctor a man who is freezing to 

We all lived through it, went on to Ft. Elliot, unloaded 
our freight, went to Sweetwater, loaded the train with 
buffalo hides, and went back to Dodge. About tiie first 
of March I hired out to the stage contractor who carried 
the mail from Dodge to Tascosa. ]My work was to look 
after one of the stage stations. I rode to the station on 
the buck-board, as the wagon or buggy was called in which 
tlu'y hauled the mail and passengers. I found the station 
corLsisted of a picket house, about sixteen feet square, well 
fixed for a man to camp in, a corral and a stable for six or 
eight mules, and plenty of grass for the stock. 


All I had to do was to look after the mules, see that 
the Indians did not run them off, and have them ready 
for the stage driver when he came along. As he came along 
only twice a week, I had plenty of time to cook, eat, sleep, 
and play my old fiddle, besides keeping a lookout for 

Did I £L't lonesome and want to go back to God's 
country? I guess yes. 

One day when I was f(>eling unusually lonesome and 
was sitting in the shanty with my back to the door, play- 
ing my old fiddle, my Winchester and my old forty-five 
laying on my bunk, in walked five Indians. Before I 
knew they were there they had my guns. 

I just figured it out that Willie was a sure enough 
goner that time. 

One Indian gave a grunt and said: 

"Heap good music, pale face boy; play more," or 
something to that effect, an I played "The Girl I left in 
Kansas," "Gillroy's Kite," "The Irish Washerwoman," 
"Arkansaw Traveler," "Nellie Bly," "Old Zip Coon," 
and the "Blackjack Grove." 

I played everything I could think of and stopped. 

]\Ir. Indian gave another grunt and said, " Wah, good 
boy, play more." Then I played everything I could think 
of the second time. If I had knov.-n the "Tango" I coukl 
have played that, and the Indians would have given me 
a gold medal. 

By this time I was getting very tired and wondering 
whether they would shoot and scalp me, or only tie me to a 
fence post and roast me. Or would they make a spread- 
eagle out of me, like they did Pat Hennessy in the Indian 


Territor>-? It was nearly night and I thought they might 
be good Indians and go to their camp for the night and 
thus give 'me a chance to get something to eat and rest 
awhile. But nothing of the sort happened. Every time 
I would stop playing, Mr. Indian would grunt and say 
" Heap good, play more." 

I just kept on playing until I got so tired that I did 
not pretend to play any tune at all. An old-fiLshioned 
cane mill would have sounded good in comparison to the 
music I was making; but they just sat there on the floor 
and looked wise, and when I would stop they would just 
grunt and say, "Play more." As they always kept their 
guns looking my way, there was no use for me to get fussy 
about it. I was sure getting hungry, tired and sleepy. I 
fiddled all that evening and all that night. Along toward 
morning I just collapsed and fell over, and when I came 
to myself, it was about nine o'clock next morning. I looked 
around for the Indians, but they were gcme, with my guns 
and all my grub. They had also taken the mules with 
them. I soon discovered the reason the}'- had left without 
first taking my scalp. 

Everj'body who knows anything about rattlesnakes 
knows that they are great lovers of music. There were 
plenty of them in that country, and they would come to 
the house every evening to hear me play on the fiddle. 
Sometimes I would play in the daytime, and sometimes I 
would feed them with mice or birds, just to see them eat. 
I got so that I knew some of them by sight. I made a 
.^tudy of the snakes that came to visit with me, and I can 
siiy that rattlesnakes are just like men. I never saw two 
that looked exactly alike. There were some good, jolly 


snakes in the bunch, and some were grouchy and mean, 
always hunting trouble, just like some men. Sometimes 
they would come in the house and crawl around. As long 
as they were looking around it was all right, but when they 
would coil up and commence to rattle, I would move out 
of striking distance. A few of them I had to kill. 

When I came to myself that morning, there were 
several big snakes in the house and quite a lot of them 
outside. I soon saw, in looking around, that they had 
made a fight with the five Indians, for there were two 
dead Indians on the ground, not far from the house. From 
that day on I have been a friend to the snakes, for I believe 
that bunch of snakes saved my life I resigned my com- 
mission right on the spot and lit out for Dodge. 





About the first of April, Baker and I decided that we 
would go to the Black Hills and prospect for gold that 
Bummer. When we got to Cheyenne, Wyoming, we bought 
a couple of ponies to pack our camp equipage. After 
spending a couple of days there, we went on. Just what 
we saw and done in Deadwood and the Black Hills that 
summer was a plenty. We prospected and dug holes in 
the ground, but we did not find any pay dirt. Five other 
fellows joined us, making seven all told. We joined in 
for mutual protection; that was the year after the Custer 
Massacre, on the Little Big Horn, and it was not very safe 
for one or two men to get caught out by a bunch of Indians. 

About the first of September we decided to leave and 
take a few Indian ponies with us. Well, we got the ponies 
all right and lit out for Dodge. The second day we dis- 
covered a bunch of Indians on our trail, and only about a 
mile away. It looked as if there were about fifty of them 
and, as they seemed in a hurry to go some place, we 
dropped the ponies and started in a hurry, too. After 


about a five-mile run one of our horses went lame, and as 
the kid on the lame horse was Willie, I had to stop and 
the other six men decided to stay with me. We got into a 
buffalo wallow to fight it out with the Indians. They 
did not give us much time to make preparations to receive 
company. With yells and war hoops they galloped in nar- 
rowing circles, hugging the opposite sides of their ponies 
and firing rapidly. We were sure caught in the circle ; and, 
as that was my second time under fire, I wanted them to 
go away and let me alone. They might accidentally shoot 
one of us. But they were in no hurry to leave and were 
mad, because their ponies had been stolen But we left 
their ponies. I thought, after they had them, they ought 
to go away and not be running around on the prairie, 
shooting at us every time they got close enough. We did 
a little shooting ourselves, and by night we had fifteen or 
twenty ponies down on the prairie; but they got another 
out of the bunch we ran off with. How many Indians we 
killed and cripi)led I do not know, as they always take the 
dead away. Every chance we got we would dig the dirt 
loose and pile it up in front of us to protect ourselves. 
About the middle of the afternoon, they made a determined 
attack to take us out, and they narrowed the circle doAVTi 
to about twenty yards; close enough for us to do good 
work with our six-shooters. They finally gave it up and 
retired. Two of our men were killed, Baker was hit in 
the left arm, Willie was hit in the off leg and the other 
men escaped without a scratch. 

We fixed up our wounds as best we could, and waited 
for the next round, but it never came. Night came on 
and one of the men who was not hit tried several times to 


slip out anil find help, but each time he was chased back. 
We made up our minds tliat just before sun up they would 
try to sli[i in on us, and eitiior kill or capture us. One of 
the men was an old Indian fighter, and his orders were to 
save the last cartridges to keep the Indians from getting 
us alive, to keep from being tortured to death. But when 
tl:e sun came up the Indians were gone and a bunch of 
cowlH)ys and prospectors were headed our way. 

I got back to Dodge that fall with both pockets full 
of gravel, and hungry as a coyote. I went on to Texas 
and hunted buffaloes and trapped that winter; but I did 
not get very rich, as buffalo were getting scarce. The 
Indians were very bad that winter, and it was a continual 
fight — hardly a day passed that we did not have to take a 
few shots at them. That spring I hired out to a cow outfit 
that was goint to take a herd to Dodge. After we got 
them rounded up and the road brand on them, we started 
North. Nothing out of the way happened to Willie until 
we got to the South Canadian River. It was bank full. 
After a few days we got across, and there is where I came 
very near getting my final check cashed. I came so close 
to it that I could see St. Peter and the Golden Gate and 
all kinds of angels. I thought I was eating buckwheat 
cakes and hone}'. The streets were paved w ith gold; they 
gave me a golden harp with a thousand strings to play, 
and after I played the Arkansaw Traveler with variations 
a few times, they said I was all right and to come in. I 
was made a sergeant and they gave me a seat over by 
George Washington. About that time the boys got some 
of the water out and some wind in, and my visit to heaven 


was over. I have sometimes wished that the boys had 
left me there. 

When we got to Dodge, it certainly was a hve wire. 
The country was covered with cattle and the town was 
full of cowpunchers. The saloon keeper, the dance hall 
man, the gambler, the restaurant man, and the barber 
were certainly having a harvest. The first thing an old 
co\\T)uncher would do when he hit Dodge was to get a 
drink or two and then to the barber shop, where he would 
get his eye knocked our for two dollars. Then he dressed 
up, got a square meal, and was ready for whatever showed 
up ; and it was very seldom that something did not show up 
to suit his fancy. Usually the dance hall was the next 
place, and as there were several in Dodge, we were all 
accommodated. It cost four bits to dance each time — that 
included a drink at the bar for you and your partner. 
What we did, how we did it, and what we did it for would 
make a book as big as Webster's dictionary. 

I had always thought that the stars were natural, and 
were made by God when He made the earth; but I found 
out different. The stars are nothing more or less than 
holes in the sky, put there by an old puncher out for a 
time. It is supposed that after he gets his gun in action, 
he can hit anything from the sky to the earth, or from the 
earth to the sky, as you please. But I have seen cowboys 
that could not hit a house, unless they were inside of it 
and the doors shut, and I have seen others that could clip 
the head off a rattlesnake with their six-shooters while 
running their horses at full speed. I have seen them spend 
a dollar and a half for a pair of overalls, then kick and 
swear for a month about how high clothing was. At the 



same time, I Imve seen them pay seventy-fivo dollars for a 
saddle, twenty dollars for a pony, fifteen dollars for a hat, 
fifty dollars for a pair of gold mounted revolvers, ten 
dollars for cartridges, and think they got the outfit cheap. 

That fall I went to Kansas City with a train load of 
cattle. When I left Dodge, I had a hundred and fifty dol- 
lars. When I got back there, three weeks later, I owed 
the Santa Fe the price of a ticket, and the company owed 
me the price of a good pair of pants. I got the whole east 
end of them kicked out on my way back west. I had as 
one of my buddies, ''whatever that is" on that trip to 
Kansas City, one of those actor fellows who had got 
stranded and was making his way back East the best 
way he could. We had a pretty good time the first week 
in Kansas City. We went to all the shows on a free pass. 
About that time my one hunch-ed and fifty dollars was gone. 

When the actor's wife got in, he got all three of us a 
job at a theatre near the market square, where the old 
horse-car barn stood. We were billed as Mr. and Mrs. 
Banlcs, and Professor Willie Jones, three champion cowboy 
acrobats and comedians, just from the great southwestern 
cattle ranges — first appearance in Kansas City. The way 
they filled that old house that week was a caution. The 
house was crowded all week to see us. I did a good many 
stunts that week, besides what I did on the stage. When 
Banks got me a job as one of the stage hands, he told me 
I had better buy a diamond shirt stud. He said it would 
give me a better front. The audience would think I was 
a millionaire cattleman, and that I was on the stage just 
for their amusement, not for the big salary I got. We 
went and hunted up a pawn shop. lie said we could get a 


iliainond choajxT tlicro tluui we could at a regular diamond 
store. lie selectod one that weighted a pound and a half, 
and cost rnd a dollar and six bits. It looked to me like the 
North Star. It made me feel like a five hundred dollar 
short-horn among a lot of Texas scrubs. I afterwards 
traded it off in Raton, New Mexico, for some snake medi- 
cine for one of the boys, who had been so careless as to let 
a snake bit him. 

When I accepted that job as an actor, Banks insisted 
that I get married. I told him that I was too young and 
too poor to take care of a wife and a bunch of cliildren. 
He just lauglied and said he knew all the time I was 
raised on a farm; but he did not think I was so green as 
all that. 

When they paid us off Sunday I received six dollars. 
Just think of that — six dollars for a week's work, when I 
had paid five dollars for a room and seven at the hotel, 
besides ten dollars for make-uj) — that's the name Banks 
gave it. Tlien I begin to think he was right when he said 
I ought to have a wife to take care of me. I expected, 
from what he told me about what an actor got, to have 
several hundred dollars coming to me; but after the ex- 
citement incidental to a settlement with a millionaire 
theatrical manager, I came to the conclusion that I got 
all that was coming to me and some to spare. Gus and 
Carrie Canfield were two more of the stage hands that 

I saw enough of city life in two weeks to last me a long 
time, and I hiked back to Dodge. Then I put in a year as 
a C()wl)oy in the territory of No Man's Land and the Pan 
Handle of Texas. \Miile I was working for Lee and Rey- 


nolds, at Camp Supply, some rustlers ran off some of their 
cow ponies. McKinney was head man at Camp Supply for 
Lee and Reynolds. One day he sent for one of the ranch 
foremen to come in, as he wanted to talk with him about 
those stolen ponies. When Red got back to Camp, he told 
me to take four warriors and hit the trail after the ponies. 
My orders were to get them, bust the company, or never 
come back to Supply. We put in two months trailing the 
rustlers, and found them up in the hills on Big Sand 
Creek in Colorado, about where Colonel Chivington mas- 
sacred the Cheyenne Indians. We rested up a day or two 
and went back to Supply. If the horse rustlers ever got 
any more of their ponies I never heard of it. 







One summer I went with a bunch of cattle to Colorado. 
^^■e traveletl up the Cimarron River, crossed the Santa Fc 
railroad at El Moro, passed on the north side of the Span- 
ish Peaks, crossed the Rocky Mountains over the La Veta 
Pass, struck the San Louie Valley at old Ft. Garland, and 
from there went on west across the San Louie Valley to 
the Rio Grande River. The night we camped at El Moro, 
the most of us went to Chililee, a Mexican town, close to 
El Moro, where we expected to have a good time, and we 
were not disappointed. The Mexicans liad a dance hall 
with a bar in one end, where you could buy cigars and 
the makings for cigarettes, and you could buy the drinks, 
if you felt that way. 

We told the proprietor wc had a few souvenirs to 
spend and, if he would furnish the girls and the music, we 
would give him a few of them as kecpsiikes. Mexicans, 
like most white men, are very acconunodating, when there 
are a few dollars in sight. He sent out and in about an 
h(jur the Mexican scnoritaa commenced to come in. While 

66 B I L L J N E S 

the girls were getting ready for the dance, we were plaj-ing 
Monte, smoking cigarettes, and some of the boys were 
" taking on a few," just to keep their nerves steady. When 
the music started, we got the girls and began dancing, 
and I'll bet we had more fun than ever the Astorbilts had 
at any of their society balls in New York. 

We were having such a good time with the Mexican 
senoritas that some of the young ^Mexicans thought we 
wanted to steal the girls, and they began to get angry and 

About three in the morning everybody was hooked 
up just right to have some trouble, if any one else felt that 
way, and it was not long until a Mexican slapped "Big 
Jim" on the head with his sombrero. Jim promptly 
do\\'ned him, and the fight started. I think that every 
kind of a gun and knife that could be gotten hold of was 
in use. The lights were shot out quicker than you could 
close your eye. As well as I can recollect, the fight lasted 
an hour. I used up a box of cartridges, and when all the 
cartridges were used up the fun was over. We lit up the 
hall and took an inventory to see how many of the boys 
we had left. The count showed everyone of us present or 
accounted for. There were no Mexicans in sight, and no 
one was seriously injured. We hunted up the proprietor, 
the girls came back, and the dance went on until daylight 

If a man gets killed in a fight of that kind i t does not 
count. If he gets hurt, so he can't yell or shoot, that don't 
count either. But it's the man who gets hit slightly who 
is considered seriously hurt, because he is mean and wants 
to fight some more, and we usually have to take him to 
camp and tie him to the chuck wagon to keep him from 


hurting himself. Before we left the diince hall, wc settled 
with the proprietor for all damages. Treated all the Mexi- 
cans so there would be no trouble, and left to hunt up 
other Dew and strange places to conquer. 

We turned the cattle over to the new owner, got our 
l)ay, and for a month we certainly made a live town out 
of Alamosa. That Avas one town, and I believe the only 
town I ever struck, where the city marshal and police let 
us run to suit ourselves. We never had an}' trouble with 
the officers or citizens; we had plenty of money to spend, 
and they wanted us to spend it; so our boss made arrange- 
ments with the city marshal that if any of us got unruly, 
we would locjk after him ourselves. The first one who went 
vTong was my brother Jack. He wanted to run the red 
light dance hall to suit himself. It took six of us and two 
policemen to take him to camp. W^hen we got him there, 
we jast hog tied him and let him stay there until he prom- 
ised to be good, and it was an every night occurrence for 
one or two boys to be taken to camp to stay until they 
promised to be good. That plan worked fine, for no one 
\\as killed. We never had a fight with the officers or 
among ourselves during the month that we were there. 
I ex])ect there are some people in Colorado yet who 
rcmeml^er that bunch of cowboys from Texas. 

liig Jim and Willie went on West, on a prospecting 
trip, to western Colorado, crossed the Powder Horn Range, 
and on down to Ouray. No doubt you have heard the 
old siiying, "The world by the tail and a down-hill pull." 
I think it was a hundred miles from the top of that hill, 
straight down to Ouray. We hunted around and found 
lots of fool's gold, but non(! of the real article. When wc 


ran out of money, we struck a job cooking for a bunch of 
surveyors. As long as we were in camp, cooking was a 
good job. It was when we moved camp that our troubles 
began. We had six Rocky Mountain canaries to pack our 
camp outfit on. In the forenoon the survej'ors were 
trjang to find out how far it was from a certain place 
straight up to heaven, and in the afternoon they would 
hunt up a place to see how far it was straight down to, 
well — Pueblo, 

After oiu" morning meal, we would pack our traps on 
our canaries (that is what my partner called them) or 
burros, and start out. All the surveyors had to do was to 
find a good place to jump off, and they were in camp, ready 
for dinner or supper, as the case might be. All we had to 
do was to get a hand-spike apiece and hunt around on the 
mountain side over the rocks and through the timber for 
an opening we could pry our caravan through. Sometimes 
we would take a long rope and tie it to the canaries' tails, 
take a turn around a tree and push them off. Sometimes 
they would hang up on a tree or the corner of a big rock, 
then one of us would hold the rope and the other would 
take the hand-spike, go down and pry him off. Some- 
times all we could do was to sit down on a rock and just 
cry and cuss. 

My partner did the cussing and I would pray and pass 
the hat. Sometimes he would pray, while I would take a 
drink out of the medicine box. Sometimes it would only 
be a half-mile up or dowTi from one camp to the next; but 
it would take us half a day to make it, and a few times it 
took us all day. I remember one time the surveyors got 
lost from us, and they had nothing to eat from one morning 



'1 lie I.nd of the Trail in the Mountains 


to the next. Of course, an old-time cowlx)y or an Indian 
never gets lost. It's always the camp or tepee that gets 
out of place. 

Sometimes when we would be above timberlinc we 
would take a tin can, knock both ends out, put it to our 
mouth, and run around to catch enough mountain air to 
fill our lungs. Then we would sit down and cuss till we 
ran out of wind again. We quit that job on an average of 
four times a day for a month ; after we would rest awhile, 
we would get up and go back to work. The air above 
timberline is very light. If I go up another mountain with 
a pack train, I am going to take a blacksmith forge along 
to pump wind into my lungs with. 

We camped in one place three days and tried to cook 
some naAy beans. They were harder at the end of the 
three days than they were when we began to cook them, 
and even soda had no effect on them. I have been told 
that you can't get water to boil above timberline. My 
partner took along a two-bushel gunny-sack full of wind, 
one time, when we had to cross a hill two thousand feet 
alx)ve timberline The air was so light at that altitude 
that I bled at the nose for half a day. After that we surely 
quit and started out of the mountains. 

We stayed all night at Del Norte on our way out, 
and the landlord told us they wanted a man to carry the 
United States mail up to the Highland Mary Mine, or 
some other place. He said it was only three miles up there, 
and I would have to make one trip a day and the pay would 
be a hundred dollars a month. I took the job for both of 
us, and we were to take turns carrying the mail. Next 
morning I got the mail sack on my back and started out. 


I think it was ton miles the yvay I went. When I got where 
they ti)Kl me the mining town was, I could not find it. I 
heard a man yell and, looking through the trees, what 
few there were, I saw Mr. Man standing by a tree about 
two hundred yards away. He told me to come to him, as 
he was in the camp. I could not see the camp or the town. 
I went over to him and asked where the post-office was. 
He said I was A\ithin twenty feet of it. Well, I did not 
know whether he was crazy or whether I was. There 
was nothing in sight but a world of snow, a few trees, and 
that man, and only twenty feet from the post-<^ffice. 

"I am from Missouri," I said, "Please show me." 

"All right," he said. "Follow me." 

He turned around, grabbed that tree and slid do^\^l 
it; I followed him, and in about a minute I was in the 
l)ust-office. The town was in a gulch, and was covered 
up with snow from ten to one thousand feet deep. The 
miners had tunnels dug through the snow from their cabins 
to the mines and post-office. When they went out, they 
went up a tree to the top of the snow. 

It was nice and warm under the snow. I had my din- 
ner, and got ready to go back to Del Norte. There was a 
man who was going out, so we went together. I took the 
mail sack and he had a shovel and a big dish pan. I 
wondered what he was going to do with them, but that was 
his When we got out of that gulch and struck the 
mountain side, about three miles above the to\ni, he took 
ofT his snow shoes and got into that scoop shovel and told 
me to take off my snow shoes and get into that dish pan, 
and wo would be in Del Norte before God would got the 
news that we had started. After considerable argument , 


and some showing, we were ready to start. I always did 
like excitement and was always ready to try anything 
that was new to me. Well, I just had to laugh when I 
thought about what the post-office authorities in Wash- 
ington, D. C, would say if they knew I was carrying the 
United States mail in a dish pan. 

The other fellow took the lead and I followed. It 
took only about three minutes to make that three miles; 
but it was the most exciting three minutes I ever went 
through. We w'ent that three miles and up the other side 
of the hill, a hundred yards or more, and then back to 
Del Norte, quicker than you can read about it. After we 
stopped, I looked at that mail sack, where one end had 
dragged on the snow and there was a hole burned in it 
as big as your hat. 

I told may partner about that trip and he said his 
nerves were too weak to carry the mail. I resigned that 
evening in favor of the next man that cane along, and 
started to find something that w%'is not so exciting as 
riding down a mountain side in a dish pan at the rate of a 
mile a minute. 

When we got back to Alamosa, we bought tickets to 
Pueblo over the D. & R. G. We got to the top of La Veta 
Pass at dark and do^^1l to La Veta for supi)er. After we 
started for Pueblo, the engineer in making a quick turn 
in the road ran his engine into the rear coach and upset 
it; so the work train took us back to La Veta for the rest 
of the night. We finally got back to Dodge City, where I 
put in sbc weeks punching cattle for the Santa Fe railroad. 


RIDING IN NO man's land. 

In the winter of 81-82 the Santa Fo was very short 
of men, so I thought there would be some easy money in 
going as a brakeman. The Santa Fe, at that time, was 
one of the worst roads in the country. They just had a 
right of way •vN'ith two rusty streaks of iron and a lot of 
dinky engines that a threshing machine engineer of to-day 
would laugh at. When I struck the train master for a 
job, he asked me what I had been working at. I told 
him the last thing I had done was herding cattle. 

"Cowboy, are you?" He laughed and winked at the 
other man in the office. I found out aftenN^ards what 
that wink and laugh meant. 

"Well, if you think you can ride a box car as well as 
you can a broncho, you c^n have the job." 

The vvnnter was a very cold one, and there was lots 
of snow. Talk about your slow trains in Arkansaw, they 
were not in it with the Santa Fe that winter. All western 
Kansas and eastern Colorado were covered with great 
herds of cattle, which the snow and cold weather had put 
on the bum. After I got my commission, in the shape of 
a switch key and a headlight, we started out. We got 
along very well the first half -day, then wc stuck in a snow 


bank. The boss sent me back to Dodge, after a gang of 
section men and an engine to pull us out. It was three 
hours after I left the train until I got back -with an engine. 
They buckled it on and pulled us out. We wont back to 
Dodge and got another engine, with a snow plow attach- 
ment that looked like a catfish's head. 

Wlien we got within about a half a mile of that snow- 
bank we stopped and held a council of war — that is, the 
engineer, conductor and rear brakeman did — the fireman 
and Willie were not consulted about what should be done. 
They decided we w^ould back up a little and take a running 
shoot at that snow bank and butt her wide open. If we 
should begin to slow up too much, wnth the prospect of 
getting stuck, we would all jump off and push. 

Wlien we struck the snow bank we were going about 
six miles an hour. Our train, if I remember right, was 
made up of seven cars of railroad iron and an old sheep 
car that would not hold sheep any more. This last was 
used for a way car, and there were in it some old prod 
poles that cattle shippers use. 

We went through the snow bank, but had to stop, for 
there was a bunch of cattle on the track a hundred miles 
long reaching from the first station west of Dodge to 
where we crossed the Arkansaw River, at Sargeant. You 
see we did not stop at Cooledge then. As it is the head 
brakeman's business to do everything except drink the 
red oil and sleep, it was my duty to get the cattle off the 
track so the train could go on. The conductor gave me 
one of those prod poles and a lantern, and after that string 
of cattle I went. We were then about nine miles west of 
Dodge, and by that time it was dark. The fireman said 


we did well the first day — nine miles anil nobody hurt. 

Well, I punched cattle off the track all night, and we 
got to Cimarron by sun up next day — nineteen miles in 
twenty-four hours. We would have done better, but the 
fireman went to sleep and I got two miles ahead of the train 
and after I had passed on, the cattle would get back on 
the track to get out of the snow. So I had to turn back 
and punch them off the track the second time. W^en I 
got the fireman awake (you see the engineer, conductor, 
and rear brakeman never goto sleep on the road), we 
started again, and I had to get the old cows off the track 
the third time that night. 

We went into the hole for numbers 1 and 2, or some 
other numbers, to pass. I don't think they ever passed. 
I think they both had a good hand, and ordered J. N. W. 
up. I put in the day carrying water and chopping railroad 
ties to keep that old engine alive. The Santa Fe used 
wind-mills to pump water in the tanks, and they were 
always out of order. When No. 2 came along, they had a 
carload of coal along with them; so we borrowed enough 
to last us twenty-four hours. About seven p. m. we got 
orders from J. N. \\. to pull out and to keep a good look- 
out for No. 4, as it was reported to be on the road some- 
where east of Garden City, in a bunch of cattle or a snow 

By hard work the train kept up with me that night, 
and we reached Garden City by ten o'clock the next day. 
When we got to the station I was pretty hungry, so I bor- 
rowed a chew of tobacco from the section boss's wife. 

It was the same old story all the way — "Get those 
cattle off the track!" We went into the hole at Holly's 


for something and stayed there two days waiting for a 
train to come along, so we could find out if the war was 
still going on. I guess old J. N. W. had forgotten about 
us. Wc fared ver}'^ well those two days for there was a 
box car on the side track that had a box of soda crackers 
in it. I guess some cowboys had broken into that car and 
helped themselves to some of the crackers. A railroad 
man would not be guilty of breaking into a box of crack- 
ers unless he had been fasting for over four days. 

I got caught up wth my sleep and went on to Sar- 
geant to see what was the matter. When I went into the 
office and told the agent who I was, he called the train 
despatcher at Nickerson. The train dispatcher said that 
J. N. W. had been out hunting jack rabbits for three days, 
and left no orders for us. He gave me a little yellow piece 
of tissue paper, and I went back to the train. The fireman 
had gone to sleep, while the engineer was in the caboose 
eating crackers, and had let the engine go dead. I went 
back to Sargeant and reported. They sent out a switch 
engine to bring in the crew and the dead engine. When 
we all got in, I found out by a little figuring that we had 
been on the road five days that I had walked one hundred 
and twenty-five miles and had punched one hundred and 
six miles of cattle off the track. 

It was just seven days from the time we loft Dodge 
till we got back. The train master asked me how I liked 
railroading. I told him I had another name for it, and if 
he wanted me to punch any more cattle for the Santa Fe, 
he would have to furnish me with a pony and a sLx-shooter. 
I made a few more trips, and on the first pay day I resigned. 
I had worked for the Santa Fe just six weeks. 


I told you about the brakcraan that kicked the east 
end out of my pants, on my trip from Kansius City to 
Dodge; well, he went to Colorado, and was deadheading 
and bumming his way back to Kansjis City, when he struck 
our train. I not only kicked the north end out of his pants, 
but the east and south side also. That goes to show that 
it does not pay to kick a man when he is down, for you 
may be down and out yourself, sometime. 

After I quit the Santa Fe, I went to Newton, Kansas, 
and as the weather was still cold, I thought it would be a 
good idea to go home awhile. At Newton, I went to a 
three-story frame hotel, not far from the depot, to stay 
all night. I was given a room on the first floor, next to the 
roof. Sometime in the night I got so cold that I got out 
of bed and dressed and started to go down-stairs to hunt 
a fire. When I opened the door into the hall, I discovered 
that the hotel was on fire. The hall was full of smoke, the 
flames were headed my way, and I was cut off from the 
stairway. I shut the door, went to the window and kicked 
it out. By that time some one yelled "Fire!" and the 
big doings were on. I looked out of the window, and it 
was about twenty feet to the pavement. I thought I 
would wait a few minutes before I made the jump. By 
that time quite a crowd had gathered. Some were yelling 
"Why don't you jump down?" and others, "Stay there 
until we get a ladder!" I tore the sheets and the quilt in 
two and made a rope ladder, and as I went out of the 
window, the fire came in through the door. 

"One spring when I was bog-riding — " 



"One spring when I was bog-riding, down in No 
Man's Land, — " 

"What in blazes is a bog-rider?" 

A bog-rider, my dear boy, is a man that they call a 
live wire now-a-days. He is a cross between a bolt of 
chain lightning and a torpedo boat. To be a successful 
bog-rider, you ought to be able to turn a double flip-flop 
over fifteen elephants in a three-ring circus; and you 
ought to be able to make a mile before God gets tlie news 
that you have even started. You ought to make a hundred- 
yard dash in an even nine or better. You ought to know 
how to get on a pony in such a way as would have made 
Charles Fish, champion of all champions of bare-back rid- 
ing, look like thirty cents. And above everything else, you 
ought to have a pony that knows more than all the circus 
trick horses that you ever saw put together, for everything 
depends on the way the pony does the trick. 

You ought to have the pony trained so that the min- 
ute you hit the stirrup he would jump ten feet high and 
forty feet head, and he ought to hit the grass making 
one-seventecn, or better." 

Bog-riding is such a combination of fun, excitement 
and pathos that a very few cowpunchers ever try the game 
twice. Before I started out, after the boss hired me, I 
put in a day praying and fasting. I made my will, had 
the cook and boss sign it as witnesses, sealed it, and said 
"Here goes, good-bye Lizzie." 

"I wrote everybody a letter that I could think of, 
whom I had treated mean, and asked them to forgive me. 
Then I wrote to Florence, down in Sumnor County, Kan- 
sas, close to Bedford, that it was not likely she would ever 


see me again, as I was going out in tiu* morning as a bog- 
rider. And she never did. 

The boss said he would give me a pony that could do 
the triek, if I couKl do my jjart of it. II(! told me fifteen 
different men had tried it ; and, that while they got away 
alive, most of them W(Te more or less crippled. 

The first day out I did not find any trouble, for the 
simple reason that I did not look for it; my mind was on 
something else. Next morning, however, I was out bright 
and early hunting for the same kind of trouble that had 
put tlie other cowboys on the hummer. Each one had 
left a vacancy for the next one that came along to try 
the job of bog-ritling. 

I was not long in finding what I was looking for, in the 
shape of an old cow that had bogged down in the quick- 
sand in the river, where she had gone to drink. I rode up 
and looked her over, to see if I could coax her to get up 
and come out without any of my help. She just lay there 
with one eye shut, was watching me with the other. Every 
few minutes she would wink at me as much as to say, 
'■ If you want this old cow, come and got her." 

I stretched my rope out on the sand to see how long 
it was. Then I calculated how many jumps it would take 
to get from one end to the other. I put the rope on the 
cow's horns, tied the other end to my saddle, and we 
started. When I pulled that old cow out of the bog, you 
should have seen the look of gratitude on her face. I have 
saved men's lives in my time, but none of them seemed 
more thankful than that old cow. 

A bog-rider is not allowed to carry a gun, like other 
cowboys. The boss is afraid he will get discouraged and 


jump side-ways. He has to carry a little instrument of 
torture that looks like a nut cracker. I called the one I 
carried a gee-whiz. Other cowboys had different names 
for it. I took the rope off the cow's horns, rolled it up, 
hung it on the saddle, took a fresh chew of granger twist , 
got out my gee-whiz, adjusted it on her tail, and com- 
menced to wind it back and forth to get her upon her feet. 
Sometimes you have to rub their tails with your gee-whiz 
till the smoke commences to come out of their ears. I 
would not advise a new beginner to go to extremes with a 
gee-whiz. Usually a little bit of rubljing will cause the 
cow to jump to her feet; then she will turn around and look 
at you, as much as to say, "Are you ready for the fire- 
works?" Then you have to beat her to the pony and get 
on and ride away. In case you do not get on your pony 
in time, the cow will put a pair of horns under your coat 
tail where they will do the most harm. Sometimes the 
cows are so weak that when they make a break for you 
they will fall ; then you have to got off you pony and try 
it over. I have had to get them up as many as half a dozen 
times, and every time I had to beat them to the pony. 

I held that job down fifteen days, and had my coat 
tail torn off nine times. I tailed up forty-five in that time, 
and as a cow was worth S20, 1 made the company $900. 
They paid me $17.50. As I had to put in half the night 
patching my coat, it was too hard on me. I wanted the 
boss to furnish the coat, or have the cook patch mine, so 
I could rest and sleep; he would do neither, so I quit. I 
heard afterwards that three of his bog-riders were killed 
in succession. 





I was holding a small bunch of cattle one cold winter 
a few miles cast of Ft. Elliot, Texas. I had for a partner 
a young fellow about my age. We had for a camp an old 
dobe house covered with brush, and over the brush was 
about a f(xjt of dirt. Just before Christman it began to 
rain — one of those cold rains that chill a man clear through. 
Our house kept us dry the first day and night; by the 
second day it began to leak through, and for two weeks 
that rain kept coming. It was cold, too, almost to the 
freezing point, and during that two weeks Nibs and I 
never had on a dry stitch of clothing. Nibs did the cuss- 
ing and I did the praying. Occasionally I would pass the 
hat and take up a collection for the poor heathen in New 
Jersey; that is where Nibs came from. 

One day we got just a little mad and resigned, and 
went in to get our money. About the only consolation we 
got was a little snake medicine and orders to go back and 
l(K)k after the cattle, and back we went. Not long after 
that we slipped away and went to a little place called 


Sweetwater, the same place where we got the buffalo 
hides on my first trip to Texas with the bull outfit. 

Sweetwater was one of these little hallelujah towns 
where the Methodists were in complete control, and they 
were so cranky about it that they would not allow a Baptist 
or a Campbellite in town, for fear he would teach some of 
the weak-minded citizens to use water sometimes. As I 
was a class leader in the Methodist church back home, 
and as we had a few souvenirs with "In God we Trust" 
stamped on them, they gave us the glad hand. There were 
about twenty other cowboys there who had drifted in to 
have some fun; also a lot of bulhvhackers, mule skinners^ 
a few tourists, and about twonty-five soldiers \\ho had 
come to spend the holidays and a few souvenirs. 

Sweetwater was a little place built for the accommo- 
dation of the soldiers and buffalo hunters, or any one else 
who wished to stop there. It was also built on both sides 
of the street. There were two saloons and dance halls in 
the towTi — one on each side of the street. Fanny was the 
queen in one, and Polly Turn-over was high jinks in the 
other; and, of course, there was considerable rivalry be- 
tween the two, for various reasons. It was the custom in 
those days, when a new town was started to lay out a 
grave yard, usually called Boothill, and they would dig a 
grave for the first victim. If I remember right, a tourist 
by the name of Ryan was the first man in Sweetwater to 
die with his boots on. I was told that he was kicked to 
death by a burro. 

There were considerable doings in the two dance halls 
that night. The proprietors were performing the hal- 
lelujah act, and the bartenders, the girls and the 


fiddlers wore doing tlio rest, while the soldiers were 
sayiiiR amen. We eowjiunchers were keeping our fin- 
gers close to 'a live trigger and saying nothing. Aljout 
midnight someone aecidently let his gun fall in the dance 
hall across the street from where I was, and as Nibs was 
there I guess that was right. But in the other one, where 
I was, the projirietor thought his rival was shooting at 
liim, so he grabbed his gun and commenced to shoot across 
the street. In less than no time every light in town was 
shot out; everybody that had a gun was shooting, and the 
rest were yelling and finding a place to hide from the stray 
bullets. Some of the soldier boys went to Ft. Elliot, four 
miles away, and got a company of cavalry to stop the fight. 
^\'hen they got back the fight was off, for the reason that 
every man was out of cartridges. As no one was seriously 
hurt, and nobody knew what the fight was about, peace 
was once more established, the lamps were relighted, and 
the fun went on. 

Not long after the fight in Sweetwater, we got orders 
for one of us to come in, as the company wanted to send 
one of us to Supply. Neither of us wanted to go, as the 
weather was very cold, and there was some snow on the 
ground. We decided to play a game of seven-up to see 
who should go. Nibs was a very good seven-up 
player, but a very poor cook; and as I was a good 
cook and a poor seven-up player, I had to go. That was 
the last time I ever saw poor Nibs. He was caught in a 
blizzard that winter and frozen to death, and partly eaten 
by coyotes when found. And now after forty years have 
passed, all I can say for poor Nibs is, that he was game. 


and as white a boy as ever left a good home back East to 
die in a blizzard alone on the prairies of Texas. 

I went to Ft. Elliot, and Hatton, the big chief there 
for the post traders, wanted some mail taken to Supply^ 
as the hack was not running, because the Canadian River 
was partly frozen over. Next morning I started bright 
and early to Supply, as a dispatch bearer. It is thirty 
miles from Elliot to the river, alid was it cold? When I 
got to the river just before night I was nearly frozen. I 
unsaddled the pony, turned him loose to look out for him- 
self, cached the saddle, and then took a look at the river. 
The prospects were anything but good. The river was 
frozen over except a channel in the centre, about thirty 
feet across. I walked out on the ice as close to the water 
as I thought would hold my weight. After facing the cold 
north wind all day, with the thermometer standing about 
zero, I was already as cold as I could very well be, and to 
think of climbing off the ice into the ice cold water made 
me shiver. Could I wade it, or would I have to swim that 
thirty feet? And when I got to the ice on the other side, 
would I be able to get out? 

At such times some people pray to the Lord for help 
and success. I did nothing of the kind. I just cussed the 
country by sections, and the men who caused me to be 
sent on such a trip. They say the man who hesitates is 
lost. I only stopped a minute and then I slid off the ice 
into the water. When I went in, I think all the breath 
in mc went out. I hit the bottom all right and waded 
across; but when I tried to climb out, the ice broke and 
under I went. The next time I tried I got out all right, 
and I got up and started on. 


My wet clothes froze in a few minutes; night was 
coming on, and I had to walk a mile to Jim Springer's 
ranch, known as Ft. Sitting Bull. I want to say right here 
that when you arc nearly frozen, with about a hundred 
pounds of wet clothes on, the walking is not good, es- 
pecially when you have to face a cold north wind for a 
mile or two. I noticed that the road was not crowded 
with travelers — I had it all to myself. 

I went on because I had to, and I got there. When I 
opened the door and went in, Springer was behind the bar. 
He kept a saloon and restaurant for everybody that hap- 
pend along. 

"Where the devil did you come from?" were his first 
words. I was past talking and my jaws were locked, but 
I pointed to a bottle on the bar that looked as if it con- 
tained a United States Life-Saving Crew. He set it on 
the bar with a pint cup by it. I made another motion to 
pour it out, and pointed to my mouth, for I knew that I 
could not hold the cup. He poured it out and held it to 
my lips, and I drank a pint of whiskey that would kill me 
dead as a mackerel if I was to do it now. The room was 
warm and as soon as my clothes began to soften up, 
we began to pull them off. In about fifteen minutes I 
commenced to soften up, I took another drink, but not so 
much; and in another fifteen minutes, I took another one. 
By that time we had my clothes off, and by the time he 
got me rolled up in a lot of buffalo robes, I took another 
drink. That's the last I remember until the next morning. 

When I woke up he had my clothes smoothed out 
and dry, and I got into them. By that time I was feeling 
like a sixteen-year-old at a summer picnic, only I was as 


hungry as a coyote, as I had had nothing to cat for twenty- 
four hours. Did I take a drink that morning? I did not. 
Did Jim Springer charge me ten dollars for working with 
me all that night? He did nothing of the kind. Jim 
Springer was like a porcupine — he always traveled with 
his rough side out. He would divide his last dollar with 
you, and kill you the next day over a trifle. 

What became of Springer? I was not there, but I 
will tell it to you as I heard it. Major Broodhead, a 
I'uited States Army Paymaster, went with an escort of 
cavalrj' to Ft. Elliot, to pay off the soldiers at that post. 
That e\ening some of the soldiers went up to the ranch, 
began drinking and gambling and, of course, a row started; 
and I can say from experience that half the regular army 
soldiers are the lowest do^^^l specimens of men in the world. 
When the fight was over, Jim Springer and his ranch fore- 
man, Leadbetter, were dead. The commanding officer 
sent in an oflficial report that they had attacked the camp, 
in order to rob the paymaster, and had been killed. 

Early that morning I started on to Supply. I ham- 
mered the ground at a good rate of speed all that day, 
and by night I got to Wolf Creek, fifty miles from Spring- 
er's ranch. When I got there, I think the whole Cheyenne 
and Arapahoe tribes were camped along the creek. They 
were not on the war-path, but on their annual buffalo 
hunt; still, plenty of them that would not have hesitated 
to kill me, if I had not been prepared for just such an 

I put on a bold front, built a fire, and had supper. 
All the time I was building my fire and making a pot of 
coffee, three or four young bucks w^ere loafing around. 


wanting to buy my gun. When they found they could 
not buy it (they offered mc five ponies for it), they wanted 
to look at it, saying they might give me more ponies. 
After supper I took it out of my belt and pretended to be 
looking to see if it was loaded. I finally pulled the hammer 
bark and told them to "puckaehee," whatever that is, or 
I might start something whieh they could not stop. They 

When I struck their camp I went across Wolf Creek 
and through the camp until I was fifty yards from the 
closest topee and close to the prairie. As soon as it got 
dark I slipped away and headed for Supply, twenty miles 
farther on. I made about ten miles, when I played out. 
I had walked sixty miles that day, and had faced a cold 
north wind all the way. I had carried my camp outfit 
with me, as I intended to camp on Wolf Creek that night. 
A day's tramp for a soldier is about ten miles, if he is in a 
hurry. I wrapped up in my blanket and laid down in the 
tall grass to rest. I tried to sleep, but I got so cold I 
thought I would freeze. My bodj' and underclothing were 
damp from walking, and when I got cold I was sure enough 
cold. I was afraid to build a fire; besides I had nothing 
but prairie to bum. I lay there and shivered and 
cus.scd until I began to get sleepy and apparently warm. 
I have be(>n told by others that when a freezing man gets 
apparently warm, if you don't get up and cut a few rustics 
to put your blood in circulation, you are a gone sucker. I 
did some cu.ssing and tried to get up. At first my feet 
failed to work. 

When a man gets in a tight place and thinks all hopes 
are gone, he first gets frightened, then becomes cool. In 


my case, I got mad. I could not get up, for I was too 
cold and stiff. I tried several times to rise, but it was no 
go; and I gave it up and laid back on the blanket and said 
"Good-bye Bill." I began to think of all the meanness I 
had ever done. I wondered if everj'body that I had 
wronged would forgive me. Then I wondered if anybody 
would take the trouble to hunt me up and bury me; or, 
would the coyotes find me first and have a good feed? I 
must have gone to sleep, or was my mind wandering? I 
thought I was in a nice warm room; I could hear people 
laughing and talking; I thought my sister came in and 
asked if I were sick, as I was taking no part in the good 
times the rest of the young people were having. She even 
asked me what I was so quiet for. 

Just how long I was in that condition I do not know; 
but when I woke up, there were several coyotes holding 
an inquest over me. That made me mad. I managed to 
get out my gun and I let one of them have it; the rest 
skipped out. I crawled to Mr. Coyote, stuck my knife 
into his body and sucked a lot of warm blood. That put 
new life into me. I tried again and succeeded in getting 
on my feet. I put in the rest of that night and the next 
morning, until eight o'clock, getting to Supply. When I 
got on top of the divide, just south of Supply, where the 
cold north wind had a good chance to get at me, I gave it 
up and laid down for the last time, closed my eyes and 
tried to go to sleep. I said to myself that I only had to 
die once, and that it might as well be now as later on. 
After I had rested a bit and could not go to sleep, I got 
mad and made up my mind that I would make one more 
effort to reach Supply. 


I tried to get up, but I could not make it; so I tried 
crawling'on my hands and knees. How far I went that 
way I don't know. I remcml)er getting on my feet, stag- 
gering, walking and crawling, until I got to the fort. Then 
I had another fight with one of Uncle Sam's bunch of 
Life-Savers, and I came out a little the worse for wear, but 
still in the ring. 

Joe Mason was tending bar at the Post Trader's 
Saloon, and I gave the disjjatches to him. Next day I 
resigned my job as dispatch bearer. 

When the cold weather let up, two other old cow- 
punchers and Willie rounded up some Indian ponies and 
lit out for Wichita, Kansas. In due time we got there 
and sold the ponies. My share amounted to $250. We 
stayed there two weeks and broke into everything except 
the county jail. Right here, let me say that I have been 
arrested only once — that was in western Kansas in 190 — . 
Everybody in Wilson, Kansas, will remember the time 
that old fellow from Dodge whipped the bully of the town 
and stood off a would-be deputy sheriff and a bad man. 
The City Marshal, Mr. Stanley, told me about six o'clock 
Saturday evening that he would have a warrant for my 
arrest soon. I told him that after I had my supper an(i 
got shaved to come down to the hotel and I would be 
ready. About eight o'clock, sure enough, he came for me 
and he took me up to the courtroom. When I got there, 
every man in to\\'n was on hand to hear the trial. I was 
fined three dollars and costs, amounting to eight dollars. 
They fined the other fellow the same and turned the Big 
Dutchman loose. He claimed that he had been kicked by 
a mule and was not in the fight. 






While I was working for the L. R. outfit, Andy Jard, 
one of their field marshals, established what he called a 
rendezvous camp about twenty miles east of Camp Supply, 
on the north side of the Canadian River, where they could 
send all their extra men, and get them when they were 
wanted at the spring round-up. They had the contract to 
furnish several thousand cords of wood for the soklicrs at 
Camp Supply. They sent all their extra men and cow 
ponies out there, and hired all the men they could get to 
chop wood. 

Big Jim, Dug Ward, John Allen and Willie were sent 
out to take charge and to put the camp in shape for the 
rest of the boys as they drifted in. Big Jim was elected 
Chief Commissary and cook. The Hon. J. D. Ward, a 
younger son of the Lord of Essex of old England, was a 
young fellow about twenty-two at that time, and was in 
America to see the sights, learn the cattle business, and 
grow up with the country. With the first bunch of tender 
feet that came from Dodge was Sam Hyde, a young 
millionaire from New York City, who had come West to 
regain his health and learn how to chop cord-wood and 


loam the cattle business. He had asthma so bad that you 
could hear him breathe a mile. He was put on light marching 
orders — that is, he was made assistant to Big Jim as a dish 
washer. Nice job, some of my readers may say, for a 
young millionaire; but Sara went at the work in earnest. 
It was not money he wanted; it was health, and when I 
last saw him he was fat and saucy, and as free from sick- 
ness as any man I ever knew. 

After a few weeks of wood-chopping, we began to 
wish for some kind of trouble or excitement that would 
relieve the montony of camp life. Some of the new men, 
or tonderfeet, as we called them, had a copy of a matri- 
monial paper, called "The Heart and Hand." It told all 
about the short road to an early marriage, and to be sure 
we all wanted to get married. 

"What for?" I wanted to know. 

"You have me guessing," said Big Jim, "why don't 
you ask Dug Ward or John Allen." 

"Tall Cotton, a big cowboy from Texas, said it was a 
shame there are so many nice girls and widows who want 
to get married and no good men in sight." 

Frank Ibaugh said he would take one. Coyote Bill 
said he wanted one, and every man in camp wanted one. 
A young fellow we called the "Salt Lake Kid," a Mormon 
from TJtah, said he would take half a dozen, big, corn-fed 
girls from Iowa or Illinois. 

"\Miat are you fellows going to do with these girls, 
after you are married?" I a.^ke(l. 

" Never mind, Bill ; got one yourself, and see wliat you 
will do." 

" Let's get married and settle that afterwards." 


"I will have mine iielp me cook," said Big Jim. 

" I will make a princess out of mine," said Hyde. 

" I will make mine the Queen of England," said Ward. 

*'I will make a cowboy girl out of mine," said Allen. 

"Say, Bill, what are you going to do with yours?" 
some of the boys asked me. 

"I don't know," I replied; "but I guess there will be 
a big face-licking in camp when she comes." 

We took a vote on the question of getting married, 
and it was the unanimous decision that we would all send 
for a girl and get spliced, as some of the boys called it. 

Everybody got busy writing to a few girls, and every 
girl wanted a cowboy. The city girls wanted to get out 
on the prairies, and the farm girls were tired of the farm. 
The young widows all had the same story to tell — " I had 
the meanest man on earth and I had to leave him," or, 
"he left me." 

It was finally settled that we would have them all 
come at the same time. 

The first day of May was the time set for our sweet- 
hearts to arrive in camp, and we would all get married at 
the same time. As we would have to get a preacher from 
Dodge, a hundred and twenty-five miles away, and as all 
the girls would have to get off the train at Dodge, they 
could all come along together. P. G. Reynolds of Dodge 
City had the only hack line from Dodge to Supply, and he 
wanted ten dollars apiece to bring our women to us. Ben 
Nichols said he would deliver the goods with a mule train 
for five dollars a head, and as the preacher was a Meth- 
odist, he would let him ride free of charge. 

At an informal meeting one night we discussed every- 


thing that would be likely to come up, and mapped out a 
program for the important occasion. I was elected referee 
and master of ceremonies. I was to have charge of the 
camp, and my word was to be law. I was to make all 
arrangements, and every one signed a contract to do as I 
said. I made Jim Hamil, Dug Ward and Sam Hyde a 
conmiittee of three on program. I appointed Tall Cotton, 
John Allen and Frank Ibaugh marshals, to see that all 
should behave like prospective married men ought. 

The fifteenth of April was the day set for the fun to 
begin. A farewell bachelor dinner was to be given. I 
sent to Supply for everything the boys wanted; several 
new tents, new blankets, groceries, a thirty-two gallon 
barrel of snake medicine, a wagon-load of bottled beer, 
and other articles too numerous to mention. 

The committee on arrangements said that we would 
entertain our wives with a Wild West show. Roping con- 
tests, broncho riding, bull fights, dog and badger fights> 
shooting contests or any other kinds of sport that came 

Everyone of the boys began to get ready for a solid 
month of fun. The spring round-up was not to start until 
after the fifteenth of May. The day before the bachelor 
dinner was to come off I gathered up all the guns, six- 
shooters, butcher knives, axes or anything else that the 
boys might use in a fight, took them aV)()ut a mile from 
camp and hid them. And that bachelor dinner was a 
success in more ways than one. 

*'Say, Bill, did I have a fight last night?" Big Jim asked 
next morning. 

And then he began to fire questions at me. "How 


many men did I whip last night? Did any of the boys 
get killed? Have all of them got back to camp yet? Say, 
what time of day is it? What were all the fights about 
anyAvay? Is there anything the matter with one of my 
eyes? What is this rag tied around my head for? How 
did my clothes get torn up the way they are? Where is 
my shirt and hat? Who owns this old pair of boots I have 
on? Say, Bill, do you think I could walk this morning on 
such a pair of legs? If I go out of the tent, would some one 
run over me? Have the boys all quit fighting yet? Who 
is that coyote that is doing the Comanche war dance? 
Where is Dug Ward? What became of John Allen? Did 
Sam Hyde get rid of his asthma? Tell me, Bill, how many 
fights I had, and who I was fighting, and what I was 
fighting for? Who started all the fun anyway? Is there 
anj^hing in camp to drink? Bill, how many fights were 
you mixed up in? Do you think I will be all right by the 
time my sweetheart gets here? Will the boys make fun of 
me for getting my eye blacked? How did it happen?" 

Every man in camp was asking just such questions 
for several days, if he could get anyone to listen to him. 

Every man in camp voted our bachelor dinner a 
grand success, and all were sorry that it was so soon over. 

It took a week to get things in good shape and working 
order again. 

One day two of the boj's went down to the river to . 
look after some of the ponies that had strayed away from 
the range, and when they got back to camp they had a 
big story to tell about being chased by a bear, and having 
had a narrow escape. 

"Shut up, Concho, you never saw a bear. That 


bachelor dinner has got you yet." 

"Honest to grandma, boys, we did see a bear." 

"Come off, Jack, ^vhat arc you giving us any\vay?" 

"How many of you fellows arc willing to go and rope 
that bear and bring him into camp for our Wild West 

"Jack, will you go with us and show us where you 
saw him?" 

"Concho, we have a star liar in camp, but I guess 
you have him skinned both ways for Sunday." 

" I hate to be called a liar," said Concho. 

"Honest, Jack and I saw a big black bear down in 
the brush that skirts along the Canadian River, and if you 
fellows are in on the deal we will go get him, and keep him 
in camp until we have that entertainment for our sweet- 

" Here comes Bill and Big Jim," said Concho. " Let's 
see what they say about it." 

"Bill, Concho and Texas Jack say there is a big bear 
dovNTi in the bursh about two miles frorn here." 

"There sure is," said both of the boys. 

"I have often heard it said that too much corn-juice 
will cause a man to see snakes and all kinds of bugs, but 
this is the first time I ever heard of a man seeing a bear." 
said Jim. 

" Let's go and get him," said Ward. 

"That's our bear," said Allen. 

"Count us in on that bear hunt," said the rest of the 
boys in a bunch. 

The next day was Sunday; it was arranged for every- 
one in camp to go hunt that bear or anything in the 


shape of a wild animal, and bring them in alive for our 
circus. There were all told fifteen cowboys in camp, and 
the rest were tenderfeet. We cowboys would go on our 
ponies and do the roping; the rest would go on foot and 
help out the best they could. No guns of any kind were 
allowed; bring them in alive was the word. 

We formed a circle about two miles in diameter, and 
all advanced toward a common centre. We divided up, 
so there would be two men on foot between two of the 
boys on the horses, and ten o'clock in the morning was the 
time set to start. I was in the ring between Concho and 
Tall Cotton. I had ridden perhaps two hundred yard 
when I saw Mr. Bear. No, maybe it wasn't a bear; but 
what I saw caused me to give a warning signal for the 
rest to stop. I called to Cotton and Concho and the boys 
on foot to come to me. I had discovered something about 
two hundred yards ahead of me that was not down on 
the bill-of-fare, and we had no guns either. When the 
other boys came up I told them to take a look toward 
that big old cottonwood tree and tell me what they saw. 

"It's sure a big mountain lion," said Concho. 

"It's got me going," said Tall Cotton. 

The boys on the ground wanted to go to camp, and I 
did not blame them either; for Mr. Lion was eyeing us 
while we were talking about him. 

That mountain lion was a prize worth taking a chance 
on. Cotton slipped away and went after some more of 
the cowboys to help rope him if we could. He did not look 
good to us, but we concluded to try him a round or two. 

When Cotton got back \nth three more of the boys, 
that made sLx, and we would make a big effort to rope and 


tio Mr. Lion do>\Ti. He showed a bravo front. He never 
turned tail; but seemed to be wondering what wo were 
up to. I don't know what the other boys thought about 
it, but I felt like going to camp. I was not hunting lions 
anj'way. I have heard it said that it is lots of sport to 
hunt lions, but when the lion hunts you it is not so funny. 

The rest of the boys laughed at me when I said: 
"Let's leave him and go hunt that bear." 

When we had made a circle around him, and were 
ready to advance, he began looking from one of us to the 
other, started to switch his tail, and I thought I could see a 
smile on his face. I know I saw him stick out his tongue 
and lick his chops. I could see the other boys coming up 
slowly, ropes ready for the throw. When we all got close 
enough, Concho gave the word, and six ropes cut through 
the air straight for Mr. Lion. Concho put one on his neck ; 
he moved just in time for Tall Cotton to put one on his 
hind leg; the rest fell short. Mr. Lion got busy, made a 
leap towards one of the boys, and whang went Concho's 
rope. He made a run, but Cotton's rope held fast. By 
that time we had our ropes ready for a second throw. He 
certainly was a game fellow and he fouglit hard; but we 
finally had him tied do^^'n, with one leg broken. We took 
him to camp, but had to kill him. Along toward night, 
Big Jim and his bunch came in with that big bear and two 
cubs, two coyotes and a coon. 

In one week more our sweethearts would arrive in 
camp. Two of the boys slipped off and went to Dodge, as 
an escort to pilot them through. By leaving the main 
trail ten or fifteen miles north of Supply and going through 
the cedar canyon.**, they would save several miles of travel. 




How wore wo going to know one from the other? 
Every man in camp was supix)sed to have a girl in one of 
the wagons! But which one? 

It took two eight-mule teams and six wagons to haul 
the women and the baggage. We could see them coming 
a mile away, and I can say there were several men in the 
outfit who were sorry for their foolishness. 

When the teams drove up and the girls began to climb 
out of the wagons, it was no laughing matter. We began 
to hunt up the ones that answered to their names as the 
preacher called them out. There were, I think, eight 
girls that failed to show up. Hamil, Ward, Hyde and 
Willie were four of the eight boys that drew blanks. It 
was voted that John Allen be awarded the first prize. He 
got a widow with six kids. After our Wild West show was 
over he loaded them all in a wagon and went down on the 
Brazos River and went to farming. I saw the family a 
few years later and they were all doing well. 

A week before our Wild West show was to start, we 
began all kinds of preparations. The boys who were to 
enter the roping contest began in earnest. The prize was 
to be a pair of silver-mounted spurs, donated by Joe 
Ma.son of Camp Supply. Word was sent to all the neigh- 
lx>ring ranches alxjut the fun we were going to have. *' Be 
sure and come, and bring all your old outlaw horses, your 
fighting dogs, your best ropers, your best broncho riders, 
your best shots, your best foot-racers. If you have any 
fighting bulls, bring them along; and last but notleast^ 
bring all the pretty girls and women you can pick up. For 
we have an English Ix)rd and a millionaire in camp who 
got left in our prize lottery-, besides Jim Hamil and Willie. 


All four would be willing to marry a cowboy girl or even 
a corn-fed human girl from back East." 

On Sunday the boys and what few girls there were 
scattered around over the range for fifty miles began to 
come in, and by Monday noon there were at least two 
hundred on the grounds. That included the regular army 
officers and their women, from Supply, and a few soldier 
boys from the same post. 

The first thing on the program Monday was a hun- 
dred-yard dash for the record. We entered Sam Hyde. 
Then there was a kick. Some said they would not run 
against a tenderfoot and a college man. So there were 
only five entries. Hyde won easily. 

Next was a half-mile with a dozen starters. Dug 
Ward had a walk-away. It must be understood that a 
man raised in the saddle is not much of a foot racer. 

The next was, "Who could catch a jack rabbit?" 

The spectators were arranged in a circle to make a 
pen, so the rabbits could not escape; and each boy who 
was going to do the catching was given a rabbit to turn 
loose in the center of the ring. At a signal they were to 
go after them. Each rabbit had a different colored ribbon 
around his neck, so each boy would know his own animal. 
I thought I was the only one who could do that trick, and 
I won by only a second. 

Then we all went to camp and had dinner. Well, I 
guess our chef, Hamil, did a good job, even if he was 
raised in a cotton field way down in Dixie. 

First thing after dinner was a roping contest for the 
girls. We had only six coyotes, so the contestant* 
were limted to six girls in each round. After the girls 


were mounted and ready, the coyotes were brought up. 
The open pr^^irie was to be the field, and if any girl let her 
coyote get away she would be barred out of all the other 
contests. The coyotes were given fifty yards start, and I 
want to say that it wiis the finest game I ever saw. I have 
forgotten their names, but a cowgirl won first prize, and 
an army officer's daughter won second. All six of the 
girls brought in a Mr. Coyote. 

There is no use for me to tell you about the pony 
races. You have all seen them. Then we began to put up 
a little on who was the best rider. One old outlaw 
horse after another was brought in, and some boy from a 
different ranch soon had him in good working order. After 
the horses had all been ridden, a big steer was brought up. 
One of the boys mounted him, and the fun commenced. 
One after the other went to the grass in short order. The 
last steer was brought up and the rider got on with his 
face to the back, locked his legs under tlie steer's flank, 
grabbed his tail, and that was surely a funny ride, or at 
least everyone said it was worth the money. When Mr. 
Steer could not throw him off, the rider offered to bet 
ten dollars he could ride an^-thing that wore hair. Some 
of the boys from farther West had roped a wild buffalo 
and brought him along, expecting just such a talk would 
be made. The bet was raised several times, and Mr. 
Buffalo was brought up. Mr. Man showed he was game. 
He stayed a while, but finally went to the 

Then we had dog fights, dog and badger fights, and 
several bull fights. In the final shooting contest a girl 
won first money; and in the cattle roping contest there 
were lots of good ropers, but none made a quick catch 
like I have seen since. 

Take it all around, we had a grand time. 




About the first of August we got orders to get ready 
for the round-up. Concho, Texas Jack, Sugarfoot, Sam 
Hyde, Dug Ward, the cook and Wilhe, with the chuck 
wagon and several extra horses apiece, were ordered to 
cross the Canadian River and to work out all that country 
between the north and south Canadian rivers. 

Jim Hamil was left in charge of the wood camp, and 
all the boys who had got married were left with him. We 
had orders to co-operate with any other cow outfit that 
we might meet with, and if we needed any additional help 
we were to send to Supply or the wood camp. 

We worked down the south side of the river, and had 
all kinds of fun and hard riding. Our cook was a tender- 
foot good and plentiful, and the rest of the boys had quite 
a lot of fun with him. He was a happy-go-lucky, good 
natured sort of a young man, willing to do anything to 
help along, and this got him into lots of trouble. He 
claimed to be a foot-racer. One evening we camped a little 
early, on account of plenty of wood and water. One of 
the boys said we ought to try the cook out to see if he would 
stand without hitching, and it was a good thing we did, as 
it afterwards proved. Of course, we had him filled up with 
stories about Indians, wild animals, bad men. We told 


him how a cowboy would sometimes go crazy after being 
bitten by a skunk, and how during these spells he would 
get his gun, start a rough camp, and end up by killing some 
of the other boys. Nobody, wc said, was allowed to hurt 
him, but he had to be roped and tied until he got relief. 
Concho was selected as the boy who should throw a fit or 
two for practice. 

Just before sundown we all left, Concho started out 
by saying that he felt rather queer; his head ached, and 
pretty soon he commenced to act funny, began to jump 
around and yell as loud as he could. Suddenly pulling 
out his gun, he coumienced to shoot at the cooks' feet, at 
the same time telling him he would give him a rabbit's 
chance to get away alive, or he could dance. 

The cook knew that Concho was a good shot, and 
decided he would take a chance on getting hold of the gun, 
or waiting until the rest of us got back to camp to help 
him out. 

The cook was not much of a dancer, but he did the 
best he could, and for about fifteen minutes the way he 
hammered the ground was not slow. Then Concho's 
cartridges ran out, and the cook grabbed him. Concho 
was the more active and stouter of the two, but the cook 
was doing his best to keep him from getting at his knife, 
thinking all the time the rest of us would hear the shooting 
and hurry back to camp. P'or fifteen minutes it was a 
rough and tumble to see if he could hold him. Finally 
( '< )nrho got loose and started to run. Just then we showed 
up, and began to yell at the cook to catch Concho, or he 
might jump into the creek and get drowned. For the 
next few minutes it was a race for life: Concho in the lead. 


the cook after him, and the rest of us doing the best we 
could not to catch up with them. The cook soon caught 
up and pounced on to Concho, and at it they went the 
second time. Just as we got to tliera Concho gave a 
sudden lunge and over the creek bank he went. There 
was only about two feet of water in the creek. Concho 
was working him across the creek, and we were yelUng 
at the cook to bring him out. Finally one of the boys 
threw a rope on them ; we all grabbed the rope and pulled 
them out. Concho managed to keep the cook under 
water most of the time, and when we got them out on the 
bank, the cook was squirting water like a fire hose. 

When we got back to camp we gave them a few doses 
of snake medicine, and by morning the}' were all right and 
ready for something else. 

About a week after that we were camped on the head 
of a little creek that ran into the South Canadian. Some- 
time after midnight the coyotes turned loose; and two 
coyotes can make more noise than any half-dozen other 
animals on earth. They woke us all up and, to make 
matters worse, there happened to be a skunk or two 
prowling around in camp, hunting something to eat. It 
sometimes happens that a skunk through hunger or pure 
cussedness will attack a man after night. Then there are 
several things the man can do — get up on the chuck wagon, 
or climb a tree if there is one handy, or make a run, or 
fight it out with the skunk on the ground. Skunks are 
said to go mad, like dogs, and then they will jiunp you 
for a fight. If they bite you, you will go mad yourself, 
the same as you would if bitten by a mad dog. Personally, 


I never knew of any one being bitten by either a mad dog 
or a skunk; 

That night some one yelled "Skunk in camp, look 
our for him, run up a tree." Sam Hyde and the cook 
went up a tree in a hurry, and stayed there till morning. 

We worked west on the north side of the South 
Canatlian River until sometime in August, gathering what 
cattle we could find and branding a few calves. 

We aimed to keep abreast of the chuck wagon; two 
of us on each side, and the other two would drive what 
cattle we had. In that way we would scour out a strip 
of country', ten or fifteen miles wide, and if we would run 
on to any signs we would even go further than that. 

When we got within about fifteen or twenty miles of 
the Antelope Hills we turned north, intending to cross 
Wolf Creek and go from there to the Home Ranch. The 
understanding with us when we started out in the morning 
was, not to move camp at noon, until we all came in, so we 
could keep tab on each other. 

Sam Hyde and I usually worked together; the other 
boys worked to suit themselves. After we turned north 
we traveh'd slowl}', as we had more territory to cover, and 
every day added a few more cattle to our bunch. Some- 
times the young calves would have to have a lift, and the 
boys with the herd would load them into the chuck wagon. 
Then you ought to hear the cook pray and say things that 
would not look good in print. A calf suddenly taken away 
from its mother can make almost as much noise as a coyote, 
and when the boys would get five or ten calves in the 
chuck wagon and they would all turn loose at the same 
time, with their mothers trailing along behind or on the 


side, doing their best to "wake the dead, it certainly was a 
fright. Is it any wonder that all sheep herders and some 
cooks for cow outfits go crazy? 

Now, after thirty-five years have passed, when I visit 
the photo plays and see the cowboys, the cowgirls, the 
bad men and the Indians cutting a few rustics on a lot 
of old plug horses, carrying up-to-date guns and wearing 
their six-shooters hanging between their legs, I have to 

Sometimes the film company will get a sure-enough 
cowboy and a cow horse. When I see them, it puts me to 
thinking of the good old cattle days thirty or forty years 
ago, when I was a kid out at Dodge City. 

About halfway between the two Canadian rivers 
Sam and I struck a lot of fresh signs. We followed them 
up and found several head of cattle, and about 4:00 p. m. 
when we got within hearing distance of camp, we could 
hear many gun shots. We turned the cattle loose and cut 
out for camp as fast as our ponies could carry us, we wtU 
knowing there was something wrong in camp. Riding 
over a hill, we ran right into six or eight Indians. It took 
only an instant to see that the camp was being attacked, 
and that the boys were giving the redskins the best they 
had in the shop. Sam and I charged the Indians between 
the camp and us, and the way we made our guns crack 
was a caution. The Indians, thinking there were more of 
us coming, started on the run to catch up with the rest 
of the tribe that had gone on north. When we reached 
camp, Texas Jack and Sugarfoot were wounded, and Con- 
cho had one arm in a sling. Dug Ward and the cook got 
off with a few close calls. Several horses were killed, and 


the rest of the horses and cattle were scattered. We 
cauglit the mules, put the wounded boys in the wagon, 
and by sunrise next morning we were in Camp Supply. 

Here is the story of the fight as the boys told it to 
me that night, while we were going to Supply: "While 
we were in camp eating dinner, about 12:30, fifteen or 
twenty Indians attacketl out camp and the fight com- 
menced. Sugarfoot was hit in a few minutes. They kept 
up a running fire all afternoon. The cook showed that he 
could fight, and when Sugarfoot was hit he took his gun 
and helped out. That made four who kept up the fight. 
About three o'clock Texas Jack was hit; a little later 
Concho was hit." That left Dug Ward, the cook, and 
Concho with one arm, to continue the fight, and when we 
arrived there were only about ten or twelve red warriors 

When we arrived at Supply we found that the North- 
ern Cheyenne Indians had left the reservation and started 
north, and that it was some of them that struck our camp, 
with results as stated. After we got to Supply and did 
what we could for the three boys. Dug Ward, Sam Hyde 
and Willie went on six miles north to the Devil's Gap 
where about thirty or thirty-five cowboys had the main 
bunch of Indians in a Cedar Canyon and were holding 
them there, waiting for the soldiers at Supply to come 
and help capture them. 

That evening Major Hambright came to our help with 
five companies of infantry. About sundowii the soldiers 
went back to Supply. That night the Indians got away 
from the cowboys and went on north. Charley Seringo, 
in his book, "A Texas Cowboy," tells about running into 


the same Indians on Crooked Creek, about twenty-five 
miles southwest of Dodge City. 

I don't know how many they killed in their raid across 
western Kansas, but they certainly left a bloody trail, as 
there were lots of settlers in western Kansas at that time. 
They killed Colonel Lewis of the 19th Infantry on Witeh 
Woman Creek, north of the K. P. railroad. Major Ham- 
bright was court-martialed and dismissed from the United 
States Army for not capturing them at Supply. After a 
running fight, those of them who were left were captured 
in Nebraska or Wyoming, and seven of the leaders were 
brought to Dodge City and put in jail, where they were 
kept quite a while. They were finally sent back to the 

Just how it happened that seventy-five or one hun- 
dred Indian warriors, with all their women and children 
and camp equipage, could raid across a thousand miles of 
country, past five or six forts, with several thousand sol- 
diers and a world of Buffalo Bill scouts, across three rail- 
roads, killing tMice their number of white men, women 
and children, is more than the average man can under- 
stand. I thought at the time and I think yet, that the 
United States regular army ought to be put to work at 
building good roads, or something which they could do. 
Whenever there is any fighting to be done, it's the volun- 
teer citizen soldier that goes to the front, and you will find 
him on the firing line every time. It was a Colonel in the 
regular army that dug the Panama Canal, after several 
■would-be political road overseers had made a botch of it. 
I know it would be a good scheme if the powers-that-be 
would tell Fred Funston at Vera Cruz to cut all wires, then 


pull out for Mexico City and capture Huerta, and be sure 
and pve.him a large dose of tlie same kind of medicine 
that Huerta gave President Madero. Put \'illa in charge, 
come back to the United States and show the people how 
to build a few good roads. 



Were you ever stuck up on the business end of a gun 
when a man with a bad eye was at the other end of it? 
If you ever wore, you can imagine how I felt one time 
when I was working for the Lee-Scott Cattle Company. 

I was riding along one hot day, about half a'^lecp, 
thinking about my little sweetheart in Kansas, when I 
was brought to a standstill by the command of " Hands 
up!" It's remarkable how a man's hand will go up when 
he looks into the business end of two big six-shooters. 
The bullets in them looked as large as salt barrels to me, 
and if one of those fellows had been a little nervous or 
excited, and had touched the trigger just a little bit, I 
guess you never would have heard of little Willie Jones. 
One of the men got off his pony and came up to me, un- 
buckled my bolt and went through my pockets. He took 
about $80.00— all that I had. They then went on their 
way to hunt up another cowboy that was half asleep. 
You can guess the result when a lot of us fellows ran on 
to one of these men a few years later. If anj'body remem- 
bers of losing a friend by the name of Pross. E. Howerton, 
I can toll you whore his bones are located. "Horse and 


Cattle Thief" was the sign posted on a telegraph pole 
near by.* 

1 have been held up hundreds of times since, but 
never in such u gentlemanly manner. The way you get 
held up in the city is so raw that a hungry coyote out in 
No Man's Land would not be guiltj'^ of such an act. 

The first time I went to Kansas City I did not know 
that you could take a street car and ride to any part of 
the city for a nickel. I wanted to go to the Blossom Hotel. 
I gave a hackman one dollar and got in. After riding 
around for five minutes or less, he stopped in front of the 
hot^l. I went in and stayed all night. Next morning 
when I went out on the street in front of the hotel, there 
stood the Union Depot right across the street, just forty 
feet from the hotel. Kind reader, were you ever held 
up that way? 

The next place I visited was a barber shop. I had a 
haircut, a siiampoo, a shave and a shoeshine. When the 
barber was through I handed the boss a five dollar bill. 

"Two dollars more, please," said the barber. 


"Two dollars more. This is Sunday and we always 
charge extra on holidays and Sundays. You can read our 
prices on the card hanging right over there." 

Out west you always cut a notch in your gun-stock, 
and the rest of the boj's give you a gold medal, for killing 
a highwayman. In Chicago they give you a trial and 
send you to the Bridewell for life, or hang you, as the trial 
judge thinks best. 

We branded 43,000 calves for the Lee-Scott Cattle 
Company that season. 

112 B I L L J N E S 

While I was working for Lee and Rejiiolds one sum- 
mer, we had a young fellow in the outfit we called Big Jim. 
He was not lazy, but he just had a way of letting the other 
boys do the work. We decided at a council of war that 
we would break Jim of the habit of laying down under the 
chuck wagon every time it was in camp. One hot day he 
took off his boots and sox and rolled up his pants and 
drawers, so his feet would cool off while the cook was 
getting dinner. Then we all got busy. I was considered 
the best all-around trouble man in the bunch. When I 
was a young fellow on the farm, I had read the life of 
Jesus Christ, John A. Murrell, Fanny White, Hoyle, Dr. 
Chase's Recipe Book, Ten Thousand Things Worth 
Knowing, Gleeson on the Horse, The Silent Friend, sixth 
and seventh books of Moses, Dr. Gunn, and several others 
that I have forgotten. I was considered an authority on 
any question that might come up between the boys. 
While some of the boys were out after a tarantula, the 
bite of which is said to be sure death, I was making medi- 
cine to cure Jim. When the boys got back to camp with 
a big tarantula they killed him and laid him down close to 
Jim's leg. Then they got a pin and fastened it in the end 
of a stick and when everj^hing was ready. Dad Williams 
gave Jim two or three in the calf of his leg with that pin. 
That brought Jim up in a hurrj\ Some of the boys put 
their foot on that tarantula and mashed it, and we made 
him believe that he had been bitten by that tarantula. 
As Jim and I were good friends, he came to me to l)e 
doctored. I told Jim that it was a bad case, and he wanted 
me to do something to save him. The first thing I gave 
him was a pint of bear's oil that one of the boys had. 


That started some of tlie poison. Then I gave him a 
package of soda, tlien a half teacup full of vinegar — that 
brought up a lot more of the poison, then a quart of water 
that I had been soaking a ten-cent cut of tobacco in. By 
that time we had the poison out, and Jim wiis about as 
sick a boy as ever lived to tell about being bitten by a 
tarantula. About that time his brother got back from a 
road ranch with a two-gallon jug of whiskey. I gave him 
a little whiskey to l)ring him back. The rest of the gang 
drank the wliiskcy at Jim's expense. Jim always believed 
that he was sure bit, and he thought I was a wonderful 
doctor to save him, away out in the prairie, miles away 
from a sure-enough doctor. Jim is living in Oklahoma, 
where he owns a section of fine land. 

One summer, while I was home, a lot of us fellows 
wont down to the Kaw Indian agency, and while we were 
there the Indians had some kind of a feast, and they 
wanted us to join in and have a good time. We did and 
such a supix'r! They had a new kind of meat, or they 
had cooked it in a different way than I had been used to, 
and I ate pretty heartily of it ; for it was cooked good and 
done, just to suit me. Some one told us the next day that 
we had been to an Indian dog feast, and we found out 
for sure that we had eaten several dogs that night. I was 
ashamed to look a dog in the face for a year after that, 
and Big Jim got so he could beat a dog when it came to 

When I was a very young fellow, on the farm, I used 
to see the soldiers of the Civil War days pass and repass 
our house very often. One day the Johnnies would be 
cha.sing the Yankees and the next day the Yankees would 


be chasing the Johnnies; and as my older relatives were on 
both sides, we were visited pretty often, first by one side 
and then by the other. I think that at one time or another, 
during the war, every one of Quantrel's men stopped at 
our house, mostly to see if we had a horse they could use, or 
to take a shot or two at daddy, if they could catch him at 
home. I used to stand around with my eyes and mouth 
open, listening to them tell stories about this thing and 
that, and I wondered if I would ever be old enough to be 
a soldier. My folks came from northern Ireland about 
two hundred years ago and settled in Virginia; then they 
come on do^vn the line, through Kentucky and into Mis- 


Buffalo Bill and I were out hunting bear one time in 
Oregon. "Quit your kiddin', Prairie Dog Dave." Sure 
we were out hunting bear, when all at once we ran right 
into an old grizzly bear with two half-grown cubs, not 
thirty feet distant. We both fired our twenty-two target 
rifles, so close together that it sounded like one report. 
Both the cubs flopped over, gave a kick or two and were 
dead. That old bear rushed us before we could shoot the 
second time, and before I could turn to run she was on me. 

" Say, Dave, why didn't you shoot the old bear first?" 

"I thought that Buffalo Bill would kill the old one 
and I would get one of the cubs, and he thought I would 
shoot the old bear and he would get one of the cubs. 
Before I could say Jack Robinson that old bear had me 
down on the ground, looking into my pockets to see if I 
had any letters from my sweetheart. 

"Say, Dave, did Buffalo Bill run off and leave you?" 


"No, he did not. He just sat down on a log, took off 
one of his sox, filled it with sa\v(hist, grubbed tliat old bear 
!)>' the tail, held her out at arm's length, and beat her to 
death in a jiffy." 

"Dave, did you say that was a grizzly bear?" 

"Sure, I said so." 

"Dave, how much did that bear weight?" 

"We got a fence rail, tied her feet together, hung her 
and the cubs on the rail, put the rail on our shoulders, 
carried them to our camp, dressed her, and she weighed 
1037^2 pounds." 

"How far was you from camp, Dave?" 

"Four miles." 

" And you saj' that you and Buffalo Bill carried that 

old be^ir and two cul)S four miles? And j'ou said that the 

three of them weighed over two thousand poimds?" 

"Sure, I said so." 

* * * * * 

Buffalo Bill, Pawnee Bill, and Three Dollar Bill were 
out scouting in Colorado, on the hunt of a war party of 
Cheyenne and Arapahoe Indians that were said to have 
captured a Mormon emigrant who was going from St. 
Joseph, Mo., to Salt Lake City. All at once the three 
Bills stopped and sniffed the air to see if they could locate 
their camp. 

"There it is," said Buffalo Bill, "just in the edge of 
that clump of timber, and it is just ten miles to their 

"Yes," said Pawnee Bill, "and they are in the center 
of the clump. That makes them ten miles and a half from 


" No," said Three Dollar Bill. " They arc on the far- 
ther side of the clump, and that makes them eleven miles 
away, and there are three hundred of the braves. Do 
you thmk we had better wait until night before we at- 
tempt to rescue the Mormons?" 

"Yes," said Buffalo Bill. "We will wait until just 
before the moon comes up. Then we will slip in and rescue 
them, and by the time we can get those emigrants together 
the moon will be up, so we can be off about ten." 

That night the three Bills slipped into the Indian 
camp and had no trouble in locating the Mormons. Buffalo 
Bill put the seventeen women on his pony and started for 
Ft. Hays, Kansas. Pa^^'nee Bill gathered up the fifty-one 
kids, put them on his pony and started after Buffalo Bill. 
Three Dollar Bill was to trail along behind and keep a 
lookout for the Indians, in case they should attempt to 
recapture them. That old Mormon was so tickled over 
his capture that he just stayed in the Indian camp, and 
was captured three years later by some cowboys and 
hanged for stealing horses. 

The three Bills had gone about five miles when they 
discovered that the Indians were on their trail. Buffalo 
Bill and Pawnee Bill whipped up the ponies into a good 
fast dog trot, and Three Dollar Bill dropped behind to 
stand the Indians off. As quick as the Indians got within 
gunshot, Three Dollar Bill began to shoot. His shots 
were so accurate and deadly that you could have jumped 
from one dead Indian to another for four miles. 

"What became of that Mormon's wives, Texas Jack?" 

"They all married soldier boys at Ft. Hays and lived 
happily ever afterwards as company laundresses." 


"Next man on the program," said Big Jim. "Say, 
' Old-Man- Afraid-of-Kis-Squaws,' tell us when and where 
you wore killed and scalped by the Indians." 

"Well, boys," commenced the man with the jaw- 
breaking name, "you know that I was not killed, I only 
thought so, but I was scalped all right, as you can sec for 

"It's funny," said one of the boys, 'that we have 
worked together for a long time and never knew you was 
scalped by the Indians." 

"In 1S77 we were hunting buffalo out on the Staked 
Plains, when we were rounded up by the Apaches, and the 
fight started. 

" I went to a little creek after a bucket of water, when 
the Indians cut me off from camp, and I was shot and 
scalped before the other boys could get to me. I was 
carried to camp and the boys turned in and fixed me up 
the best they could. They killed our dog, cut off some of 
his hide and fit it to my head, bandaged it up, and in six 
w eeks I was all right, as you can see by looking at my hair." 

Deacon White will now lead in singing the doxology: 

"And now we are across the Brazos, 

And homeward we are bound; 
No more in that cursed country 

Will ever we be found; 
We will go home to our wives and sweethearts 

Tell others not to go 
To that God forsaken cactus country 

Way out in Mexico. 


"We lived on sage brush, buffalo hump, 

And a lot of sour dough bread ; 
Strong coffee and alkali water to drink, 

And a bull hide for a bed ; 
The way the mosquitoes and graybacks worked 

On us was not so slow, 
God grant there's no worse place on earth 

Than among the buffalo." 

"The mosquitoes down on the Canadian River, in the 
Indian Territory, are supposed to be rather large, and 
they certainly are fierce," remarked Big Jim, when we 
were camped on the head waters of the Rio Grande River 
in Colorado. 

"Boys, you know that I was raised down in the 
Mississippi River bottoms, where the mosquitoes grow to 
perfection; so you see I am a judge of mosquitoes and 
know what I am talking about. 

"While we were in the wood camp, doAvn on the 
Canadian River, we had a man in the bunch who said he 
was proof against any mosquitoes that ever lived. He 
said that any man who used as much tobacco as he did was 
not bothered very much by mosquitoes or other such 
things as you will always find in a cow camp; and he 
offered to bet five dollars that he could lay down any place 
the boys would select, and remain there for an hour with- 
out moving or batting an eye. We took the bet and 
selected a place down in the bottom, about four or fixe 
feet from a big ant nest. Everybody that knows an>ihing 
about the big red ants in Kansas, No Man's Land and 


Texas, will toll you that thoy can bito about as hard as a big 
rat, and tW\co as fast, and when they get riled up they will 
attack anything they can reach. After it got dark we 
started out to give him a trial. When we got to the spot 
selected, he took off all his clothing and lay down on his 
face. The way the mosquitoes settled on that man, and 
the way they bit, sucked blood and gorged themselves 
was a caution ; but Mister !Man showed the boys that he 
was game. At the end of thirty minutes he was a much 
l)itten man. Then some of the boys took a stick and began 
to pry open that ant nest. The ants came out by the 
hundreds and soon discovered the cause of their trouble. 
When the first one bit, the man flinched a little, set his 
teeth hard together and said 'That fellow was certainly 
a cracker-jack.' Just then about a dozen bit him at once, 
and he began to squirm a little and wanted to know if 
there were any bumble bees around. By that time there 
were about a hundred or more ants biting him. That 
was more than any man could stand. Up he jumped and 
started for camp on the nm. He was laid up for a week. 
He always accused the boys of selecting a place close to a 
hornet's nest." 

"Say, kid, you promised to tell us about the Mormons. 
You told us you were bom and raised in Utah, now let us 
liave one from you. It's your turn." 

"Bet your life I'm a Mormon and I am proud of it, 
too," remarked the young man called the "Salt Lake Kid." 

"Before I start to tell you about the Monnons. I 
want to say that I am going to tell you the truth and 


nothing but the truth, so help me Brighara Young, just 
as I saw it. 

"My people were all Mormons, and lucky or unlucky 
for me, I am the oldest of my father's kids, and my mother 
is the first wife. A man in Utah is limited as to the number 
of wives he may have. Twenty-five is the highest number 
any man can have, and the number gets less, according to 
who you are. But in addition to his legal wives, he can 
have all the proxies he wants or needs in his business. 

"My father had fifteen wives and fifteen proxies. If 
one of your wives dies you are supposed to marry one of 
the proxies; then you can get a few more young women 
as second wives or proxies if you want to, and we always 
want to. 

"We lived on a big farm, and in addition to the farm, 
we had a big ranch where we raised lots of horses, cattle 
and sheep. As I was the oldest boy I was started out as a 
kid herder. I was promoted to a sheep herder at ten, and 
was a full-fledged cowboy at fifteen." 

"WTiat's a kid herder? And did you raise goats, 
too?" "Goats, nothing," said the kid. "You know that 
we call children, kids out there." 

"How many brothers and sisters did you have, any- 
way?" I wanted to know. 

"Say, Bill, you know that when I went to work with 
you fello\vs fifty was all I could count, and I had a lot 
more brothers and sisters than I could count." 

"Wlien you would take them out to herd, how would 
you know bow many to bring in at night?" "When I 
would start out I would take a stick and cut a notch in it, 
like a gun man does when he kills another man. Say, 


boys, it's sonio fun to herd a bunch of kids ranging in age 
from a yearling to a ten-3'car old. Did any of you boys 
ever have a job herding a bunch of dogies?" 

"What's a dogic?" one of the tenderfeet wanted to 

"I started to tell al)out the Mormons," said the kid. 

"Go ahead and tell the boys about a dogie," said 
Whiskers. "Well, a dogie is a tenderfoot, and it don't 
make any difference whether he walks on two legs or four. 
I will tell you about the four-legged kind," said the kid. 
"When father went to Utah there was very little stock of 
any kind there, so he would go back to the States and 
buy a train load of calves from the farmers, ship them 
home and turn them loose on the range. Now, a calf 
rai.sed on a farm don't savey the range any better than a 
boy raised in a city. For down-right misery, and for a 
nerve wrecking job, a bunch of dogies is the limit. Take 
my word for it, boys, if you are ever caught out in a howl- 
ing wilderness, with a bunch of dogies or a bunch of Mor- 
mon kids, the bug house is not far away for you. Sheep 
hording is a picnic in comparison, for the rea^i^on that the 
sheep will stick together. 

"I remember having two thousand sheep out, the sum- 
mer I was sixteen years old, and we drifted to the railroad, 
when along comes a freight train making about eight mik-s 
an hour. The old bell wether that was the leader took 
a notion to cross the track ahead of the train and every 
blamed one of them sheep started to follow him. Well, so 
help me Brigham Young, if that wasn't the worst mixup 
I ever saw. The air waa full of flying sheep, and sheep 
were jammed into that engine and cars wherever a shccj) 


could stick his head. "When the train came to a stop, 
sheep were still crossing the track, under the cars, and it 
took the train crew two hours to get the dead sheep out of 
the engine so they could go on, 

*' After I got the bunch rounded up and got them to 
grazing again I went back to see the wreck of sheep. A 
section boss and his gang were cleaning the road and 
counting the dead sheep." 

"Say, kid, you started out to tell us about the Mor- 

" Well, herding a bunch of Mormon kids has its draw- 
backs, like herding dogies and sheep, only it's more like 
dogies or worse. 

*' In the summer season, when the wild strawberries 
were ripe, I would have to take the bunch out on the 
prairies to let them fill up on the wild strawberries, and 
that was when the trouble started. Every blamed one of 
them kids had a notion in his head that the best straw- 
berries were at least half a mile away from where he was 
at, and the kids would all start in a different direction at 
the same time. Then I would have to put in some hard 
running to gather them together and get them home by 

*'Say, kids, did any of youse ever have the job of driv- 
ing the calf wagon up the trail?" the kid wanted to know. 
"One day I had all the kids out in the prairie, when one 
of these sudden rain storms came up so quick that I had 
no time to get them home. All I could do was to round 
them up like a bunch of calves, and, of course, they all 
began to squall at the same time; it beats a wagon load of 


calves or even a drove of coyotes. Honest to Brigham it 
does." \' 

* m * * * 

Colonel George Reynolds of Dodge City had a pet 
buffalo that ran around town and got into all kinds of 
meanness. He was harmless, and you would not think he 
was much of a joker; but he played a good many jokes 
on strangers that stopped off at Dodge. He seemed to 
know a stranger as far as he could sec hira, and if he had 
a chance he would give JMr. Man a run for his money. 

One day the Simond's Comedy Company was billed 
to play in the Opera House, and as they had their own 
band, they gave a street parade, as is customary with bands 
accompanying theatrical troups. Wlien the band reached 
that part of to^^^^ where ^Ir. Buffalo was, he did not like 
the looks of it. The big hat of the band master did no appeal 
to him in the least. So after that band he went. I don't 
think any of the band boys had ever seen a buffalo before. 
The first thing he did was to charge at them. They made 
themselves scarce in a hurry. Some went up a telephone 
pole, some climbed over a high board fence, some went 
into the ditch, and some ducked under a culvert near by. 
A lot of little boys that were following the band got some 
sticks and chased him away. Then the band boys got 
together, but they did not attempt to parade in that part 
of town again that week. 

One day that buffalo caused more excitement and 
fun in Dodge than all the buffalo hunters, freighttTS and 
cowboys put together. Mr. Buffalo had a habit of going 
into any yard in the city and helping himself to anything 
that suited his taste. He was gentle and docile, but he 


had such a curiosity to see what was in other people's 
back yards that he made a nuisance of himself. Lots of 
women kept tea-kettles full of hot water for his benefit, 
and most of his hair was scalded until it came off. Still, 
that did not keep him out of other people's yards. 

One day when he was going through everything he 
could find he discovered a salt-barrel in a back yard, with 
a few cabbage leaves and a little salt in the bottom. It 
was too tempting for him to pjiss ^^'ithout trying it. He 
rammed his head dovra. in the barrel to get at the cabbage 
leaves, and when he raised his head up, of course, he raised 
the barrel, too. Now that was something new to him. 
About that time some one threw a bucket of hot water 
on him, and the fun started. He ran over everybody and 
everything that got in his way. He finally reached the 
street, and down town he went, through several fences, 
against several houses. He ran into a wagon, over a buggy, 
and finally into a millinery store on Bridge Street. Of 
course, all the girls that were working there and all the 
lady customers had seen that buffalo hundreds of times; 
but they had never before seen him with a barrel stuck on 
his head. They all gave a scream or two, and out of the 
back door they went. For a few moments he had that store 
all to himself. He did quite a lot of damage to the show 
cases and the millinery goods, and then out at the back 
door he Avent, just as the last woman disappeared over a 
high board fence in the rear of the store. Not long after 
that Mr. Buffalo disappeared for good and Dodge was 
rid of one nuisance. 



"What's this thing you call a mirage?" inquired a 
tenderfoot one evening as we were sitting around the camp 
fire smoking and telling stories. 

"Well," I said, "I'll do my best to explain it, but 
only a good descriptive writer could do the subject justice." 

"What's a descriptive writer?" chimed in several of 
the boys, all at once. 

"Well, boys," I answered, "a descriptive writer is 
one who has enough brains and education to pick you up 
and take you with him into the realm of imagination, and 
making you see beautiful, thing as he sees them. I cannot 
do this, for I do not have the education. I only went to 
school three months, and that was at a little log school 
house that stood in the timber, three miles from our home. 
Lots of times I would start out for school early in the 
morning and meet myself coming home about sundown 
without having sc^en the school-house or the teacher. 
What a world of youthful memories come back to me 
when I think of that little old log school-house of long ago 

"Suppose we take a little excursion back up the River 
ni Time, back to the place where the spring of youth 
lc:iIK'd in joy and rippled over the rocks with laughter and 
song. We didn't think so much alx)ut it then, but how 
Iwautiful were the wild-flowers that lined the banks, and 
how clear was the water, and how blue wius the sky. Back 


to the old-fashioned desks with the puncheon scats. Back 
to the curley-loeked, rosy-cheeked girl — the little sweet- 
heart of Auld Lang Syne. Back to the days when there 
were no school-bells to sound like a funeral dirge. When 
* recess* was over, the teacher would appear in the door-way 
and clap her hands and call 'Books, books — come to 
books.' Back to the days when we were a lot of joyous 
children, without a care. 

*' I remember very well my first teacher, Miss Becky 
Morton. She taught me my A-B-C's. I suppose she and 
the great majority of my plajonates of those days are 
sleeping in their graves. It is very pleasant, though, to 
recall them in our memories. 

*' In these days about all the book we had was Web- 
ster's old blue-backed speller, that told about Old Dog 
Tray, and the meadow larks; and, if a kid got so he could 
spell 'baker' by the time he was old enough to split rails 
in the winter and plow corn in the summer, he was thought 
to have 'right smart education.* 

"Now, as I said before, a descriptive writer must 
have some education ; at least he must know a good deal 
about language and know how to use it. Lots of us can see 
and appreciate beautiful things, but when it comes to de- 
scribing them we are up against it good and proper. 

**If I were a good descriptive writer I could tell you 
some wonderful things about the mirages we used to sec 
on the plains. I suppose they were optical illusions — that's 
what the scientists say. But they certainly did look like 
the real thing to us, and they surely did fool us till we 
got used to them. And even then we could hardly ke<'p 
from believing they were real scenes, from some other part of 


the world, being; ropniclucecl before our eyes in some 
mysterious and woncK'rful way. 

"I have seen the most beautiful lakes just above the 
horizon, 'vsith water so clear and sparkling that I could 
almost taste it. 

"I have seen beautiful islands in these lakes all 
c<n'ered with trees antl shrubs and flowers. 

" I have seen immense mountains covered with snow, 
their peaks lost in the clouds. 

" I have seen magnificent forests, with every variety 
of tone and color, from deepest green to almost black; 
forests of evergreens and cedars, of magnolia and live oak, 
sometimes with mistletoe and festoons of moss hanging 
from the boughs. 

" I have seen great rivers Sowing majestically to the 
sea, their banks lined with flowers of infinite hue. 

"I have seen ships sailing, apparently from every 
maritime nation under the sun, crossing and recrossing the 
horizon, appearing and disappearing, and then appearing 

" I have seen soldiers marching and counter-marching, 
their burnished gun-barrels glistening like shining shafts 
of silver. 

*'I have seen orange and lemon groves, their golden 
fruit hanging in great clusters. 

"I have seen, as it seemed to me, the Land of the 
Midnight Sun, with its eternal snows and its a^vful silence. 

"I have seen si)lendid cities, with cathedrals and 
palaces and towers shining in the morning sunlight, like 
gorgeous temples of the New Jerusalem. 

"All this I have seen, and more; and any one who 

128 B I L L J O N E S 

lived in Kansas in those early days will tell you, as I do, 
that those sky-pictures, whatever may have caused them, 
were magnificent beyond any words that might be spoken 
or written. If, as some say, they were the work of the 
imagination, then I must say that I have the highest 
respect for my imagination. 

"A peculiar thing about mirages is that they are 
always a few miles away — not many, just enough to tempt 
you to go on, and on, and on. Like the pot of gold at the 
foot of the rainbow, the water and fruit of the mirage are 
his who can reach them; but, alas, no one can reach them. 
Many a thirsty traveler has been fooled into losing his 
life by believing what the mirage told him and following its 
beckoning hand. Many a weary wanderer has become 
exhausted and lain down never to rise again, the illusive 
mirage dancing before his eyes and mocking him even in 
death. It was as cruel as it was beautiful, and had no 
mercy on its countless victims." 

The mirage, like the cowboy, the wid Indian and the 
buffalo, is a thing of the past. You will not see it in Kan- 
sas now. The matter-of-fact settler came, with his plow, 
his patent stump-puller, his reaping and threshing ma- 
chines, his wife and children, and various other implements 
of civilization, and Romance moved on to other places 
more secluded. Kansas is now a great commonwealth ol 
busy people, given over to wheat and politics, and the 
mirage, the most wonderful of artists, the most skillful 
of sculptors, the most exquisite of painters, and the most 
illusive of earthly glories, has passed away, forever. 



Out on the Great American Desert, but well up to the 
foothills of that rugged chain of mountains which leaves 
the main range between Trinidad, Colorado, and Raton, 
New Mexico, known locally as the Raton Range, not far 
from where Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas 
comer, or nearly so — it was there that Colonel Howard 
located his Diamond Arrow Cattle Ranch. 

It was a fine location. There were no other large 
ranches near and the pasture ranges were both extensive 
and good. The only neighbors were a few Mexican "greas- 
ers" scattered over the surrounding hills and valleys who 
engaged in the cattle and sheep business in a small way. 
They were not agreeable neighbors, to be sure for they 
were veteran stock thieves, and were very handy with 
their guns when it suited their purpose. Like most "bad 
men," however, they were dangerous only when they could 
take a sneaking advantage. They never engaged in a 
square, stand-up gun-fight if they could possii^ly avoid it. 

Colonel Howard was a man of some note — in fact, an 
F. F. v.; for he was a Virginian by birth and related to 
some of the best and most influential families of his native 
state. He was a man of considerable wealth and came 

130 B I L L J O N E S 

prepared to spend a large amount of money in establish- 
ing and developing his ranch. It was well he did so, for, 
as he proposed to make it a permanent ranch headquarters, 
a lot of money was needed. Corrals had to be built, 
houses and stables put up, and other heavy expenses 
incurred, which were absolutely necessarj'' in establishing 
and putting into operation a well-regulated ranch. Not 
only so, but as a ranch without an outlet is something 
like a house without a door, a trail had to be built out to 
Trinidad, the nearest railroad point, more than a hundred 
miles to the west. But the Colonel's investment, as well 
as his foresight, was eventually justified, for in tune the 
Diamond Arrow became the leading ranch in that part 
of the Southwest. Sometime in the eighties Mr. Howard 
sold out to an English cattle company for a good rountl 
sum, and the name of the ranch was changed. 

It wiis a bright, sunshiny morning in May when Sam 
Hyde and I rode up to the Diamond Arrow ranch, looking 
for work. We were a fine pair, Sam and I. He was kno^^^l 
as the Millionaire Cowboy from New York, while I had 
never been known as a millionaire from an}-where. But 
from the day he arrived at our rendezvous camp at Supply, 
nearly dead with asthma, and I put him to work at 
ing dishes, be and I had been just like twin brothers. He 
had regained his health, and as I had never lost mine, we 
were as brawny a couple of cowboys as you would find 
west of the Missouri. 

In the good old days of cattle ranching, if there were 
no one about the ranch when he arrived, a man was 
expected to dismount and help himself to anj-thinghe 
wanted, in the shape of food for himself and pony. lie 


should jiLst walk in and make himself at home until the 
()\\'ner returned. No experienced cowboy would offer to 
jxiy for such accommodations, kno^\^ng the shock might 
prove fatal to the owner. Being veterans, Sam and I 
never made that mistake. 

Just beef ore nightfall Mr. Howard returned from 
Trinitlad, bringing his wife and little children with him. 
This wiis Mrs. Howard's first visit to the ranch, which was 
to be her home from now on. Soon the men came in from 
work, and we all gathered around Mr. Howard to listen 
to his account of the trip to Trinidad. The men found 
certain sundry articles in his wagon which seemed to 
plejise them amazingly. 

Sam and I were not long in coming to an understand- 
ing with Mr. Howard. He employed us for the season, 
and we went to work with the other men the next morning. 

The foreman, kno^\'n as Curley, had come with the 
first bunch of cattle that arrived at the ranch. He was a 
very agreeable boss, which is more than can be said of a 
good many foremen, but he was full of l)usiness. 

The work was hard and there was plenty of it; but 
we liked it, and that was the main thing. There is alwaj's 
more or less danger in handling cattle, and the cowboy 
n\ust \Ki on his guard every minute; for, as in other walks 
of life, the unex])ected is very liable to happen, and it 
usually hapjK'ns just when you are not looking for it. We 
were all cxi>erts in the use of ropes and branding-irons 
and in the handling of ponies, and there was always more 
or less friendly rivalry going on. 

nicre was some diversion in the way of hunting. 
The country was well supplied with all kinds of wild game. 


Mountain lions, panthers, wild cats and antelope were 
plentiful, and coyotes were too numerous to take notice of. 
There were a few lobo wolves, and now and then a bufTalo 
would come within range of our rifles. Rattlesnakes, centi- 
pedes and tarantulas were sufficiently numerous to make 
life interesting. 

The arrival of visitors is always an exciting episode 
at a ranch. It relieves the monotony and opens u]) a 
world of speculation and possibilities. Especially if there 
is a pretty young lady or two among the arrivals, the 
interest is vastly increased. Cowboys are human, and 
whatever may be their shortcomings in other respects, as 
a class they have a profound respect for virtuous woman. 
hood. No doubt this is largely due to the fact that their 
lives are so isolated and that they see so little of female 

Toward the end of July Mrs. Johnson, a sister of 
Mrs. Howard, arrived at the ranch for a month's outing. 
This in itself was a circumstance of interest, but the 
interest was vastly increased by the fact that she brought 
with her her twenty-year-old daughter, ]\Iiss May. 

They were people of importance, as we soon learned, 
being the wife and daughter of the Governor of the State 
in which they lived. Miss May was decidedly good- 
looking, plump, rather athletic in build, dark-haired, rosy- 
mouthed, and with eyes that somehow appealed to you ; 
you could hardly tell why. This was the ladies* first 
introduction to ranch life and, of course, they were full 
of all kintls of expectations and anticipations. Miss May 
especially was eager for "wild west" experiences. She 
must have a pony and a saddle and a gun, and wanted to 


plunge right into business by helping the boys rope and 
brand calyes. 

Of course, we were all very much interested in Miss 
May, and anxious to appear to good advantage when in 
her presence — not that we wished to "show off " especially ; 
but we naturally felt that her approval would be a fine 
thing, on general principles. Along with their admiration 
for the ladies, ho\\'ever, most cowboys have a certain 
shj-ness in their presence, especially if they are young and 
good looking; and they have been known to blush like 
school girls when suddenly and unexpectedly confronted 
by a lovely vision in skirts and flounces. This tendency to 
sh>Tiess is also due, no doubt, to their isolated lives. 

Bearing these things in mind, the reader can readily 
imagine what a commotion there was among the boys 
when Curley, the foreman, announced one evening that 
one of us was to be chosen as Miss May's escort, or 
chaperone, handy-man, or whatever you might call it. 
We were all to line up in front of the ranch house the next 
morning to be inspected. Miss May herself was to do 
the inspecting and also the choosing. The choice, there- 
fore, would be the one who made the best impression on 
her; at any rate, the one who would seem to her the best 
suited for the position. 

We were all on hand promptly at the hour appointed; 
not a man had forgotten or overslept. Everyone had on 
his best bib and tucker, and some were even newly shaven. 
We all rode our best ponies and, aa we were all about the 
-;ime age and size, we must have presented an imposing 
appearance as the eight of us lined up so grandly and 
awaited the appearance of the young lady. 


To tell the truth, I did not have much hope of being 
the lucky one. I have never been accused of being hand- 
some, and if I had been, no jury would have convicted me. 
But I did have great hopes of my partner, Sam Hyde. 
He was easily the best looking man of the lot and he was 
a fine fellow in the bargain. He was rich, he had a college 
education, and he was a gentleman. I never knew him to 
do anything he would be ashamed to tell his mother. I 
was proud of him. I hoped he would be chosen, and I had 
already figured out a pretty little romance as a sequel to 
the present proceedings. 

It was an impressive moment when Miss May 
appeared before us, ready to make her selection. It was 
absurd, of course, but everj'one (except myself) had been 
speculating on the possibilities in case he should prove 
to be the lucky one. It must not be wondered at if our 
hearts were pumping blood faster than usual and our 
hands trembling a little as they fingered the reins. 

Miss ]\Iay walked slowly down the line, eyeing each 
of us critically in turn. She seemed no more excited than 
if she were deciding which rose she should pluck off a 
rose bush. She had a keen eye, and I thought I could 
detect a roguish little twinkle as if she were thoroughly 
enjoying the situation — as I think she was. But not a 
muscle of her face moved and she showed no more emotion 
than if she had been examining the pyramids or the God- 
dess of Liberty. 

She gave rather more attention to Sam than to any 
of the others, and I felt a little flutter of gladness in my 
heart. But she went on down the line to the last man, 
then turned and came slowly back. Finally, to my great 


surprise and confusion, she stopped in front of me. I felt 
a blush creeping from my chin to the roots of my hair. 
She wanted to know my name and a.sked me a few other 
questions. After several moments of thoughtful consid- 
eration, she said she l)elieved I would do. 

I got down off my pony and awaited orders, while the 
rest of the boys went sorro^vfully back to work. They 
couldn't understand it, but neither could I, for that matter. 

Mr. Howard and the two women came out to look 
at Miss May's choice of a cowboy escort, so I had to 
undergo a second inspection. The result was quite suffi- 
cient to extinguish any feelings of vanity I might have 
had. *' I am very well satisfied ^\^th my daughter's choice," 
I overheard Mrs. Johnson say, "for there certainly is no 
danger of her falling in love with that freckled-faced, 
red-headed little runt of a cowboy." 

Having thus been chosen as Sir Knight to a fair lady, 
and that by the fair lady herself, it was up to me to act 
the part, and I set about it at once. But it was by no 
means an easy matter, especially at first. In equipping 
the ranch, no provision had been made for entertaining 
lively young ladies who arrive suddenly and unexpectedly 
from the East. There was no such thing as a woman's 
side saddle in the camp, nor was there any clothing to 
be found that was suitable for a lady's riding-habit. 
Various other difficulties presented themselves; but where 
there's a will there is a way, and as Miss May had the will, 
it was the duty of the rest of us to find the way. 

The two ladies, Mrs. Howard and Mrs. Johnson, 
came nobly to the rescue. They went to work remodeling 
sundry dresses in a way that women know alxjut, but 



^l Cowboy Girl 


men never can understand, and in a short time Miss May 
\v:us well uquiiipcd with clotliing suitable for lady pony- 

As I could not assist at the dress-making, I put in 
the time teaching Miss May how to shoot and how to use 
a rope. Cow ponies, as a rule, tlo not like to have women 
around and have decided objections to being ridden by 
t hem ; so it was my business to have one properly '* broke " 
for her use. I had as good a pony as ever made tracks, 
named "Buck," and Miss May had taken a liking to him. 
So I put in several days riding him myself with a dress 
on; or rather, with a blanket tied around my waist, to 
simulate a long riding-skirt. Buck never knew the differ- 
ence; at any rate, he raised no objection when Miss May 
and her genuine riding-skirt were substituted for me and 
my blanket. 

These matters having been arranged, !Miss May 
announced that she wius ready to begin her ranch expe- 
riences. I showed her how to mount, and gave her some 
directions about managing the pony. She tried roping a 
few calves and then tackled a yearling. It was a.stonishing 
how quickly she caught on to the various tricks. Buck 
understood his part of the work perfectly and, of course, 
that was a great help to her. About two miles from camp 
a coyote jumpx'd up in front of us and we started after him. 
I told her to watch me closely and see how it was done, 
and she might try capturing the next one. She was an apt 
pupil and learned very fast. I seldom had to show her 

Miss May was artxious to do a little mountain diml)- 
ing, so one August morning we went up into the foothills. 


She was also anxious to see a mountain lion, and to shoot 
him, if possible. She said she would rather come across a 
mountain lion that day than discover a gold mine. Having 
met a few mountain lions in my time, I was not so enthusi- 
astic, and would have preferred the gold mine, especially 
as I had a lady along with me and under my care. 

Along about the middle of the afternoon we discovered 
the tracks of what proved to be the largest mountain lion 
I ever saw. Of course. Miss May was all excitement. She 
was determined to hunt up that mountain lion at once, 
and no arguments I could think of would stop her. Be- 
sides, I was only an escort, and had no right to take her 
away from that dangerous locality \\ithout her consent. 
There was nothing to do but go along with her and trust 
to luck. 

So I put the dogs on the trail and, after about a mile's 
run, they brought the lion to bay in a rocky canyon cov- 
ered with cedar trees. She was determined to take a shot 
at him with my Winchester, and nothing I could say would 
stop her, I had serious doubts about her being able to 
hit the side of the mountain; but suppose she should 
prove a better shot than I gave her credit for, and should 
wound the beast slightly. In that case, one or both of us 
might pay the penalty with our lives; for fewer things 
are more unpleasant to meet than a wounded mountain lion. 

I tried to frighten her by telling her I guessed I would 
leave her to kill the lion by herself. She said that was 
just what she intended to do and that she wanted no help 
from me, except as a last resort. I made up my mind to 
see her through, even if \ve both got killed. 

We slipped up to within about fifty yards of the lion. 


she giving me orders not to shoot, as she wanted all the 
glory of killing a mountain lion herself. He was lying on 
the top of a big boulder, out of the reach of the dogs, with 
his head toward us. She took careful aim at one of his 
eyes, so the bullet would enter his brain and kill him 
instantly. Just as she touched the trigger I saw him 
move his head slightly. The bullet went crashing into 
his shoulder, disabling one of his forelegs. He started 
for us, and I realized that unless we did something impor- 
tant very quickly, we would have the fight of our lives on 
our hands, with little prospect of ever seeing the camp 
again. I had my old forty-five out, ready for business. 


"No," she an.swered. 

By that time he was within a few yards of us, and 
was gathering himself for a spring, when she sent in a 

I have never kno\vn whether she realized at the time 
the danger she was in or not. She seemed cool and col- 
lected, but after the beast quit struggling and lay quite 
still, I saw the color suddenly leave her face. I barely 
had time to catch her as she fainted. I laid her on the, ran to the creek near by, got my hat full of water 
and, returning, I bathed her face and hands the best I 
could. By the time she came to and opened her eyes, I 
had turned sick and she became the nurse. After I 
recovered I skinned the lion, as Miss May wanted to take 
the hide home with her. We reached the ranch about 
nine o'clock, tired, hungry anrl played-out. 

That day's ex])('rience with the mountain lion was 
only the beginning of things. In our many excursioas 

140 B I L L J O N E S 

nftor that, isho as hvuicr aiul I as escort, she would often 
revert to it, and huigh gayly at her "ehieken-lieartedness," 
as she called it. I would laugh, too, though under the 
circunistanees I couUl not very well assume any airs of 
sujx'riority; for had not I also been "chicken-hearted," 
and turned sick — not at the thought of the narrow escape, 
but at the sight of her, so pretty and helpless, after the 
danger was past? Women are queer creatures — and so 
are men. 

Miss May learned to ride and shtxit with the best of 
us, and I doubt whether there was a cowboy in all the 
length and breadth of the great Southwest who had a 
bravert hear or a steadier liand than did this deliaitel}' 
reared girl from the Eiist. 

But she could do more than ride and shoot. She had 
a fine education and had read more books than I had 
even seen. She had traveled a great deal, too, both abroad 
and in this country, and could describe everything she 
had seen. She had been pretty much all over Colorado — 
which I had not at that time — and she told me a great 
deal about Colorado Springs, the Garden of the Gods, 
Miuiitou, Pike's Peak, Cheyenne Canyon, Saddle Rock, 
and the Rocky Mountains in general. I afterwards 
visited most of those places and, remembering her descrip- 
tions, I fountl she was correct. 

But the finest thing about her was her imagination. 
She was of a romantic turn of mind and saw everj'thing 
with a sort of glorified vision. The mountains, the forests, 
the canyons, the rivers, the clouds, the desert, were for 
her eyes a continual feast, and she never tired of looking at 
them. Many a time, in talking of these things she would 

OF P A R A i:) I S E \' A L L E Y 141 

seem io forget everj'thing else in her enthusiasm. She 
would try to get me to see the beauties of Nature, as she 
saw them. But I guess I was a dull subject, for I had 
been used to those things so long that they didn't impress 
me much. 

But her earnestness and her charming manner did 
impress me greatly. No one could have li-stened to her 
very long without catching something of her enthusiasm. 
I never forgot the tones of her voice and her manner of 
speaking; and many of her descriptions, which I but 
vaguely understood at the time, remain ^\ith me yet. In 
IK)ndering over them since, in connection with my own 
observations and experiences, I think something of their 
true meaning ha.s dawned upon me, the meaning she 

I remember one time in particular, when we were 
standing on the shoulder of a big mountain and watching 
the dawn come up on the great snow-covered peaLs 
around us. How magnificent it seemed to her, and how 
earnestly and reverently she talked of it: the morning 
sunlight gilding the mountain-tops and transforming 
them into immense shafts of shining silver; the whirling 
mists in the canyon below us, like an enormous cauldron 
bubbling; the roaring cataract across the way, plunging 
hundreds of feet below, and pausing only to gather itself 
together for another leap; and al)Ove, the silent stars dis- 
appearing one by one in the unfathomable blue. 

Another time, as night w;ih coming on, the great 
desert stretching before us gradually become slate-colored, 
;ind the sage brush turned olive green in the twilight. 
The mountain ranges miles away seemed to change their 


form, and to withdraw behind a pink and purple veil. 
There was perfect silence — the silence that only the desert 
knows. It was all so solemn that we felt as if Nature were 
performing some sacred ceremony for our benefit. It 
made a great impression on the girl, and she never spoke 
of it afterwards except in tones of awe. 

But most of all she talked of the wonderful and ever- 
changing colors that invest the mountains and the plains 
and the desert of the Great Southwest. Millions of acres 
of flowers — pink, purple, violet, red, blue, j-^ellow, green, 
and in every conceivable combination and shade. Beyond, 
great mountain ridges, painted in all the gorgeous colors 
of the rainbow. And everj^'here and all-enveloping, the 
marvelously tinted atmosphere, always changing yet 
always resplendent, clothing everything in a garment of 
mysterious beauty. 

I have often wished that I could remember and set 
down in words — her words — all that she used to express 
in her delight over these things. 

It was the last week in August when Mrs. Johnson 
armounced that she and her daughter must return home. 
This was sad news for me, for it meant that our pleasant 
excursions were over. It meant that my very agreeable 
job of being an escort to a very agreeable young lady was 
ended, and that I must go back to work. I accompanied 
them as far as Trinidad and saw them safely on the train. 

But there was one consolation. For some reason I 
have never understood to this day, Miss May asked me 
if I would not write to her occasionally, and keep her 
posted as to how things were going on at the ranch. Of 
course, this implied that she would also write to me occa- 

V PARADISE \' A L L E Y 143 

sionally, and the reader is entitled to one guess as to 
whether 1 agreed to the arrangement. We exchanged 
letters for several months, and I enjoyed hers exceedingly, 
for she wrote very much as she talked. 

Suddenly her letters ceased, and I wondered if I had 
olTended her in any way. Then I learned from Mrs. 
Howard that she was sick, very sick. In her delirium, so 
her mother wrote, she talked almost incessantly of the 
ranch and her experiences there. She talked of the people, 
the ponies and the cattle; but most of all of the scenery, 
the wonderful beauties of the mountains and canyons 
and deserts and plains. She seemed to be living over 
again her vacation days ^^^th us. 

One night a pony express rider came to the Pool ranch, 
with a telegram addressed to me. It contained just one 
word: "COME." 

I got to the station next morning, just in time to 
flag the Cannon Ball train, having ridden Buck a hundred 
miles in twelve hours. 

When I arrived at the Johnson liome the blinds were 
drawn, and there was crape on the door. Miss May had 
passed over the Great Divide and into the peaceful 
unknown valley beyond. 




Less than a day's ride from the Diamond Arrow ranch 
was another one, owned, or supposed to be o^Yned, by a 
man named Dave Pool. To this ranch we went, Sam 
Hyde and I, after Mr. Howard paid us off that fall. We 
hired to Pool, though Sam did not stay very long. As 
soon as the bad weather set in he went back East for the 

Now Pool had a history behind him ; interesting, but 
not very savory. He first saw the light of day in Lafayette 
County, Missouri, not far from Kansas Cit}'. He was just 
a young fellow when the Civil War broke out, rather wild 
in his tendencies, and with a taste for adventure. Guerilla 
warfare appealed to him as a fine field for the exercise of 
his talents, so he enlisted under the black flag of Quantrel, 
and rode with the command of that noted bandit and 
freebooter from 1861 to 1865. His comrades were as 
reckless a bunch of bushwhackers as were ever assembled, 
including such men as the James Boys, the Younger 
Brothers, and four or five hundred others of that class of 
young fellows whose names are now forgotten. 

Pool was an active and rather imi)nrtant member of 
the band. He commanded the advance guard at the 


massacre at Baxter Si)rings, Kansas, and took part in the 
l)urning and sacking of Lawrence wlien nearly two hun- 
dred houses were destroyed and one hundred and forty of 
the two thousand inhabitants were shot to death. 

Quantrel met his inglorious death about the time 
the war closed, and the surviving members of his band 
scattered to the four winds. They were not very well 
suited to the ways of civilization by nature, and four years 
of rough-riding had not improved them any in this respect. 
Some of them, like the James Boys, turned their attention 
to other forms of activity, and succeeded in attaining a 
considerable degree of fame. 

Pool did not care to go back to the humdrum life of 
the little Missouri town; anyway he felt that it would be 
advisable to take up the thread of life again in some 
distant part, where he would not be bothered by inquiring 
friends — and others. This picturesque and secluded spot 
seemed to answer the purpose very well, and here he 

Those who were acquainted with Pool back in Mis- 
souri were quite surprised when the\' heard that he had 
embarked in the ranching business; for they knew very 
well that he did not have money enough to buy a good 
horse, let alone a ranch. Yet he managed in some way 
to establish this ranch and stock it up with thousands of 
cattle and horses; and, it is said, that when he sold out 
some years later it wjis for nearly a million dollars. 

I got along very well with Mr. Pool. He always 
treated me right and I tried to give him good service for 
t lie wages lie paid me. I often wondered to myself where 
all the money came from to carry on such big ranching 


operations, but it was really none of my business and I 
made no inquiries. 

One day along toward Spring a young man rode up 
to the ranch looking for work. He was a rather good looking 
chap, more like a tenderfoot than a cowboy. He was a 
good horseman, however, and appeared to know a good 
deal about handling cattle. We found out afterwards that 
he did. 

Pool told the young man it was too early in the season 
to put on extra hands, but if he cared to stick around for 
two or three weeks, he might then put him to work. This 
seemed agreeable to the young man, and he stayed. Every 
morning, though, he would mount his pony and be gone 
all day, returning in the evening about dusk. This excited 
our curiosity, but when questioned, he always said he was 
just seeing the country and getting the lay of the land. 
We discovered later that this was quite true. One morning 
after he had been there about a week we missed hun. We 
also missed a bunch of cattle and horses. From the best 
we could make out, he and they had gone off together 

On the same day the pleasant young man disappeared, 
six well-mounted and well-armed men rode up to the ranch 
headquarters. As I was the only man around the place 
at the time, it was up to me to act as host to the visitors, 
or at least as a reception committee. 

They wanted to know where Pool was. I told them 
he had gone to Trinidad for supplies, but would return 
the next day. One of them inquired if I was not Bill 
Jones. ** Yes," I replied "I am Jones." 

They stabled and fed their horses, and then we all 
went into the house. While I was putting something on 


the table for thorn to eat, one of them wanted to know 
if I could rememlxT ever Imving seen any of tliem before. 
As I could not, he proceeded to introduce them to me — 
Frank James, Jesse James, Cole Younger, Bill Gregg, Ike 
and George Berry. 

Probably the reader can imagine something of the 
effect this had on me. I certainly was not expecting such 
distinguished company, and could hardly have been more 
astonished had it been the President of the United States 
and his cabinet. 

But they had another surprise in store for me. After 
asking me a lot of questions about myself, the ranch, and 
the other men, they coolly informed me that they were the 
chief proprietors of the ranch, and that Pool, though the 
manager, really owned but a small part of it. It seems 
tlioy had furnished him the money with which to buy the 
ranch and stock it up. They asked me if I had not noticed 
that large consignments of cattle and horses were always 
received at the ranch shortly after a big train or bank 

Pool returned the next day and there was a high old 
time of hand-shaking and so-forth — especially so-forth. 

A day or two later the foreman reported the dis- 
app)earance of the stock, and the aimouncement created 
quite a stir. By this time the robbers had a fine start, and 
it was necessary to get on their trail without any urmeces- 
sary delay. 

Were Pool and his partners mad? I think they were. 
Any way I got that impression from their remarks. If 
I w<re to set down their language here it might bum holes 
in Ihe paper. 


But their indignation certainly was justified. I never 
saw a more flagrant case of outraged virtue. Bill Gregg 
said a man certainly had his nerve with him who would 
dare to hold up and rob the James Boys and the Younger 
Brothers. I thought so, too, and said as much. 

Of course the stock must be recovered and the 
dastardly thieves punished. If they were allowed to go 
free and escape with their booty, it would be almost like 
compounding a felony; besides, they would feel encour- 
aged to go on in their wicked ways and commit farther 
crimes against other innocent and law-abiding people. I 
admired the righteous indignation of the outraged ranch 
cwTiers very much. 

We started after the thieves the next morning. The 
pursuing outfit consisted of a chuckwagon with four mules 
to pull it, a cook, the six indignant ranch owners, and five 
cowboys, including myself. I was taken along as pilot, as 
I knew more about the Texas Panhandle and No Man's 
Land than any of the others. It was altogether probable that 
the band had made for the Pecos River country, a vast 
and little known country at that time, and the paradise 
of cattle thieves. 

It made me feel very proud to think that I was in 
charge of such a band of veteran bandits and mankillers; 
it was enough to make any man swell up with importance. 

As we jogged along, I improved the time by laying 
plans for my part in the battle that was sure to take place, 
if we overtook the robbers. Some one was almost sure to 
get hurt, and I felt that it would be hardly fair to the rest 
of the party for the pilot to be exposed to danger. If he 
should be killed there would be no one left to guide the 


party back to the ranch. I felt a headache coming on 
already apd it would be pretty sure to last several days — 
till the battle was over, at least. But it would not prevent 
my helping the cook while the battle was going on, and I 
could share in the glor>', by helping to have a good dinner 
reaily for the veterans when they returned from the 

The second da\' out we met some cowboys who told 
us that one William Bonncy had been in that part of the 
country recently, stealing evcr^'thing that could be driven 
away on foot. This news made everj-one in our outfit sit 
up and take notice; for William was none other than 
"Billy the Kid,'' known all over the Southwest as one of 
the most daring and desperate outlaws that ever lived. 

I almost fainted when they described him, for I 
realized at once that he was the smooth young person who 
had been with us so recently. It made me sick to think 
how nice and kind I had been to him. I had even tried 
to persuade him to give up trying to be a cowboy and 
return to his poor old mother. 

So this was the party who had dared to tackle the 
ranch o\\Tiers at their own game They were now more 
determined than ever to capture or kill him, and thus rid 
the country of one of the most dangerous enemies of law 
and order. 

We trailed Billy and his band for a week, and finally 
came upon them about noon one day, just as they were 
sitting down to dinner. There were ten of them, and they 
were camped in a rocky canyon, covered ^^^th cedar trees. 

Having located them, I tried to turn the job of 
capturing them over to the others. My headache was no 


better and I did not feel equal to the occasion anyway. 
Besides, I had not lost any stock. I offered my services to 
the cook; but that unfeeling person told me in unscriptural 
language that he was not needing any help just then, and 
advised me to run along with the others and help get the 
outlaws. Still I hesitated. Suppose some of them should 
shoot me in the foot; then my reputation as a jack rabbit 
catcher would be spoiled. Or suppose they would shoot 
me in the excitement; then my beauty would disappear, 
and the rest of the men would get lost and starve to death. 
There were a lot of things to think of, and I thought of 
them. But I had to go just the same. 

The outlaws were not yet aware that visitors were 
approaching. LTnfortunately we had not thought to bring 
our visiting cards with us, and our presence would have 
to be announced in some other way. 

Frank James took charge of the ceremonies. There 
was no time to get out a printed program of the order of 
exercises, so we received our instructions orally. We were 
to surround the bunch, as they sat at dinner, and all fire 
at once at a given signal. This was the safest plan for us> 
and we could tell afterwards from the corpses whether 
they were the men we wanted or not. 

When the signal was given, eleven Winchesters sent 
as many bullets into the croAvd. Four of the outlaws fell 
dead; the rest escaped among the rocks and, using these 
as a barricade, they began sending return messages. 

It was a battle royal all that afternoon. The outlaws 
could not escape from the canyon without exposing them- 
selves to certain death; and if any of our hats needed 


ventilating, wc coukl stick them up anywhere and the job 
would be done with neatness and dispatch. 

About sundown some one called out to the Kid to 
know if they would surrender. In reply he asked if we 
had ever heard of Billy the Kid surrendering to anybody. 

We ourselves were somewhat scattered, but we could 
not very well hold a reunion without shortening our roll- 
call. We knew that some of them would escape when 
darkness came on, but all we could do was to keep a sharp 
lookout and shoot whenever an opportunity offered. We 
got one more about bed-time; that left five. Shortly 
afterward they all made a break for liberty or death. It 
was death for three; liberty for two. Billy was one of 
the two. 

Although Billy the Kid escaped our clutches, he did 
not live to a ripe old age. Ilis ambitious career was 
nipped in the bud some time after this by an unromantic 
sheriff, Pat Garrett of Las Cruces, N. M., who was after- 
wards shot to death by a kid less than twenty years old. 
The sheriff had sent word to Billy that the world was too 
small to hold both of them, and that one or the other 
would have to get off. Talk like this was right in Billy's 
line, and he cordially as.sented to the arrangement. But 
when they met Billy's mind was not on his work, just as 
it should have been, and the sheriff outlived him several 

There is no telling to what heights of eminence Billy 
the Kid might have reached had his life been spared. He 
waa only twenty-three when he died, with a prospect of 
many years of usefulness before him. But he accomplished 
much even at that tender age. Committing his first mur- 


der at fourteen, he liad twenty-three kihngs to his credit — 
an average of one a year for his busy Ufe Considering 
that he got rather a late start, he did very well, and his 
later years were unusually active. 

It was just three weeks from the time we left the 
ranch till we got back We felt that we had done very 
well in thus ridding the country of eight or nine dangerous 

I probably am the only man that worked at the Pool 
ranch who ever knew that the James Boys and the 
Younger Brothers owned an interest in the ranch. 





In the Summer of 18S- I was visiting in Dodge. I 
always liked to stop in Dodge, because the phice suited 
me to a T. At that time it was such a nice little place. 
Before a man could get halfway down the main street, he 
could have some trouble. There were lots of men who 
would not wait to see if you were looking for excitement 
of any kind, for they were hunting for a little fun them- 

A would-be bad man drifted into Dodge one day from 
Crooked Creek, and he was looking for trouble and lots 
of it. He found just what he was looking for while he was 
in a saloon, taking a few to keep his nerves steady and his 
blood warmed up. He wanted to play a game of scvon-up. 
Seven-up was too slow a game for most men in Dodge at 
that time. Faro and draw poker were two favorite games ; 
but Monte, "Mexican Monte" they called it, because it 
was played with Spanish or Mexican cards, different from 
ours, wius the old stand-by. I have seen more money 
piled upon the gambling tables than you could get into a 
two-bushel gunny sack, and it was there for everj'body 
If you happened to have a little cash yourself, the required 


amount of nerve, and a pair of 45's under your coat-tail, 
you could just walk right up and help yourself. One time 
I saw a cow-man walk into the Long Branch Saloon, lay 
the price of five thousand fat steers down on the table and 
lose it in five minutes. The dealer bought him a drink. 
Then he laughed and said it was all right, as he would have 
five thousand more fat steers in Dodge in about thirty 
days. They were already coming up the trail from way 
down in Texas. 

That would-be bad man from Crooked Creek — barn- 
yard savages we sometunes called such men — went up to 
a man that looked easy, slapped him on the shoulder and 
offered to l)et him a dollar that he could beat him the first 
game of scven-up. 

"All right," said the man, " I am not much of a seven- 
up player, but I am one of the most accommodating men 
you ever saw.'* The man happened to be "Mysterious 
Dave," Marshal of Dodge, one of the quickest and best 
shots that ever drifted into that " Little Hallelujah Town." 

Mj'sterious Dave had a "rep "as being a very, very 
bad man. I have heard it said that in addition to his 
duties as Marshal of Dodge City, he had a commission 
from St. Peter as an Angel-maker. Whenever a man 
gets too handy with his gun, thus becomes a nuisance, 
someone has to take a shot at him, not for what he has 
done, but for what he might do. "Mysterious Dave" 
was a Killer of Killers, and it is an actual fact that he 
killed seven in one night, in one house, at one stand. 

The City Marshal of Dodge at that time did not 
wear a bright shiny blue coat with a gallon of big brass 
buttons on it, or even a star as big as the top of a bushel 


basket nor did he carry a hoe handle to poke hoboes out of 
barrels, dther. About the only thing he carried was a 
short barreled Colt's Forty-five, with plenty of nerve and 
know-how to use it. *' Mysterious Dave" sat down at a 
card table, with his back to the window — something that 
he was not in the hal)it of doing. That time it was all 
right and all wTong. The bad man sat down on the opposite 
side. The cards were dealt and the game started. Just 
how it happened, "Mysterious Dave" could not tell. 
When Mr. Bad-man pulled the trigger, Dave threw uj) 
bis chin. The bullet from a little twenty-two struck him 
square in the forehead, glanced up and plowed a hole 
between his skull and skin and lodged in the back of his hat. 
Before the bad man could shoot again " Mysterious Dave's 
gun went off. The bullet went through the bad man, 
struck the stove, went through it, and killed one of Jim 
Kelly's dogs that happened to be in the back end of the 
saloon. There was quite a crowd in the saloon, and the 
bullet that killed the dog missed me just forty feet. I 
measured the distance the next day With a fish pole. 

Such little things as that happened so often in Dodge 
that nothing was said about it until some one found the 
dead dog in the other end of the saloon Kclloy had only a 
hundred dogs that he kept to jack rabbits, antelope, 
and coyotes. Certain men sometimes called him "Dog 
Kelley," but that wa.s only when they were out in the sand 
hills ten miles from Dodge, and alone. Someone slipped 
out and told Kelley that "Mysterious Dave" had killed 
one of his favorite dogs. Without stopping to any 
questions as to how it happened, he grabbed up his old 
sawed-off shot-g\m and started to hunt up the man that 

156 B I L L J N E S 

had the nerve to do such a thing. Wlien he reached the 
place where it happened, ''Mysterious Dave" had gone 
out to get his head fixed up. The men in the saloon told 
Kelley it was an accident, and was done without malice 
aforethought. Kelley would not listen to anything. He 
even said "Mysterious Dave" had no business shooting 
his gun off without first looking to see if there were any 
dogs of his in the saloon. He went up and looked at the 
corpse, swore a few swears, and said he would bury 
that dog with military honors next day; and if th^re was a 
man in the town who did not attend the funeral he would 
hunt him up with that old sawed-off shot-gun. 

Then someone sent for 0. B. Joyful Brown, the coroner, 
to hold an inquest on the dead dog. A jury was impaneled 
and several wtnesses swore that the dog had no business 
in a saloon any way; she ought to have been out chasing 
jack rabbits, or at least she should have had one eye on 
"Mysterious Dave," as Dave's gun would sometimes go 
off unexpected. Other witnesses swore that Dave's gun 
hung fire, and if the dog had been on her guard she could 
have jumped out of the window. The jury brought in a 
verdict that the dog they were now sitting on came to her 
death by a bullet fired from a gun in the hands of Dave 
Mathews, better kno\\Ti as "Mysterious Dave," Marshal 
of Dodge City, Kansas, and that the shooting was done 
in self-defense and was perfectly justified, as the dog had 
no business going to sleep in a booze house in Dodge City. 
Signed : — 

James Dalton, Capitalist, Foreman, 

KiNCH Riley, Promoter, 

Bobby Gill, Merchant, 


Chas. Ronan, Speculator, 
John Galleger, Bone Dealer, 
Ned Glubupson, Inspector. 

A number of the leading business men met that 
evening and made arrangements to give the dog the 
SM'ellest funeral that ever happened in the town. Next 
day the funeral cortege was headed by Dodge City's 
famous §50,000,000 cowboy band, a squad of mounted 
police, and fire companies. They had no hearse in Dodge 
City at that time, so they rigged up a dray and it was a 
dandy all right. Someone got Kolley's old white horse, 
hung a few jack rabbits and a coyote across the saddle, 
and little Willie led him behind the dray. Tlie Mayor 
dechired a holiday so there would be no excuse for not 
attending the funeral. Everybody went except "Mysteri- 
ous Dave;" the doctor said it would be dangerous for him 
to go. It might spoil the fun, so Kelley excused him for 
the time. 

When the funeral cortege arrived on Boothill, and 
the box was deposited by the open grave, "I think," said 
the coroner, "that before we go any farther some brother 
ought to say a good word for the departed." 

Some son of a gun took off his hat and said, "Miss 
Flora could catch any jack rabbit on the plaiiLs." Another 
man said, "There was not a coyote in the sage brush that 
she could not catch in a half-hour." Another took off his 
hat and tried to say a good word, when his voice became 
husky and the tears flowed from his eyes. 

"Will some gentleman give us the Lord's Praj'er," 
said the coroner. Every hat in the crowd canio off in a 
hurry. Every man in the crowd looked toward the river 

158 B I L L J O N E S 

while the box was being lowered to its final resting place. 

Someone got an old gun and stuck it up for a head-board. 

"Let's give her the Cowboy's Lament," and they 

sang the song as only a lot of men and boys could sing it: 

"Once in the saddle I used to go dashing, 
Once in the saddle I used to go gay. 

F'irst took to drinking and then to card playing, 
Got shot in the neck and now here I lay. 

*'Beat the drum slowly, play the fife lowly, 

Play the Dead March as you bear me along. 

Take me to Boothill and throw the dirt over me 

I'm but a poor Cowboy, I know I done wrong." 

Next day "Mysterious Dave" was out on the street, 
so was Kelley; but somehow or other they failed to meet. 
About a week after the funeral Tom DLxon, a friend of 
Kelley's, took a shot at "Mysterious Dave," and the bullet 
took off one of his fingers; but he did not notice it anrl. 
when he went to take a drink, someone saw the blood when 
it dropped on the bar and remarked : 

"What's the matter, Dave? Did he hit you?" 
Then he looked at his bloodj' finger, with the remark: 
"Don't that beat the Jews? That's enough to make 
any man mad." 

Not long afterwards " Mj'^sterious Dave" and Tom 
Nixon met and shortly afterward there was another 
funeral in town. "Mysterious Dave" was arrested, took 
a change of venue to Kinsley, in Edwards County, where 
he was acquitted. 

() |- 1' A II A I) 1 s 1-: \ A I. L i: V ir.<) 

KiO ]i ILL .1 () X KS 

"Wliat lu'cniiu' of the had man who starttMl tlic row?" 

"Oil! soniolK)(ly took him out to Bootliill and phintod 
him along with the other five hundred that died in Dodge 
City with their hoots on. If you don't believe there were 
five hundred, you can write to the Mayor, enclosing the 
usual amount of jioslage, and he will give you the exact 

It has been said that Dodge was Hell, but I know 
better. I knew several ]\Iethodists, Presbyterians, Bap- 
tists, and the usual number of sky-pilots for that sized 
town, and if that was a fact, what were they doing in 
Dodge? I always make it a point when 1 stop in a new 
town, if there is no place else to go, to visit the churches. 

One summer, while I was loafing up and down the 
I. & O. N. R. R. in cast Texas, I stopped awhile in New 
Waverly. If there was anywhere else to go except to church 
in that toA\n I failed to find it. So to church I went one 
fine Sunday. When I went in and sat down everyone 
got up and took a good look at Willie, and I heard one 
of the deacons say — and he said it loud enough for every- 
body in the church to hear — " I wonder where that d 

Dutchman came from?'' 





Driving a herd of longhorns up the old Chisholm 
trail from somewhere in Texas to somewhere in Kansas, 
in the olden days, was full of adventure and of thrilling 
experiences. The first man who made the journey and 
blazed the trail over which hundreds of thousands of cattle 
afterward tramped their way to northern markets or to 
other ranges in the North and West, accomplished a feat 
of daring which required ner\'c of the first order and the 
finest quality. 

It was a half-breed Indian who made that first trip, 
and his name was Jesse Chisholm. He drove and 
cattle to the western parts of the Indian nations as early 
as 1840, long before any one from civilization dared 
venture into that countr>'. It was a profitable business for 
him, for he bought horses and cattle of the lower plains 
Indians at ridiculously low prices, they being able to 
"cut rates" because they stole the stock themselves. 


To round up a herd of 1,500 or more cattle, drive 
them several hundred miles, and market them successfully, 
was a job that required abundance of both nerve and skill. 
None but brave, stout-hearted men would attempt it. 

The cowboys, like the rich cattle kings and the great 
cattle ranges, are things of the past. Nevertheless the 
cowboy will always live in story and romance Seated 
upon his sturdy little pony, he did a very important work 
in the settlement of the great West. It is thus that he is 
embodied in the minds of the people; and as long as the 
moving-picture business holds out you will be able to 
see him and his sister, the cowgirl, upon the screen. 
Thousands have watched him perform his remarkable 
feats here, and wondered if such things could be done by 
mortal man. Marvelous indeed are some of his per- 
formances in the "movies," requiring unbounded nerve, 
a keen eye, and excellent judgment as when to act. 
While in a measure many of these representations are 
true the cowboj^ on the screen is as different from the 
cowboy in actual life as a lion in his native jungle is differ- 
ent from a caged one in a Zoo. 

It is the real cowboy of forty years ago that I am 
trying to depict The typical cowboy of that day was an 
almost perfect specimen of physical manhood. His life 
in the open air was conducive to health, and the hardships 
and privations he endured only toughened his muscles 
and strengthened his lungs. He slept on the ground, rolled 
up in his blanket, using his saddle for a pillow. His six- 
shooter was always at hand, ready for instant use in case 
of sudden attack by wild animals or by cowardly and 
treacherous Indians or Mexicans. 


The cowboy and his horse were inseparable com- 
panions. ' Apart from the other, neither was of any use in 
the cattle business. In fact, the tough little broncho was 
almost as important to the cattle industry as was its rider. 
It never knew anj-thing but hardship. Even after the 
hardest ride no blanket ever covered it. No matter how 
wild the weather when camp was struck it had to hustle 
for itself. Unless it could find a shelter for itself it went 
without. But it was tougher than a steer, and had more 
sense. Often where cattle would be starving to death the 
bronchos would paw down through the snow and find food. 

In one way at least, though, the cowboy expressed his 
high appreciation of his mount. The horsethief was the 
most hated and despised criminal in the country. No 
punishment was too swift or too severe for him. He knew 
better than to ask for mercy, and none was given. 

Next in importance came the saddle. A cowboy was 
ver}' particular in selecting his saddle, and once suited 
nothing would induce him to part with it. There has 
been a change, however, in the style of saddles. The old 
time cowboy saddle had a horn on it as big around as the 
end of a salt barrel, while the stirrups were a foot wide 
and covered with strips of leather that reached to the 
ground. Wlicn I quit the business the saddle-horn stuck 
up about like a sore thumb, and the ox-bow stirrups had 
narrowed down to two inches, with no leather strips at all. 
A go<jd saddle used to cost from S40 to $100. To sell 
one's saddle was a sign of poverty. 

The cowboy always carried the latest model of a 
six-shooter and, as stated before, it was always within 
easy reach. In addition to liis six-shooter he usually car- 


ried a Winchester rifle for a saddle gun, and often had a 
butcher knife in his belt. 

The rest of his outfit consists of a slicker, or heavy- 
raincoat; chaps, or leather leggings, a big, wide-brimmed 
hat, usually white or near-white; boots, spurs, gloves, 
and quirt, or riding-whip. The spurs were often gold or 
nickel-plated, and costly. He wanted his boots to be 
close-fitting, almost too tight to be comfortable. He was 
very particular about his boots, his hat and his gloves; 
but inclined to be careless about the rest of his clothes. 
The fashions did not change much, but when he reached a 
new shipping point he was likely to throw away his outfit 
and buy a new one. 

Thus accoutered, the American cowboy was a pic- 
turesque and an imposing figure, and beyond doubt he 
was the finest horseman the world has yet produced. The 
real, genuine cowboy, however, was not nearly as spectac- 
ular as he is represented in Wild West shows and in moving 
picture shows. 

From the above description the reader must not con- 
clude that the cowboj'S were a bunch of rough-necks, or 
desperadoes, as some WTiters of cowboy stories would 
have us believe. As a class, they are kind-hearted, gen- 
erous, sympathetic, ready to give up anytliing, even life 
itself, to help a friend who is in trouble. The best friends 
I ever had belonged to this class. I never saw a man 
harmed by a cowboy who did not deserve it. So long as 
you behaved yourself you were as safe with a bunch of 
cowboys as with any people on earth. I have seen women 
and girls roll up in blankets and sleep as soundly and as 
safely on the ground in cow camps as they would in the 


best hotel or home in the land Tlie unwritten law of the 
Middle West at that time w;i3 never to steal a cowboy's 
horse or 'make sligiiting remarks about his lady friends. 
If you did either you might as well prepare to pass in 
your checks. 

''Grim, taciturn, hardworking, resourceful, faithful," 
says one writer, " it was the cowboy of the range who made 
the mainstay of the cattle industry. Without him there 
never could have been any cattle industry." And this 
is true. 

The cowboy always liked to pose as a "bad man" for 
the benefit of the tenderfoot. He always had a iierve- 
WTCcking story to tell the tenderfoot about the dangers 
and hardships he would have to pass through before he 
could become a real, sure-enough cowboy. He would 
advise the tenderfoot that if he had any doubts about his 
nerve staying with him on such dangerous occasions, he 
would better quit right now and go back home, while the 
quitting and going were good. Very often the timid 
tenderfoot would take the advice at the first opportunity, 
and have some wonderful stories to tell his friends when 
he reached home — how they would shoot a tenderfoot's 
hat full of holes, or shoot at the ground all around his feet, 
to see how near they could come to them without touching 
them. In fact, the cowboy's reputation, back East, for 
rf'cklessness was largely due to these marvelous stories 
told by returned tenderfeet. 

However, the cowboy was never lacking in true 
bravery. No coward could qualify; at any rate until he 
had overcome his cowardice, and not very many did that. 
That is the reason the West was filled up with a class of 


men who diil not know what fear was. This is the reason 
also why the tenderhearted boys did not remain in the 
West very long. 

The cowboy's reputation for fearlessness had a whole- 
some effect in several ways, and sometimes it was an im- 
portant factor in preserving peace. A few years ago, go 
anywhere you would in Old Mexico, and the Mexicans 
would tell you that if it were not for the Texas cowboys 
they could whip the United States in six months The 
great difficulty was, they could not get at the United 
States without going through Texas, and the pesky Texas 
cowboys would clean them out before they could get to 
the real seat of war. 

Some of the Indian tribes of the Southwest had the 
same notion. A story is told of an Indian chief who went 
to the commanding officer of one of the forts and wanted 
to buy or borrow a cannon. ''What do you want with a 
cannon?" inquired the officer, "to shoot soldiers?" "In- 
dian no shoot soldier with cannon," replied the chief, 
"shoot cowboy with cannon. Kill soldiers with club." 

The old-time cowboys, or cattlemen, were a class 
of pioneers we ought to be proud of. They were the men 
w^ho went ahead and removed the obstacles that retarded 
the new civilization. Great credit is due these pioneers 
who killed off the buffaloes, the bad white men and the 
wild Indian, thus making it possible for the white man to 
come in and open up farms and build towns and cities 
with their groat industrial enterprises. Time has brought 
wonderful changes since the days of the old cattle trail* 
and what was once a great wilderness, stretching from the 
Rio Grande on the south to Canada on the north, and 


from the Missouri River on the east to the Pacific Ocean 
on the wpst, has become a great empire of civiUzation. 
Let us give a kindly thought to the hundreds of pioneer 
men and boys who made tliis empire possible. Most of 
them have passed over the Great Divide and are sleeping 
the sleep that knows no waking on this earth. 

These, then, are the men who had charge of those 
great herds of cattle that tramped that long journey often 
extending from the Rio Grande clear to the Canadian 
line. It usually took from ten to twenty men to manage 
a herd while on its travels, the number depending on the 
size of the herd. Mounted on their wiry little mustang 
ponies, that seemed to be part and parcel of the rider, they 
would start out on that hazardous trip, often lasting from 
early spring till late in the fall, and usually stayed by the 
job till the end of the journey was reached. Very often 
the herd would change owners in Kansas, but the boys 
would hire to the new owners and go on. 

The herds varied greatly in size, of course. Sometimes 
there would be as many as 5,000 cattle in one bunch, or 
line rather, marching northward. Such large hertls were 
unusual, however, and perhaps 1,500 or 2,000 would be an 
average size. 

The trail led through all kinds of country, from the 
smooth, level prairie to the rough timbered hills, and over 
high mountains. Creeks and rivers must be forded, some- 
times swift and often swollen from recent rains. There 
was danger of losing some of the herd, and the problem 
was to make the loss as light as posvsible. No matter how 
stormy the night or how disagreeable the weather, the 
cowlx)y had to be on the job. 




A great deal {lepended on the skill and judgment of 
the foreman, and his was a position of great responsibility. 
The owner must have absolute confidence in him, for he 
was putting into his hands a great many thousand dollars' 
wortli of property. He must command the respect of the 
men under him, for without their obecUence and co-opera- 
tion he could not hope to take the herd through safely. 

Cattle, like men, have to become somewhat ac- 
quainted and used to one another, before they can work 
together harmoniously and successfully. Usually it takes 
from a week to ten days to break in a herd to the trail. 
Cattle are not of a very high order of intelligence, and it 
takes that long for them to find out what is expected of 
them. After they get fairly started, however, they fall 
into what we may call the regular habits of the trail and 
measure of the journey with something akin to machine- 
like precision. After they "get the habit" they will easily 
travel ten to fifteen miles a day without much urging. In 
a month or so they will learn so well what is expected of 
them that they will march with almost military precision, 
following certain recognized leaders. This fact of their 
being subject to a certain kind of discipline, one might 
almost say of self-government, is a great help to the cow- 
boys in their work on the trail. 

The question of food and water is of course a very 
important one on the trail. Cattle on the march need 
water more regularly than they do on the range, and it 
often taxes the ingenuity of the cowboys to the utmost to 
meet this need. Fresh air is always plentiful, and pastur- 
age of some sort can usually be had, unless the ground is 
covered with snow; but water, especially pure, fresh 


water, is always a luxury. Cattle can scent water several 
miles away, and when a herd makes a break for a water- 
hole, the boys go along with them — there is nothing else 
to do — and beat them to it if possible. If they are in the 
lead, they are usually able to secure a good supply of 
fresh water; but if the cattle get there first, the water they 
find is not very satisfactory, to say the least. There are 
few things more forlorn looking and more disappointing 
than a dried-up water hole — one of those places where water 
was once found, but is no longer. On the banks lie count- 
less skeletons of cattle that have come there in the mad 
hope to find water, only to be disappointed and lie down 
and die. Still more disappointing, for they are dangerous, 
too, are the waterless bogs. Sometimes on the horizon 
there float the strange pictures of the mirage, holding out 
false hopes of lakes and rivers of pure water. But the 
cowboys learned long ago that there is no water there; 
and fortunately for the cattle, they do not know a mirage 
when they see it — if they do see it. 

About sundown every evening the whole outfit would 
go into camp. After the cattle were stationed for the night 
and "bedded down," so to speak, the night would be di- 
vided into two watches ; half the boj^s going on guard till 
midnight, the others from midnight till morning. Ordi- 
narily the night duties were not heavy; the main thing 
was to keep awake and be ready to meet and handle any 
emergency that might arise. Above all things, the herd 
must be kept quiet if possible. Cattle on the trail always 
seem to be better contented when they know the boys 
are around. They know that, although they are their 
masters, the boys are also their friends. There is nothing 


that tends more to koop a herd of eattle on the trail quiet 
at night -than the wliistling or the singing of the cowboys. 
They seem to regard it as a token that they are being 
protected and that all is well. 

A stampede at night is periuipa the one thing most 
dreaded by cowboys on the trail. It is always attended 
with more or less danger to life and limb, and there is 
always the possibility of great financial loss. The worst 
of it is, stampedes are most likely to occur on dark and 
stormy nights, and the more disagreeabe the weather the 
greater the likelihood of a stampede. At the first alarm 
every man, whether on night duty or not, must turn out 
instantly and help round up the cattle again. A stampede 
in the dark is a wild scene, or would be if one could see it. 
Hundreds of cattle rushing here and there and trying to 
escape from some unknown danger. Cowboys on their 
ponies rushing after them, trying to bring them back and 
quiet them. In stormy weather, thunder and lightning 
would add their quota to the pandemonium. In the dark- 
ness it was almost impossible for the boys to work in 
concert, yet they would do so, after a fashion, and it is 
really wonderful how much they could do in a short time 
in stopping a stampede and quieting the cattle. But it 
was dangerous business. Sometimes a pony would step 
into a prairie dog or badger hole, and down would go pony 
and man, both in immediate danger of being trampled to 
death. If the pony should be crippled the cowboy was 
up against it ; for a cowboy without a horse is like a steam 
engine without water. 

Often a mere trifle will cause every steer in the herd 
to jump to his feet and go on a stampede. Sometimes a 


coj'ote or other wild animal will cause the trouble. Fre- 
quently, in the Lidian country, an Indian would slip in 
among the herd, grunt a few times and wave his blanket, 
when up the cattle would jump and start off at a break- 
neck speed. Then after the herd had moved on the noble 
red man would come back and appropriate any animals 
that might have been killed in the stampede. 

Another thing, dreaded even more than a stampede, 
though not of so frequent occurence, was the danger of 
being caught in a blizzard. Ponies will worry through 
almost any kind of weather, but not so with cattle. When 
a blizzard comes on, they huddle together in helpless little 
bunches, in such poor shelter as they can find. They do 
not try to feed any longer, and simply give up the struggle 
against the terrible conditions. One by one they sink down 
in their tracks, and are soon lost in the oblivion of death. 

Only those who have experienced the terrors of a 
genuine blizzard can comprehend what it means and even 
then they cannot describe it in anything like adequate 
language. But it is an experience one is not likely to for- 
get, if he is fortunate enough to live through it. Of course, 
there are preliminary warnings, usually, and the weather- 
wise plainsman prepares for the oncoming blizzard — if 
he can. But the storm breaks with surprising suddenness. 
All at once the whole atmosphere becomes a whirling, 
seething mass of white, biting particles of icy snow that 
cut the skin like a set of sharp revolving knives. No living 
creature can face such an ordeal and live. Instinctively 
and from absolute necessity one turns his face down the 
wind, for breathing is impossible in any other position. 
Driven by the terrific onrushing blasts, the icy particles 


strike and sting like a thousand whips. The heaviest 
clothing. does not protect the body and soon it becomes 
thoroughly chilled, as though it were suddenly plunged 
into a bath of ice water. The air itself becomes freezing 
cold. The whole world seems blotted out of existence. 
The eye can see nothing with distinctness — only a glitter- 
ing whirl of dancing ice-particles, that strike at one like 
frenzied demons. All sense of direction is lost. The 
mountains, the hills, the ridges, the valleys, have all dis- 
appeared. Only at one's feet can he see a bit of earth, and 
he is not quite sure of that. There is a sensation as if the 
earth and sky and everything else had returned to a state 
of primeval chaos. The brain grows drowsy and a feeling 
of utter numbness creeps over the body. There is no more 
ambition, even to live. Under such conditions a man is 
no better off than the poor dumb cattle. Like them, he 
sinks in his tracks, and the merciless snow becomes his 
winding sheet. Many a poor fellow has thus entered upon 
his last sleep while in the grip of the blizzard, and they 
have found his whitening bones long after the storm has 
passed, mute but eloquent testimony to the power of 
Nature when she is in one of her hostile mootls. 

Usually, when one of the old-time cattlemen was 
killed on the trail, or died from natural causes, a grave 
was dug by the wayside, his body rolled up in a blanket 
and laid to rest as respectably and as tenderly as was 
possible under the difficult circumstances. Of course, 
there was little opportunity for religious services, but 
often there was a good deal of suppressed feeling on these 

"O bury me not on the Lone Prairie," 


was the first line of a song that I have heard sung thousands 
of times by cowboys in camp and on the trail. I do not 
remember the rest of the words. 

In former days it was the custom for each man to 
furnish his own blankets to sleep in w^hile on the trail, and 
when ready to retire he could have his choice of sleeping 
spots, and spread his bankets out on the prairie wherever 
it suited his fancy. A story is told of an old cow boss w^ho 
asked a new man if he had any blankets. "No," said the 
man. 'All right," said the boss, "you can sleep over 
there by the chuck-wagon." Then he asked another new- 
comer if he had any blankets. " No," said the man. "All 
right," said the boss, "you can sleep with that man over 
by the chuck-wagon." Then he turned to a third man and 
inquired if he had any blankets. "Yes," answered the 
man, "I have several good ones." "Very well," said the 
boss, "you can sleep w'ith me, as I have no blankets, and 
the nights are a little chilly." 

One is liable to meet with any and all kinds of expe- 
riences while on the trail with catth^ — some funny, some 
pathetic, and all interesting. One day when the herd was 
strung out over a mile in length, while I was in the lead, I 
came across a couple of boys, each about twelve years old, 
lying on the grass and apparently dead. They took no 
notice when I spoke to them, but I saw they were still alive. 
They were just about famished for water. We took them 
in hand, and when they revived somewhat and were able 
to talk, they told us that they lived at Jacksboro, Texas. 
They had been very anxious to become cow-boys, and as 
none of the bosses going up the trail would give them a 
job, they had run away from home and were making their 


way to Kansas. They expected to get jobs as cowboys 
there. They stayed with us till we got to Dodge, and I 
never saw or heard of them afterward. I have often won- 
dered what became of them. 

I once came across a cow boss who carried a pair of 
ivory-handled, gold-plated six-shooters. They were 
beauties, and the owner was very proud of them. That 
was before c^irtridges came into use, and these were of the 
cap-and-ball variety. The o^^'ner bragged a great deal 
about what he could do with these pistols. He said a man 
ought to consider it an honor to be killed by one of them. 
One day a tenderfoot came along and hired to him. Before 
the week was out the tenderfoot had taken his pistols 
away from him and beaten him almost to death with his 

Sometimes in going through an Indian country the 
Indians would demand several steers as compensation for 
allowing the cattle to cross their reservation. If the 
o-wner or the boss was a new man on the trail and unaccus- 
tomed to dealing with Indians, they, were likely to bluff 
him out of a few steers in this way. An old hand at the 
business, however, would very quickly and forcibly give 
them to understand there was nothing in that line. Usu- 
ally that would end the matter; though sometimes Mr. 
Indian might feel revengeful and slip in some dark night 
and stampede the herd. Or he might start a fight; but 
it would be at long range, for the Intlians do not care mucii 
for fighting at close quart(>rs unless they have every advan- 
tage. Sometimes when the boys were out rounding up 
the stampeded cattle the Indians woiild slip into camp 


and kill the cook. It was not safe to be caught out alone 
in the Indian country in those days. 

There were almost certain to be great doings when a 
cow oufit arrived at a to>vn. The cowboys enjoyed it, 
whether the people of the town did or not. After having 
been on the trail from two to six months, fighting Indians, 
sleeping outdoors in all sorts of weather, chasing stamped- 
ing cattle, sometimes going hungry for two or three days 
at a time, and often drinking water that would almost 
turn the stomach of a skunk, the boys could hardly be 
blamed for enjoying a change of program. It is useless 
to deny that they would often try to make the towas "dry" 
by drinking all the whiskey in it and that frequently they 
were a little too promiscuous in their shooting. On the 
other hand, many of the stories of their reckless per- 
formances were overdra^v^l. It is not fair to hold the cow- 
boys as a class responsible for the foolhardy and sometimes 
ridiculous things done by a reckless few. As a rule cow- 
boys are hot-tempered, swift to resent an insult, quick to 
pull their guns, and not at all slow about touching the 
trigger. And yet, considering the wild and hazardous 
lives they live, on the outskirts of civilization, where every 
man is a law unto himself, they are remarkably good- 
natured and kind-hearted. 

Most of the old-time cattlemen of thirty to fifty 
years ago have passed over the Great Divide and into the 
Great Unknown. By the end of another twenty-five 
years very few will be left to tell the story at first hand of 
the trials, the hardships, the dangers and the thrilling 
experiences which they encountered in this great western 
wilderness which now blossoms like a rose. The romantic 


has mostly disappeiiroil from tlie West, and where it once 
flourished'there sits the commonplace, far more comforta- 
lile but not half so interesting. The average ranchman of 
to-day is in fairly easy circumstances, does not go armed, 
and wears a nice business suit when he goes to to\ATi. If 
he has no automobile yet, he hopes to have one next year, 
though he may have to mortgage his ranch or sell off a 
part of his herd to do it. 

For myself, I look back upon those days ^^^th a good 
deal of pleasure and even of satisfaction. If I have scat- 
tered any sunshine, if I have been helpful to any man in 
trouble, I am very glad; and when I shall cross the Great 
Divide and step into the Great Unknown, I hope to be 
judged, not by what I have done, but by what I should 
like to have done, and would have done had it been 
possible for me to do it. 


By the Cowboy Poet Lariat. 
It was only a few short years ago 

When we were in our prime, 
When a bunch of us went up the trail 

To have a joll}' good time. 
It was hot July when we got to Dodge, 

That ^^^ckedest little town; 
And we started in to have some fun 

Just as the sun went down. 

We killed a few of the worst bad men 

For the jilcasure of seeing them kick; 
We rode right into a billiard hall, 


And I guess we raised Old Nick. 
The bartender left in wonderful haste, 

On that hot and sultry day; 
And he never came back to get his hat 

Until we were miles away. 

We went from Dodge to the town Caldwell, 

As we wished to prolong the fun; 
When the ^larshal there caught sight of us, 

You ought to have seen him run. 
We rode right into a big dance hall 

That opened upon the street; 
The music and dancing both were fine, 

And the girlies sure looked so sweet. 

We drank all the Caldwell whiskey, 

We ate everything in sight; 
We took in all the dances. 

And they say we had a fight. 
Charley Screingo was shot in the leg, 

Dick Smith was shot in the neck, 
Bill Jones was shot in the pocket. 

As also was Henry Peck. 

We found in the Indian country 
We must fight our way across, 

For the reds were on the warpath. 
Under Old Chief Crazy Hoss. 

When we landetl back in Texas, 
After a lonesome trip. 


We mot some Texan Rangers, 
And I guess we had to skip. 

We worked for King & Kennedy, 

We worked for Shanghi Pierce, 
We worked for the Slaugliter Brothers 

When they were at their worst. 
We worked on many another ranch, 

As we wandered to and fro, 
And hack and forth and up and doun, 

From Dodge to Mexico. 

Most of the boys have passed and gone, 

With whom we used to ride, 
Into the unknown \'alley of Peace, 

Just over the Great Divide. 
And when the final round-up comes, 

The count shall be fair and straight, 
As they enter the big corral above, 

Through the heavenly Golden Gate. 



"It sure is hell, boys," 

"What's eating on you anj'way, Jim?" 

"Have you heard about it?" 

"Heard about what?" 

"Big Jim, why don't you come out of the gloom and 
the sage brush and the soap weeds, and tell us what kind 
of a streak of bad luck you have been having? Did your 
best girl in Dodge give you the high sign of distress when 
you were there?" 

"No, boys, it was nothing like that; it was worse 
than you think it was." And Jim then had another fit 
of some kind. One of the boys got a gunny-sack for Jim 
to wipe away the tears that were flowing freely do^\'n his 
handsome face. "Honest to Grandma, Jim, you are 
giving us the shivers. It makes us all feel like you think 
that you do not have a friend left. If anybody held j'ou 
up, took your good name and tobacco away from you, 
stop crying long enough to tell us, and a bunch of braves 
under the leadership of one of our most trusted war chiefs 
will start after the rustlers at once, and will camp on their 
trail until the last one is run down and sent to that place 
where they won't hold up another coAvboy and take all 
the Bull Durham and cigarette papers a\Aay from him." 


Then Jim went to blubbering again, so loud that the 
rook quit his work and came over to see what the excite- 
ment was all about. 

"Now see here, Jim, if you don't quit your squalling 
and iicting like you were plum locoed, we will have to 
take you out on the prairie and tie j'ou to a shooting star 
or a she bear, until you will sit up and take notice that 
the suspense is becoming unbearable. Can't you see that 
most of the boys are getting ready to do something bad? 
Can't you see that some of the j'oung bucks are putting 
on their war bonnets, and getting ready to go on the war- 
path? If they make a break for Dodge, God help the 
Irish — the Dutch can take care of themselves." 

"Please do stop long enough to give us an idea of 
what happened to you on your trip to Dodge' 

"Boys, you know that those old grangers in Kansas 
had a law passed some time ago prohibiting the use of 
intoxicating liquors, and Bat ]\Lastcrson says he is going 
to see that it is enforced in Dodge. He has already had 
Webster, Bond, Warren and Atkinson arrested, and they 
are out on a bond right now. When I struck the Barton 
Jirotliers' range, one of their boys told me that I could 
not get a drop of red liquor in Cimarron, and he said you 
could not do any better in Dodge. 

"He told me that two of Bake Hungates's men had 
Ix'en bitten by a walarucus, and pond water would not 
Have them; so they passed away wondering wliat would 
U'come of the rest of the men who have to sleep on the 
ground aniong the rattlesnakes, centipedes and tarantulas. 

"He told me the only thing you could get to drink in 
])odgc was soda water, lemonade and root beer; that all 


the saloons were closed up and gone, and there were drug 
stores in the buildings where the saloons were, and all 
the drug stores had soda fountains in good working order. 

" I thought I would come back and let you boys know 
what bad times there were in Dodge, but concluded it 
was best to go on and see for myself. Maybe that fellow 
was locoed (crazy), and was giving me a lot of guff. 

"After I had crossed the river I stopped in Cimarron. 
About all I could find there was a lot of chewmg gum and 
candy. Just think or that — chewing gum for a man who 
was hungry and twenty miles from Dodge! It was a case 
of go on or starve, and I headed east. About three miles 
from Cimarron I found two boys who had climbed up a 
telegraph pole, and there were about fifty sheep standing 
under them. When I got close enough for the sheep to see 
me good, they looked me over, and when they saw I had 
on my old forty-five, they all commenced to blat, just 
like you know a sheep can. After the sheep left, the boys 
came down. As that was a new wrinkle to me I made 
inquiries of what was the matter. 

"They said that their boss would not let them carry 
guns, so when the sheep caught them unarmed they acted 
just like bad men. They had to make a run for a telegraph 
pole to keep the sheep from biting them, and I had come 
just in the nick of time to save them. Just think of that — 
two cowboys having to run from a few sheep to save them- 
selves! Is it any wonder that I have to shed tears?" And 
then Jim went to sobbing, like his heart would break. The 
rest of us were as quiet as an oyster. In a few minutes 
Jim went on A\'ith his story. 

" Boys, this is the story the two boys told me. They 


wore working on tho Allen ranch, about twenty miles 
south of Las Animas, Colorado, when the foreman posted 
the following notice on the bunk house: 

On and after this date, the carrj'ing of 
firearms is prohibited under the penalty 
of discharge. 

"Now let that soak in, will you? We sold our guns 
and the foreman gave us a combination hammer, staple- 
puller and a wire-stretcher, with orders to ride the line 
fences and repair them where they needed it. That night 
I reported to the foreman that the wire was down and 
the fence posts were broken off in a good many places. 
Tlie next morning he gave the two of us a spade, an ax, a 
post-hole digger, several pounds of wire fence staples, and 
40 pounds of barb wire, and told us to go fix the fence. 
He said we need not wear our chaps or spurs. He told 
us to leave our quirts; all we would need in that line was 
a willow switch, and a lantern in case it got dark before 
we finished. We gathered up that hardware store and 
started out line-riding. The first break we came to, Mr. 
Goodboy, that's my partner here, took the ax and went 
to the creek to get some posts, while I took the post-hole 
digger and dug the holes where the posts were broken off. 

"My partner got back about noon with a load of 
posts. Say, you ought to have seen that load of posts. 
He had al)out twenty, tied on the pony in various ways. 
Besides that, he had about twenty more tied to the pony's 


tail, and was dragging them on the ground. It was 
twelve o'clock that night when wc got to the ranch, noth- 
ing to eat or drink, hands all cut to pieces from handling 
that barb wire, and our clothing all cut to pieces. 

"The next morning we told the foreman that our 
nerves were all shot to pieces and we wanted our money. 

" 'Going to quit ? ' a.skcd the foreman. 

" *No, we quit last night about twelve.' 

"We got our money, and here we are. 

"Boys, get your broncs and let's ramble on to Dodge." 
When we got to Dodge the next day, we put our horses 
in Bell's stable. When we started out of the barn, Mr. 
Bell told me to take my gun over to Bob Wright's store 
and leave it there, as no one was allowed to carry a gun 
in Dodge. We went across the street to the store and I 
left my gun there. I asked Mr. Wright if it was a fact 
that there was no red liquor in toA\Ti, and he said it was. 
He told me that we might get some at Hinzc's restaurant, 
by giving him the annual traveling pass-word and the 
high sign of distress. I told Mr. Wright that I had just 
drifted in and did not know the pass-word or the sign. 
He gave me the pass- word and instructed me in the sign. 

"We went do^^^l to see Mr. Hinze, and that worthy 
gentleman asked us if we would have soda water or root beer. 
I gave him the pass-word, and then he wanted the distress 
sign. I winked my right eye, but he shook his head. Then 
I winked the other one, then both eyes, and for about 
thirty minutes I winked my eyes in every way I could 
think of. He finally said we could have root beer. It 
took me two days to get my eyes in shape and the wrinkles 
out of them. 


"It used to be said that when a bunch of cowboys 
went into a saloon and all of them commenced to hammer 
on the })ar with their shooting irons, the bartender could 
tell by the noise just what each one wanted. I found 
out that it was no trouble for a railroad man to get a 
drink of soda. All he had to do was to slip in and give a 
telegraph operator's signal, by drumming on a board with 
his fingers. I put in a week trying to learn the Morse 
alphabet of dots and daslies, but it was no go. 

"When the three of us went to the Dodge House for 
dinner, Deacon Cox took us in his private office and 
instructed us in the way he was running the house at the 
present time. We would have to put on a bald face shirt, 
a stand-up collar, have a neck-tie and a stick pin that 
was up to date. We would have to take off our spurs, 
and pull our pants' legs out of our boot tops. We would 
have to wash our faces and hands and comb our hair, and 
when we went into the dining-room we were to remain 
standing until the waiter showed us a table to sit dowTi to. 
We must cat slow and not make any unnecessary noise 
and, above everj-thing, not get mad at anything that 
might happen. He cautioned us about swearing. He 
told us if we had to do any cussing to do it in Mexican, so 
that the old farmers from Speerville would think we were 
asking a blessing. When we were through dining, we 
should slip the waiter a quarter, which would keep him 
in good humor. When we went into the dining-room 
there stood the most beautiful young lady I ever saw; 
fiuch beautiful baby-blue eyes, with hair the color of old 
gold. That young maverick showed us to a table and 


told us that she would be pleased to take our order. Just 
think of that — would be pleased ! 

" While we were having dinner, I asked the beautiful 
young lady if she would go to the show with me that 
evening, and she said she would be very much pleased to 
accompany me. When we were through I Wiis so excited 
that I gave her a five in place of a quarter. 

"After we got out on the street one of the boys 
wanted to know what I thought of the biscuit shooter 
with the red hair. I was so choked up for a few seconds 
that I could not answer. 'Biscuit shooter with with red 
hair! Boys, don't mention that name again unless you 
are ready to ramble around some. You know that when 
I get started nothing but a brick wall will stop me. ' 

" While we were walking up the street we met a sure- 
enough tenderfoot. He had just drifted in from Chicago, 
had on a plug hat, eye-glasses, and a pair of red leather 
shoes with buttons on them. All three of us reached for 
our guns, but we did not have them. We followed that 
man around all evening to see some one shoot a few holes 
in that hat and the buttons off his shoes, but nothing of 
the kind happened. 

*' Boys, you can believe me or not, but Dodge is sure 
becoming some civilized. I saw the Marshal arrest a man 
for spitting tobacco juice on the sidewalk. I actually 
saw a man take off his hat to a woman when he passed 
her on the street. Everybody is getting so good in Dodge 
that they never think of locking their doors at night. 
Dick Evans, cashier of the bank, is getting so careless 
that he just leaves the money laying on the counter. If 
a man gets mad and wants to do some cussing he takes a 


fish-polo and Kome bsiit, goes down on the river bank and 
stays awhile, and comes back with his face covered with 

*' I went to Zimmerman's store to buy a box of car- 
tridges, and the clerk insisted on me taking a 50-cent can 
of baking-powder. He said it was a new brand and was 
guaranteed to raise things. I wanted to buy a ten-dollar 
Stetson hat, but he insisted on selling me a fifteen-cent 
straw hat. He said they were the latest style and all the 
boys from Kinsley and Speerville wore them. Next day 
we went up on the hill to see the court-house, and you 
boys can believe me or not, but here was Mike Sutton, 
D. M. Frost, Nick Klaine and Bol)by Gill pitching horse- 
shoos for the soda. 

" I wont into a store to buy a package of Bull Durham. 
While I was in there a couple of up-to-date cattle men came 
in and called for cigars. The dork got out a box. They 
helped themselves, threw a nickel on the show-case, and 
the clerk gave them a penny in change. The first penny I 
ever saw in Dodge. I gave that cattle king a quarter for 
the penny just for a keepsake. Here it is, look at it your- 

"While I was in Dodge I saw a cattlemen from the 
Saw Log sell his whole herd, consisting of two white-faced 
cows and a yearling steer, and believe me he got away 
from Dodge with the money. Boys, you can believe me 
or not, but I saw the advance guard of the Salvation Army 
in Dodge, and they wore raking in the dimes and dollars 
with a garden rake. You know the people there are the 
most generous and froo-hoartod on earth. Somebody told 
me that Dog Kelly had been having bad luck with his dog 


family. He only liad one hundred and seventy-five left. 
Colonel Geo. Reynolds told me that both of his pet buffa- 
loes died with the doba itch. 

" I can tell you boys, that Dodge City and the State of 
Kansas are going to the eternal bow-wows. Salt won't 
save them. Prohibition will sure put the whole State out 
of business. Let me tell you of a sight I saw while I was 
in Dodge. It was a man carrying a sack of flour, a good, 
big piece of meat, shoes and stockings for his wife and 
children. Just think of that — a working man spending 
his money for such things — when I know he did not have 
a drop of whiskey in the house! Such extravagance! 
There ought to be a law passed prohibiting children from 
wearing shoes and stockings until they are eighteen years 
old, and a woman ought not to wear them more than three 
months in the year; that would give the poor men more 
money to buy whiskey. 

"This prohibition law is poor business. It interferes 
Avith a man's personal privileges. He can get drunk, go 
home and whip his wife and children, and the next day 
they vdW think more of him than ever. If he was to go 
home sober and clean out the ranch, he would be arrested 
and sent up for six months. Suppose the old man of the 
prairies, better kno^\^l as the rattlesnake, would slip up 
to you some night and hit you a crack with his poison 
fangs, with not a drop of tarantula-juice closer than 
Kansas City, five hundred miles northeast of here as the 
crow flies, we would have to roll you up in a good blanket, 
and the blanket would be a total loss, with a cold winter 
coming on. 

"Boys, I took that red-headed biscuit shooter to the 


show that night. On the way back to the hotel I asked 
her to m^rry me — and what do you think she said? ' I 
came to Dodge to marry a cowboy, and I know that I 
would not want to marry a preacher or a clerk in a dr>'- 
goods house.' I tried to explain to her that I was a cowboy, 
but she could not see it that way, thinking I was trying 
to fool her. If I was a cowboy, how did it come that I had 
on a white shirt and a straw hat? Where were my gun 
and spurs? ' If you are a sure-enough cowboy,' she asked, 
* how does it come that there has not been a fight in town 
all day?' I tried to explain to her that times were chang- 
ing; that the cowboys were becoming more civilized every 
day ; that some of the cattlemen and cowboys have houses 
to live in, and that they had quit gambling, drinking and 
carrying guns. I explained that they go to Sunday School 
every Sunday. 

"Next morning she quit her job and went back east 
to marry a farm boy. The romance of life in the open is 
gone, boys; the days of the free range and the longhorns 
have passed away." 

Shortly after Big Jim came back from Dodge we had 
orders to lay our guns aside, as we would not need them 
any more. of us decided we woukl go to Montana, 
where it is nine months winter and three months late in 
the Fall; where the cowbo3\s have iciles on their mustaches 
nine months in the year, and the other three months they 
put in getting the frost out of their boots. Some of the 
boys said they would go to Arizona and try the Alkali 
Plains, whore the "heelies" would make life interesting. 
Others said they would go back to Texa^, get married, 
settle down, and go to raising cotton. 


About a month after Jim's return the foreman ordered 
Sam and me to go over on the Arkansaw River and look 
after some strays that had left the ranch and gone north. 
We found them after a hard day's ride. They had taken 
up their residence at a prosperous looking ranch, and were 
making themselves quite at home. We admired their 
taste, for it was a progressive ranch, there being a good- 
sized frame house, a wind-mill, a big water-tank, and a 
large barn. In front of the house was a nice lawn, sprin- 
kled with flowers, and in the rear was a vegetable garden. 
After putting our ponies in the barn and feeding them, 
we went up to the front door and knocked. The door 
opened, and there stood two young ladies, pretty as two 
little red wagons painted blue. 

They invited us in, and of course we accepted the 
invitation. The room was a bit dazzling to our eyes. 
A piano stood in one corner; there were nice rugs on the 
floor, lace curtains over the windows, and pretty pictures 
on the walls. Presently we were invited in to supper. 
Though we were not quite sure of being entirely up to 
date in matters of etiquette, we were not turning down 
any invitations that day, especially to eat. The dining- 
room was a dream — all decorated with flowers and pic- 
tures, and fussed up just like it might be for a wedding 
dinner. The tablecloth was as white as snow, and it 
seemed a pity to put things on it. At the side of each 
plate was a little white towel, all folded up nice, with 
the girls' initials embroidered in the corner in pretty red 
letters. It was all so fine that at first we almost forgot 
what we were there for. But we soon woke up, when 
the girls began to "pass things." Those girls certainly 


know how to cook, and what wo had to oat that day was 
a plenty, and so dilToront from the chuck in a cow camp. 

After supper the young hidies entertained us with 
music and sinking, and for the next two hours we felt as 
though wc hail a cross-section of Heaven right there in 
that room. 

When bed-time came we were shown to a room that 
was fine enough for a king to sleep in. It was some 
different from anything we had ever been used to in camp. 
The walls were painted a sort of rosy pink, and the ceiling 
was a pale blue color, something like the sky looks some- 
times, just after sunup. There were two windows, with 
shades that rolled up and down, and stood hitched just 
where you left them. Over the shades there were angel- 
wing curtains that looked like the edge of a stray cloud 
on a sunshiney day. I was afraid to touch them. 

The bed, too, was a wonder. There were springs 
underneath, and a mattress and white linen sheets, and 
feather pillows, and a coverlet as soft and fluffy as a 
tenderfoot's first beard. 

It was too good a bed for us. People who are used 
to sleeping on the ground cannot sleep in a bed, especially 
a lx>d like this. About one o'clock in the morning we got 
up and stole out of the house. Finding a patch of olephant- 
ear cactus, we stretched ourselves upon it, and slept fine 
till l)road daylight. 



When the Missouri Pacific Railroad built on West 
from Horace, Kansas, to Pueblo, Colorado, word was sent 
out that any man looking for fun or trouble could find all 
he wished in Chivington, Colorado. I had been up in 
that country once before hunting for trouble, and, by 
the way, I found it in the way of five horse rustlers. As 
there were five of us, that made it an even break. Wlirn 
they found that we meant business, they just laid right 
down, and we had no trouble at all getting the ponies 
back to Texas; and as we had orders when we started n>.t 
to bring any extra men back with us, we left them in 

When I got to Chivington, I looked around to see 
what was there in the shape of excitement. I found it a 
new hurrah town with one or two restaurants and saloons, 
and a few other business houses, but no residences or 
hotels. You could sleep anyAvhcre on the ground that 
suited your fancy. I found about a hundred people there, 
mostly railroad men. They were building a big hotel. I 
said a big hotel. It was a three-story house in a one-story 
town. George Gould married a Miss Edith Kingdon, 


ami they named the liotel after her, calling it the " Kingdon 
Hotel." Besides the railroad men, there were about 
thirty-five men of all kinds working on that hotel whom 
the contractor had brought with him from Kansas City, 
besides about a dozen white men. 

The first man I found that I knew was John Savage, a 
little sawed-otT Englishman and a carpenter by trade; 
then I found Kid INIcClain and last, but not least, was an 
old warrior by the name of Wild Horse Johnson — these 
men you could tie your kite-strings to, and come back 
next week and find your kite still there. "Wild Horse 
Johnson had a tent and I wont to stay with him. The first 
night when it got dark, I got his lantern and lit it. When 
he came in a few minutes later, he took that lantern out- 
side the tent and smashed it into a thousand pieces; then 
he wanted to know if I had gone crazy, or wanted to com- 
mit suicide. He said the first night he put up that tent 
and lit the lantern, seven bullets went through the tent 
before he could put the lantern out, and he showed me 
the bullet holes next morning. 

About nine o'clock he went out for some purpose, 
and I thought I would light my pipe and have a smoke. 
I struck a match and attempted to light my pipe, when 
bang! bang! went a couj^le of guns, and from that day on 
I never had a desire to smoke in Chivington. I never did 
find that pijK', and when I wanted to smoke after that 
I went about four miles out in the sand hills. 

One day Johnson wanted to know how the two extra 
holes happened to be in the tent about five feet from the 
ground. The other seven were only about eighteen inches 
from the ground, as his lantern was setting on a soap box 


when the first seven holes were put there. I was just a 
little bit different from George Washington on that occa- 
sion. I could tell a lie, and G. W. would not; so I told 
Johnson that I did not know anything about it. I was 
afraid he would chase me out, and I did not care about 
sleeping on the prairie, as the weather was a little cold at 

Johnson got his name as Wild Horse Johnson several 
years before I met him. He started after a band of wild 
horses and never let up until he had walked them down 
and captured the whole band. He was known after that 
as Wild Horse Johnson. Now, Mr. Reader, you may 
think this is hot air, but it's a prime article of truth, as 
any of the old-time plainsmen can tell you. 

I asked Johnson what brought him to Chivington, 
and what he had sent for me for. *' I have a job as porter 
in one of the saloons," he answered, "and I have a couple 
of hundred saved up. I want to go to Las Animas to meet 
my wife, as I have not seen her for over a year. I want 
to see if she will know me, and I want you to take my place 
until Spring." I made no reply to that proposition, but 
what I thought for the next few minutes was a plenty. 
Porter in a saloon, cleaning spittoons, sweeping and 
scrubbing, building fires, and drinking the slop that 
accumulated behind the bar — well, that kind of a job is 
all right for a city man that has a girl to take care of him, 
but for Bill, I guess not. 

"Johnson, I have a good mind to take you out in 
the hills and leave you there, so that the coyotes and 
skunks will have a good feed." 

Quick as a flash came the reply : 


"All right, I am ready to go." 

It was so quiet in that tent that I could hear John- 
son's watch ticking just as phiin at a distance of six feet, 
a.s a man can liear Armour's Packing House whistle in 
K. C. at a mile. At that moment, when the silence was 
becoming so oppressive that I could feel it, several shots 
were fired across the railroad track in quick succession. 
Johnson bolted out of the tent and I trailed after him. 
When we got to the saloon we found it was a false alarm. 
I went back to the tent and spread out his blanket, laid 
down and went to sleep. I knew that he would be in 
sometime in the night, and I knew that when he got up 
and had his breakfast, one or the other of us would have 
to leave the town in a hurr>'. Was I afraid he would come 
in drunk and shoot me while I was asleep? Not a bit of it. 
I got up early, went over to the saloon where Johnson was 
working as a porter, and had breakfast at the lunch 
counter. I introduced myself to the proprietor as the man 
who had come to take Johnson's place. 

Then he told me what the duties were. All Johnson 
had to do was to walk around in the building, look wise, 
drink at the bar when he felt like it, eat as often as he 
pleased, and when there was no one in, he could go out 
and look around. But he must keep an eye on the saloon 
door, and if more than two men went in, trail in after 
them — that's all he has had to do so far, and he is paid 
five dollars a day, drink and feed thro^\'n in. 

It was then about eight in the morning. I went out 
in front of the saloon and looked over toward the tent. 
Johnson was headed my way, with his hand on the butt 
of his gun. His teeth were set hard together, and there 


was a smile on his face that meant trouble. When he 
got within about thirty feet of me I gave him the Indian 
peace-sign, and when I got close enough I gave him my 
hand and said "Johnson." Then the smile on his face 
that meant so much disappeared and we wen^ friends 

Johnson said he would hang around a few days until 
I got broke in, to see how everj^body would take the change 
from an old hand to a new one. Chivington at that time 
contained about as tough a mob of rough-necks as it was 
ever my lot to fall in with. It was no wonder that saloon 
man kept a man standing around looking wise, with one 
finger always close to a live trigger. 

Savage and the kid had put up the building where 
the sallon was. The bar was j ust planks laid on two empty 
barrels; the lunch counter was no better. There was no 
table of any kind in the room. 

The bunch of men who were working on the Kingdon 
Hotel would be in that saloon every evening, making a 
big halloo and criticising the bar. As there were about 
thirty-five of them and about as many railroad men who 
sided in with them, they were too many to call the trick 
on. I knew that Savage was game, but he wa^ outclassed. 
I had every reason to believe the kid would deliver all 
the goods he could carry. 

Then the five of us put our heads together. That 
night when the mob got to the worst part of the program, 
the saloon-keeper would lay his old sawed-off shotgun 
across the bar, would call time, and act as referee. John- 
son would watch the back door to see that none got away. 
I would watch the front door to see that nobody got hurt 


Roiug out. Savage was to i)ut a beer keg in the middle of 
the room and dehver a lecture, and the kid would stand 
behind him to act as backstop. About ten that evening, 
wlien the mob was doing everything it could think of, 
except tearing the roof off, the saloon-keeper laitl his old 
sa wed-off shotgun on the bar and rapped with a beer 
bottle. Wlien everything became quiet he said: 

"Ladies and gentlemen — The boys have prepared a 
new kind of entertainment for your amusement to-night." 

Some of them yelled, "Good." Some said, "Hear, 
hear, trot it out." 

" I now have the pleasure of introducing to you Mr. 
Savage, a gentleman from England, who will deliver a 
lecture on the use and abuse of the English language as 
shaped up by a lot of rough-necks, late of Kansas City, 
Missouri, now residing in the state of Colorado; and when 
tlie lecture is over — and I hope you will pay close attention 
U) what he says — if any of you get away alive, I hope 
you will depart immediately for Kansas City a wiser and 
Ix'tter bunch of men. Gentlemen, Mr. Savage." 

In rolling out the beer keg, it ran over one gentleman's 
foot. He drew back to hand Savage one, when the kid 
promptly downed him, and the entertainment bid fair to 
break up in a free-for-all. But that old sawed-off looked 
over that way with both eyes open, the referee called time, 
and cverylx)dy kept quiet. Savage got up on the keg. 
Hefore he started, Johnson and I locked the doors, so none 
of them could go out anil miss part of the lecture, and we 
would push them up close to the speaker, so they could 
hear all that he said. 

"Ladies and gentlemen: I am glad that I have the 


pleasure of addressing such an intelligent lot of men, and 
it makes me feel as if I would like to take each one of you 
by the hand and congratulate you separately for your 
close attention to the opening remarks. I assure you from 
the bottom of my heart that all that I may say will be 
for j^our everlasting good. Some of my remarks may seem 
a little sarcastic and rather pointed, but as the years go 
past, you will be glad that you were here on this auspicious 
occasion. When you get back to your wives and sweet- 
hearts, stay there until you learn that a little game of 
bluff, such as you have worked for the last month, don't 
go any longer in the wild and woolly west. I am fully 
aware of the fact that there are about sixty of you in the 
room, and that you have all crowded around me, just as 
close as you can get, so that you will not miss any of my 
lecture. I want to call you attention to the fact that my 
assistant, the Kid, who stands just behind me, has a 
knife up his sleeve long enough to go through an elephant. 
I also call your attention to my other two assistants, one 
at each end of the room, who have locked the doors in 
order that there will be no going out and in to disturb me 
in my remarks. And you will notice that the referee has 
that old sawed-off looking this way with both eyes open. 
He says there are twenty-four buckshot in each shell, and 
that he has enough shells ready to kill a carload of jack 
rabbits at one hundred j'^ards. I wish to call your atten- 
tion to the fact, before I proceed with my lecture, that 
when I am through, the doors in each end of the house 
will be opened, so that you can all pass out quickly to 
the music of a concealed band. Now drop all guns, knives, 
knucks, and billies on the floor where you stand, at once." 


I have hoard cowboys, bullwhackers, and government 
mule skinners swear till the air looked blue with smoke 
right off the brimstone, but I never heard a man who could 
use cuss words like that man could. He was certainly a 
past ma.ster and no mistake. When he finished, he and 
the Kid stepped behind the bar and the doors were opened. 
Johnson and I hugged the corners of the building to keep 
from being run over. Then the referee and the other four 
of us shot the lights out, and as fast as we could shoot, we 
let them go. As long as there was one of them in sight 
outside, they could hear the music of that hidden band. 
About fifty of the crowd did not wait for a train, but 
started for Kansas City at once. They have never been 
outside of Kansas City since, as far as I know. Three of 
the carpenters, one lather and two painters came back 
the next day, and they turned out to be just as nice young 
fellows as I ever met. But all the rough-necks and would- 
be bad fellows hit the trail. 

Some time during the winter, several of us went to 
Pueblo to see the sights of that town. While we were in 
Pueblo, we went to several theatres ainong those that we 
went to was the "Bucket-of-Blood." Now that name 
may sound rather queer to you, but that was the name all 
right. I have heard several stories as to how it got the 
name. I will not tell them, but will tell you about our 
trip back to Chivington. 

We left Pueblo in the morning, and when we got 
outside of the city limits it began to snow. Our train 
consisted of an engine, a pa.ssenger coach and a way car. 
Dug Hathaway wa.s the engineer. It is about thirty 
miles from Pueblo to where the Missouri Pacific crosses 


the Santa Fc. We crossed the Santa Fe about twelve 
o'clock that day. A regular blizzard was coming, and I 
knew we were in for a hard trip. It is about a hundred 
miles from the Santa Fe crossing to Chivington, and at 
tliat time there was not a telegraph station on the road. 

By four p. m. the cuts were filling up with the drifting 
snow and sand, and it was hard work to go through some 
of the drifts. About nine o'clock that evening we bumped 
into another train which had stalled in a cut, but not hard 
enough to do much damage. The stalled train consisted 
of four or five engines, several cabooses and a few box 
cars with a dead engine in front and four or five freight 
crews. They had given it up and were in the cabooses 
sitting by a good fire when we bumped into them. They 
jumped out of the cars into the snow to see what was the 
matter. Then the railroad men had a cussing match 
among themselves. 

By twelve that night every man was played out, and 
they all gave it up and got back into the cars to wait 
until next summer to get out. Most of the men in the 
coach had got to sleep, when there was a crash, and the 
coach was pretty badly smashed and upset, and lay on 
its side in the snow. The crash upset every stove in the 
cabooses and broke them in pieces The train that ran 
intoour coach consisted of two engines and a caboose that 
had been sent out from Pueblo to keep the track clear of 
snow, and the two engineers were giving their engines 
plenty of sand and steam to go through both cuts when 
they crashed into our train. 

Some railroad man may want to know why there was 
no flagman out to protect our train. I will tell you. The 


storm was so bat! that none of the train men could live 
very long in such weather. Lucky for us, no one was 
badly hurt and we all got off with a few bruises and 
skinned noses. 

We ate everything in the outfit that morning, and 
then starvation began staring us in the face. We knew 
very well there would be no help sent us. The construc- 
tion company that was doing the work furnished their 
own locomotives, of which they had only seven, and they 
were all stuck in that drift and disabled, fifty miles from 
a telegraph office. We put in the day and night the best 
we could; by the next evening the storm had let up a little. 
I started out on a hunt for a rabbit or anj'tliing else I could 
find. I got back to the train just before night with several 
jack rabbits. The men all turned in and dressed the 
animals, and we had roast rabbit without salt for supper. 

Next morning about ten of the men left the train and 
started south to make the Santa Fe that day. 

I went out with another man, and we got several 
jack rabbits, an antelope and a coyote. We certainly 
lived fine that day. There were only six cartridges left 
in the outfit. 

By that time the storm ha<l let up somewhat, and 
there was a world of snow on the ground, with a cold 
north wind blowing. Two of us started out after more 
rabbits, taking along a good club to kill them with, as I 
wanted to save the cartridges for antelope. That is all we 
had to live on for a week or more. We had to cook our 
rabbits on the ground, as there was no way to cook them 
in the cars. What little sleeping we did was in the way 


When the snow quit drifting, every man went to work 
to dig the train out of the snow. Luckily for us, we had a 
car of coal along, and with that the engineers managed to 
keep one engine alive. We finally got the train dug out 
and the track clear. By hard work we got to a siding, 
where all the dead engines and cars were set out and left. 
One locomotive, one car of coal and two cabooses were 
all we took along. It was buck snow, pack water for the 
engine, hunt and cook rabbits until we got back to 

When we arrived at Chivington the Missouri Pacific 
was fitting out a train to hunt us up. I went through that 
train and saw several boxes that looked like they would 
just fit a man who had either frozen or starved to death. 



You do not have to have much brain — in fact, you 
do not need any — just a handful of sawdust will furnish 
all the gray matter that is required to perpetrate a prac- 
tical joke on a boy just off the farm, on his first trip to the 
city, looking for some kind of employment. When I was 
a kid the first thing I struck was a job in a printing office. 
I rcmemlxT about that type-louse yet. I have heard of 
the boy who went to work for the railroad and hunted for 
the red oil; how the carpenter's cub was hunting for the 
angle plum bob, the round square, and that pair of ponies 
tied out in the shed. I have heard the story about the 
left-hand monkey wrench and the wooden car wheel. 
After I got wise to such things, I resolved that I would 
turn a few jokes loose myself — not on the boy off the farm, 
but on a class of full grown city men who ought to have 
known better — newspaper men, drummers, preachers, 
gamblers, saloon men, doctors, actors, and lawyers. The 
fact is, I never let any get past the first base. Whenever 
a man gets a "rep" for doing something funny or serious, 
as the case may be, he is sure to be pointed out to every 
man that stops in the town where he is as "That's the 
fellow that did so and so." 

After Savage called the bluff on the sixty rough-necks 


and would-be bad men in Chivington, everybody would 
come doANTi to that saloon to look that new man over — like 
a lot of farmers at a fat stock show, looking at a prize- 
winning pig. Some one usually told me the remarks they 
made after they got out of sight. 

*'Did you notice what a bad eye he had?" 
"My, but he has a vicious looking face." 
"He looks to me like a young lawyer or doctor." 
"If I had met him back East in some little country 
town I would have taken him for a preacher with his first 

"I wonder where he came from, anyway?" 
I organized the Benevolent Order of Badgers that 
winter, and we initiated over a hundred new members. 
There were no farm boys in the bunch, either. Neither 
was there a goat. Just the candidate, a dog, the badger, 
and a few other small articles. A badger is one of the 
scrappiest scamps for his size I ever saw. It takes a 
fighting dog to whip him, and very few fighting dogs can 
do the trick. Every man that dropped off at Chivington 
on any kind of business wanted to join the Benevolent 
Order of Badgers, in order to see a dog and a badger fight. 
The initiation fee was nothing in advance, only what you 
felt like donating for the good of the Order after the 
ceremony. To pull off a fight we had to have a dog, a 
badger, a rope, a box and the candidate. In order that 
the badger should be at his best, we usually let him have 
all the water he could drink out of the sink behind the 
bar beforehand. Then we put him under the box until we 
were ready for the fight. In order to keep him from dig- 
ging out, we had him tied with a long rope. When every- 


thing was read}*, someone was to hold the dog, another 
was to hft the box up, and the candidate was to give the 
rope a quick pull, when out would come the badger and the 
fight was on. The candidate always took the boys into 
the saloon to pay the initiation fee. After that he got all 
his friends to join the badgers. 

I organized a lodge of Pale Faced Red Men. Every 
man that came along wanted to join. It was something 
new — had all the other lodges beaten seven to one. It 
didn't cost you a cent in advance — just a glorious good 
time. Every time you meet a brother, and they are 
scattered all over the country, he would like to have you 
join. Take you in to-night or the next time you drop in 
town. "Say, by the way, a lot of the boys are going out 
to chase jack rabbits. Like to go along? Finest sport on 
earth. We keep a lot of greyhounds for our amusement. 
How would you like to get out on the open prairie and get 
some fresh air? It beats riding in an old smoky car. Yes, 
we have a good gentle horse that can go some — wont 
cost you a cent. Yes, we will get back in plenty of time 
for your train. How soon — right now? Sure. Set your 
samj)le case right behind the bar. No one will molest it." 
While one of the good brothers would be making such a 
spiel, another bunch would be getting the dogs and horses 
ready for the jack rabbit chase When the candidate was 
ready, the brother gave the signal to come on. Then we 
would ride up and another talk would be made. 

"Say, Bill, here is a friend of mine that would like 
to go hunting with you." 

" Well, all right, get on your horses and lets go." 

"All right: say Sam, let Mr. Goklstine ride your 


horse — that's the best horse in to%\Ti for a man to ride 
that is not used to horseback riding." 

Mr. Goldstine with the help of two or three men is 
finally helped on the horse and away they go. They will 
get about two or three miles from to^vn and will ride 
around a hill. Not over half a mile away will be a bunch 
of Indians, coming that way on a fast run. 

*'Look there, men, see the Indians! And they are on 
the warpath! If they catch us they will burn everyone of 
us at the stake. Everyone of you men go to town as 
quick as you can." 

About that time the Indians commence to shoot and 
let out a few war whoops. One or two rabbit hunters 
throw up their hands and fall off their horses. Mr. Goid- 
stine and the rest would certainly burn the grass for a 
few yards. If Mr. Man had not been so excited he would 
have noticed that the men fell off their horses easy and 
always held their horses. The rest would run off and 
leave Mr, Goldstine to come in as fast as he could on that 
old gentle horse. All the time he was doing his best to 
make that old horse keep up with the rest, and here come 
the Indians yelling and shooting. By the time the Indians 
catch up with him, he is making every distress signal that 
he can think of — "Mine God, mine God, what will will 
become of Rachel and little Ikey? Please, Mr. Indian, 
don't kill me!" 

By the time Mr. Goldstine and the Indians get to the 
town, he is a pretty good Pale Faced Red Man — ready to 
buy everybody as many drinks as he can stand. We 
initiated seventy-five or a hundred that winter into the 


mysteries of tlio Pale Faced Rod Men, and I think that I 
have more than evened up the score a hundred times for 
every jolie that was phiyed on me when I wjus a green kid 
just off the farm, and I have a great many others to tell 
you later on. 



During the first half of the last century the American 
Indian was much more of a problem than he is to-day. 
He still occupied a large part of the territory of the United 
States, and as the white population increased from year 
to year, the red men became more and more in the way. 
It was a bothersome question, and various efforts were 
made to segregate them in places far remote from civiliza- 
tion, where they could pursue their wandering life in their 
own sweet way. These efforts were never very successful, 
for two reasons: First, the Indians themselves did not 
like being moved about in this arbitrary way; and sec- 


ondly, the lands cIidsou for them were ahnost sure to be 
just the kind tliat were best suited for the purposes of 
civilization, anil would soon be wanted by the white men. 

Perhaps the most important attempt of this kind was 
when the Govermnent in 18;52 set apart the region that 
came to be known as "Indian Territory" for the tribes 
then living east of the Mississippi River. It was supposed 
at the time that the Indians could be prevailed upon to 
move to this territory and make it their permanent home, 
as it was full of wild game and well suited to Indian life. 
It was already occupied by several small tribes and 
various others were induced to go there. Some, however, 
flatly refused to be transferred, and some that did go soon 
l)ecame dissatisfied and made frequent attempts to return 
to their old haunts. It was a big job the Government 
mulertook — that of trying to "settle" a lot of roaming 
Indiaas — and a good many bloody conflicts resulted. 

While this was going on the white people were set- 
tling on all sides of the Territory. Naturally they looked 
with longing eyes on this goodly land, entirely too gootl, 
th(\v thought, for Indians, and determined efforts were 
made from time to time to get the country opened up for 
>ottlement by white people. 

The first open step in this direction was the intro- 
duction of a bill into the Forty-first Congress to organize 
a civil government for that portion of the territory now 
known as Oklahoma. The bill wiis referred to the Com- 
mittee on Indian Affairs and afterward reported to the 
House, and debated at length, but it never came to a 
final vote. 

In 1882, having become tired of waiting for Congress 


to do something, a large number of people in the surround- 
ing States and Territories organized for an "invasion" 
of the coveted country. They called themselves "Boom- 
ers," and attempted to take forcible possession of the land. 

This, of course, brought on a crisis, for the Govern- 
ment was in duty bound to resist all attempts at such 
invasion. For several years the region was patrolled by 
troops, and there were many encounters between them 
and the "Boomers." 

The notion that these "Boomers" were a lawless 
horde seeking control of lands belonging to the Indians, is 
unjust; at any rate there was some justification for their 
contention. The tract claimed by them consisted of 
something near 1,900,000 acres, or about three thousand 
square miles, lying in the center of what was then Indian 
Territory — now Oklahoma. They based their claim on 
the "squatters' rights" laws enacted early in the nation's 
history, to protect the rights of pioneers who had \entured 
far in advance of the frontier and improved certain parts 
of the public domain. They claimed that the tract men- 
tioned was unoccupied and unappropriated public domain. 
The matter was taken before the Secretary of the Interior, 
and he ruled against them. How the courts would have 
decided will never be known, for Congress put an end to 
the claim by decreeing that the Government should settle 
with them for any damages they might suffer by reaaon of 
the Government's ignoring certain deed restrictions. 

We must carefully distinguish between the "Boom- 
ers" and the "Sooners." The "Boomers," as a class, 
were good citizens; many of them the children of the 
excellent pioneers who settled Kansas, Texas, and the 


Southwest generally. They really lielieved, as I have 
.stated, tli:;t the lands on which they wished to settle 
were a part of the public domain, and therefore subject 
to colonization. While it is true they frequently came in 
contact with the Govermnent authorities and were ex- 
pelled as intruders, it is also true that they appealed to 
the law over and over again, and on one or two occasions 
even sent delegates to Wa.shington to argue their cause. 
And most important of all, it should be remembered that 
when he was tried for trespass on Indian lands, in 1884, 
Captain Pajne, the greatest *' Boomer" of them all, waa 
pronounced innocent, and his contention that the lands 
he sought to colonize were public lands was confirmed. 

The "Sooners" were an entirely different class. 
Thirty years ago the whole Southwest was speckled with 
bad men and outlaws. Prior to the opening of the Okla- 
homa country, they congregated in the Indian Territory 
and Oklahoma, ready and eager to take any advantage 
that might come their way. These are the men who slipped 
in ahead of the time set for the race and secured choice 
claims. They were thieves and outlaws, by both nature 
and practice, and in stealing Oklahoma lands from honest 
settlers they were just pursuing their regular line of busi- 
ness. Perhaps not all the *'Sooners" deserved hanging, 
but many of them did. 

I trust I have now made it clear, the difTercnce 
l)etween " Boomers "and " Sooners," and when the authori- 
tative and standard history of Oklahoma comes to be 
written, I trust the same distinction will be made clear. 

The best known of all the "Boomers," in fact, the 
leading man in the early history of Oklahoma, was Captain 

212 B I L L J O N E S 

David L. Pajuc. He had been a gallant soldier in the 
Civil War, and afterwards served with distinction in the 
Kansas legislature. 

It was about the year 1879 that Captain Payne 
became interested in the movement to colonize the countr\- 
known as Oklahoma. He claimed the right to settle on 
this land, under the treaty made by the United States 
Government with the Indians in 1866. By this treaty 
the Oklahoma lands were ceded by the Indians to the 
United States, and therefore became, Payne claimed, a 
part of the public domain. Through his efforts a largo 
company was organized for the purpose of entering upon 
and colonizing these lands. Early in December, 1880, the 
colony assembled not far from the borders of the territory. 
The expedition numbered about six hundred men and a 
considerable niunber of women and children. They 
marched for some distance along the border line, but did 
not enter the forbidden land, as they hoped to receive 
permission from the Government to do so. They were 
closely followed by United States troops ready to turn 
them back if they ventured across the line. 

After considerable parleying with Government offi- 
cials, Captain Payne was arrested, charged with tres- 
passing on Indian lands. Deprived of their leader, the 
colonists disbanded temporarily. The trial resulted in 
Captain Payne being placed under one thousand dollars' 
bonds not to re-enter the forbidden land, and he returned 

After that Captain Payne conducted four well- 
organized expeditions into the territory, each time plant- 
ing a colony, and each time being turned out by the 

() V P A H A !M S !•: \- A 1. I. K V 21.S 

rnitcd Stall's antht»ii(ics. his ])i(ipcit\- l)cin<:; dcst inycil 
hcforc his t\v('s. Ivich time 1h> (Iciiiandrd a trial, hut diil 
not secure one till 1SS4, when he was jji-onounced gu lt>- 
lit' no ciiine; that the lands he sou^iht to colonize were 

('a|)tain Pa\ne then orf^anized a lar<i;er and stionjiei- 
e\p(>dition than ever. AftiT delays and (liscouraKtMnents 
that would have disjieartened irost ni(>n. it s(>enied as 
if success were goiiiii to crown his eftoils at last. His 
exjiedition was alxiut ready to start on its inarch to the 
promised laml when death ovei'took him Ncry suddenly. 
His biographer does not say so, hut it was generally under- 
stood at the time that he wa.s poisoned hy his onmeies. 
The cattle l)arons did not want t lie Oklahoma lands opened 
to settlement; tiieir ])urposes were mucii better served 
by leaving tliem in the liands of the Indians. It was the 
opposition of these same cattii; barons which so long pre- 
vented Congress doing anything. 

The agitation was kept up, and in bSS.') another bill 
was introthiced in Congress, jiroviding for o))eniiig up the 
territory for settlement. Tiiis passed tiie Ifouse. but was 
defeated in the Senate. 

Finally an amendment to the Indian .\i)pr()prialioii 
bill was slipjx'd through i)oth houses and became a law. 
It provided that the land.s should be opened to white 
.S4'tt lenient, but (lid not provide for a form of go\ernmeiii . 
This meant that the country should be opi iicd up to 
s4-tt lenient under the jjrotection of the aini\ , until ( 'oiigress 
could provide some sort of civil government. 

Orders were accordingly i.ssued for Iniled States 
troops (o take charge of the opening, (leiieral W Csley 


1'. ILL .) () X KS 


Morritt, commanding tlio Drpartmcnt of tlio Missouri, 
was delegated b}^ President Harrison to personally super- 
vise the opening. He established his headquarters at 
Oklahoma Station, now Oklahoma City. A battalion of 
four companies from Fort Lyon, Colorado, arrived there 
on April 19. A troop of the Fifth United States Cavalry 
M'ES also stationed there. Small detachments of soldiers 
were also stationed at Guthrie and Kingfisher. The ter- 
ritory was completely surrounded by a cordon of troops. 
The cordon, however, could not have been very 
strong, even allowing for the assistance of the many hun- 
dreds of deputy marshals sworn in for the occasion. As 
stated Ix'fore, the territory thus guarded and to l)c thrown 
open to settlement comprised alxjut three thousand square 
miles. Some idea of the magnitude of the tract may be 
gained from the following statement; — 

The eastern boundary was sixteen miles east of 
Oklahoma City, with an extension eastward north of the 
Cimarron River to its junction with the Arkansaw River. 
The northern boundary was the present northern boundary 
of Kingfisher and Logan Counties. The western boundary 
was one mile west of Kingfisher and El Reno. The south- 
em boundarj^ was the South Canadian River. 

The troops did the best they could, perhaps, to 
keep out the "Sooners," but to say they did keep them out, 
even fairly well, would be ridiculous. In illustration, I am 
tempted to get ahead of my story a little, by quoting from 
Captain Stiles, who was in command of a company of 
United States troops stationed at Oklahoma Station on 
the eventful day of the opening. 

"Just previous to twelve o'clock," he says, "not a 


person was in sight, and tho whole country presented the 
appearance of unbroken quiet. At high noon the trumpet 
sounded at the camp and the whistle at the depot blew, 
when in an instant some five hundred men or more ap- 
peared to rise from the ground like grasshoppers and run 
hither and thither in all directions. I was in camp upon 
the high ground, watching with a field glass for the peo- 
ple to come in, not expecting the first comers to appear 
as they did." 

Outside the cordon of soldiers, waiting for the grand 
rush, were perhaps fifty thousand men — all eager to secure 
homes in this new El Dorado. It was one of the strangest 
aggregations of human beings ever gathered together. 
Thousands of them had lost their homes "back east," 
other thousands had never had any homes. All were 
determined to secure as good a claim as possible and found 
a new home. 

The largest gatherings wore at Arkansas City on the 
north and Purccll on the south. It was about fifty-seven 
miles from Arkansas City to the strip line, so those gath- 
ered there were allowed to proceed to the strip line, under 
the escort of United States soldiers, before the day of the 
opening. Thus those at Purcell and other points would 
have no unfair advantage. 

The signal guns were fired at twelve o'clock sharp on 
April 22, 1889, and the great race was on. It has been 
described many times, by many men, and from many points 
of view. There are many variations of course, but in the 
essential features all the accounts agree. Certainly never 
before, and probably never again, will the world behold 
such a gigantic wild scramble for land. I shall not under- 


take to describe it, except to relate, in mj'' humble way, 
the part I took in it, including some ludicrous things that 
came within my own observation and experience. 

I was a comjxaratively j'oung man at the time, with 
no settled abode, and I felt that I was entitled to a home- 
stead in Oklahoma — the Land of the Fair God — if I could 
Kct it. It looked like a golden opportunity and I could at 
least make a try. Like a great many other young men, I 
li:ul had my eye on that country for several years. I had 
bi'cn a cowboy in the Oklahoma country and knew its 
worth. I had b(M'n with Payne in two of his exi^echtions, 
and had been fired out each time by Uncle Sam's troopers. 
Hence I felt that I was qualified by experience to enter 
the race. It was going to be a free-for-all race, with a lot 
of prizes, and an experienced rider with a good horse ought 
to be able to secure a good clarni. 

Along alx)ut the first of April I went to Arkansas City 
and found I was in no danger of perishing from lonesome- 
ness. Thousands of homeseekers were already there, with 
fresh arrivals every hour. Arkansas City wiis the busiest 
town you ever saw. There was something doing every 
minute. But one thought, and one only, was in every 
mind — the great race. 

South of Arkansas City, and leading to the strip line, 
was a lane four miles long. This lane, or road, was filled 
with "Boomers," wedged in so thick that elbow room was 
at a premium. It iiad been raining for several days, and 
the mud in the lane was al)Out two feet deep. There were 
no roll-calls, and it will never be known how many men 
disappeared permanently beneath the surface. Everyone 


regretted not having brought a fence-post along to pry 
himself out of the mud. 

About a week before the time set for the grand open- 
ing the gate at the south end of the lane was opened by 
one of Uncle Sam's soldier boys, and the first part of the 
race was on. Away we flew across the Cherokee strip, 
fifty-seven miles to the Oklahoma line. When we arrived 
at the Salt Fork River it was bank full, so here the 
' ' Boomers ' ' were lined up for the second time. There was 
just one dinky little ferry-boat, which one wagon filled to 
the point of overflowing. It had to make two trips to got 
one "Boomer" and his outfit across. It looked like 
some of us would have to wait till the next year to get 
across. But where there's a will a way can be found. 
Next morning we planked the Santa Fe railroad bridge, 
and thus got across quite comfortably. At Orlando the 
soldiers rounded us up to wait for the opening. I went a 
few miles east of the railroad to make my start, as I 
wanted to get a claim about where Clarkson is now located. 

At eleven o'clock a. m., on April 22, 1889, every 
Boomer was ready. Another hour and the groat race would 
be on. Eleven fifteen — eleven thirty — eleven forty-five — 
twelve o'clock — a soldier shot off his gun, and we were off. 
A roar of voices rose along the line. Instantly the whole 
border began to smoke with dust, and out of the crowd 
pushed the noses of the best saddle-horses. Then came 
men in buggies and wagons, on bicycles and on foot — all 
rushing forward with one grand impulse. I noticed one 
poor fellow with his outfit in a wheelbarrow. 

Yes, the run was on; and what was poor little Willie 
going to get out of that mighty race, where a sLxshooter 


and a good horse were trumps? I pushed ray dinkj' little 
pony up to the line. On one side of me W!,is a wagon drawn 
by a yoke of oxen, and on the other was a young man 
astride a mule that seemed to me to be about seventeen 
feet "high — I think it was fully that many hands high. 

That young man and his mule certainly were a sight 
to see. Even in the excitement of getting started I was 
impressed with the picture. He had an old human saddle 
tied onto the mule with a rope, and a wonderful assort- 
ment of camp equipage tied onto the saddle. In front was 
a roll of blankets, loosely strapped together and the cor- 
ners flapping. Tied on behind the saddle were a feather 
bed, a two-bushel sack of grub, a dog tent, a small sheet 
iron stove, a frying-pan, a coffee-pot, an old suitcase, about 
fifty feet of rope and several other articles I do not now 
remember He had an old smooth-bore gun in one hand 
and a claim-stake in the other. The bridle-reins he held 
in his teeth. Just before we started I asked the young 
man his name. He said they called him Jack Hartenbower 
in Kansa.s, and that if he suceeded in getting a claim he 
would still be known by that name in Oklahoma. 

It is wonderful how a little thing will sometimes 
change the whole course of a man's life. A chance remark, 
a mere trifle, a little thing like a prairie dog hole may do it. 
If everything had worked out as the young man intended 
that day, he would have secured a good claim, perhaps 
right on the spot where they would want to locate the 
capitol building of the new State. That would be only 
the beginning. Soon he would be elected the first governor 
of the State, and beyond that — who knows what might 


That old mule certainly did surprise everybody who 
saw the start from that part of the line. He shot out a 
full length ahead of any other horse, made half a dozen 
jumps, and went into a prairie dog hole. The rider went 
over the mule's head ^\^th all that camp equipage, includ- 
ing the claim stake. When I passed him he was standing 
on his head and holding on to the claim stake, and the 
claim stake was holding a good homestead. As it was then 
just one second after twelve o'clock, he concluded it was 
too late to make a second start to Guthrie, and just stayed 
on that claim. That gave him the honor of locating the 
first claim in Oklahoma, and if the voters of Oklahoma 
do not make Jack Hartenbower Governor, it won't be any 
fault of mine. 

After a hard run, I staked a good claim, not far from 
where Clarkson, Payne County, is now located. I turned 
my pony loose to graze, built a fire, had supper, spread out 
my saddle blanket for a bed, and turned in. As my nerves 
had been strung up during the excitement prior to the 
opening, I had slept very little for a month. When I went 
to sleep that night, I went to sleep in earnest. I dreamed 
that I was in paradise (and later that township in Pajiie 
County was named Paradise), and that St. Peter was 
telling me if I would settle down on that claim for five 
years, he would give me a deed to it, and give me a pass 
to heaven when I died. 

Next morning when I woke up the sun was about 
two hours high, and I was in a strange place. It was all 
smooth prairie land where I camped that evening; but 
where I was then, it was all timber and rock and close to a 
little creek. I got up and looked around, and wondered 


how it came that I had changed my location. How did 
I get here?' There was my pony, saddle and everything I 
had. I was sure I had camped on the prairie on ti good 
homestead that evening, but in the morning when I woke 
up I found myself on a rough claim, all covered with timber 
and rock. Pome of my readers may think that I got up 
in my sleep and moved, but I did nothing of the sort. I 
never have been accused of sleep walking. It was too late 
then to look for a better claim, so I started out to see 
where I was and how I had made the change. 

I hunted around in every direction, to see what kind 
of a claim I had, and how many other fellows were on the 
same piece of land. As I did not find anyone within half 
a mile of my camp, I stuck up some signs that this was 
my claim and for others to keep off. That evening I got on 
my pony and started off to find myself. After a little 
while I found another homesteader. I asked him who I 
was and what I was doing in the brush an^'way, and if 
he had anything that I could eat, and if he would go to 
Alfred next day and bring me out some things I wanted 
and had to have. 

I told him about locating on a prairie claim that 
evening, and asked him if he could toll me how I had come 
to make the change. Then he laughed and said that four 
men pass<'d his house in the night, carrj'ing something 
in a blanket, and leading a pony that looked like mine. 
Then a great light dawned upon me. That is how it 
hapix^ned that I changed homesteads in one night without 
knowing anything about it. Four men hati picked me 
up in a blanket, carried me a few miles, and left me. 

After I had liad something to eat, he took me out and 


showed mo around. It was wonderful. No person was 
allowed to go into Oklahoma before twelve o'clock on 
Aprill 22, 1889, and here was a man who had built a nice 
two-roomed log house in twenty-four hours, and had moved 
his family into it. His wife had made a garden, and had 
onions, radishes and lettuce large enough to eat, inside of 
twenty-four hours. That was going some. He showed me 
a nice little poultry house, and his wife was taking off an 
old hen with fifteen little chickens. The man had built 
the house, the woman had set the hen, and the hen had 
hatched out fifteen little chickens — all inside of twentj^-four 
hours. I would not have believed it if I had not seen it 

Then he showed me his barn. He had all kinds of 
stock. There was a cow with a little calf that looked as 
if it might be a day old. I asked the man if the calf made 
the run of twelve miles in two hours, and he said "yes." 

"Say, Mister Man," I said, "I will give you a 
hundred dollars for that calf. I want to train him for 
the race track, because I can win every race for the next 
five years and it would malve me rich." 

When Oklahoma was opened to white settlers, no 
person was allowed to go in until twelve o'clock, April 
22nd; and to see that the law was enforced the line around 
the reservation was patroled night and day by the United 
States Army and a world of Deputy United States Mar- 
shals. If any one did slip in and should get caught by a 
soldier or a marshal, he would forfeit all his rights to a 
homestead. But there are always rascals and thieves 
ready to take advantage of the law. A lot of men did 
slip in and take claims. They were known as "Sooners" 


and law suits innumerable arose between them and the 
honest settlers. I think some of the cases are still in the 
courts, and if you were to take a spade and dig in the right 
places, I think you would find a good many skeletons all 
over Oklahoma— victims of these conflicts. There is a 
small stream in Oklahoma that goes l)y the name of Skele- 
ton River. It got its name from the fact that many skele- 
tons have been found along its banks at diiTerent times. 

The old question between the "Sooners" and the 
other settlers haa not been settled to this day. Payne and 
his associates spent their time and money for years, 
working night and day, in Congress and out, trying to 
have the count r>^ opened for white settlement. They 
were arrested time and again by the United States sol- 
diers, and thro^^'n into vile prisons, but were always turned 
out, because the Government could not make the case 
against them stick. Payne was poisoned and died before 
the opening. Couch, his first lieutenant, made the run, 
got a good claim, and was shot to death shortly aften\'ard 
b}'' a man who claimed that he. Couch, was a "Sooner." 
Most all Oklahoma Boomers, as they were called, stayed 
out and made the run. Is it any wonder they were infuri- 
ated when they got to the claim they had worked for 
years, and found some infernal thief of a "Sooner" on it, 
who had never six-nt a nickel or a minute of his time to 
get the reservation opened to the white man? The 
"Sooners," every mother's son of them, ought to have 
Ix'en shot or hung on sight — that is what Little Bill 
thinks of it. 

I made arrangements with my new neighbor to go to 
Alfred on the Santa Fe next day and bring me a supply 


of grub and a few things that I had to have, I went back 
home, and such a home ! It consisted of a tin cup, a saddle 
blanket, plenty of wood to burn and abundance of creek 
water to drink. However, I settled down to business, like 
all the horaest<^adors. The first thing I had to do was to 
find corner stones, so that I could discover the number 
of my claim. There was an old hollow tree about six feet 
in diameter close to where I camped, and after looking 
it over carefully I decided to make a home out of it. I got 
ray neighbor to help me saw three cuts off the trunk, each 
about eight feet long, and we rolled them together, in the 
shape of an L. One section I lived in, another I slept in 
and the third one was for my pony. I think I was as well 
fixed as any man in Oklahoma the first week. I lived in 
that hollow tree seven years, as it was better than the 
house I built. 

I put in that summer building a log house and making 
other improvements. I raised all kinds of garden sass, and 
I had ten acres of sod corn that did well. 

Alx)ut that time I ran into Dutch Henry, once a noted 
horse thief at Dodge City. Just what Henry and I did 
that first winter I will tell you in my next book. We never 
got hung or put in jail ; neither did we cut much cord-wood. 

Oklahoma at that time was the natural home of the 
diamond rattlesnake, and there was a good big supply of 
them everyAvhere. I have seen them eight feet long and 
twelve inches in circumference. The biggest one I ever 
killed had twenty-eight rattles and a button. That fall 
one of my neighbor's boys was bitten by a snake while 
his father was in Guthrie, and his mother was too badly 
excited to do anything, except send an older boy after me 


to come and doctor the patient. I went in a hurry. There 
was not a drop of whiskey to be had, but I went to work 
like I did on big Jim, when the tarantula bit him. What 
I did was a plenty, and the boy got over it. The boys gave 
me the name of *'Doc," and a lot of people there thought 
I was a sure-enough doctor, and this got me into all kinds 
of scrapes. 

The second year everybody started out to raise a 
big crop, but there was not much rain, and the crops were 
mostly failures. But we raised plenty of Kaffir corn — that 
is, everybody that planted it. As we had plenty of fall 
rain, everybody raised a big crop of turnips. Any of the 
old Boomers can tell you alx)ut the turnip j^ear in Okla- 
homa. We lived on turnips, we traded turnips for any- 
thing, from a bushel of Kaffir corn to a lot of rabbits. 
Many a time that winter I went to bed without supper, 
and did not have any breakfast next morning until I 
could catch a rabbit. On Sunday we had tquirrel pot-pie 

We ate Kaffir com, turnips, rabbits and cow-peas. 
We talked about them and we dreamed alx)ut them at 
night. We made kraut out of turnips; we had turnips 
and rabbits boiled together; we had them fried; we made 
bread out of Kaffir com meal. 

When Christmas time came we had a Christmas tree. 
Kaffir com, turnips, cow-peas and a few rabbits were hung 
on the tree. Old Santa Claus was dressed up to represent 
a full-grown jack rabbit. Tumips was the joker, Kaffir 
com was the right l)ower, cow peas was the left l)ower, 
and the rabbit was the king pin, whole hog or none. 

When we met any of the neighbors, tli(> first question 
would be: "How are your tumips holding out? Have 


you found any other way to serve them?" Tom Ewert 
told me that Ben Jenkins over on Stillwater Creek fattened 
fifteen hundred hogs on turnips; but Jim Hunt told me 
that Ewert was mistaken about that; he fed fifteen hun- 
dred bushels of turnips to one old sow, and finally had to 
kill her to keep her from starving to death. 

I kept six dogs that winter to catch rabbits. Every- 
body was too poor to buy powder and shot, so we just had 
to get the rabbits some other way besides shooting them. 
Along towards Spring rabbits began to get scarce and 
hard to catch, and Oklahoma was close to a meat famine. 
A young fellow over in Clear Creek Valley by the name of 
George Callison solved the rabbit question in this way ; 
He was out in the woods one day, chopping wood for his 
wife; he took a piece of charcoal and made a black ring 
on the end of the log, just to be doing something. He did 
not realize at the time that he was doing something of 
more importance to the people of Oklahoma than anything 
that Edison, the great wizard, had done up to that time. 

Callison kept a few dogs himself, and he had two 
boys that could track a rabbit through a snowbank. On 
this particular day his boys and the dogs were out catching 
rabbits for their mother to cook with the wood that their 
father was chopping. An old rabbit they were chasing 
headed that way, and seeing the black ring on the log, and 
thinking it was a hole, he made a dive for it. He went 
against the end of the log so hard that it broke his neck. 

They say that nearly all great discoveries have been 
made by accitlent; and this is true of the greatest rabbit 
trap kno^Ti to the people of Oklahoma. Did George 
Callison rush to Washington and get a patent and mal;e 


himself rich sellinp; county rights? No, he did nothing of 
the sort; he just showed everybody how to make a rabbit 
trap, and tiius was the means of sa\ang thousands of peo- 
ple's Hves that winter. The old Boomers of Oklahoma 
ought to erect a momumcnt over his grave when he dies 
for saving so many lives, and he ouglit to have one of the 
Carnegie medals. 

Along towards Spring there was a great deal of sick- 
ness in the country, and as there was only one doctor in 
that part, of the country, he had all he could do and more, 
too. When he could not be had in a hurry they would 
come for me, as I luid doctored a few simple cases with 
success. As I was not a doctor any%vay, I never made 
any charges, except in one bad case. 

Whenever I was sent for I made inquiries about how 
the sick person was acting before I started to see the 
patient; and as I had always kept a supply of calomel, 
rhubaib, fig s}Tup and quinine on hand for myself, I would 
put some in my pocket and take it along. 

One day a great big six-foot boy rushed up to me and 
said his pa was acting very queerly, and he wanted me to 
com<; and see him. I grabbed my medicine and a quart 
Iwttle of skunk oil that I had fried out that day, got on 
my pony and away I went. When we got to the house 
where the boy lived, the old man was running around in a 
circle, and groaning so you could hear him a mile away. 
He was wild and had a club in his hand. It was not safe 
to get close to him. When I spoke to him at a good siife 
distance, he did not know me. We tried to get him to 
stop and talk to us, but he just kept on waving that club 
over his head and making that funny noise. Everybody 


said he had gone crazy. As it was not safe to get close to 
him, he had things his own way for about thirty minutes 
after I got there. 

We held a council of war, and it was decided that we 
would have to rope him to keep him from hurting himself 
or someone else. There was no one else in the crowd that 
could throw a rope on a blind cow, so I had to put the rope 
on the old man myself. I laid out a program in my mind : 
I would get on my pony and throw the rope on one or 
both the old man's feet, and drag him over the ground 
until he let go of that club. Then the rest of the men would 
jump on him and tie him, so we could give him some 
medicine. I had come to the conclusion that it was a 
case of blind staggers, caused by eating too much wormy 
Kafl&r com mush the night before, and my quart of skunk 
oil would do the job in a hurry, if anything would. I told 
his wife and boys that it would be hard on the old man 
if he did not drop that club pretty soon after I put the 
rope on him, as I would have to keep him mo\'ing pretty 
lively to keep him from getting on his feet and catching 
me and beating the Ufe out of me. They said to catch him 
and drag him around until he dropped the club, so they 
could tie him. I got on my pony, let out the rope and 
made a run by him. I dropped the rope on one of his feet, 
and as it tightened up, he went do^v•n on the ground. 
The noise he made and the way he acted for another half- 
hour were certainly something nobody else ever heard or 
saw, except the crowd that was there at that time. I 
dragged him around over the plowed ground; I pulled 
him up and down the road; I hauled him over a pile of 
fence posts and over the wood pile a few times, through a 


barbed wire fence, over a new iron harrow, and every time 
I would stop he would jump up and make for me. He acted 
just like I have seen men in Texas act with a loco jag on. 

It is a fact well known among cow-punchers that when 
you rope a steer and bump him against the ground he will 
lay still long enough for you to tie him. But that is not 
the case with a buffalo; he will jump to his feet every 
time you bump him. That was the way with the old man; 
every time I would bump him against the ground he would 
jump to his feet. 

I was getting tired, so was my pony. I had to do 
something and do it quick. I brought the pony in a half- 
circle and in a dead run around two trees, and jerked the 
old man in between the trees so hard that the rope broke 
and he lay still until the rest of the men grabbed him. 
They tied the old fellow, and he was a sight to see. All 
his clothes were torn off, and part of his hide. There was 
a red ring around his leg where the rope was tied, and his 
head was on crooketl where he lodged in the trees. I gave 
him that quart of skunk oil the first thing after we got him 
quiet. All we could do was to wait for an officer of the 
law to come and get him. After about half an hour I 
gave him a spoonful of calomel. In another half hour I 
administered a dose of castor oil which they kept to grease 
the wagon with. In about two hours after I gave him the 
first dose of medicine he began to feel easier, and it was 
not long until he was much better. He went to sleep and 
by midnight he was all right. By the time the deputy 
sheriff got there the next day, the old man was sitting up 
in bed, mad as a wet hen, but laughing al3out the fun we 
all had at his expense. 


Kind reader, if you ever happen to be on the head of 
Wild Horse Creek, in Paradise Township, Payne County, 
Oklahoma, and run on to anybody who was there at my 
wild west show, ask him how I cured the old man of a 
bad case of blind staggers. 

Not long after that I thought I would call on a young 
lady who was holding down a claim about two miles from 
mine. As she was a good cook, I arranged it with myself 
that I would happen in about dinner time. I got to the 
house and knocked on the door, but received no answer. 
I tried the door and it was locked ; then I knew she was 
not at home. I turned around to go, when I saw her big 
dog headed my way. As he had a very bad name among 
the boys, I thought it would be best to do something. 
There was nothing in sight but the log house and that big 
dog. I got up on top of the house to wait until the lady 
came home, and stayed on top till she did come, about 
ten o'clock the next morning. I never called on her again. 

One day I had a call to go see a sick man, not far 
from where I lived. I told the man who came after me 
that I had quit practicing medicine. I advised him to go 
and get Dr. Johnson at Clarkson. He replied that they 
had already been after him, but he was in Stillwater, and 
would not be back until next day. As I was the only man 
they knew about, they wanted me to come and do what 
I could, as the old man was very sick. He insisted so 
hard on my going that I went and took along my medicine. 
When I entered the house the old man was laying on the 
bed doubled up like a jack knife, having cramping spells. 
I asked him how he felt, and what was the matter \vith 
him. He said he felt very bad, and if I could not help 


him he would die before morning, as he had appendicitis, 

"Had what?" I asked. 

"Appendicitis" — well, that was a new one on me, as I 
had never heard of it before. He had Ix'cn reading about it 
in the newspapers and had made up his mind from the 
way he felt that he had it, and that nothing but an opera- 
tion would save his life. I tried to talk him out of an 
operation, and told him there was nothing the matter 
with him but an overfeed of Kaffir com and turnips. 
Nothing I could say would change his mind, so I finally 
consent<3d to operate. I told him I did not have any 
tools to work with, and that it would take a doctor to 
put him mider the influence of ether. When nothing else 
would do, I made him believe that I could do the job all 
right. All he would have to do was to lie still and take 
his medicine. Ever^-thing I did that night was to gain 
time, and put him off until morning. 

I commenced by giving him a pint of skunk oil ; then 
I told his wife to get the tools that he said I could use, and 
she got me an old hatchet, a butcher knife, an old saw and 
a pair of pliers that he kept to fix wire fences with. I told 
the old man I would have to have an oil stone and a file 
to shaqxin up the tools with. It was with me to 
gain time, and to give that oil a chance to work. I put in 
alK^ut an hour sharpening up those tools. Then I told 
the woman that I would have to have; a lot of hot water, 
and she went to work to heat the water. 1 told her I would 
have to have quite a lot of old rags or an old gunny sack 
to stop the blood with. I did all I could to gain time, but 
the old man had another l)a<l cramping spell, and began to 
get mad and wanted to know if I was going to let him lie 


there and die. I gave him a half tea cup of soda, and an- 
other half cup of vinegar. After he got quiet again I put 
him on the table and told him to shut his eyes and pray 
to the Lord to help, and I would do the best I could. In 
place of sharpening that old butcher knife, I filed all the 
edge off of it and made it smooth so it would not cut 

I unbuttoned his clothes and gave him a good rubbing, 
all the time pretending to locate the appendix, so I would 
know where to commence; for I knew that if I could put 
him off until that skunk oil worked, he would get all right; 
then I rolled up my sleeves, picked up my knife and drew 
it across his stomach pretty hard, for I knew it would not 
cut him. Then I asked him if he thought he could stand 
it, and he said he did not know whether he could or not. 
I took the old knife, gave him a jab or two, and drew it 
across him a little harder; then I picked up the hatchet 
and let on as if I was going to chop a hole in him. Then 
I changed my mind, and put a rag on him so hot that it 
made him grunt. I told him the water would soften up 
his skin, and would keep him from bleeding too badly. I 
gave him a few more jabs with the knife, and by that time 
he was getting easier; and when I gave him an extra jab 
in the side with the knife, he wanted to know if I could 
not see better in the day time. "Sure, I could," so we 
put it off until morning, and by that time he was all 
right. About a month after that I sent him a bill for $400 
when I knew that he could not pay six bits. We finally 
compromised by him giving me a bushel of Kaffir corn and 
cutting my hair. 

I played the fiddle for most all the dances that winter 


and had a fine time. About Christmas the boys secured a 
lot of booze from somewhere, and one night they got on a 
spree and did considerable shooting. It looked for a while 
as though {iiomeone might get hurt, but it turned out all 
right. When it was all over they found the fiddler under 
the bed, with eigiit or ten other fellows on top to keep 
out of the way of the stray bullets. 

After that I had a sign printed, "Please don't shoot 
the fiddler, he is doing the best he can," and when I went to 
play for a dance I always took my sign along and hung it 
on the wall for the boys to see it. Sometimes the boys 
would give me a rabbit in exchange for a number to dance; 
and the girls would give me a cookie or a piece of pie about 
midnight. Sometimes some of the boys gave me a little 
smoke makings. 

Some of those pies were wonderful specimens. There 
were pies made out of rabbits and Kaffir corn meal; pies 
made out of persimmons; pies made out of wild grapes; 
pies made out of black haws; pies made out of buck 
berries; pies made out of wild currants, which were so 
sour they would spoil a vinegar factory; pies that broke 
up many a happy home; pies that put the old man in the 
hay; pies that sent more than one man through the 
divorce mill. 

One cold, rainy night, just after I had gone to bed — 
that is, if you would call a pile of hay and a saddle blanket 
a Ijcd — there came a gentle tapping on the door. I knew 
what was coming, and I said to myself, "Never more." 
Just then a voice .said, "Bill, are you at home?" 

"Sure, come in." 

*'Well, get up. There is trouble. Dr. Johnson is in 

2M B I L L J O N E S 

CJuthrio. 5\ml my sistor's husbnuil is in StillwMtor on tl»o 
jury. Sistor is sirk m\d wunts ymi in a hurry." 

Aftor mjiking my usual talk iu suoh cast's, I wishod 
that I Wiis dead. I wishoil that I liaii never heard of a 
doctor or of a lH>tt le of n\edieine. I was not a doctor any- 
way. I was just helping sick pwple out of tn>ul>le wlien 
there w;us no doctor to be had. In this I thought 1 
w;us iHMug iu\{x>sed ujx»n and I told the young nian so. 
While I was drtvsing we talked it over, and much as I 
tlislikeil to go. theiv nothing else to Iv done, ami I 

I hail never mot this man or his wife. An old C.crman 
woman who had couic into the neighlH>rhood was my only 
hojH\ \VouKi she go out on a night like this? Would she 
Iv of any help if she did comt>? 1 was nv\tly to go. The 
young man who had ctMue after n\e went tifter that good 
old Cicrman wi>man, with orders to bring her or never come 
back. When 1 got to the liouse I went in without knocking 
and there was the woman in IhhI. The fire wt\s out and 
the n>oui was cold. I went up to the Ivd, sjiw that she 
wjis just a young girl, and not yet out of her ttvns, and 
not another soul within a mile. 

The first tiling I diil was to buiUi a tire ami put on 
some water to wann. The woman told me when* to KH>k 
for just such articles that I knew I would need. By the 
time gramlma cmne I had a good tire, and the rvx>m w:is 
wann. Cimnilma i\)uKl not speak ver>' good English, but 
she proved to K* one of thosi* dear old lavlies who know 
just what to do in such cases. It took her only a few 
minutes to nnnove her wraps and get warm; then we went 
U) work. That is . gramlma did. I stood ivrouud luul Imiktxl 

2-M\ ]\ I L T. J O X E S 

wis(\ just like a sun'-ciioufili doctoi'. AN'licn the sun camo 
up next morning there was a pair of as pretty little girl 
babies in that home as any man ever saw. 

I put in al)out a year after that baby call doctoring 
sick pe()i)le, horses, cattle, hogs and chickens, plo^vnng 
Kaffir corn, chopping wood, teaching a class of youngsters 
at Sunday school, playing the fiddle for the boys and girls 
to dance by, keeping batch, fishing in the Cimarron River, 
preaching to the people, serving on the jury, and lots of 
other things. 

There was a case not far from the Cimarron River 
that had baffled the best physicians in that part of the 
country, and there were as good doctors in Oklalioma as 
there were an^-Avhere. But this was a very jieculiar case, 
and it fell to the lot of little Willie to solve the problem, 
after the other doctors had given it up. One doctor said 
it was doby itch; another said it was smallpox; another 
said eczema; another said measles; one said one thing 
and the rest said something else. As a last resort they 
sent for me. 

One Sunday morning I went to see the man. for two 
reasons. One was, there was a young lady there tiiat the 
boys said was as pretty as a sunkist peach; and tlie other 
was, she was a good cook. Now, Mr. Reader, if you have 
ever had to eat your oAvn cooking for a few months, and 
nothing to cook Init rabl)its, Kaffir corn, cow peas and 
turnips, you will know what a few feeds cooked by a pretty 
young woman meant to me. When I arrived at the house 
tluy were all glad to see me. I found the old man very 
sick, but still able to Avalk around the yard. We talked 
about everything in general until after dinner — and sucli 


a dinner! I can taste it yet. Baked possum and sweet 
potattx^s, svteet milk and sure-enough butter, coffee that 
wouki make whiskers grow on a base Ixall, and biscuits 
that were good enough for John D. I was sick myself for 
a week after that feed. 

After dinner we began to talk about what ailed him. 
I asked him a thousand questions, to see if I could guess 
what was the matter. He had a bad cough. His body 
was all covered with red pimples, with a little white spot 
in the center of each pimple, rather hard and sharp. 
Before going home I promised to return and give him a 
treatment. I put in the next day reading Almanacs, the 
Life of Jesse James, Bill Nye's " Baled Hay," Brick Pome- 
roy's "Red Top," and everj-thing else I could find that 
would give me an idea what was the matter with the old 
man. I made up my mind that as none of the doctors 
could kill or cure him, there would be no harm in my 

I went out and killed a few skunks that I had been 
saving up for an occasion like this. I fried them out and 
got a half gallon of oil. I packed my medicine in a jug 
and went to see him. I took another man along to help 
me. I took the old man in a room where I could have 
him to myself, and at him we went. His old liide was 
hard and drj' as a horse's hoof. I had my heljx^r build a 
hot fire in the stove. Then I greased the old man all over 
with that skunk oil as hot as he could stand it, and wraj> 
ped him up in a blanket or two, to soften him up. I gave 
him alx>ut a quart of oil and slippery elm bark mixed to- 
gether to drive it out, wahtever it was. In about an hour 
he waa perspiring pretty freely, and was softening up 


BIT.!. JO N E S 


some. I took the blankets off and gave him another 
coat of oil and slippery chn bark, rolled him up again 
and put him back in bed. Then I would look wise, feel 
his pulse, and look at the othe man and wink. 

While I was examining his arm I felt something like 
sharp needles sticking my hand, and I looked to see what 
it was. It looked like a lot of fish bones; I asked him if 
he had swallowed any fish l)ones, and he told me that he 
had eaten a good many hickory shads that summer and 
fall, which they had caught in the Cimarron River. 
After that the job was easy. We put in a day or two 
picking the fish bones out of his hide, and after a few 
weeks he got all right. 

Kind reader, if you ever eat any hickory shad send 
for me at once. 

One evening as I wa.s coming home from Perkins, a 
little to\VTi on the river east of where I lived, I noticed 
that the wind suddenly stopped blowing. I looked up 
and saw the unmistable signs of a cyclone. If I had been 
out on the prairie where I could see how things were I 
could have side-stepped and let it go past. But I was in 
the timlx'r, where I could not see very well, until it was 
too late to make my get-away. 

I ro<ic down into a little gully and tied my horse 
good and fast to a root that stuck out of the bank, and 
then I laid down to let the cyclone pass over. When it 
struck the gully where I was, it jerked me out of that 
hole and up I went through the tre(5 tops, sailing around in 
a circle. The air seemed to be full of all kinds of \\Tcck- 
age; first, I would bump into something, then something 
would bump into me. They siiy that a drowning man 




will cateh at a straw. While I was sailing around watching 
for something to catch hold of, an old cow came flying 
along, and when she got close enough I grabbed her by 
the tail and away we went. From my position I could not 
tell whether it was an old-time Dutch waltz, a two-step, 
the grizzly bear or a Cheyenne Indian war dance; but 
there was plenty of excitement while it lasted. However, 
I did not enjoy it a little bit. I was not feeling well when 
the dance started, and as the music just kept on, the old 
cow never gave me a chance to catch my breath or to 
take a drink out of a bottle of medicine that I had bought 
of a lx)ot-legger in Perkins, and I was pretty drj^ too. 

I don't think I was over thirty feet from the ground 
at any time, but what if that cow had let loose and jerked 
me do\vn against the ground and hurt me? I never gave 
her a chance to leave me up in the air, though ; I just held 
on, and when she lodged in the top of a tree which the 
cyclone had not blown do\Mi, I got hold of the tree and 
slid down to the ground. I landed about half a mile from 
where I had left the pony. He was still there, but the 
^\Teckage harl whipped him nearly to death. My saddle 
was gone, and I never did find it. I went on west and 
stayed all night at the first house I came to, as I was 
prettN' well battered up and my pony was in a worse fix 
than I was. 

The cyclone came from the southwest, just missing 
the house where I was stopping. Then it went due east 
for a ways, and after it passed the Mulnix home it crossed 
the road and went alx)ut two points north of etust, nearly 
across Payne County. 

The greatest damage was done at the Mulnix home, 



A Cyclone in Paradise Valley 


where the cyclone seemed to center. Mr. Mulnix was ia 
Stillwater' on jury duty. Someone brought the news the 
next morning and I went back to see the wreckage. Their 
substantial log house and other improvements were com- 
pletely wrecked, and when the twister pa^ssed on it left, 
if I recollect right, four dead in the Mulnix family. 

The dead had been removed before I got there, but 
one thing in particular attracted my attention. That was 
a red oak tree about thirty inches in diameter that stood 
close to the house and was too solid and strong for the 
cyclone to blow dowTi. About fif teeti feet from the ground 
the tree forked, and in the most solid part of the fork the 
wind had driven a shovel more than sLx inches into the tree. 

I will let the reader figure out for himself how fast 
that shovel was going to bury over half of the blade in a 
solid oak tree, and never bend the blade or damage the 

The tree was cut down aftersvard, and a section about 
four feet long was sawed out with the shovel in it, and 
sent to Guthrie to be placed on exhibition. The proceeds 
were to go to the stricken family, but some scoundrel, 
without the love of God or fear of the law, stole the sou- 
venir, and :is far as I know it never was heard of again. 

Kind reader, if you have ever seen such a curiosity in 
your travels and can give any information that will lead 
to its recovery, write to the State Historical Society, 
Oklahoma City, where it ought to be. 

Just one more, and I will leave the rest for my next 

I sold my homestead in Paradise Township and went 
further west, looking for another farm that I could buy. 



() F V A li A I) I S !•; \ A I. I. !•: ^- 21.-) 

One <l;i\- in OctoIxT I hoarded a iiorthlHmiid Huck Island 
train at VA Kono. Nothing unusual occurred until we 
j:ot to the hridge over the Cimarron River, nortii of 
KinfrfisluT, or rather to tiie place where the hridf^e ought 
to have been. It was not there and wo went off the track 
into the river. TIm" first thing I knew after wo made tho 
jjlungo was when tho water began to come into tlio coach. 
I managed to como to my.sojf, like tho Prodigal Son, and 
felt that I wanteil to go home. I wanted to go in a hurry, 
for tho water was coming into tho coach. It was wet and 
cold water, too; and it iiad a bad smell, as if it wore ju.^t 
out of a K. (\ ])acking house. I gave tho young huly who 
had landed on mo a jab or two, and asked her if sh(> was 
not ashamed of herself, to bo sitting on mo in that way. 
Sho turned up her nose and said something about a nasty, 
mean man jiouring water on her when she could not help 
herself. About that time, someone gave her a i)ull and I 
was able to get up. of us got out of t he car just in time to keep from 
getting drcm-nod, and I found my.self in tlio riveralong 
with a lot of other pa.ssongors. Wo hold a council of war 
and docidod that wo would not wait for tho Red (" 
ambulance, but would swim out, as thor(> was ])lenty of 
w.iter, such as it was. 

Aln.ut eight or ti-n of us were swinuning along, talking 
alK)Ut which is tho Invst way to .swim. One fellow .said 
that a dog can swim longer than a man. and hence dog- 
fashion is tho proper way. Another said he had heard 
that tho iH'st way is to throw yoiuself on your back and 
just fl(.at along; another sjiid tho over-hand stroke is 
\)t^{. While we wore thus swimming along (li.scu.s.sing tho 


H I L L .) ONES 


way to swim, and whoso fault it was that the bridge was 
goue, and what was the matter with the engineer that he 
rim his train into the river, one fellow offered to bet that 
lie could dive down and touch bottom. Another fellow 
said he would bet five that he could not. We all stopped 
to see the fun. 

They put up the money, but just then Press Love, 
Sheriff of Kingfisher County, came swimming along with 
one eye full of sand and water and his gun strapped on 
top of his head to keep the cartridges from getting wet. He 
also had a warrant in his pocket for an old farmer at 
Dover who could not pay his road tax. He stopped long 
enough to hear what the row was about, and then arrested 
three of the men for gambling and the rest of us for being 
caught in the swim, and took us all out to the bank. 

During the excitement and while the sheriff was 
putting on a dry pair of sox and arranging his necktie to 
^;uit the occasion, I slipped into the brush and made my 
get-away. Consequently, I do not know whether they 
saved all the people that were clro\\'ned or not. One man 
who was supposed to be on the train is still missing. He 
was a bill-poster for the Sel!s-Floto Shows. The insurance 
company refused to pay his life insurance, and I think 
they proved that he ran off with a rich widow who lived 
close to Dover. It will never be known, perhaps, whether 
he is in the bottom of the Cimarron River or raising cotton 
on that rich widow's farm out in the jacks eaat of Dover. 



"Wanted — A pilot for a small river boat 
to run on the Canadian River to Camp Sup- 
ply and up Wolf River to Ochiltree, Texas. 
Write or call Rapid Transit Packet Co., 
El Reno, Oklahoma." 

After reading the above advertisement I put in my 
application for the job. I went to El Reno at once and 
had no trouble in finding the manager of the company. 
After a few hours of preliminary skirmishing, I was em- 
ployed to pilot the boat on its first trip up the Canadian 
and Wolf Rivers. About May everything was ready to 
start on the trip. Our cargo consisted of a micellaneous 
assortment of everything that the natives were likely to 
want, from a corkscrewto several gallons of prime oldsnake 
medicine that was guarantegd to cure the worst case of 
snake bite that could be found in the Panhandle of Texas. 


Our boat crow consisted of a captain, first mate, 
pilot, and eevoral outriders. The captain's business was 
to look after the welfare of the crew and see that the cargo 
or stock in trade was put where it would do the most good. 
The first mate usually went ahead of the boat to hunt up 
the ojx^nings between the sandbars. All I had to do was 
to run the boat whenever he could find enough water to 
float us up stream. 

The outriders were the real business agents of the 
outfit. They would vStart out from the boat and beat 
around the brush, over the hills, and when they ran into 
a native who had been bitten by a snake they would 
l)roceed to doctor him. They always effected a cure, and 
it was surprising how many people they found who had 
l)een snake-bitten. One of the old natives said snakes were 
so plentiful that it was hard to dodge all of them. Another 
old fellow said he had been bitten by a gila monster about 
ten years Ix'fore, and every once in awhile he would have a 
bad spell, and he would have to take a big lot of snake 
medicine to relieve him. He said the only thing that 
saved him that time was that he had been to town and 
was pretty well jagged up on soda that he had drunk at a 
dance hall. He said the gila monster livetl but a short 
time after it bit him. 

The gila monster of Arizona is said to be one of the 
most poisonous reptiles in the I'nitetl States, but I do 
not remcmlK^r of ever hearing of anyone dying of its bite 
in my vicinity. It always happened about twenty-five 
miles away, and I never ran on to any man who knew 
personally of a man dying of its bite. 

We got along very well and made good time until we 

250 B I L I. J O N E S 

ran into a wire fence that Bill Mcrj-dith had stretched 
across the river a mile or so below Lipscomb to keep 
the catfish from going up or down stream. In making a 
big effort to pass the fence, I bent the engine's walking 
beam and broke our main drive chain. It began to look 
as if we would have to stay there all night, but Norris, 
the ranch foreman, got a pair of mules and towed us on 
up the river to Lipscomb. We tied up just below the 
suspension bridge at the port of Lipscomb about ten 
p. M. The wharf master immediately came aboard and 
inspected everything on the boat, including a two-bushel 
box of Bibles and Sunday-school tracts that we took along 
for gratuitous distribution. After he had looked the boat 
and crew over, and could not find anyone with the small- 
pox or yellow fever germs, and no cold-storage eggs, he 
gave us a clean bill of health and said we could land at 
any time. 

I remember when the wharf master first came aboard 
there appeared to be something the matter with him. 
He looked like he was just ready to cry about something 
or other. The mate noticed it, too, and took him over to 
the other side where he always kept a tear jug made for a 
man with one eye to cry into. After he had looked that 
jug over several times, he was well satisfied, and a smile 
came on his face that you never see outside of a prohibition 
state or a local option town or country. He told the mate 
that he surely had saved his life, as he had come down to 
the river to drown himself. But when he saw the boat, it 
being the first one he had ever seen, he wanted to look it 
over. As he was city marshal as well as wharf master, 
he gave us the glad hand of welcome and said he would 


recommend us to the county officers and the city officials. 

In fact, he said he would just turn the town over to 
us as long as we wanted to stay, and if we wished to get 
married and settle down, he had a friend who was in the 
real estate business who would sell us a town lot or ranch 
that he knew would suit us. As Lipscomb contained some 
of the prettiest girls and widows in the State of Te.xas, he 
knew we would be satisfied to get married and settle down. 
After we looked the women over we knew he was a gentle- 
man and a good judge of feminine beauty. But as I had 
already be<>n married I told him he would have to excuse 
me until I could get the judge to unhitch me from the 
last on(> I had married. 

I went up town to see if I could find a hotel where I 
could stay all night. After running around for a time I 
found one and went up to the door and knocked. Some- 
one u]>-stairs raised a window and asked what I wanted 
at that time of night* 

" Is this the hotel?" I asked. 

" I don't know. What do you want?" 

" I want a room and bed," I answered. 

"What do you want with a room and bed?" 

"I want to stay all night," I replied. 

"Well, why don't you stay all night where you are?" 

"Say, Mr. Man, are you the landlord?" I asked. 

"What do you want to know that for?" 

" I want someone to oy>on the door so I can get in." 

"Where did you come from, anyway?" 

" I came from El Reno." 

"Isn't that a good town? Are there no good hotels 
in El Reno?" 


"Yes— lots of them." 

"Then what did you come to Lipscomb for?" 

" I have some business in connection with a railroad 
that we are going to build from Oklahoma City to the 
coal fields in Alaska." 

"What do you want to build a railroad for, anyway?" 

"We want to build a railroad through this town, so 
you people can ship out your farm products and we can 
ship you in cheap lumber and coal." 

"We have no farm crops to ship out — don't raise 
anything in this country but bull calves, and we can 
make them walk to Higgins." 

"Say, Mr. Landlord, are you going to let me in?" 

"What is your name?" 

"Jones, William Jones." 

"Jones, are you married, and are you any kin to 
Jones Bros., of Kansas City?" 

"Say, Mr. Landlord, are there any other hotels in 
this town?" 

"None that I know of. Did you try the livery stable 
or the lumber yard? They have good boards and lodging 

" I will try that livery stable and lumber yard if you 
will kindly tell me where they are." 

"Over on the corner by the windmill." 

"It's dark out here and I can't see the windmill. I'll 
give you a dollar if you will come and show it to me." 

" Why don't you get the blacksmith to show it to you? 
He knows where it is." 

"Well, where can I find the blacksmith?" 

"Over on the other side of town." 


"Which side of town is this?" 

"The right side ; say, are you going to build the depot 
on this side of town?" 

Thinking that I might get him to open the door, I 
asked the landlord if Lipscomb would not be a good place 
for a man to come who wanted to go into the hotel busi- 

" I don't know," he replied. "Does he want to come 
here to build a hotel?" he asked. "Do you think I could 
sell him this one?" 

"What do you want for it?" 

" I want four thousand dollars. What would you give 
for it?" 

"How much did it cost you?" 

"Three hundred and fifty dollars." 

" How much will you take for it right now?" 

"How much will you give?" 

I was getting tired and sleepy, and I had to do some- 
thing, as it was after twelve o'clock at night. 

"If you will come do^\^l and let me in I will give 
you two dollars for a room and bed to-night. And if 
you want to sell out in the morning I will buy it for a 
friend of mine, for I know that the location so close to the 
depot will make the lot worth more than twice what you 
ask for it." 

He slanmied the window down and pretty soon I 
heard him coming down the stairs. He opened the door 
and let me in, then wanted to know why I did not come 
to Lipscomb in the daytime. 

" Well, if you will show me the room I am to sleep in 
I will go to bed at once." 

254 B I L L J O N E S 

" I have no vacant rooms, but I can put you in the 
same bed with a crazy cowboy. Maybe you can keep him 

"Say, Landlord, how much will you take to let me 
sleep in your cyclone building?" 

"How did you know that I have a cave?" 

"I guessed at it." 

"Well, you are a pretty good gues!>er, and you can 
sleep in it to-night for two dollars." 

As I was almost played out I gave him the money. 
He showed it to me, and I went to bed and tried to sleep, 
l)ut the boll weevils nearly ate me up. Kind reader, if 
you ever go to Texas, take a pile driver with you to kill 
the boll weevils. 

Next morning bright and early the mate started out 
to find a blacksmith to make the needed repairs on our 
main drive chain and have the walking beam straightened. 
While we were tied up I thought I would look the town 
over to see what kind of a place it was. I found it to be a 
nice little village \\'ith several wide-awake people. There 
were two hotels — the Lipscomb Hotel and the Good 
Chuck House. After dinner, while sitting on the porch of 
the leading hotel, a man came running by without a 
hat on, swinging a baseball bat over his head, and shouting 
and swearing at some one I did not see to stop, and he 
would make an angel out of him in a very few minutes. 
After he got out of sight, another man came running along 
aa fast as he could. It looked to me as if some of his folks 
were very sick and he was going after a doctor, but he had 
a Winchester in his hands. I asked the landlord what it 
meant. He said it was the way the citizens settled any 


trouble Ix^twoon themselves, and advised me to just sit 
still and watch the fun. These two men, he said, always 
managed to keep on the other side of the block from each 
other, and as they put in most of the evening chasing 
each other it would be some fun for me. I never could tell 
which of them was ahead, as they kept just so far apart. 
If one stopped at the post-office, the other would be at 
the livery stable; and if one stopped at the lumber-yard, 
the other would be sure to be at Howlette's store. I 
never saw two men try to get together so hard in my life. 
They would perhaps be chasing each other yet, but a 
couple of cowl>oys happened to come into to^vn and roped 
the two warriors and pulled them together. Then they 
all went dowTi to the river and had a drink of salt water 
and that settled it. The trouble was all over. 

Lipscomb is the best watered county in the Panhandle. 
In the dry season it is only sixteen feet straight do\\'n to 
water, and in the wet season it is only sixteen feet straight 
up through the water. One of the old natives told me that 
it rained so hard there at times that it was not safe to 
leave anjlhing loose for fear it would wash away. He 
told me alx)ut a fanner who left his mowing machine up 
on the hill, south of town, one evening. That night a 
big niin fell and washed the machine clear across the to^\Ti, 
and as it moved along it cut down a wire fence and half the 
city expenses, and threw the city's cleaning department 
out of a job. It cut up several cords of wood, just the 
right size to fit a cook stove, cut and piled up two tons of 
hay against the livery stable, cut do\\-n every sand burr 
around the Court House, and saved the county several 
dollars. It also cut u gully through the lumber yard. 


While we were in Lipscomb the sheriff resigned be- 
cause the jail would not hold baled hay or even sand burrs. 
The new sheriff kept his prisoners in the church, and he 
said it was the best place in the county to keep them, and 
it was cheaper, too. 

Every man in Lipscomb has a cyclone building or 
cave — fraid-holes they call them. Every time they see a 
bad looking cloud forming in the west, that looks if it 
might be a cyclone, they all run and jump into their fraid- 
holes. While I was there I saw some of these holes so full 
that they could not all get in. The last ones to get there 
would just jump in head first and let their feet stick out. 
The city council had a fraid-hole dug in the middle of the 
town, just behind the opera house, for people who were not 
able to have one of their own, and especially for hotel guests. 

I was told about a bad windstorm that struck the 
town about five years before I did. They said the wind 
was going about seventy-five miles and hour, and there 
was about as much sand, dust and gravel as there was 
wind. Four drummers were stopping at the hotel that 
night, and when the wind struck the house they made a 
quick get-away and jumped into that cave. The sand 
and gravel drifted over the cyclone hole until it was about 
ten feet deep. Everj^Dody was too busy looking after 
himself and getting into a safe place to be concerned about 
anybody else. Next morning when they got back on top 
of the earth everj^one was accounted for except those 
four drunmiers. As no one had noticed them that night, 
it was taken for granted that they had gone to the railroad. 
Two days later someone suggested looking into that hole 
in the center of the town. After a couple of days spent in 


moving the mountain of sand and gravel, they found those 
four men nearly dead from fright and starving. When 
they got back home tliey had some l)ig stories to toll about 
that cyclone, and about being buried alive for four days, 
and none of their hair turned white, either. 

Even>'body in the Texas Panhandle has two hats — one 
to wear while he is chasing the other. Lipscomb is twenty 
miles from the railroad. One day while I was there the 
wind was blowing pretty fierce and it took my hat along. 
I just watched my chance and reached up into the sand 
and wind and grabbed a hat that proved to be a good J. B. 
It had a conductor's station check in the band, so if you 
know of any one who lost such a hat, tell him alx)ut it, 
as I wish to return it. What Texas needs is good roads, 
more people, less wind and fewer dogs. 

When the mate of the good ship "Little Buttercup" 
could not get that blacksmith to fix the main chain drive, 
he sent by the overland mail to Higgins for repairs. The 
mail was carried in an old motor-car that had gotten so 
it would not nm on the Wichita boulevards, so the owner 
sold it to the mail contractor at Higgins to carry the mails 
and what few people who wanted to go somewhere, but 
were in no hurry to get there. We waited two days for 
the motor car to come with our repairs, and the post- 
mistress got uneasy about it and sent out a couple of 
cowboys to bring it in. They found tiie car about half 
way between Higgins and Lipscomb, stuck in a sjind bank. 
The chauffeur and one man were under the car, sound 
asleep; and the other two passengers were <\ovm on the 
creek bank fishing. They took turns hunting and fishing 
for something to eat. The two cowboys tied their roi>e 


to that car ami tlio four inon pusliod. Thoy got to town 
alxmt sundown. 

They had no repairs for rivor In^ats in stock at 
Higgins. so tho mate got a team and buggy to go to GK'i/ier 
for tliem. It is eighttvn miles acnx^^s the country to Cda- 
fier. no roaiis, mid twenty-i>even wire fences to go through 
or over, as you think Ivst. They don't have roads in 
that ]\art of Texas. Ivcause it takes work to make them, 
and tliat is something the natives an^ ni)t guilty of. 
Resides, it takes money to build bridges, and as they have 
nothing to haul in and nothing to haul out, they don't 
ntxnl any bridges. One of the natives told me that the 
t;ix collector did not get enough tax money the year Ivfore 
to hin^ a man to cut the s.andburs down around the court 
house. He Siiid they haii not painted tho court house in 
twenty years — ami it looked it. While I was there the 
sheriff n^signed his ottice and went to fanning to make a 
living. I a^ked the lady at the Oood C^huck Hotvl if it 
got very warm there in the summer. "Mister," she 
n^plied. "we have to set our hens in the ice Ix^xtokeepthe 
eggs from hatching out before bnwkfast is nwdy." 

Somebody was buiUling a house while I was there, 
and I watched the Imnlvrman deliver the hmiber from the 
yard to the house. He put his son on a pony ami tied the 
hnnlHT to the pony's tail and dnigged it to the job. I siiw 
Mr. Wheat ilelivering groceries to his customers the siune 
way. except he had them in a boy's ex]>ress wagon. 

The Panhandle is a dry country in more ways 
than one. They don't have sidoons there, and if juiy one 
gi^ts thirsty he goes out on the pniirie and p\thers a bushel 
of loco (crazy wivd). pounds it up in a dish jvm to a 

OF PARADISE \^ A L L E ^' 259 

juicy pulp and puts it into a two-Rullon ju^. Then he 
poufH in a pjallon of ga.soiino, and some prune juice to give 
it a rich color. In alxjut a week it mukes a drink that 
would have surprised Solomon in all his glory. I watched 
a few men under its influence while I wtis there. I am not 
going to tell you h<nv they acted, as I don't know how. 
When two or three w<juld start out on a loco jag everybody 
else moved out in the sandhills for a week or two. 

Most of the old cattlemen have quit raising cattle, as 
it is easier and cheajx-r to raise dogs. They have to have 
the dogs to catch the coyotes to keep them from eating 
the calves. That's what the old-time cowboys carried a 
smoke wagon for — to shoot the coyotes. It's against the 
law in Texas now to carry more than two guas. When the 
old ranchmen come to town Saturday evening they ride 
a pony. The women, children and dogs have to walk in. 

It is all pasture land from Lipscomb to Glazier, and 
some of the pastures are full of cattle. When the tender- 
foot comes along the cattle have some fun at his expease. 
While going through a fence on the way to Glazier the 
mate's team start'-d off without him. He was running to 
catch the team when a bunch of cattle started after him. 
It was three miles to the next fence and the fjister the mate 
ran the faster the team and cattle ran. They all got to 
the fence about the same time, and what lie said when the 
got back to Lipscomb was a plenty. 

I att<'nded a ball while I was in Lipscomb anrl was 
intro<luc^d to a young widow. After the ball I went home 
with her, and after that I called on her every evening as 
long as I was in town. One evening I noticed there was 
something wrong with her; about the same time I felt 


as if some one had stuck me in the small of the back with 
a pitchfork. It made me move rather suddenly. I looked 
around, but did not see any one, so I tried to make myself 
l>elieve I was mistaken. But no, I felt it again; about 
the same time the lady had a nervous attack of some 
kind — I could tell by the way she bit her lips and rubbed 
her hands over her face. I began to feel as though I 
wanted some one to help me out, and I think the lady felt 
the same way, for she excused herself and went into another 
room. I went to the hotel as soon as I could and began 
to look for the place where I was shot or stabbed. After 
a few minutes I discovered a pair of ticks — yes, ticks — just 
the kind they have all over Texas. I think I know some- 
thing about ticks, as I have been hunted by them all the 
way from the Rio Grande to Montana. A tick can make 
life a burden to you, and there is no use trying to make 
love to a girl when there is a tick on you that is attending 
to business. And that is what they are tliere for, every 

Ticks are natives of Texas, but I fomid them also in 
Oklahoma and Kansas. But they will not bother a Kan- 
sas man like they will a Texan. !Most Kansas people 
have the mange, or doba itch, is the reason. An Okla- 
homan smells too much like a coal oil barrel to suit a tick. 
So they do best at home, in Texas. A tick was never 
known to stay at home when there was a picnic anj-^vhere 
in the county. Every boy and girl that ever attended a 
picnic will tell you so. Every time they have a picnic 
in Lipscomb county they have a tent put up where the 
girls can go to get the ticks off. The boys go down behind 
the creek bank. The boys and girls use a dilferent Ian- 

() V I'A |{ A I) I S i: \' A L L !•: V 2<il 

'2(12 li 1 L I. .1 () X KS 

guago alxtuf ticks, l)ut it all means the saiiK^ thiiip;. T 
have said a few tliiiij;s aliout ticks in>scll", luit you need 
not look into a Sunday school ])ai){'r to fintl it. 

Aftor I married that youns widow she went with a 
ciowd of younp; ])eople on a fishing expedition, and I 
haven't the least idea how many ticks or fish she caufj;ht 
that day; but I know it took me half the night to pry the 
ticks loose. I tried all kinds of tick medicines. I first 
used a curry comb, that got the most of them; then I 
tried coal oil, that loosened up some more; then a i)air of 
nijijiers and some turpentine; then carbolic acid. I tried 
to smoke them otY, lik(> a jiainter takes off old paint ; tiien 
I tried rough-on-rats and skeeter scoot. After about foe.r 
hours of work, nuMitally and i)hysically, I used a box or 
twoof vaseline, wrapped lier up like an Egyptian mununy 
and put her to bed. If tiiere was anything sh(^ failcMl to 
say during that few hours I have forgotten it — but she said 
a i)lenty. The .judge said I was entitled to a divorce, 
and if I would make an application for one he wouUI 
gladly grant it. Every time she goes fishing now she puts 
on a i)air of newov(>rallsand ties tl\e bottoms to lier ankles, 
as tight as siie can stand it tiiat's wii(>re the hobble skirt 

About the only place you can find ticks in the winter 
time is in the hot(>ls. the rooming houses, and at the stock 
yards in Ft. A\'orth. They all seem to know that 
Ft. Worth is a good i)lac(> to winter. Last sum- 
mer while I was in Wichita I went into a joint to get 
some snake medicin(> (I think the joint was in the base- 
ment of the cit\- hall). There weic a bunch of fellows in 
there, and one fellow came up and asked me if I was just 


up fnjm Lipsfonib County, TfxaH. Ho naul ho could 
always t<'ll a man from the Panliandlo, That mado mo a 
littlo mad, and I a^kcd liim how ho know. He Haid a man 
from the I^anhandlo always liad a ti<k on him. I told him 
he was a liar. I told him that I could lick him in throe 

" Now, BOO horo, Willio — I know your name is Willio — 
I used to live at Toxline mys<'lf , and I know that ovorylx>dy 
down in tho Panhandle has a tick on him. To prove to 
you that I am rij^ht, I will hot the drinks for the crowd 
that ytm have a tick on you alxjut fiix inches \h;\ow the Ixjne. To prove to you that I am right, I will 
bet you t<*n dollars that I am correct, and that I know 
what I am talking alwut." 

With that he laid a ten-dollar bill down on the bar, 
and I put a ton on tfjp of it. Then I unbuckled my Jxjlt 
and pulled up my shirt to show thom, and I will U; dog- 
goned if there was not a dozen ticks in place of one. 

Bosido.s our regular stock in trade, we took along 
quite a collection of small animals and all kinds of snakes 
that we could got — some for (uriositios and some for real 
business purjx^sos. We had a pair of gila monsters, a big 
fliamond rattlesnake, several jjrairio rattlers, black snakes, 
garter snakes, hoop snakes — in fact, we had good and 
bad snakes — all kin(Js, sizes and colors, and we wrtainlydid 
a gof*<l businc'ss in tho snake lino. Evor>' town we stripped 
at the p<'ople would come d(jwn to the Ixjat to see the 
-riakos. One day, by accident, a little, no-account snake 
^ot out of his box and bit a preacher who tiappened to be 
on our boat. He got excited and thought he was going 
to die sure, but the mate got out a bottle of prime old 


snake medicine and gave him a big dose. In fact, he gave 
him several doses, and after the mate pronounced him 
cured he said he would be back next day, and wanted 
the mate to let a bigger snake get out of the lx)x. 

After that every good preacher and all the good church 
people would come aboard and wanted to see the snake 
that bit brother Bill. One day an old woman came aboard 
and wanted to know if we had any snakes that would bite 
a woman. She told the mate that her old man had been 
down to our boat, that a snake got out and had bitten 
him, and they had given him some kind of medicine that 
had brought a smile to his face that would not wash oflF. 
The old man told her that she ought to try some of that 
medicine sure, and see if it would not put a smile on her 
face once more that would not come off for a year or two. 

One day there came aboard at Lii)s('omb a hard 
looking old sinner who wanted ^ome snake medicine. As 
it was against the rules and regulations t-o sell snake 
medicine to any person unless he had been bitten by a 
snake, he wanted to know how much we would charge 
to let one of the snakes bite him. The mate told him that 
would depend on the size of the snake; a little one, a dollar; 
a medium-sized one, two dollars; a big one, four dollars; 
and if he wanted one of the gila monsters to bite him, that 
would cost him five dollars, with enough medicine thrown 
in to cure him. After looking him over, he Si\id he guessed 
he would try that big fellow from Arizona. The mate 
told him to roll up his sleeve, rub the little one on the 
back, and the big one would do the rest. .After that our 
business got better right along. 

While I was in Lipscomb I attended a play at the 


opora house. The name of the play was "Forty Miles 
from Broadway," but the bills did not say what one — New 
York, Kansas City, St. Louis, or HigRins. But from the 
way some of the actors acted I think it was the one spoken 
of in the Good Book; and from the way most of the people 
talked tiiat night, all of them would be on the Broadway 
to the river after the performance was over. The standing 
room sign was hung out early in the evening. The reason 
the sign was hung out so soon was because a couple of 
drummers who happened to drop into Lipscomb that 
evening lx)ught four reserved seats, which came very near 
causing a riot. Some of the people who lived in Lipscomb 
said it was not right for outsiders to slip into town that 
way and buy up all the good seats in the house — that they 
ought to have waited to see how many that lived in the 
to\\'n wanted to go. The papers stated that the star or 
leading lady received a weekly stipend of seven hundred 
dollars — that her salary was five hundred, and the other 
two was for exjx^nscs for herself and her dogs. The old 
man could look out for himself. 

When the box receipts were counted up they 
amounted to thirty-five dollars. It was a 00-40 draw — 
that is, the manager got CO per cent and the house got 40. 
Then the sheriff hit them for another ()0-40 rake-<)(T; then 
the city marshal stopped them for another GO-40; then 
the hotel man got excited and hit them for another 00-40. 
The man who liauled them from Higgins also demanded 
his 60-40, and by the time they settled with him the com- 
pany was in debt. 

There were only seven in the company — five dogs 
and two people. The stage manager made an awful roar 


about the size of the stage ; said it was not half large enough 
for a big troupe like his. Next day the boys passed the 
hat and made up enough to pay for five seats in the hack 
back to Higgins, so the dogs could ride. The man and 
the woman had to walk. 


JOHNSINGER's wild west shows, el PASO, TEXAS 



"\\'antecl — 50 able-bodied men, must be 
crack shots with a rifle. SIO.OO per day. 
Apply to Johnsigner's Wild West Shows, 
El Paso, Texas." 

The above advertisement appeared in the papers in 
the \sinter of 1910-1911. After reading it over several 
times and studying the question both ways, I decided 
that I would go to El Paso and join Johnsinger's Wild 
West Show. As I had traveled one season as a champion 
crap-shooter with Col. Zach Mulhall's Wild West Show, 
I thought I would have no trouble in joining, even if I 
was not young and good looking. 

While I was with the Colonel we had plain sailing 
until we struck a little village at the mouth of the Kaw 
RivfT, called Kaasas City, in the State of Missouri. I 

268 B I L L J O N E S 

had always thought the people of that part of Missouri 
were half -civilized and all white; but that is where the 
Colonel and all the rest of us were fooled. It was raining 
when we arrived there, and all our cartridges got wet. 
I told the Colonel that he better get some good ones, as 
we might need them. He laughed as only the Colonel can 
laugh and remarked that it would be all right. We were 
just having a glorious good time, and were giving the 
people at Convention Hall a rattling good exhibition when, 
without warning, a bunch of red savages slipped in out 
of the brush and captured the overland stage coach and 
got av ay with it. I heard afterwards that they sold it 
for $21 50 and spent the money for snake medicine. 

I \ )ught a ticket to Santa Rosa, New Mexico, in the 
famous ''ecos River Valley, as I wished to see an old friend 
of min^3 ^:\\o had been with Colonel Rosie Tedfelt's Rough 
Walkert in Cuba and other places. I only stayed one 
night in Santa Rosa. If I remember right the name of 
the hotel where I stopped was the Wright House. At 
least, it was the right place to stop. District Court was 
in session and the town was full of la^v>'ers, ranclimen 
and Ml ^cicans. As there were only a few hotels in to-wn, 
it was liard to find a room at that time of night. The 
landlord said he would fix me up some way. About 
twelve o'clock he took me up to a room that was but a 
little worse than a cotton pen made of fence rails. There 
was a bed and a dresser, an old soap box to sit on, and a 
lot of nails driven in the wall to hang anything on that 
you might have along with you. After the landlord went 
out I looked around to see what kind of a room I had any- 
way. I found all kinds of women's clothing hanging on 


the nails, and there were a few things there that I had 
never seen Ix'fore. As the names and price-marks had 
been removed, I had no way of finding out just what they 
were used for. About 5:00 a. m. the landlord woke me 
up and said the lady that used that room had returned 
on an early train and wanted the room, so I had to give 
it up. I asked him if he did not think that a dollar was 
too much for the use of a room, under the circumstances, 
and lie said that if he had waited two minutes he could 
have let it to a drummer for two dollars. 

As my friend had gone farther west, I took the first 
train to El Paso. I arrived there about 9:00 p. m. I 
walked up to\Mi with a young fellow who got on the train 
at Amarillo. We joined forces and went to the same 
hotel. We walked around the tovm awhile that evening 
and made some inquiries about that Wild West Show, 
but no one seemed to know anything about it. We began 
to talk about what brought us to El Paso. I told him 
wl^.at my business was, and he told me that he had come 
to join the Mexican Insurrectos — that they were paying 
.\mericans SlO.OO a day to help fight the regular Mexican 
^<)ldie^s. I began to think that was what someone wanted 
with fifty crack rifle shots. 

Next morning bright and early we were out on the 
streets, hunting someone who could tell us about it. As 
it was not safe to talk alxiut it on account of the Mexican 
spcjttors, we had to pretend that we were hunting work 
and wanted to go to Mexico. We ran into an old colored 
man who had a G. A. R. button on, and I knew it was 
safe to talk to him. He api)eared to be very ignorant at 
first, and to know notliing about it. But I assured him 


that I was all right, and let him read my discharge from 
the United States Army. Then he loosened up, and told 
me I would have no trouble in getting in as a scout, as 
that was his business, hunting recruits for the Insurrectos. 
He took us around to the Mexican Junta — that's what he 
called it — and there they put us through a course of ques- 
tions that would make a civil service examiner feel like 
two bits. But we passed and graded ninety-nine. We 
would have made an even hundred but they asked us 
how long we could live on hot tamales. We both missed 
that question several days. We signed up and were in it 
That night we crossed the Rio Grande and were regular 
enlisted Insurrectos in the northern army of Mexican 

All next day we were hid in the mountains across 
the river from the smelters above El Paso. That night 
they sent me in charge of half a dozen Insurrectos to hold 
a picket post so we would not be surprised and the whole 
outfit captured or run to death. The night was fairly 
dark, but we could make out a man fifty steps away. I 
understood about as much Mexican as they did English, 
BO I called them all Umbra and they called me Juan 
(Whan). Everything passed off nicely until about three 
A. M., when we heard something making a noise, and before 
I could say hist! (whatever that stands for) one of the 
men shot off his gun and they all lit out for camp. I 
started, too, but I soon stopped, as I wanted to see what 
I was running from — besides I might run over a bank and 
break my fool neck. Pretty soon it came in sight. It 
proved to be a little burro with a pack on his back. Just 
what he was doing out that time of night he did not say, 


l)iit I t'Mpturcd him and also a ^ood pair of lilankcts, a 
tiNiuK ]>an and a tin ciij). 

After tliat 1 was transferred to the cavalry. That 
burro was just thirty inches hifj;h, so I could walk or ride 
as I pleased. Next day they took u> all out to drill as 
cavalry. I fountl about thirty men in t he company. Some 
had ])onies not much bigger than the bin ids, but they 
could gi't aroinid l)etter. ^^'hen 1 would get in a hurry 
to go some ])lace I would get olT ami walk. 

After drilling for a week or two we got to be very 
good soldiers, or at least we thought so. We received 
notice once or twice a day about what the federal soldiers 
were doing in Juarez. There Avas no doubt but what they 
were going to come out of the town and give us a fight to 
see us go some, but there is where tiiey got fooled. The 
federal soldiers started up the river to find us, and we all 
hunted ii good i)lace to hide. The general said I could 
fire tiie first shot, as I was one of the skirmishers about 
two hundred yards in front of the main bunch. 

When we discovered them leaving the town, I began 
to feel like Kl Paso would be a good i)lace to be. Every- 
ImkIv who could get away from Kl Ptiso was Jin(Ml up on 
the north side of the river in automobiles, carriages, on 
horseback or afoot, to see the fight l)etween the insurrectos 
and the federals. First came the cavalry, tiien the l)urro 
mountain battery of three ginis, then the infantry. When 
they got within al)out four miles of us they sent out skirm- 
ishers to feel the enemy that is what I found out after- 
wanLs. They got within about three miles of us, and jus 
I ha<l orders to fire as soon as I thought they were n'ady, 
I tiild t he bovs to cut loose as soon rs I took a shot at them. 

lU I I. J i> N IS 


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You just oufiht to have seen them hide out when we all 
l)egan to shoot. There was not a soldier in sight in two 
minutes, and our bullets did not ro half way to them either. 

In about thirty minutes tiiey brought up that burro 
battery. It's not likely you ever saw a burro battery in 
action. If you ever do see one you are likely to laugh 
yourself to death. I did, for I was just as safe in front of it 
as the man behind the gun. We skirmishers were lying behind a ridge where we could see the whole sight. 
I will not try to des' ribe a burro battery in action; I can- 
not. You can look at the picture, as the artist can beat 
me. They were all backed up, and after ever>'thing was 
ready the trouble began. It took alx)ut thirty minutes to 
prove to everybody that a mounted burro battery was a 
failure as far as killing insurrectos was concerned. We 
made a first -class Wild West Show all that day for our- 
selves and the crowd on the other side of the river. No 
insurrectos were killed and only a few wounded. One 
federal was killed and a burro kicked another to death, 
or at least they said he was dead. 

I am not going to tell you whether we whipped the 
federals or whether they whipped us. I think we wasted 
several tons of war material that day. They say it takes 
five tons of lead to kill a soldier in time of war, but I don't 
think so. That evening the federals went back to Juarez 
and we went farther west and went into camp. Next day 
we started south to join forces with some other company 
of insurrectos. We had lots of fun — that's what I calhid it. 
One day we would be after the federals, next day the 
federals would be chasing us, and as the country was 
hilly and rough it was hard to got around. 


We finally brought up at Casas Grandes. Madero 
had, all told, about eight hundred men. About one hun- 
dred Americans were with him. We surrounded the town, 
and at da3'light the fight started. We were in some old 
dobe houses. I think the federals knew where we were, 
for it looked as if the whole federal fire was directed at 
the place where we were located. The way those Mexican 
soldiers threw the hot stuff into those old adobes was not 
slow. We were doing a little business in that line ourselves, 
but they had a three-pound field gun and several machine 
guns. That three-pounder soon began to knock holes in 
the adobes, and the rapid fire guns and the Mausers fairly 
rained the bullets into our men. We saw it was all off as 
far as we were concerned, and we made a break to get 
away — that is, the few of us who were left. I was the last 
one to leave the house I was in — not that I wanted to stay 
and fight, but I was afraid I might get run over and crip- 
pled if I started ahead of the other men. I wanted them 
to go ahead and get the barb wire fences out of the way 
so that when I started I could get out of range of those 
rapid firing guns. It is about one hundred and fifty miles 
from Cases Grandes to El Paso. 

After I made my getaway from that old dobe house, 
1 saw Kelley and three others running like a bunch of 
jack rabbits, headed for the river. By the time I overtook 
them they were at the river. When we saw the federal 
cavalry coming, I realized it meant every fellow look out 
for himself. All our cartridges were used up, and we left 
our guns at that old dobe house, as we did not care to be 
bothered with anything that would hinder our flight. 
However, I still had my old short-barreled ''forty-five" 

U V 1' A IL A I) 1 S ]■; \ A I. 1. !■; V -JTo 

•JTC) 1^ 1 1. 1. .1 (> X i: s 

and six cart riiljics which 1 was saviiiji" tor an cnu'r{i;cncy. 
If I could only have liad tliat hunch of Mexican soldiers 
stand still in a line for a few minutes I could have gotten 
a ]iony for each of us. I knew that just as soon as they 
could g(>t close enougli to us they would commence to 
shoot; I did not care how much they shot at me, hut I 
did not want th(>m to he wasting; their cartridges that way. 

B(\sides, s(»n)e of the other men were not used to such 
rapid walking, and they might fall hehind and get run 
over, or worse still, he shot. I just got down to a gait 
that I knew would leave the cavalry in Mexico. I had 
husiness in the United States that neetkxl my attention, 
and I (lid not jiropose to let a lot of ^Mexican soldiers stoj) 
nic. I could iiear them shooting and yelling. I did not 
understand just what they were j'elling al)out, l)ut it 
sounded to me like, " Wiiy don't you run faster?'' '" Look 
at him fly." "Look at him run over the jack rahhits." 
"I guess he is going to the north pole to lot)k for Dr. 
Cook." " I het he is dry and is goin' to El Paso to get a 
drink of Uniuila." If they luul talked white man, and said 
"Stop!" I would have known what they want(>d. lint 
such a noise and such a lot of shooting kept me husy going 
to the hills. I knew all the time that their ponies had not 
Ix^en fed tliat morning hefore they had starteil after us, 
while I had luul a good feed two or three days before 
starting, which made my chances good to get into the 
hills hefore they could overtake me. 

When the}' got to the river I saw some of them gel 
otT their poni(>s and hegin to measure my tracks so thc\ 
<-ould identify me from the otiier fellows. I knew enough 
ahout a Mexican pony to feel saiished that it could not 



carry one hundred and fifty pounds and out-run a man 
who was in a hurry to get some place. Looking ahead, I 
could see — about two miles distant — the hills toward 
which I was hurrying, while only about forty rods behind 
me and getting nearer every minute were ten or fifteen 
Mexicans. I thought I would try a shot at them. I 
never .stopped that fast walk of mine and when the smoke 
cleared away I thought I had killed or crippled the whole 
fiock, for they were all on the ground. They gave up the 
chase right there, and I went on toward the hills. Upon 
my arrival there I made some coffee and had my dinner. 

While I was headed for El Paso at a moderate rate, 
a lot of coyotes thought I would make a good feed for 
them, so about a dozen of them started after me. All I 
had to do was to let out a little and it was easy to keep 
ahead of them. I let them get within about twentj' feet 
so that they would think they could catch me. Then 
there was another reason why I wanted them to be trailing 
along — I would get to El Paso sooner. After about a five- 
mile run I could see that some of them had given up the 
chase. After all except one hungry looking scamp had 
quit me, I let him get within about ten feet when I pulled 
out my gun, side stepped, and let him have one. I then 
took out my knife and cut off some nice steak. Went on 
to the creek and had my supper. 

Next morning I finished that coyote and continued 
my journey. The second night all I could find to eat was 
a big fat old skunk that was so careless as to let me get 
close enough to kill him with a club. 

Some people may think that a skunk is not good to 
eat, but I can truthfully say that that skunk was cleaner 


and tastrd a whole lot Ix^ttor to me than lots of the mix- 
tures you get from a modern packing house. And that is 
no josh, either. 

Next day I got my dinner with some Mexicans, and 
that night I crossed the Rio Grande River and was once 
more in God's country, 

Roy Kelley, an insurrecto arrives in EI Paso, bringing 
the story of the fight at Casas Grandes on Monday. 
*' Noted soldiers of fortune die in bloody battle. Some 
from the United States sink under fire from Diaz troops." 
The members of the foreign legion killed at Casas Grandes 

Raul Madero, brother of President F. I. Madero. 

R. A. Harrington, Captain of American Legion, Sol- 
dier of Fortune, formerly of New York City. 

Guiseppe Garibaldi, Ranking Major and memlx^r of 

John Greer, at one time a Deputy Sheriff at Lincoln, 
New Mexico. 

Lieutenant A. Valencia, of El Paso. 

Roreriguez Guterrez de Lara, from Los Angeles, Cal. 

Captain F. J. Cascantes, Engineer from Guerrero. 

George Moore. 

Sergeants Heath and Bidwell. 

Madero, with a force of eight-hundred men, was 
located at a ranch about three miles from Cases Grandes, 
and a column of two hundred and fifty men was ordered 
to go fon^ard to the to\^^l. We arrived Sunday night at 
ten o'clock, and surrounded the town, waiting until day- 
light. I WU.S with Captain Harrington's command of 
Americans. The column wa.s headed by Major Garibaldi. 

280 B I L L J O N E S 

We took position on the oast side of the town, and the 
Mexicans eompletrd the circle. 

Firine; began at davHglit. Most of the Americans had 
entrenched in adobe Iiouses, where we cut loopholes. The 
fire became terrific. It was from Mausers, machine guns 
antl a three-pounder field piece. As soon as the three- 
pounder began to play I knew it was all off with us, for 
the shells ate away the adobe and left us exposed. At 
<laylight we saw the machine guns on the roof of the 
church and the field piece in a plaza. 

As soon as the sun rose it was hell. The field piece 
smashed in the walls and roof of the adobe and the machine 
g\m famed the opening. We were thirty men when we 
w(>nt into the house and only five of us got out. As I was 
running I saw young Madero and Garribaldi fall, and I 
had to jimip over their bodies. Sergeant H(>ath and 
Lieutenant Valencia were killed early in the fight. De 
].ara was dead. I saw the poor fellow lying ihvro on the 
groimd. That was tough, for he was a fine f(>llow and th«^ 
Americans all liked him. When we got through the barb 
wire fence and to the river we were five Americans. I 
.started for El Paso and the rest beat it for the hills. 





After hanging around El Paso for a few clays I lx>ught 
a ticket over the Sunset Line to Alpine, Texa.s, 

From El to Alpine is one of the most desolate 
pieces of country I ever saw. There is absolutely nothing. 
The railroad has wator cars standing at every siding for 
the Mexicans that work on the railroad. If anyone else 
wants a car of water it costs him from twenty to fifty 
dollars a car. The railroad over the mountains is so 
crooked that j'ou can't tell in what direction you arc going, 
or whether you are going straight up or down. 

As I was riding along, looking out of the car window, 
I saw a lot of crows, or ravens, flying west. Everyone of 
them had a tin can or a little sack hung to its neck by a 
string. At one place where we stopped to let a train pass 
I saw a lot of ants going west. They were rigged up like 
a lot of Indians moving camp. At another place where 
we made a short stop I noticed a freight train standing on 
the side track. Lots of the passengers got out to rest 
themselves while we were looking at that freight train. 
We discovered that nearly every truck had a few tramps 
or hoboes on it. All were going west. We also saw several 


coyotes on the trucks going west. Each tramp had some- 
thing to eat along with him. Someone threw a stale loaf 
of bread out of the car wndow. Then the coyotes and a 
bunch of hoboes had a fight over it. When the train 
started I looked out of the window and saw them still 
fighting over that piece of bread. 

I asked an old Texan who happened to be in the car 
what made the crows and ravens carry the can and the 
little sacks? He said the country between San Antonio 
and El Paso was so poor that they had to carry along 
something to eat and drink. He also said that the ants 
had to do the same thing, and that was the reason why 
the coyotes rode the freight train. 

I asked him why they were all going west. He said 
the crows, ravens, ants and coyotes in New Mexico had 
more sense than to come to Texas. He said that as soon as 
they get their eyes opened they all left Texas. He said 
there were so many suckers coming to Texas from the 
North that an honest, hard-working, respectable ant or 
coyote could not make a living in Texas any more. He 
said that do^\^l in east Texas, in the pine woods, where he 
lived, they had quit trying to raise anything except goats 
and frogs. He said "Befo' de wah" they could raise a 
few Arkansaw hogs, until some man brought in a lot of 
goats and they ate up all the pine cones, as well as all the 
young trees and shrubs. Then a lot of men from Chicago, 
the location of which place miglit be in Oshkosh for all he 
knew, came to Ft. Worth and built a big slaughter house, 
the smell from which had killed all the fish in the Trinity 
River. Then Bill Bailey, Governor of Texas, and one of 
owners of the Standard Oil Company, went to Washington 

F PARADISE \' A L L E Y 283 

and got Uncle Sara to let him have sL\ million dollars to 
dig the Trinity River deep enough to allow a few sharks 
to come up the river as far as Dallas. He said that most 
all the sharks in Texas lived in the Gulf Coast country, 
with hcadtiuarters at Houston, and if they could get the 
snags pulled out of the river as far as Dalhis the sharks 
could meet all the suckers from the North at Dallas. He 
said there were a big lot of men at Havana, Illinois, who 
do nothing else but hatch out thousands of fish every 
year, mostly of the sucker variety, who come to Texas 
to buy big farms, and that all the suckers do not come 
from Chicago, either. He said they come from every 
place except Kansas. The dam Kansas suckers have 
gotten too smart to swallow anything except a lot of barb 
>\ire whiskey. He said the only way you could catch a 
Kansas sucker was to put the cork on the hook. There 
was no use putting the cork on the line and the bait on the 
hook; you had to change things a little to get them to bite. 
He said there were so many Kansas people in the Texas 
Panhandle that the ticks were all coming farther south. 
He had a brother at Waco who wrote and told him that 
the ticks and boll weevils were so bad in the Brazos River 
Valley that the people could hardly live there any longer. 
He said the lx)ll weevils would eat up the cotton in the 
hummer and fall, and then in the winter they would all 
move to town and get in \ho. hotels and l^oarding houses, 
so thick that a Dutchman from Chicago only lived a short 
time after staying at a hotel a few weeks. They just 
acted like an Iowa hog with the cholera; went to bed 
feeling fine and wok(? up the next morning dead as a 
mackerel. He said it was different with a tick. All you 

284 B I L L J O N E S 

had to do to get rid of the ticks was to take a bath in crude 
coal oil once or twice a week. Or you could take a bath 
in that new tick remedy, called Car Sul, and the ticks 
would quit you and go on the hunt of another tenderfoot 
from the North. 

About dark I got to Alpine. When I got off the train 
I thought everybody who lived in that town was at the 
depot to meet me. That is the way it looked to Willie. 
I had to shake hands with almost a dozen before I could 
get away to find a hotel. 

I met one of the most crooked real estate agents in 
Alpine I ever saw in my life. He was so crooked that he 
could not sleep in a fence comer. He was so crooked that 
you could not tell by his tracks which way he was going. 
He had a barrel of snakes beat a country block. You 
could not tell by his city plot whether you were trying to 
buy a lot in Alpine or in a prairie dog town four miles out. 
He dug a well that was so crooked that the water ran out 
at both ends. He had to have his shoes made to order at 
the blacksmith shop in order to get a fit. He was the 
same old scout who found the way through Arkansaw 
for the most crooked railroad in the United States. He 
was the same man that discovered the hogs in Arkansaw 
that have hoofs like a mule. His writing was as crooked as 
the streets in El Paso. He said that in San Antonio, where 
he used to live, the streets are so crooked that he could not 
tell in what part of the town he lived, so the policeman 
had to take him home. He was so crooked that he had to 
put his hat on with a monkey wrench. He was so crooked 
that he could not go through a round house.. 

Liberty still survives. You can locate in Alpine if 


you wi^h to, but life is too short to stay there over a week. 
When I was in Alpine there was a water famine, but as 
far as I could see everybody had plenty to drink. 

I noticed that the real estate agent alwaj's kept his 
fore finger close to a live trigger. 

While I was in Alpine I noticed that the steam roller 
gang and the city street cleaning department were always 
working around the free lunch counter. 

A guest at the Alpine Hotel broke his jawbone eating 
a spring chicken. 

After a few days spent in the magic city I went to 
San Antonio. It is a fine farming country from Alpine to 
San Antonio — if you look at it with your eyes shut. But 
if you happen to open your eyes and look out of the car 
window it's not so good. I would advise j'ou to travel 
through Texas by night, or keep your eyes shut, especially 
after you have been reading all the good things the real 
estate agents, hotel keejiers and immigration agents have 
said alx)ut the State. Then you will not be disappointed. 

San Antonio is said to be the glory spot of Texas, and 
from what I saw of it I think it is — not. I think Ilunts- 
ville ha,s San Antonio beat seven to one. Huntsville is 
where Sam Houston used to live. I think he is there yet. of the people in San Antonio, when I was there, were 
wearing soldier's uniforms. I noticed a great many 
Northern p<'(»ple there. They all had coughs, "lungers" 
they call tlum in Texas. Most all of the hot<^ls, boarding 
houses and rooming houses are full of "lungers." In 
reatling over the Furnished Room for Rent advertise- 
ments I noticed tliat nearly all of them said "No sick." 
I a.sked a man what that meant, and he told me tlrnt those 


were the places that do not want to be bothered with sick 
people. I picked out a house that I thought would suit 
me, and as the advertisement said "No sick," I went to 
hunt it. When I rang the door bell a woman came to the 
door. I told her I wanted a room. She said she had one 
that would just suit me, and the price would be seven 
dollars a week. I asked her if that was not a little high 
for a room four by six on the first floor coming down. She 
said that was cheap, and that they always made a Dutch- 
man from up North pay a double price. That was the 
only way they had to get pay for the " Niggers ' ' the North 
took away from them. 

I asked her how I would get my clothers off when I 
went into that room, and where I would set my suitcase. 
She said the last man who occupied the room took off his 
clothes in the alley and climbed up the fire escape when 
he went to bed. She said he left his suitcase out in the 
back yard close to the alley. I asked her if there were 
any sick people in the house. *'Lord no," she responded, 
"I would not have any sick people in my house." To 
make a long story short, I rented the room. I asked her 
if she would give any of the money back if I only stayed a 
few days. 

" No, you bet your life I won't. I will have to charge 
you extra if you do not stay a full week." 

The first night I stayed there the boll weevils nearly 
ate me up. You see, a Texas hotel or rooming house never 
has such things as bed bugs or fleas in them. A state law 
of Texas says that the bed sheets shall be nine feet long. 
That keeps out every kind of a bug except the boll weevil. 
After a boll weevil eats up the cotton crop, the cactus and 


the mesquitc brush they take to the hotels and board- 
ing house's for the winter. 

A boll weevil will not bother a native Texas woman. 
That's why the Texas women use snufT — to keep away the 
lx)ll weevil, A eoyote won't eat a dead Mexican because 
the Mexican eats chili. 

Some time in the night a man in the adjoining; room 
commenced to cough. From the way he couglKuI, and 
the Ieng:th of time he was at it, I thought he must have 
jarred the foundation of the house. Of course, there was 
no "lungers" in that house. After he quit, I had just 
gotten to sleep again when a woman in the other room 
adjoining mine began coughing, and I thouglit she would 
jar the windows out. Of course, there was no "lungers'* 
in that house. When she quit, another one across the hall 
commenced, and I looked next morning to see if the roof 
was still there. "No sick" in that house. Then it 
dawned upon me why the landlady wanted to charge me 
extra if I did not stay a week. 

Next morning she wanted to know what ailed me 
that I had come to San Antonio. I tokl her there was 
nothing particular the matter with me. She said she 
would have to know, as the health officers required her 
to make a report of all suspicious characters stopping at 
her house. This was done so the doctors and undertakers 
would know alx>ut what amount of business they could 
count on from each house in the town. I told lu>r I had a 
very severe headache all the time; I was partly deaf; 
liad a cataract in one eye; had a bad case of catarrh in 
my head; one of my arms was nearly shot off in the fight 
at Casas Orandcs; I was suffering with mountain fever 


I had contracted in coming over the mountains from El 
Paso to Alpine. I said I was suffering with appendicitis; 
that I had rheumatism in my hips and knew that I had a 
very weak back; and I had to stay in bed about half the 
time on account of the gout I had caught in Kansas City; 
that I had eczema, doby itch and a few ticks that had 
gotten on me at Lipscomb. Then she wanted to know 
if I had been scalped by the Mexicans, as there was no 
hair on my head; also if I had a cork leg, as I limped when 
walking. She wanted to know if I had ever had smallpox 
and how long I had been doctoring for the asthma. She 
wanted to know how many times I had been in a bug- 
house; if I was a moderate or hard drinker; how may 
times I had been married and if my last wife was living; 
how long it had been since I was divorced, and how much 
of a reward was offered for me in the United States, 
Canada, Mexico or Arkansaw. She wanted to know if I 
was a republican, and if I expected to run for an office of 
any kind. She said that the last republican that ran for 
oflSce in San Antonio got across the Rio Grande before 
daylight. She wanted to know if I really had a glass, 

I tried to break in several times, but she cut in so fast 
that I saw there was no use. I just backed out of the door, 
ran around to the alley reached over the fence, grabbed 
my old suitcase and lit out and hid in a })ox car for fear 
she would have me arrested for slipping off without paying 
extra. If I had stayed half a week the doctors would have 
gotten me, and if I had stayed the week out the under- 
takers would have gotten me, and that was the reason 


she wnntpd extra if I did not stay a week. They aim to 
get all you have in some way. 

To be on the safe side, I just stayed in that old lx)x 
car till I got to Houston. When I got up town I bought 
a "San Antonio Ex-press" to see what they had to say 
about me. The only thing I could find that covered my 
case was a two-column piece about Teddy Roosevelt, 
''The Rough Rider," coming to San Antonio in disguise, 
meeting a lot of the boys and having a big time. It said 
that he got so bad that to keep from getting arrested he 
had gone down to the river and drown himself; or at 
least he Iiad made a complete get-away, like he did at 
San Juan Hill. 





When I left Houston I went to Galveston on the 
sea wall special, expecting to see one of the beauty spots 
of the new Southland which I had read and heard so 
much about. I expected to find both sides of the railroad 
lined with orange and fig groves as far as the eye could 
see. I expected to see a nice house and a fine home sur- 
rounded by flowers of every kind that would grow in that 
semi-tropical region, the famous Gulf Coast Country. 

I expected to see fruit and truck cars standing on 
every siding. I expected to see people busy loading these 
cars with all kinds of early fruits and vegetables for the 
northern markets. I expected to see a nice home on every 
five- or ten-acre tract of land. 

The country from Houston to Galveston is as flat 
as a pancake. I could tell by the crawfish holes that it 
was sub-irrigated. I could tell by the looks of a few 
houses that the people had been tr>'ing to farm it since 
the time Davy Crockett and others had mauled the stufiin' 
out of Santa Anna and a few Mexicans at the battle of 


Ran Jacinto. That was about seventy-five years ago, 
and the farmers have been trying ever since to find some- 
thing that would grow on that salt marsh. The real 
estate agents called it the beautiful (lulf Coast Country, 
where anything would grow from — well, anything that 
you would plant. 

I was toll! that you could buy a dime's worth of tooth- 
picks and stick them in the ground, and the first year you 
could s<'ll a thousiind dollars worth of cordwood off an acre 
of ground. Also that the soil was so rich that all you had 
to do was to buy some oyster seed, sow it in drills a foot 
apart, and the next winter you could gather from $1,500 
to S2,000 worth of oysters to the acre, ship them to Gal- 
veston, as that was the nearest home market, and get the 
cash for them. 

I asked the man on the train why the people did not 
raise something on the land, and he said the old natives 
of Texas were too lazy to work, and the negroes were all 
busy out in the brush shooting craps. What the country 
wanted, he said, was more Dutch and more money from 
the North to do the farming. For a few years after the 
Civil War every man from the North that went to the 
southern states was a Yankee. For the last ten years 
every man who went south was a Dutchman. I guess 
that was a Ix'tter name than " Yanlcee." Then I was told 
that at Texas City they were all button men. 

I wanted to know if all the people at Texas City were 
making pearl buttons out of oyster shells that they arc 
called button men. lie said no, that they were called that , 
because they wore a little bronze button with the letter 
G. A. R. on them. I asked him what those letters meant, 


and ho sfiid that he didn't know for sure, but he had been 
told that they stand for Grandpa Always Ran. 

The countr}^ from Houston to Galveston is laid ofT 
into town lots and five- and ten-acre tracts. I could tell 
that by the corner stakes sticking up everywhere as far 
as I could see. Also there was a lot of big bill-boards on 
both sides of the railroad, telling people that they could 
buy five or ten acres for orange or fig farms. All you would 
have to do was to buy a farm and in a year or two you 
would have to send for your wife's relatives to come and 
live with you to help spend the money, as it would be 
too hard on one family to spend all you could make off a 
ten-acre orange or fig farm in the beautiful Gulf Coast 

I foimd Galveston located about halfway between the 
devil and the deep blue sea. I went down to the beach 
to see the people go in bathing, and I thought I would 
try that game, too, as I am always looking for trouble. 
I went into a hole in the wall to take off my clothes. The 
man gave me a paper collar and about a yard of blue rib- 
bon to put on. I got the collar on all right, but there was 
something wrong with the ribbon. I knew that the min- 
ute I came out of that hole in the wall. Everybody com- 
menced to laugh at me. I thought that was part of the 
game — to laugh — and after I went int<) the water and a 
big wave hit me I swallowed a tub full of salt water, and 
I laughed, too — nit. 

After awhile I began to get the hang of things. I 
went out a little farther, and was just having a hog-killing 
time when I noticed a young girl about twenty years old 
that kept hanging around me. She looked as if she wanted 


to say somothing to mc; sometimes she would look at me 
and smile 'in a different way from the rest of the bathers, 
I had gotten out quite a waj^ where the water was about 
three or four feet deep, and that little girl was still hanging 
around, when something happened to me. I don't to this 
day know what, but something grabbed me by the leg 
and I jumpetl about ten feet out of the water. Everybody 
commenced to yell "Shark! the shark has got the man!" 
When I hit the water, a big wave buried me and I thought 
I was dead to the world. 

I thought the shark would have a feed at my expense, 
but that little girl dived under the wave and when it 
passed over her she had Bill by the top of the head and 
was holding his breathing apparatus out of the water. I 
got on my feet and we left in a hurry. 

After I got those bathing rags off and into my own 
clothes, I was watching the rest, when that little girl 
came up to me and wanted to know if I was not Doctor 
Jones from Oklahoma. Well, to save my neck I could 
not place that httle girl. But I was glad of one thing; she 
had saved me from being eaten by a shark. "Don't you 
remember Mr. S., who lived in Payne County?" I surely 
did. She was one of the twins — Wilma was her name. 
She was named after Willie, and the other twin, Paulina, 
after grandma. When the twins were eight years old 
their father sold out in Oklahoma, went to Galveston, 
went into business and did well. Paulina was married 
and lived in New Mexico. 

I went home with Wilma, and for a week that little 
girl and her parents certainly entertained Willie right 
royally. Wilma showed me all the sights in Galveston. 


I found a man who had an oyster farm to sell, and we got 
in his old oyster boat and went out to see it. I was a little 
doubtful about that old boat, but he said it was all right. 
Just what direction we went and how far I don't know. 
But we got there, and we loaded that boat with oysters. 
The water was alx)ut four or five feet deep. He had a 
contrivance that looked like a post-hole digger with forks 
on the end. We would push that down in the mud, then 
close it up, and lift out about a dozen big oysters. But 
the trouble happened going back. That old boat with the 
help of a big wave tipped over and spilt all our oysters 
and the two of us into the bay. We managed to hang to 
the boat and, by wading and swimming, we finally reached 

I went back to Houston, and I must say that I rode 
with one of the most peculiar conductors I ever saw. So 
different from all the rest. When he came in the car he 
actually closed the door — something I never saw a train- 
man do before. They usually slam the door so hard that 
it gives most people a nervous chill. When he came in 
lie raised his cap and said, "Good morning, ladies and 
gentlemen; I am glad you are on my train, and I will see 
you safe in Houston in about two hours." Someone 
called him Mr. Mc, the laughing hyena. Well he was all 
smiles, any\^ay. This old world would be better off if it 
had a few more such men as Mr. Mc. 



When I got back to Houston I found a hotel at 400 
Austin Street that suited me and, strange to say, I was 
not bothered by boll weevils or any other kind of bugs. 
There were a few real estate agents boarding there, and 
other land men would drop in to talk to me about the 
prospect of Texas. Most of them were selling orange or 
fig farms. But they had different kinds of get-rich-quick 
schemes to separate the Dutch from their money. Here 
is the way one land agent laid it out to me: "For only 
two hundred and twenty-five dollars an acre I can sell 
you a five-acre farm that will grow the finest bananas in 
Texas. All you have to pay do\\'n will be ten dollars an 
acre. Then you can pay the rest just to suit yourself. 
Here is the way that banana farm will pan out for the first 
five years, if you are lucky enough to live that long. You 
can set the plants or trees five feet apart both ways, and 
the second year they will bear their first crop. You can 
cut a bunch of bananas from each tree and sell the bunch 
for one dollar. The first cutting will amount to $1,681. 
Then at the end of ninety days you can cut the second 
crop, amounting to another $1,081; and you can cut a 
crop cver>' ninety days for the first three years. By that 


time the trees will be big enough so you can cut a bunch 
every thirty daj-'s. A banana orchard will bring you the 
fifth year 20,161 bunches at one dollar a bunch. That 
will be $20,161, with a grand total for the first five years 
of $40,160, and your banana orchard will be just in its 
prime. A banana orchard will live, in Texas, for one 
hundred years and get better all the time." 

He said about a dozen Chicago commission merchants 
were killed last year fighting among themselves to see 
who would buj'- up the bananas from the farmers. He 
said that is how it happens that all the land in Texas is 
owned by a few men. He said that the average farm or 
ranch in Texas contains ten thousand acres, and that they 
made the money to buy the land raising bananas, oranges 
and figs. He said that an orange farm does not pay quite 
so much to the acre as a banana farm, but is more certain, 
as the crop is ready to gather every working day in the 
year. He said they had found out how to keep the frost 
from killing the fruit. Professor Green, of the Experi- 
mental Farm, advises farmers to plant ginger between 
the rows, and when you are not gathering oranges, you 
can be digging ginger and selling that. He said you could 
sell enough ginger off the ground to pay the expenses of 
raising and marketing both crops. He said a fig orchard 
had to have a lot of hay or straw scattered around it every 
fall for the tramps to sleep in when the weather gets too 
cold for them to sleep in the city jail. They would all go 
out and sleep in the straw in the fig orchards, and the 
smoke from their old pipes and cigarettes would keep the 
frost away. He told me that in the winter of 1911 and 
1912 there were not half enough tramps come to Texas 


to keep all the fig orchards alive; he said that by another 
winter that they were going to advertise in all the tramp 
centers for men to come to Texas to sleep in the straw. 
He said a pile of straw beats a snow bank to sleep in; he 
said in some places there was a premium on tramps; that 
some of the fig farmers would furnish the tobacco and 
matches; he said there was always enough cabbage stalks 
and potato tops left on the truck farms for tramps to live 
on through the winter. 

Conroe, Texas, is a nice little town, and I found it a 
verj' small place. It had been visited by a very destructive 
fire just Ix^fore I went there and there was a very little of it 
i('ft. Alxiut all that remained was a lot of dogs and several 
1 )arrels of mosquitoes and fleas. You would not think that 
fleas would live in a country that is under water half the 
t ime. but they do, and everything is fairly well supplied 
with them. I don't know but what a handful of fleas on 
a person will cause inore trouble than a handful of ticks 
or boll weevils. 

I don't know whether it raias all the time in eastern 
Texas or not, but it rained all the time I was there. When 
the rain would let up a little I would go out of the hotel 
to see how the fleas were getting along. At first I thought 
they would all be dro\Mied, but I found them all alive 
and doing nicely. Their appetites, however, were never 
satisfied. They would get on a chip or a stick of stove- 
wood and go floating around like an excursion stcamlxjat 
in Clalveston Bay. I don't think you could find any fleas 
in the hotel in Conroe; or, in fact, in any hotels along the 
I. & CI. N. II. R. in east Texas, for the mosciuitoes keep 
them out. 


I have watched mosquitoes and fleas fight for hours 
at a time. Whenever a fight starts between fleas and 
mosquitoes it is a fight to the finish and, as there is a 
world of them, it is hard to tell sometimes which will be 
the winner. After a hard day's battle between them I 
have seen the floor covered almost an inch deep with the 
dead and wounded. The mosquitoes usually come out 
victorious, as there are more of them, and they are better 
armed than the fleas. For hours at a time I have watched 
people sit around fighting mosquitoes and scratching for 
fleas. I certainly did enjoy myself watching the boys and 
girls making love to each other and, at the same time, 
fighting mosquitoes and scratching for fleas. 

I stayed in Conroe two days and then went to New 
Waverly, another nice little town — what there is of it. 
And I found lots of nice people there. I think, however, 
there are more fleas and mosquitoes in New Waverly than 
in Conroe. 



The next place I stopped at was Huntsville, where 
the State Prison is located. I went through the prison 
to see just what kind of a place I would have to stay in 
if I ever got caught again in Texas. 

East Texas is a very flat country and covered all over 
with pine timlxr that is just large enough for telephone 
poles and so thick in some places that the mosquitoes can 
scarcely get through. It is a great country for truck 
farming and fruit growing. One old colored man told 
me that he sold seven dollars' worth of persimmons off 
four acres. He said that was the largest crop year that 
they had ever had. He told me about a man who had a 
persinomon farm that he had caught and sold one hun- 
dred 'possums off of in one year, for which he received 
one dollar apiece. He was going to set out twenty acres 
more to persimmon trees, so that he could get more 

Most of the people in East Texas keep herds of goats, 
as goats can live on anything they can get hold of. I made 
it my business to inquire why the pcx)ple raised nothing 
but goats. One old native told me they could raise nothing 


except goats and crawfish. He said the country was so 
poor that the only thmgs that would grow there was tele- 
phone poles. He said a man set out twenty-five acres to 
pears and in twenty-five years he had not raised enough 
pears to pay the taxes on the ground, though the land was 
assessed at only one dollar an acre. He said the only 
variety of pears they could raise was the Le Count and 
Keiffer. And he said that no goat, and no negro, would 
eat a Kieffer pear that was raised in Texas. 

When I got to Trinity City about all that I could 
fiind was a few sawinills. I discovered that Uncle Sam 
was trying to dig the Trinity River wider and deeper, but 
for what purpose I could not find out. One old native 
said he guessed Uncle Sam wanted to spend a lot of money 
that he could not spend for an>^hing else. 

I found Crockett and Palestine two thriving towns, 
but what they were thriving on was more than I could 
discover, as no one seemed to know. I finally got back to 
Dallas, and from there I went over the Iron Mountain 
Railroad to St. Louis. About the only thing I could strik(> 
in St. Louis was a job — painting High Street. A man told 
me he would pay me four dollars a day to whitewash High 
Street for three blocks north and south of Franklin Street. 
I went and looked it over and told him that whitewashing 
it would do no good, as it was too black with negroes. 

It was Slugan week on Franklin Street when I was 
there. About the only people living on that street were 
a lot of foreigners from southern Europe. If there were 
any Americans living on that street they were ashamed 
of it. 

About that time St. Louis was Laving her annual 


Mouth Shootzon Feast. The Veiled Prophets and the 
tenderfeet were having a big time, and I can say from 
what I saw that the Priests of Pal his in Kansas City and 
the Portola Festival in San Francisco have St. Louis beat 
several county blocks. If I were the boss in St. Louis I 
would either get up a better street parade of the "Veiled 
Prophet^s" or I would send to Mexico and get a lot of 
Orosco's Insurrcctos for a change. 



One winter I was sawing wood and seeing the sights 
in Detroit, Michigan. I went across the river to Windsor, 
Canada. On the boat going over I noticed a good many 
young men and women who looked like they were on their 
wedding tours. After I got off the boat and was going up 
town, I thought I would just follow the crowd to see the 
fun. A lot of fellows were lined up on both sides of the 
street. I thought at first they were hotel drummers, but I 
found out different. One old fellow stopped me and 
wanted to know where my woman was. I asked why he 
wanted to know that. He said he was a solicitor for a 
marriage broker; that he would sell me a marriage license 
for only two dollars, and would also give me five dollars* 
worth of " green trading stamps." I went on a little ways, 
and another fellow stopped me and asked me if I did not 
want to get a mnrriage license and six dollars' worth of 
"green trading stamps" for only two dollars. I started 
on, when another fellow offered to sell me a license for 
two dollars, payable twenty-five cents do\\'n, and twenty- 
five cents each week thereafter until the debt was liqui- 
dated. The next fellow I met made a still better offer. 
He said he would sell me a license for two dollars and not 


require a down pa>Tncnt, the first paj-ment of twenty-five 
cents to be made one month from date of purchase and the 
balance payable in instaUmonts of twenty-five cents per 
month. Then a still more liberal offer was made me by a 
man who said he would marr>' me for nothing. Still 
another fellow said he would go him one better — that he 
would give me five dollars' worth of "green trading 
stamps." Another one offered to sell me a license for 
twenty-five cents do^^•n, furnish the preacher, give me 
five dollars' worth of stamps, and allow me to stop at his 
shop and get a hair cut and a shave. The next one offered 
to furnish the license, a preacher, five dollars* worth of 
stamps, and throw in a nice baby carriage. Still another 
offered to make out my first papers as a British subject. 
The last was quite an inducement, as I could then go to 
the northwest part of Canada and take six hundred and 
forty acres of government land, and could stay and freeze 
to death the following winter, if I wanted to. 

By that time I was up town. I looked do^NTi Main 
Street, and it appeared to me as if everybody in to\\Ti was 
selling marriage licenses. I UTote down a few of the street 
signs in my book, so I would not forget them. Here are a 
few of them: 

"Furniture, Undertaking and Marriage Liceases." 
"Dry Goods, Marriage Licenses and Notioas." 
"Cigars, Tobacco and Marriage Licenses." 
"Marriage Licenses and Laundrj'." 
"BarlxT Shop and Marriage Licenses." 
"Lightning Lunches and >rarriage Licenses, Made 
While You Wait." 


"Carpentering and Marriage Licenses — Quick Serv- 

"Get a Shoe Shine and Marriage License Here." 

"Horseshoeing and Marriage Licenses Here." 

Seeing almost everyone in town selling marriage 
licenses reminded me of early days in Oklahoma, when 
each tent had on it this sign: — 

"Filing Papers Made Out." 

I went down Main Street, and in every place one or 
more couples were getting licenses and being married. 
Soon a fellow grabbed me by the iirm and wanted to know 
if I did n t want to get married. I told him I did, but had 
forgotten to get a woman. He assured me that he could 
fix that part very easily, as h had several on hand that 
he had gotten off the remnant counter of a Chicago mail- 
order house. I went in and looked over the bunch, but 
did not see any that suited me. He said they were all 
guaranteed to be city broke, would not take fright at a 
street car, and would stand still without hitching. I 
noticed one lady in the bunch that looked to be seventy- 
five years old; I told him she would be all right if she had 
any teeth. 

"Laws, Mister, I have teeth," she said, opening her 
mouth, but I could see only two. He told me to call again 
early the following day, and I could have my choice. But 
he said I had better come early and avoid the rush, as 
several men were crippled in the jam the week before. 

When I went to the hotel for dinner the waitress 
asked me if I wanted two orders, and how long it would 
be before my wife came in. Whereupon I told her I was 


not fortunate enough to have a wife. She advised me to 
get the marrying habit. Accordingly I asked her to b(^ 
my wife; So she put on her hat and said she would be 
ready in a few minutes. I told her not to be in such a 
hurr>', as I wanted to get something to eat first. She then 
hung up her hat and went on alx)ut her work. After I 
had finishcil my dinner I slipped out and headed for the 
boat at a two-forty gait. 

On the trip back across the river there were about 
twenty-five of the most spoony couples alioard I ever 
came in contact with at one time. I decided to get a 
<livorce and try it myself. I made it my busin(>ss, there- 
after, to cross the river every few days, just to see the fun. 
Anyone can get married in Windsor who can dig up 
thirty-five cents. It takes ten cents to get across the river. 
You can get your marriage license on the installment 
plan — twenty-five cents do^vn and the balance payable 
twenty-five cents each week thereafter until the entin; 
amount is paid. And you get ten cents back if that is 
not cheap enough. Now, isn't that a bargain — a wife and 
enough "Green Trading Stamps" to buy a burial casket 
for only two dollars, payable twenty-five cents a week? 

They have two nice boats going in opposite directions 
that ciirry passengers across the river. I was told that 
many of the school children play hookey and go across 
the river into Canada and get married. If people could 
get divorces in Detroit as easily as they can in Reno it 
certainly would Ix* a paradise. You could get a divorce 
in the morning and go to Windsor in the evening and get 
married. 1 was told that they do not publisli the marriage 


licenses in the papers — everything is kept on the quiet. 
If there were a few towns in the western states like Wind- 
sor, there would not be so many old bachelors in Kansas, 
Oklahoma, Texas, and several other states 1 could mention. 



In the spring of 100- I was in Chicago, looking around 
to sec if I could dig up trouble of some sort. As I had 
Ix'cn a good little Sunday-school boy for more than three 
months, I was not looking for fights or anything like that. 
I am getting too old for that kind of excitement. But I 
was looking for something that I could do that would keep 
me busy and out of jail. I read the Want Ads. in the 
papers every day to sec if I could find anything that 
looked in\'iting. I had come to the conclusion that I had 
to have a certain amount of trouble in order to live. Here 
is what I concluded I would trv: 

Wanted — A man to act as trcasurtT of a 
Thrcatrical Company; a small amount of 
money recjuircd to show his good inten- 
tion; can handle his own money. Address 
P. D. Q. 

I was an actor myself for a week once in Kansas 
City. I put in one season with a Wild West show as cook, 

308 B I L L J N E S 

wagon boas, animal tamer and short-stop — that's what the 
boss called it everytime I hit the ground. Sometimes the 
ticket-seller would drink too much river watt^; then I 
would sell peanuts, popcorn, and red lemonade, and when 
the police were not looking I would shoot a few craps for 
the star's breakfast. 

I learned to shoot craps in Oklahoma at the same 
time I was learning how to catch a wolf by the tail and 
turn him inside out at one flip, like Abcrnathy did to 
amuse President Roosevelt. If you want to learn how to 
do the wolf trick, send me one hundred dollars by express 
prepaid and I will forward full directions, so you can do 
the same thing, or your money will be refunded. There is 
big money in doing the wolf trick, and the territory is 
not all covered yet. There is plenty of room in the United 
States for a few men who have plenty of nerve and one 
hundred dollars to get rich showing the people how it is 

President Roosevelt spent over seventy-five dollars 
of the people's money riding on a pass from Washington 
to Oklahoma to see Mr. Abcrnathy do the wolf trick. 
Also he appointed Mr. Abcrnathy United States Marshal 
for Oklah(jma for showing him how it was done. 

I answered that advertisement, and was asked to 
call on Mr. Bones. That was not his real name; there 
was not enough of him to have a real name. He was about 
six and a half feet high and weighed eighty-seven pounds. 
He was dressed to suit the occasion. I did not say any- 
thing at the time about his personal appearance for fear 
lie would become offended and jump through the key-hole, 
and I would lose the chance to become treasurer where I 


would hayo nothing to do but pot tho souvenirs witli the 
eaglo on and put thorn whore they would do the most good. 

He told me to be seated. Then he handed me a cigar 
that would have killed any man who is in the habit of 
smoking in the Y. M. C. A. building. We discussed the 
good qualities of that particular brand of cigar. I even 
wrote the name of the cigar in my day-book, so I could 
buy a few in case I wanted to kill a man or two. It would 
be cheaper than sh(K)ting them. 

After we had smoked awhile he asked me how much 
life insurance I carried; how many wives I had; how 
many more I thought I could stand. He told me that 
every actress wanted to marr>' every good looking man 
she met, especially if he was an old-time cow-puncher or 
a millionaire's son with money to bum. Then he wanted 
to know how many times I had been bitten by rattle- 
snakes, coyotes, tarantulas and centipedes. He asked me 
if I had ever Ixiught a gold brick. Then he drifted into 
the show business by degrees, until my mind became 
bewildered; I could not half keep up with his talk. I used 
to think I could outrun any jack rabbit, antelope or 
buffalo that ever made tracks on the ground, but my 
brain, if I had any, was three hours behind in a four hours' 
talk with that man. I had to go; I needed rest. But he 
insisted on my going to supper with him. I wi^nt, thinking 
he would talk about something else — and he did. On th(> 
way to the restaurant he borrowed a dollar to pay for 
the meal. I eat fifteen cent's worth and he sjx'nt the rest 
for his snack, as he called it. After the meal we went to 
his room. I3y that time I had found out why the treas- 


urer of a Show Company has to have a small amount 
of money. 

Well, the bait looked good to Willie, and I swallowed 
it, together with the hook and about seventeen feet of line, 
I was in such a hurry to get started as treasurer of a Show 
Company. Before I went to my room that night I spent 
two dollars advertising for chorsus girls — experience not 

Next morning wc visited the booking agencies — that's 
what he called them ; anj-^vaj', that was the place he was 
going to hire the stage hands, all except the chorus girls. 
I could hire them myself, subject to the stage manager's 
approval, when he could find that worthy gentleman. 

After dinner the girls wanting a job on the stage to 
sing and dance commenced to come in, and by two o'clock 
his room was jammed full of girls, also the hall was full, 
and the yard — everything was full of girls, including little 
Willie. Two big, fat girls, who would have kicked the 
beam at 1T5 pounds, sat down on me and wanted to go; 
twenty dollars a week and car-fare looked good to them. 

I promised seventy-five of them a job. About half 
a dozen came near getting into a scrap among themselves, 
as they wanted Bill to go home with them and take supper 
with their mammas. As I could not go with the whole 
bunch, I declined to go with any of them. Bones said it 
was not good policy to show any partiality. 

Next day the booking agent said he had found us a 
piano player, a stage manager, and a leading lady — all of 
which he knew would fill the bill. Besides, he had nine 
hundred applications from actors and actresses wanting 
jobs for the other places in the company. 


The leading lady and the stage manager were in 
Timbuctoo or Hoboken, and he said we would have to 
wire them tickets, as they had just invested all their 
money in Standard Oil Stock. That's why the treasurer 
had to have a Httle cash. I paid seventeen dollars and 
four cents for two tickets to get them to Chicago. You 
see, I mention the four cents to show you I am honest, 
and so you will know I am not trying to short change you. 
They got to the room where Bones hung out about 1 :00 
p. M. A few minutes later a baggage man came with a 
trunk, a, and a two-bushel sack, and I had to 
dig up one dollar and six bits more. 

About that time Bones wanted three dollars, he did 
not say what for, and I had to go down to the lake and 
dig some money out of a sand bank. When I got back it 
was four o'clock in the afternoon, and the leading lady 
was having some kind of a fit. Right then I wished I had 
brought a barrel of skunk oil with me, as it was a plain 
case of blind staggers. Bones said he wanted three dol- 
lars in a hurry. I would not dig up until he told me what 
he wanted it for. You see I wanted to find out just what 
the treasurer of a big corporation has to do. He said the 
lady had gone without food for three days, as she was too 
excited over the pro.spect of getting a job to eat anything. 

Bones gave the lady and the stage manager the money 
to get something to eat, and when they went out, I 
changed my mind, so they would not know me, and 
watching my chance, I slipped into the restaurant to see 
if she had got ov<t her excitement. When they present<'d 
their checks to the cashier, hers was for two dollars and 
his for the other one; and I heard the waiter stiy that 



unw.^>w < >.v 

A I'ftiderfooi Back East 


both of them were nijxd iK'cause they could not eat the 
dishes and tlie furniture. When we all got baek to the 
room, Bones hit me for two dollars more to pay for a 
room for them. 

About that time I began to think I had found quite 
a lot of fun and trouble mixed together; so much ho that 
I called the stage manager and the leading lady Tom and 

Then I hired a hall for four bones a day to rehearse in. 
Bones, Tom and Jerry, the Pianist and the Angel put in 
about a week cutting out and branding that bunch of 
young heifers; Tom and Jerry selected a dozen of the 
most likely ones, and we all got down to business. Re- 
hearsing a bunch of new actors puts me in mind of a 
monkey drill among a lot of rookies in a cavalry company 
in the United States Army. 

After Tom and Jerry had picked out six of the best 
girls (subject to the angel's approval), he let the rest go 
buck to the range; and when he got the six so they could 
chase each other around the room without crippling each 
other, we were ready to go. Of course, nol)ody had to 
rehearse except the six chorus girls , no experience necessary. 
All the rest knew their business — that is, if it is a business. 

While the chorus girls were learning to .*;ing and 
dance, Bones hired the costumes at twenty five dollars a 
week for the six chorus girls; the old stage hands furnished 
their own make-uji. He also got dates for nine weeks; 
then he secured a lot of second-hand wall paper for the 
bill boards. 

It was a mixed bunch. I put the road brand on them, 
and we were ready to go. I think that lH)oking agent 


owned most all the railroads running out of Chicago, and 
was trying to raise the dividends. At least it cost me over 
a hundred dollars every time we moved camp. It used 
to be the custom in a cow camp to move when it got too 
dirty. It is the same with a musical comedy company. 
I will give Bones the credit of being a good press agent, 
both on and off the stage. 

Before we left Chicago I had to go around to the 
various pawn-shops and get the girls' and boys' trunks 
and suit-cases, containing their stage clothes. This cost 
me upwards of one hundred dollars. 

When we arrived at the first town and opened up 
for business, there was a big crowd outside waiting to 
get in. I let do\\Ti the bars so they would not climb over 
the fence, and Bones took in the tickets. In thirty min- 
utes after I let down the bars that Air Dome was full to 
the overflowing point. And every tree and house-top 
within a mile of it was full. 

Before we got to that town Bones had told me that 
I had better take the sLx chorus girls (no experience neces- 
sary) to one hotel, and that he would take the other ten 
to another hotel, as Tom and Jerrj' did not like to asso- 
ciate with an angel or a bunch of chorus girls (no experi- 
ence necessary). It would look better to divide up our 
patronage; it would make business better for the Air 
Dome. Bones and the old stage hands got along very 
well at their hotel the first day; but the second day they 
had some kind of a mixup, and about half the bunch were 
arrested and taken to the city jail. They sent for me to 
come and get them out so the show could go on that 


Whon we pot to the next camping place, one woman 
and two men were missing. Then Bon(>s got busy using 
the \N-ire to find three more to take their places; that 
took anotlier five doUars. 

Before we started on the road everyone had insisted 
having a contract requiring two weeks' notice before I 
could fire any of them. Whoever heard of an angel firing 
anybody? I asked Bones what would keep them from 
quitting on any pay-day. He told me that all actors 
have a professional honor that keeps them loyal to the 
company. After nine weeks' experience I discovered that 
they have more professional honor than they can pack, 
and when the burden gets too hea\y they just lie down 
and quit. 

At the next camp Tom's and Jerry's burdens got too 
hea\'y to carry and they laid down. Just as fast as the 
actors got the wrinkles out of their old hides they quit. 
After that Bones hired everj-body that knew the difference 
between an air dome and a tobacco warehouse. Some- 
times we would have a bunch of twenty-five or thirty; 
then again we would not have ten. At the end of nine 
weeks. Bones, the six chorus girls (no experience necessary), 
and the angel were all that remained of the eighteen that 
left Chicago. During that time I had over a hundred 
names on the pay-roll. As far as the old stage hands 
were concerned, they never had a pay-day. Car-fare to 
the company hotel, laundry and make-up (that's what 
they called it) bills kept them and their salaries on the 
wrong side of the book; and when the nine weeks were up 
everyone of the rascals owed me from two to fifty dollars. 

And now let me say a good word for tlie six cliorus 


girls. Everyone of them had a pay day every week, and 
everyone that started was with me when we quit. The 
seven of us always went to the same hotel, usually a good 
doUar-and-quarter-a-day house, and there is not a hotel 
where we stopped that would not welcome us back. As 
to the others, no hotel where they stopped would let them 
stay again at any price. The six chorus girls were nice 
and well behaved and saved their money. When we quit 
I paid their car-fare back for their good behavior and 
loyalty to the company. 

When I wound up the business I was out three 
months' time and three hundred dollars in money. But 
as I had had seven hundred dollars' worth of fun, a 
thousand dollars' worth of excitement, and over a million 
dollars' worth of experience, I retired from the business a 
millionaire theatrical manager, slightly disfigured but 
still in the ring. 



The last timo I was in Chicago hunting trouhlo I put 
tlu' following advertisement in one of the daily papers: — 

Wanted — A housekeeper on a ranch. 

I received quite a lot of answers to that advertisement. 
No doubt most of the letters came from women who were 
honest in their intentions, but at least one-third answered 
through curiosity, and several of them were just grafters 
of the worst kind. All of them wanted to see what a 
millionaire cowboy from Texas looked like. I met several 
of them out in the alley behind the liverj' stable. It seems 
to be the cu.stom in Chicago to meet people every^vhere 
except at their homes, for some reason or other. I 
they were afraid I would scratch the furniture with my 
silver-mounted spurs. One of them sent word to please 
leave my horns at home, as her children were afraid of a 
man that had horns like a cow. 

I had an engagement with on«! woman to meet her 
Ht her home on Sunday evening. I had to walk a block 
I ad a half after I got off the street car, and when I got 
"fl the car I thouglit the people in that part of the town 


were having a street picnic. At least that is the way it 
looked to me. 

Both sides of the street were lined with men, women 
and children, and I noticed several big dogs in the crowd. 
Every door and window on both sides of the street was 
full of people. I asked a man what was going on, that 
everybody should be on the lookout. He said they were 
watching to see that millionaire cowboy that was coming 
to see Mrs. So and So. 

One fellow that looked like he might have been an 
ex-champion prize fighter stopped me and wanted to know 
if the millionaire cowboy got off that last car. I told him 
no; that he was in the car all right, but when he saw the 
crowd on the street he went on, and probably would get 
off at the next stop. I went on past the house to the street 
comer, turned around and came back, and went into the 
house without being noticed. 

I went to see another one who said she was of German 
decent. When I rang the bell I noticed the window blinds 
were all pulled down, and there were one to two persons 
peeping out to see who it was. Presently the door was 
unlocked and a man opened it just enough to see out. 

I asked him if Miss Schmidt was in. He wanted to 
know if I was Bill Jones. 

**Yes, I am Bill Jones," I replied. 

"Wait a minute and I will see." 

In about a minute I heard a door slam, the front door 
was opened with a jerk, and someone I did not see bade 
me come in. I noticed that there was a good sized cord 
tied to the door knob on the inside. When the man pulled 


tho front door open, he shut the other door and locked it, 
as I hoard the look snjip. 

I wont in and Miss Schmidt looked me over. She 
was very much disappointed, I could see that at a glance. 
I could see by her actions that she had never seen a cow- 
hoy before except in the picture shows. I guess she 
oxiiectod to see a man with a big white hat on his head, a 
pair of leather breeches with white hair a foot long on them, 
carrying fifteen pounds of rapid fire artillery, a quirt in 
one hand and a long rope in the other, a pair of silver- 
mounted spurs and star-topped boots. A mustache that 
would mojisure eighteen inches from tip to tip, and his 
hair hanging below the waist line. 

After we had talked on various subjects for awhile, 
vho wanted to know if the Indians were very bad in Texas, 
and if I was not afraid to live out there. Then she wanted 
to know if Uncle Sam kept a regiment of soldiers in all 
the big towiis to keep the Indians from killing the people, 
and if the Texas fever tick is as bad as she had heard it was. 

I told her the ticks in Kansas were the cause of more 
cattle dying than any other disease, but the people had 
found out how to dip their cattle in a tank of water mbccd 
with tick medicine. 

Then she wanted to know if the ticks would get on 
people and kill them. I told her they hardly ever kill a 
white man, but are hard on a dago from Chicago. She 
wanted to know what kind of an animal a boll wee^^l is; 
if they have horns like a cow, and if they kill people. I 
told her a boll weevil is a little bus? or beetle that destroys 
the cotton crops by boring into the pod or boll. This 


causes the boll to drop off before it is ready to gather, and 
they only bother people in the winter time. 

Then she wanted to know if there were many prairie 
dogs in Texas, and if they would bite a person, and if they 
would chase people like the wild dogs and wolves do in 

I told her the prairie dogs would only attack the 
settlers once in a great while, but we always had to be 
on the lookout for them. 

She wanted to know if the coyotes were as bad as 
she had heard they were, and if the coyotes were as big as 
a Jersey cow. I told her that nearly everybody in Lips- 
comb and on the staked plains kept a drove of coyotes 
to kill the prairie dogs. I told her some people keep coy- 
otes for pets, just like some people in Chicago keep French 

Then she wanted to know if there were many rattle- 
snakes in Texas. I told her there were only a few of the 
velvet tailed variety, but there were thousands of the 
common prairie rattlers; that the rattlesnakes, the prairie 
dogs and the owls live in the same town and in the same 
house together, or at least Horace Greeley says so in his 
book. *'What I Know About Farming," and as the 
college professors and school teachers have been telling 
the kids so for the last half century, there was no use in 
my telling her differently. 

But just think what would happen in Illinois if a big 
hungry snake should find a nest of young birds or a half- 
grown rabbit. I guess they would disappear soon, if not 

She wanted to know whv I called some snakes the 


velvet tailed vjiri«'ty. I told her the diamond or timber 
rattlesnakes have alK)ut eight inches of velvet on their 
tails, or at least it looks like velvet, and an Indian always 
says good-bye to his pony when he is bitten by a velvet 
tail. But it is the little prairie rattlesnake that rais(\s cain, 
for lie is more active and vicious than his big brother. 
I have seen them jump twenty feet and they will get you 
every time. 

I told her that some of the ranchmen in Texas had 
quit raising cattle and had gone to raising rattlesnakes, 
as there w:is more money in snjikes than there was in 
cattle or sheep. I told her we could get from fifteen to one 
hundred barrels of rattlesnake oil and several carloads of 
rattlesnake hulls off a big ranch in Texas every year, and 
there is a big factory in Peoria, Illinois, that buys all they 
<;m get at big prices. They made it into snake medicine 
and they sold tlie medicine to the Jews in Chicago. I 
told her a quart bottle of snake medicine would cure the 
worst ca.^e of blues there was in Chicago, and a quart 
would kill a Kansas farmer in less than no time. AH the 
Ix'st brands of snake medicine, I told her, are guaranteed 
by the "Pure Food Laws of the United States," and the 
daily consumjjtion of snake medicine is greater in Chicago 
than any town I was ever in, unless it was Topeka, Kansas. 

The next day I went to see another lady who said 
she would like to have a position as hou.sekeeper on a 
ranch in Texas, as she was tired of life in a big city. Then 
she commenced to ask questions about ranch life faster 
than a dozen men could answer, all talking at the sanu; 
time. She wanU-d to know if I was a real cowlx)y from 
out WoBt; how many men I had killed, and if all cowboys 


were as bad as they were shown in the moving picture 
shows. I told her that all the cowboys out West have 
private graveyards of their own, and some of the old-time 
cowboys had men planted all the way from the Rio 
Grande to Dodge City, and there was one old cattle trail 
that could be followed for hundreds of miles between a 
row of graves, just like passing houses on both sides of 
the street in a city. 

I told her that part of the Great American Desert 
in Texas is called the Llano Estacado, which in Mexican 
means "Are you ready to die?" Staked Plains is the 
name given it by the white man. Then she wanted t 
know what "Staked Plains" meant. I told her that in 
the early days some of the old-time Spanish explorers got 
lost and finally died for the want of water. In some 
places it was five hundred miles from one water hole to 
another, and the sand was ten feet deep all the way. It 
was so hot you could kill a jack rabbit, lay him on a board 
in the sun, and he would cook and be ready to eat in half 
the time it takes to get something to eat in a Chicago 
restaurant, and we always done our cooking at night to 
keep the sun from burning the handles off the frying pan 
and coffee pot. 

Then she wanted to know how it got the name 
" Staked Plains." I told her there were a lot of cattlemen 
who wanted to drive cattle from Texas to New Mexico 
and Arizona, and they employed a lot of cowboys to lay 
out a trail across the plain, so they could follow it without 
getting lost. It was the contract to drive a stake in the 
ground every eighty rods, and the stakes were to be eight 
feet long. 


The boss of the outfit hired three or four hundred 
Mexicans fo carry the stakes, as that w?r8 the only way 
he would pet them carried, and everj' eighty rods they 
would kill a ^lexican and plant him. Then they would 
drive the stake in the sand, according to the agreement. 

Then she wanted to know if there were any sand 
storms out there like they have in the deserts of Africa. 
T told her I once helped drive a herd of cattle across the 
Staked Plains and one night the wind commenced to 
blow a gale at the rate of one hundred miles an hour. By 
ton o'clock next day the sand had drifted in our little 
arroya from five to twenty feet deep, and all the men, 
horses and cattle were covered with sand. It took us over 
a week to scratch out, and it was two weeks before we 
got all the horses and cattle together. 

She wanted to know if I had ever held up and robbed 
a stage. I told her I was with some of the boys in Dallas 
one time, and they said it would be a good joke on the 
pa.ssongers if we would go to a point about halfway between 
Dallas and Fort Worth, hold up the overland stage coach 
and secure all the express packages and the mail sacks. 
We could hold the passengers for ransom, and make the 
C'lovemor pay us a thousand dollars apiece to turn them 
loose. I guess the boys did pretty well that trip, as they 
all had plenty of money when we got back to Granbury 
in Hood County. 

The next one I went to see said she had heard the 
toads in Texas all had horns, and she wanted to know if a 
homed toad was very bad. I told her they had horns 
just like a rhinoceros, but that they arc not quite so big 
as a rhinoceros's; that the toads made the nicest kinds 

324 B I L L J O N E S 

of pets and they could sing equal to a canary or a mocking 
bird, and I told her there were a lot of women in Texas 
engaged in the business of raising and training homed toads 
for the northern markets, and everybody who ever heard a 
homed toad sing would not do without one at any price. 
A homed toad certainly is a fine singer. She wanted to 
know if there were any Gila Monsters in Texas. I told 
her that a Gila Monster is just a big over-grown lizard; 
that they are very active and mean, always looking for 
trouble, and they are more poisonous than a rattlesnake. 
If they get within thirty feet of you and stick their tongue 
out at you, you are just as good as dead right then. Only 
one thing keeps the Gila Monster from depopulating the 
West; and that is, they can't catch a man on a good 

She wanted to know about a tarantula. I told her a 
tarantula is just a big over-gro^vn spider and very poison- 
ous, and some years in Texas there is a world of them. 
She wanted to know if they can fly. I told her a tarantula 
cannot fly, but a man with a tarantula after him can. 
Then I told her about the centipedes, or the worm with a 
thousand legs — that they are a great pest all over the 
Southwest, and the meanest of all poisonous things. In 
that countrj' there is a world of them, and every home 
has from one to twenty in it. They get into everj^hing. 
I told her about one of them getting into a coffee-pot, and 
that pot of coffee killed fifteen Mexicans and the family 
dog. It is impossible to keep them out of the bed. I 
have seen them crawl along the ceiling until they would 
get over the bed and then let loose and down they would 
come. A centipede has sharp claws on the ends of his legs, 


and that is how he docs his meanness, just sticks a claw 
in you and you are dead right away. 

I told her the State of Texas is as big as Chicago, as 
far as the number of people was concerned, about three 
million in each. But Texas is different from Chicago: 
if a man would fall off a high place, or his horse, he would 
only kill himself; if he fell off a high building in Chicago, 
he would kill a dozen bohunks; but a white man in Texas 
was worth half a hundred dead bohunks in Cliicago. 

I went to sec a good old soul who said she was eighty- 
five years old, without any home, without any children, or 
any one else in the world that cared anything about her, 
except the people where she was living. She was tired of 
city life, as she was raised on the farm and wanted to 
spend her remaining days in peace and happiness. She 
had read about the Texas people — how kind and generous 
they are. She was too old to do any hard work, but she 
could take care of the baby, if I had any, and could stay 
at home and look after everything while all the rest went 
to town or to church, and could teach the little ones how 
they ought to grow up to be good men and women, and in 
case of sickness she was a good nurse. After listening to 
that good old mother for about an hour I came to the 
conclusion that I was the meanest man in Chicago. She 
said before she died she wanted to get away from Chicago 
and get some place where there was plenty of room to 
bury people. In some of the cemeteries in Chicago they 
bury people five and six feet deep, and that (hd not suit her. 

I went to see a young girl who siiid she was a school 
teacher. She was not much of a cook, but was willing to 
learn, and hoped I would coasider her among the rest of 





tho applicants for the position of housekeeper on a Texas 
ranch. I wanted to know how she got the idea in her 
head that she would like to give up a Rood home and a 
Rood position, at a good salarj', to go to Texas as a house 

" I have been to sec the movies so ofton," she said, 
"that I would do anything to get out on the flower- 
bedecked prairie, away from the city, where life would 
be one glad song, where the bluest of the skies are in 
evidence all the year round ; where the prairies are covered 
with all kinds of flowers two feet deep twelve months 
In the year; where the sun shines all the time; where 
there is no ice or snow; where the magnolia and the 
orange trees bloom coastantly; where the mocking birds 
sing all night; where the whip-poor-will is heard at all 
times; where everybody has a smile on his face and a 
glad hand of welcome is extended to the stranger from every 
State in the Union; where you could know everybody in 
a day's ride on a good pony. 

*' How nice it would be to get on your pony and go 
out and shoot a jack rabbit or a moumtain lion, or rope a 
coyote for pastime. How nice it would be to go to a 
party and dance all night with the cowboys and the cowboy 
girls, and have evorylx)dy say — 'That is Miss Lillian, the 
cowboy girl. Queen of the Circle D Ranch.* How nice 
it would be to ride over the now historical battle grounds, 
where tho cowlx^ys, the buffalo hunters, the soldiers, and 
the Texan rangers meet the Indian chief and his warr ors 
dressed in their war Iwnnets, painted in all the gaudy 
colors that were so dear to the Inflian's heart! 

"We could visit the unkno\Mi and almost forgotten 


burial grounds! We could scatter wild flowers over their 
graves. How nice it would be to ride over the sun-kissed 
plain into the valley, the present-day ranchman's home 
and pride where the prairie schooner was drawn by the 
ox, in the days that are past and gone; over the vale in 
search of gold and the new Eldorado, where the elk, the 
deer and the graceful little antelope with his beautiful 
eyes come dowTi to drink the clear and sparkling water 
from the little brook while the morning skies are rosy. 
How nice it would be to visit the place where the buried 
city, inhabited by unknown tribes, once stood in all its 
magnificence and glory, where relics of a forgotten age 
can be found in the valley now covered wth grass and 
flowers; where the welcome camp fire burns slowly, fading 
like a summer dream." 

She kept up that kind of talk for two hours, and did 
not seem in the least fatigued. I, however, was gasping 
for breath. Here was a young lady who had never been 
within a thousand miles of Texas who could tell more 
about it than I could, though I have been there more or 
less for forty years.