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This webpage contains a collection of actual letters and documented interviews from people who lived lived along the Texas frontier. These are unedited snapshots of life in Texas as these inviduals saw it.

Postmarked: New Orleans, Louisiana Nov. 18,1841
Addressed to: Pheneas C. Hall and Samuel B. Hall State Illinois, Jackson County, Brownsville
Letter headed: Texas, Washington County, Cedar Creek Nov. 5,1841

"Dear Sons, I now embrace the opportunity to drop you a few line informing you that through the mercies of the Great Giver of All Blessings we are all enjoying good health say all our friends-your Mother excepted and her health is much the same as it was when you were here.

I sincerely hope that these lines may find you and all the Connections in a state of perfect good health. I have but little of importance to communicate to you- we have good crops of corne (corne is selling at $.50 per bushel).

Cotton crops are tolerable good. There is a great quantity raised in the County. This season cotton is from $9.50 to $10.00 per hundred.

I can inform you that midst plenty we have indirectly Peace. The Mexicans scarcely threaten us as they are so engaged in perpetual war at home they have not time to think of war abroad. It is a short time since Santa Anna defeated Bustementa (the President and Cheiftain of Mexico) and got possession of the City of Mexico and is counquering all the Centerlists before him. This has been the misfortune of those rebeled criters for the last eleven years and God only knows when such a civil war will be at an end.

I wrote you a letter about the last of August informing you that if you could encourage me to come I intend to pay you a visit though I have not received any answer yet though I am still expecting one. In some short time if I receive a letter shortly informing me to come I shall start in three days after I receive it, but if the time is delayed I cannot come lest the River might freeze up and I be detained until Spring. Which would be very much against my wishes.

If you are not prepared to pay the little money that is coming to William and Jackson at this time perhaps you can discharge it in flower next spring. If you can write to me immediately and I will come on or about the first of March next.

Since James speaks of authenticizing me to dispose of the eighty acres of land joining you as he has declined the intention of ever going back to live there. He is such a fair way of sitting well to live and becoming wealthy. The boys is all in a good way of making a good living but William is a little embarrased at this time. They have lands in abundance but it will not sell for money. They are anxious to get out of debt before the law is repealed making property bring two-thirds of its value as property cannot be sold under any pretence whatever for less than two-thirds of its value. Congress is now in session and it's expected the the above law will be repealed and a new law be passed making property sell for what it will bring. If so it will place the citizens of this County in a very awkward situation and some of ourselves among the rest unless you can do something for them.

If you cannot raise money, flower can be used. Have very soon and I will come and receive it first next March but if I receive a letter from you to come this fall I will start in two or three days after receiving it. William and Jackson both have helpless family and not situated to leave them and the way I am situated to assist them is to attend to their concerns in that County. I assure you it would be a great accomodation to them if you can help them and it would be remembered by them as a great favor.

As it is not in my power to assist them at this time, please to write me every month for two or three months. Perhaps I may get some of your letters. Before I close I inform you that your Mother sends her love to you both and all her grandchildren. Also my adopted daughter, Sarah A. Hall sends her best respects to all her uncles and aunts and she says she wishes to see them all but her lot is cast-always therefore she has to be content with her situation.

I now close my letter by offering to you my best love and effections. Your Affectionate Father until Death, James Hall Sr.

Before I close I inform you that religion is flourishing very much in this County- eighteen months back there was not a Baptist church west of the Brazos River- now there are seven or eight containing a great many members."

James Hall Sr.

(Curtesy of Barbara Stacy of Sun City, CA)


"My parents were Richard and Sarah Jones, and I was born in Carolina County, Virginia, in 1852. I came with my parents to Texas in the year 1860. We came by boat down the Mississippi river, then through the Gulf of Mexico and landed at Galveston, Texas, and came from there up the Bayou to Houston and from Houston we came overland in ox-wagons to our first home, which was at Navasota, Texas. My father bought land from some squatters and in time, the rightful heirs came and claimed it, so we lost the land.

"While we were living in Navasota, the Civil War was declared and four of my brothers served under the flag of the Confederacy. Walter was in Hood's Brigade and was killed in action; another, Napoleon, was in the same Brigade but he lived to return home. Stanfield fought in Speight's Brigade and he, too, returned home after the war. He fought in Louisiana. Richard Hampton was in Tom Green's Brigade and he, too, came back. He was also in some of the battles.

"At the close of the war, the yellow fever broke out in Texas and was getting close to where we lived near Navasota, so, when the Houston and Texas Central Railroad reached Bryan, we moved to Falls County. I rode the first engine into Bryan, Texas. We settled on Hog Island, a little settlement a few miles above the present town of Reagan, nine miles south of Marlin, Texas. At this time the town of Reagan had not been laid off, but when the railroad came, Bill Reagan, brother of the late Judge John H. Reagan, owned a lot of land near by and he donated {Begin page no. 2}the town site, hence the name of Reagan, in honor of the man who gave the land for the town-site.

"When father became settled at Hog Island he organized a Baptist Sunday School. However other denominations worshipped with us until their church was built. Until we built a church, we held services in our home. Two of our first ministers were Rev. Harper and Tubb. Rev. Harper was the first postmaster and Brother Tubb had a store and later the post office was located in his store. The present postmaster, Mr. Higgins, has served as postmaster at Reagan for fifty-two years.

"As the railroad was being built through the community, I spent my time playing around and watching the men at work, and during their lunch hour I remember how the men had their fun with me. After the railroad was built on to Marlin and Waco, we moved to Reagan and lived there while I was a boy in school. The first stores at this time were owned by Sam and Andrew Peyton, Captain Johnson and Dr. McDowell had a drug store. Other families were those of Harper, Robbins, Fountain, [Boyles?], McCoy, Cotton, Rankin, Hayes, Hagen, Rogers, Guffy, Davidson, and J. E. Davis.

At the foot of Blue Ridge were the families of Dick Beal, Owen, Hunnicutt, Harlan, Johnson and Adams. This was only about six or eight miles from Reagan and they came to attend church after the Reagan churches were built.

"At the close of the war there was constant fear of the negroes "rising up" against the whites, but in our community they settled peacefully to work, most of them stayed on with their former masters. They worked the land on the "shares" (part of the crop). Until the railroad came through, we travelled by stage coach. There is an old stage stand on the Kosse-Reagan road, eight miles from Reagan, and it stands today just as in the days when the stage travel was at its best.

But it is now used for a barn for stock in a pasture. As one looks back a vision of the hurry of the stage on its way as the horses dash madly up to the stand and the wait is only long enough for the horses to be changed. Instead of changing cars for "all points north and south, to Houston or Waco, Fort Worth and Dallas" the driver shouts as the ringing of the bells on the bridles of the horses, warn the passengers they are nearing a stop, "Change - Stage Coaches". And the passengers crawl out of the old coach and feel to see if their hats or perhaps their heads are still on. For you know that those coaches did not even have any springs to make riding easy, but were held by huge leather straps instead of the later-day springs.

"Our freight was brought by wagon train from Houston and Austin, the terminal of the Houston and Texas Central railroad when we moved to Falls County. Gil Ward ran a freight line and Mr. Mance Cabiness handled race horses and sold not only cattle but fine horses to men who followed the race track. A thousand dollars was not uncommon for a fine race horse to bring when it was sold.

"In September 1877, I married Miss Willie Riley, a daughter of Captain Riley of Alabama. To us were born thirteen children. All lived to be grown. There are two boys: Howard and Austin, who live in Reagan; another, Walter Lee, lives in Beaumont; Willard lives in Goose Creek; Clyde, Otis, Chester, Earle and Byrd live in Port Arthur. Two daughters live in Dallas. Orville Groner, liver in Dallas and is financial secretary of the Baptist Convention. Mrs. Maud Dilworth, lives in Longview, and Dexter in Waco, Tom, deceased.

"After I reached manhood I lived for a few years in Marlin and did contracting work. I helped to build some of the first business houses and hotels in Marlin. The wrecking of the Arlington Hotel recently, brings back to memory the days when the first hotel was called a tavern. This was during the days of the stage coach and the "tavern" was owned and operated by H. B. Coleman, who was known to all who frequented the place as "Uncle Henry". T.J. Read bought it from Mr. Coleman and owned the lot which was bought by the Marlin Natatorium Company in 1895.

"The tavern was the center of social life in Marlin and the better class of visitors, travelling men and politicians stopped here. It became the favorite gathering place, especially of the politicians. Here they gathered to select their candidates and to hold their party meetings. But it was not until 1894 that the first indication of the curative power of the Marlin Hot Wells became a thing to consider, when a visitor was cured of a blood infection after bathing in the hot water.

Interview with Mrs. J. C. Fountain, White Pioneer, Marlin, Texas.

"I was born March 27, 1873, at Pineville, Alabama . My parents were W. D. and Mary Katherine Kyser, who came to Texas in 1875. I was reared in Marlin and attended the public schools of Marlin and a college for young ladies at Winston Salem, North Carolina.

"On December 20, 1893, I married Mr. James C. Fountain, Jr., who was born in the vicinity of Reagan, Texas, on October 21, 1871, and is the son of Thomas G. Fountain, who became a citizen of Texas about the year 1869.

He was a descendent of Dossey Fountain of South Carolina, of Scotch ancestry. Mr. Thomas Fountain was a native Southerner, was born at Sparta, Alabama , in 1839 and spent his youth on a plantation which was tilled by slave labor.

"When the war between the States came on he joined the Confederate Cavalry and with his brother Henry was enlisted in the cause of the South until the end of the conflict. He enlisted in 1861 at Pineville, Alabama , in Company F, Fifty-third Cavalry, and was first placed in General Forrest's command. After the battle of Iuke, the regiment was ordered to Northern Alabama, where it joined the army under Gen. Roddy and remained with it until transferred to the command of General Wheeler a few months later. Mr. Fountain fought in the battle of Lookout Mountain, Missionary Ridge, the defense of Atlanta, the campaign against the advance of General Sherman's army, following him through South Carolina.

"The last battle that Mr. Fountain fought in was at Statesburg, and he lay down his arms at Columbia, South Carolina. He then resumed the life of a farmer and began the labor of rebuilding the family estate. This was done under the greatest difficulties for the trying days of reconstruction came on and when he came to Texas in 1869 he had made small progress toward financial independence.

Hog Island Community near Reagan

Mr. Fountain came by rail to Falls County and settled in the Hog Island community near Reagan with a wife and three children and seventy-five cents in money. For some years he was a tenant on rented land but prosperity finally came his way until he was enabled to move to Reagan, where he engaged in the lumber business and bought a farm nearby.

The following historical biography of Ed Robbins comes to us curtesy of his grandson, Ben Peek and son of Annie Robbins Peek.

"......Ed Robbins left Alabama at the age of 16 and settled in Reagan in 1882 joining his cousin, George Robbins, who lived there with his family. Located in the southeast part of Falls County, Reagan had been founded in 1873 with the building of the Waco and Northwestern Railroad. The townsite had been donated by W. R. Reagan, former county judge, and had been named for him. By 1880, Reagan had a population of 250, Davis Barclay had a cotton gin and gristmill, Thomas Yarbrough operated a general store and H. A. Keeling was postmaster.

One of the biggest crops in the history of the county was harvested in 1882 and everyone was prosperous. Perhaps a hint of such prosperity sounded good to the young Alabaman; it could have encouraged him to come to Texas.

Prosperity dimmed in 1887 when the county suffered from a severe drought. Ed Robbins attended Toby�s Business School in nearby Waco and began to keep books for businesses in Reagan.

While working alone late one night, a young Negro man came into the store. He said he wanted to buy some tobacco and when Robbins turned around to get it, he attacked him with a knife, slashing him on the neck, narrowly missing the jugular vein. Romance entered Ed Robbins� life when he met Lula Thames.

The young lady from Hempstead was teaching school between Reagan and Marlin, rooming with the Luther Moore family. They were married on February 2, 1891 in Hempstead. The Robbins family began to grow in several years with the birth of a daughter, Ruth, in 1892. Clotilda was born in 1894 and on January 8, 1899, Annie Lula was born. Mrs. Robbins� mother, Mrs. Matilda Ann Thames also lived with them a great deal of the time.

The young family visited with Mrs. Robbins� grandmother, Mrs. Ann Morrison in Hempstead nearly every summer until she passed away in 1901. On those trips, they were able to visit with other relatives, such as Aunt Vessie Whiteside, �Granny�s sister,� and got to feast on the famous watermelons of that area.

Mrs. Thames, widowed for many years, always dressed in black when she went out, as was the custom in those days. She also had a black cape and black bonnet-type hat which she wore. Two boys were soon born into the family, first Edward Tyler in 1902, and then William King in 1904.

In 1906, the Robbins moved from the smaller home they had bought in the northeast section of Reagan, to a two story home which was their last residence. It was on a two and one-third acre tract of land. The large home and land were purchased for $1,000. The Robbins purchased most of their furniture from the R. T. Dennis Furniture Co. in Waco. They only had to purchase the living room furniture when they moved into their larger home.

Mr. Robbins also owned other acreage, which he farmed. Living with the Robbins family about this time was Ed�s brother, Henry, who had come to Reagan from Alabama. Henry married Mary Bailey of Anniston, Alabama, in 1912, and at their Reagan home reared three boys, Harry, Bob and Elijah King.

Reagan was, by 1910, a busy community of 600 persons and now had a bank and lumberyard. Saturdays would find the town bustling with activity as the nearby cotton farmers came to town to market, filling the sidewalks with people. The active little town also had a good school system. Ed Robbins was by now a school trustee, and a member of the board that hired Ben S. Peek as school superintendent in 1912.

Recreation for the five Robbins children was much simpler than that for the youth of today. The three girls used to like to take walks together, going down the railroad tracks to Fish Creek, or farther on down to what they called �the cut.� Fish Creek also offered recreation for the Robbins boys for fishing and swimming.

On Sunday afternoon, the young people would gather at the railroad station to watch the train come into town. Once a year, a circus came to Reagan, attracting people from all over the area. And there was Willard the Magician, a famed performer of his time, who also stopped in Reagan. Altogether, though, their entertainment was much simpler and people looked forward to visiting one another, and the company of their neighbor at a church gathering or picnic. Churches, and there were two, the Methodist and Baptist, created a large part of the social life of the town.

Each of the children in the family had his or her task to do in helping to run the house. It may have been to bring in wood, run errands, clean the upstairs, work in the garden or pull weeds. The family was all taught to work together.

Coal oil lamps furnished light for the family at night; a new gas light was tried, but didn�t work too well, so coal oil lamps were again pressed into service. When electricity came to Reagan later on, it was, of course, wired to the house. As there was no refrigeration or ice available, a cooler, or cloth covered box, was used for milk and butter.

Beef was purchased twice a week in Reagan from Mr. Guffie, the butcher. One of Annie�s chores was to go to his market on the day he butchered to pick up the family�s beef. Hogs were killed when a norther came in; the men would have to work butchering the hogs until the work was completed, with the biting, cold north wind blowing around them. The slabs of bacon and ham were then kept in the smokehouse until they were needed.

In addition to their vegetable garden, the Robbins of course had their own cows and chickens. Sugar cane was raised for syrup. A man would come around once a year to make the cane into syrup.

During years of farming, cash income from the farm occurred only during the fall season, after cotton was harvested. A number of items, such as flour and sugar, were bought in bulk at that time.

The family always started the day with a big breakfast, with such things as ham, rice, grits or potatoes, eggs, or even fried chicken. Hot biscuits were served every morning. Since Ed Robbins often went out to his acreage to work, this was a farmer�s breakfast. Mrs. Robbins prepared deserts every day, and if it was something like a pie, it had to be eaten that day because of the lack of refrigeration.

A terrific rain storm struck the area in 1913, causing severe flooding on the Brazos. Mr. Robbins had gone into Marlin on the train the morning it struck. Marooned in Marlin, it was several days before he could return, and then only by walking the railroad trestle over flooded Big Creek. This was known as the second great Brazos flood. About that time, it was discovered that a Negro occupant of their servants quarters had smallpox, and the whole family had to be inoculated. The man had not appeared for several days and his wife had been ironing in the Robbins house before they revealed what had happened.

In 1915, Grandma Thames died while visiting her sister Florence, Mrs. H. C.. Willis of Nacogdoches. Then 73 years old, she died of a ruptured appendix. The doctor said she was too old to have surgery. Maltilda Ann Thames died March 10, 1915 and was buried beside her mother, Mrs. Morrison.

Ed Robbins worked to offer as much education as possible to his children. Ruth attended the University of Texas, as did the two boys, Edward and Bill. Clo and Annie went to Waco to attend Baylor University.

The first to be married was Clo, to Charlie Barclay. Annie married the Reagan school superintendent, Ben Peek, and Ruth married Joe W. Vanham, a Uvalde rancher. Edward chose as his wife, Lois McCarver of Hearne and Bill became the husband of Helen Meroney.

As the pace began to slow in the Robbins� house, so too did life in Reagan. The advent of the automobile allowed farmers and other citizens to go to Marlin and Waco to shop.

In addition to being a long-time trustee of the Reagan schools, Ed Robbins also served for many years on the Falls County Democratic Committee and was a ranking member of that body. For many years, he was a precinct chairman and was a delegate to the state convention on several occasions. His background in the turbulent reconstruction days had made him a very loyal democrat. Along with J. E. Davis, he was one of the party leaders of the area.

Typical of the stormy precinct conventions that used to occur is told in a story of an argument between Ed Robbins and J. E. Davis. At this particular meeting, they were trying to decide whether to endorse or not to endorse the state candidate and the platform of the National Convention. Both became quite angry over some remarks and had a battle of words. �I�ll have you know I�m a loyal democrat,� Mr. Robbins emphatically retorted. Both stomped around and pounded the floor with their walking canes as was usual at a meeting of this kind. They parted friends.

County government was the local government. Interest centered on the local and state government. Matters relating to the federal government were rarely mentioned as this level of government scarcely touched their lives. World War I was an exception. A staunch democrat, Ed Robbins was a great admirer of President Woodrow Wilson and U. S. Senator Tom Connally of Marlin. He was one of Connally�s strong supporters in the county and worked for his interest. Connally and Robbins were also very good friends.

Although he had obtained but six years formal education, Ed Robbins, who possessed a keen interest in the education of his neighbors� children, as well as his own, was especially recognized for his knowledge of the history and folklore of Falls County. An avid reader, he had attained his own education where his formal training ended. His own library included many history and reference books, including a number of texts on both the Civil War and World War I. He helped to organize the Reagan Masonic Lodge in 1915 and was the secretary continuously until it closed many years later, for lack of a suitable location for meetings.

In later years, Ed Robbins could often be found playing dominos in the back of Lonnie Robbins blacksmith shop. Some of the older men gathered here. The big Robbins home was often filled with footsteps and noise from their nine grandchildren. Many afternoons were spent looking through the large stack of old comic papers stored by Mrs. Robbins in a big trunk on the back porch. Unaccustomed to all of the wonders of rural life, they spent many active hours at their grandparents.

Edward Walker Robbins died on May 29, 1944 shortly after suffering a heart attack at his home in Reagan. He had been troubled with a heart ailment for a number of years.

The Robbins oldest daughter, Ruth became a widow the following year with the death of her husband Joe on July 25. Ed Robbins� widow, Lula, survived him two years. She died on June 8, 1946 in a Marlin hospital after a lengthy illness. She was laid to rest beside her husband in Calvary Cemetery in Marlin. Assisting at the funeral services was her uncle, the Reverend Hubert C. Willis of Madisonville.."

A man named Maverick, grandfather of the present Congress-man Maverick of Texas, was a large rancher prior to the Civil War, and allowed his calf crop to go unbranded during the later years of the war. At the close of the war there were thousands of his cattle without brands. Therefore, in Maverick's section, folks would say, "there is a Maverick", when refering to an unbranded critter. The term was taken up by others, and in a short time it was in general use through the range country of Texas.

"Maverick was not the only rancher who did not brand their cattle as the animals were bred and produced. Many others neglected to brand and mark their cattle. The reason they neglected their herds, was because after the first year of the war, Texas became, for all practical purposes, isolated from all Confederate states east of the Mississippi River, and the section was where the only market existed for our Texas cattle during those trying days.

"Being cut off from the market, the ranchers found themselves with worthless stock, so far as a market was concerned. In fact, the value of cattle, in Texas, was so low one would lose money paying hired help to attend a herd. Therefore, the ranchers gave very little, if any, attention to their herds. The herds multiplied rapidly. Thus, when the war ceased, there were thousands of unbranded cattle over all the range, and no one knew to whom the animals belonged.

"Immediatly following the close of the war, there existed a demand for beef, but Texas did not have an adiquate market. Her Southern market was depressed, because of the financial condition of the Southern States at the time. There was no money in the South and the prices low. "During the late 60s and early 70s, railroads built railroad lines down into Kansas and that placed shipping facilities close enough to our range so it was practical to drive herds to the railroads. "Following the completion of the railroads extention into Kansas, cattle market centers opened up: the principal market points were Camp Supply, For Dodge and Kansas City.

"When these markets were established, demands and prices for cattle multiplied in a short time. Then followed a prosperous period for the cattlemen of Texas, which continued, more or less, unabated until the panic of 1893. "Father anticipated a mighty upturn in the cattle business when he learned about the railroads extending Westward. Basing his action on the well founded conclusions, he devoted his efforts to creating a large herd. "We moved to McCellan co., for the purpose of securing a more suitable ranges. We located on the Brazos River, where we operated for two years and then moved to Coryell county on the Colorado River, just south of Gatesville. "It is obvious to anyone, that with the range being open, it was impossible for a person to indentify any particular unbranded critter as belonging to him. Because of this fact, there took form a sort of gentlemens agreement to govern the branding of the Marvicks and the only logical rule, it was that a rancher had the priviledge of branding the unbranded cattle which were found with his critters or grazing on the range under his control.

Many individuals started a herd by the simple process of locating a watering place, adopting a brand and then going out on the range to hunt and brand Mavericks. "When we moved to McCellan co., father had a few cattle; maybe 500. We branded all the Mavericks we could find in our section with our 'AG' brand. I, at the time, was about 11 years old and large enough to help ride the range. Father hired two hands, with whom I worked and all we did was to gather and brand mavericks.

"When we moved to Coryell co., we had a herd 1500 cattle. In Coryell co., we continued thur process of branding all stock in our section, and with the natural increas, our herd soon numbered up to better than 5000.

"Our camp, at first, we consisted of tents for shelter, which we used when inclement weather existed. When the weather was element, we slept outside. Blankets were kept in the area of the chuck wagon and when nights were chilly, we would roll in a cover, otherwise, we did not.

"Our food was coarse, but whole-some. It consisted principally of beef, beans, both corn and wheat brand and dried fruit. We also, generally managed to have some canned vegetables. Black coffee was supplied in large quanities as was necessary to satisfy the appetite of our waddies and they drank a large amount of the breverage.

"The cook was good camp cook and was especially good at cooking meat and beans. He varied the manner of cooking the beef and beans, so the two foods did not become tiresome. "Living as we did in the open, our appetite was always good.One would arise each morning with an excellent appetite and would relish the broiled steak, sour-dough bread, sop, lick and black coffee. "Sickness was a rare condition among we waddies, and we were always able to stay on the job to do what was necessary, even if it was two or three days and nights without rest, which happened occasionally.

"While the range was open and the cattle grazed where their desires lead the herd, we rode the range constantly during the day keeping the cattle bunched and more of less to our range section. After the herd bedded down at night we left just one rider one duty at a time to keep watch, unless inclement weather was existing or threatening. "It was necessary to keep several riders on duty when inclement weather was apparent, because in the event a storm set in the herd would tend to drift and during severe weather, would drift fast and far, unless held back. Then when thunder and lightening were persisting, there always was danger of a stampede starting, with its resulting loss, unless the riders were on hand to hold the run down to the miminum.

"I have experienced periods of two and three days and nights when our entire crew, of six to eight riders, was on duty the whole time without any rest. During the winter was the period of the year when inclement and threating weather would presist for several successive days, at Occasionally, during the winter, a presisting sleet and rain storm, accompainied with cold, would set in. Such weather was the hardest kind of weather to work in and, also, required the most work, because the cattle would insist on drifting with the storm. Just before a storm would arrive, it was the cattle's instinct which enabled the animal to realize a storm was on its way and would want to drift to shelter. The only shelter was the gullys, wood brake or hills.

"During the years when cattle roamed the open range, there were a few winter storms when thousands of cattle perished from exposure. My memory does not serve me well as it did in the farmer days, but I think it was during the late 80s, thousands of cattle perished on the range. The storm started with rain, turned to sleet and then turned to snow with low temperature. The inclement weather continued for a week or more. During the storm, a large number of the weaker cattle perished from exposure to the cold. Then, when the storm subsided the ground was coated with ice, and snow, covering the grass which prevented grazing. This condition resulted in many more cattle perishing from starvation.

"Many ranchers were ruined by reasons of their cattle loss during the siege of weather. One could travel over the range for miles and never be out of sight of dead animals. "Father's loss was about 50 percent, but he was able to meet the disaster. He even withstood the attack by heel-flies on the cattle which followed the coming of mild weather.

"The heel-fly is so named because it attacks the cattle in the heel. Evidently, the fly has a painful sting, because when one of the flies hits an animal, the critter will throw its tail in the air, let out a snort and start running for a bog or a water-hole. "The heel-fly is very wearing to the stock and continued attacks from swarms of the flies, will prevent grazing and keep the cattle standing in water or a bog, where they can keep their heels submerged. The cattle will lose wight and finally die. During the heel-fly acreage the cattle crowded the bogs and river in the locality. We were kept busy pulling critters out of bogs, but the animals would go back the second a fly hit it. Many of the cattle became so weak that they become mired and died, before we could get to the animal and pull it out of the mierer. We were faced with a herculean task which was beyoud our ability to perform completly. We worked, both horses and men, to exhaustion dragging mired critters out of bogs.

Our method of dragging out a mired critter was to put a loop around its horns and with the rope tied to the horn of the saddle the horse would pull the animal out.

"Our next most dreaded difficulty which we were compelled to encounter was the stampedes. You may attempt to picture in your mind what a stampede of several thousand longhorn cattle is like, but one can't visualize the actual scene. I shall attempt to draw a mental picture of what the old rawhide viewed and contended with during a cattle run.

"Of course, during a storm we were expecting a possible run and were on the watch for it, but during clement weather a stampede is not looked for unless something scares the cattle. Many things can scare a herd. For instance, a wolf which runs into a herd to pull down a calf or something that may startle just one animal the fear caused to the one animal will spread through the whole herd instantly. While a herd is on their own ground it is not so easily scared, but when bedded off their home range, for instance, when on a drive, the herd is prone to stampede over triffles. These conditions, mentioned, are what we had to be on guard against at all times.

"The herd may be bedded and arise instantly. Looking at a herd arising, appears as if the earth is heaving up with an accompanying roar, a swish like sound, and the clashing of horns. While the cattle are running, the pounding to their feet on the earth sounds as the roll of many muffled drums. The clashing of the horns given off a sound similar that many muffled cymbols. The two sounds is quite a symphony, but broken by the discordance yell of the waddies trying to divert the hreds attention and put and put the animals to milling. "What I mean by milling is to start the cattle to running in a circle, instead of straight away. If the herd was not scared too badly and not running too fast, the critters will follow their leaders. Our job was to force the leading critters from their straight course. That was performed by riding at the side and to the front of the leading animals and crowding the critters. "Most of the time we could accomplish our purpose in stopping a run, but occasionally we would fail. If we failed the cattle would be scattered hither and yond'.

"Of course, while on the home range, a scattered herd was not so disasterous, because we could eventually gather the cattle and those which we could not locate at the time, we would find during the following roundup. So far as the breeding stock was concerned, we were not so much concerned about those becoming scattered, but it was the market cattle we did not want to lose track of and be delayed in their sale until after the roundup.

"Suppose it was dark and storming while a stampede was in progress, which it often was. Then imagine, if you can, riding at the head of several thousand wild, frightened and running cattle, and while riding, crowding your mount against the running cattle trying to force the aminals off their course. Suppose your horse stumbled and threw you in front of the running cattle? Of course, the result of such event is obvious. Talk about daring riders, that was one position the word daring does not express strong enough; sand in your gizzard, as the cowhand use to say, expresses such riders more accurately.

"While on a drive with a herd is when a stampede was lible to cause our worse loss. Then we would be in a strange country and if any of our cattle strayed away, most likely our strays would be a permanent loss. Of course, the critters would eventually mingle some other herd, but if we, from Texas, were driving a herd in Kans., when the run took place we would not be in Kans., during the roundup to cut out our brand.

"Here in Texas, each rancher would have his cowhands working in the roundup crews and as the cattle would be gathered, the different [brands?] would be [separated?], held together and driven back to their home range.

"During the severe storm of the early 80s, cattle drifted for more than 100 miles from their home range. The cattle were scattered and mixed from one end of the range country to the other. Many ranchers didn't know whether or not he still had a herd until after the Spring roundup. "Each Spring and Fall there was held a general roundup at which all ranchers participated. working as one big crew under one boss.

"During the Spring roundup the young stock would be branded, and the young bulls castrated. and the herd counted. During the Fall roundup. the herd was counted and cattle branded which were missed during the spring. All the strays were drifted back to their home range. Those animals among the herd which we would want to market would be cut out and held separated from the other cattle. Such cattle would be hreded carefully to keep the critters from straying. We were not so particular about the others.

"My father was among the first who entered the business of driving cattle from Texas, to the Northern market, when the railroad penertrated into Kansas..

"Father did not have much cash. In fact, when he made his first trip, he had just about enough cash to pay traveling expenses, and no wages. He cut out all the critters in our herd which were ready for the market, and then gathered small bunches of cattle from small ranchers to make up a herd of 3500 head. "Those cattle gathered from other ranchers were not for at the time we gathered the animals, but driven to the market and sold, and then paid for. No note or other evidence of debt was given by father to any of the ranchers for whom he took cattle to market. When he returned, he paid each person the money due, less their share of the expense incurred making the drive and a precentage.

"We used a crew of from 12 to 14 men to handle a herd of 3500 cattle. I made two drives as a member of the driving crew. I worked as one of the pointers. A pointer is a term applied to the rider who rides at the side of the herd keeping the animals together and headed in the proper direction. "After we had gathered the herd to be driven, we would make an early start in the morning and drive the herd at a fast walking gait all day. The purpose for[making a hard drive the first day, was to be far away from the home bedding ground as possible the first night. If a herd would be near their home ground when bedding time arrived, they would give us considerable trouble by trying to drift back to their ususal bedding ground.

. "With each days drive, the critters would become accustomed to the drive and the work of handling the herd would, likewise, become easier. After the first day we would allow the animals to take their own time and graze, but we keep the herd headed up the trail always. The pointers would allow the animals to spread out a distance of about a mile. Thus each critter would have a chance to get grass. If we would want to move the herd faster than their grazing gait, we would tighten up. That is to say, reduce the spread and urge the animals forward. Often we would want to make some certain point for bedding or reach a watering hole and would have to force drive. "A herd of cattle will travel about 12 miles a day and graze the while, but the distance a herd would travel, as the crow flys, would average about seven miles.

"We followed the Chisholm Trail out of Coryell co., going through Hill, Johnson. Tarrant, Wise, Montigue and Clay Counties. Thence West to Doan's Crossing of the Red River and into the Territory (now Okla.,). The trail was a general course Northward. We followed where the grazing and water was sufficent. "From many directions in Texas, cattle were trailed to Doan's crossing and during the hight of cattle driving, one could see herds fording the Red River most any time of the day.

"While driving a herd it was necessary to maintain constant watch over the herd at night. We worked four night riders and the four riders worked four hour shifts and then would be releaved by another crew of four. Of course, the remainder of the crew were close at hand and could be called to duty in a few minutes. We all slept with most of our cloth on, scattered around the chuck wagon and if called to ride, all we had to do was to pull on our boots and grab our hat, in the event anything happened needing our help.

"Stampedes were the thing we dreaded, therefore, the night rider not only watched the critters, but kept watch for anything which may approach the herd and scare it. Any unsual noise or object may scare one or two animals and their fright is taken up by the rest of the herd quickly. Because of that fact, every precaution was excersized to not disturb the cattle.

"We always prayed and trusted for good weather while on trail drive. When a strom was approaching we were always set for anything and looked for tho worst to happen with the herd.

"When a storm descends on a herd of cattle with lightening flashing and thunder clapping, the animals are going to move. [Especially so when the herd are on strange ground. A herd will drift with a strom and if lightening stricks close to a herd a stampede is most sure to follow. During a strom, at night, is the worst time for a stampede to accure.

"One must expect stampedes with cattle on a drive. We had to contend with stampedes [frequently?], on the two drives I made. We handled the runs successfully with the exception of two. I shall explain what we experienced one night while in the Territory.

"The weather was one of those real Territory busters , which contain all the elements: wind, rain, lightening, and thunder.

"At the start of the storm, the herd was fretful, but we were holding it successfully, until a clap of thunder hit in the center of the cattle. That thunder seemed to split and start the herd running in several directions form the point of the hit. The herd did not act, as a running herd usually did which is all run in the same direction, but it divided into several directions. "Of course, it being dark, we could not see except when the lightening flashed, but the cows was riding trying to keep the animals together. We knew it was impossible to stop the run until the cattle became run down or the storm stopped. "The storm stopped after an hour's time and we put what critters were left to milling, but we had only half of the herd. The rest were scattered to' the four winds'. which properly expresses the condition.

"We spent four days attempting to gather our herd, but were compelled to be satisfied with about [?] of the cattle. Some of the ranchers in the Territory had a few cattle added to their herd. This incident took place before the Cattlemen's Association was organized. and had extended its influence beyond Texas. "The barganing of the present Cattlemens's Association was organized in 1877. and the organization soon established rule whereby strays picked up by others would be sold and the owner paid the salo money through the Association.

"After the Cattlemen's Association became organized, about the only loss the drovers suffered from straying animals would be when the cattle fell into the hands of rustlers. The rustlers would blot the brand, and by several methods change the brands. However, a large number of those cattle were intercepted, by the Association's inspectors, at the markets and thousand of dollars were saved for the ranchers by the inspectors.

"When a drover or rancher lost cattle, the fact was reported to the Association's inspection department. If the critters were offered for sale at any of the markets containing the reported brands or brands which showed evidence of being tampered with, the seller would be compelled to give satisfactory account of how he came into possession of the cattle in question. If the party failed to produce the necessary facts, the cattle were sold and the money paid to the rightful owner, less expense.

"Rustling became a well organized business in many sections of the range country. Coryell co., and its vicinity, was one of the localities where a tolerable lot of rustler trouble existed.

"The condition became so bad that the ranchers were forced to organized and deal with the situation directly. Committees were organized to handle the rustlers. Those committees would notify a rustler to leave the community. If the party failed to heed the demand, then the committee would catch the accused and hold a trail.

The trials were under a kangraoo court arrangement. One member of the committee would act as the judge, another the prosecutor. The evidence for and against would be heard. The verdict would be rendered according to the majority vote of the committee. Many were sentenced to be hanged and the hanging would take place on the spot. Some of the accused were turned loose with a warning and given another chance.

"The actions of the committees in Coryell county had a wholesome effect on the rustlers and their depredations were checked considerably. "At the age of 17, I entered Baylor university at Waco and spent two years at Baylor and then engaged in teaching school in the rual districts for a period of two years. Following my period of teaching. I again entered the cattle business. I returned to Coryell co., and took charge of my father's ranch and continued in the business until the panic of 1893.

"At the time I returned to ranching, which was in 1876, the T.P. railroad had entered Fort Worth, then our market for cattle was Fort Worth.

"About this time conditions changed rapidly, due to fencing and settlers taking up land for cultivation. The large ranchers moved farther West and the small rancher fenced his range. The open range soon disappeared.

"I fenced my range and continued to operate until the 1893 panic sot in. I then sold out my herd and engaged in various other lines of business.

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