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The Perkins Journal
Perkins, Oklahoma
September 1, 1994     The Perkins Journal
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September 1, 1994

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THU !" IEMBER 1 1994 - nl Bluff There was a Cattleman's Convention at Mobeetie, Texas, and Colonel Charles Goodnight and Uncle Nick Eaton were up there for two days. When they came back they got all hands together and told them to clean their thirty-thirties, wrap them in a blanket with two boxes of shells and put them into the chuck wagon, get their best ponies and get ready to ride to town. We didn't l now what was going on and for that matter didn't care. We rpde along with the chuck wagon and camped on the outskirts of Mobeetie. We were a disappointed bunch of cowboys, though, when we got strict orders to stay in camp. But when we saw Nick Eaton's.chuck wagon and riders, and outfits from some of the other ranches, come in and camp near us we began to wonder what was up. After a while Colonel Goodnight's foreman, a man named Pennington, told us to come on - so we got on our ponies and started for town. We were joined by boys from the other outfits, and we made a hard-boiled bunch of riders. The fore,ban of each outfit took his riders up to the place where the cattlemen were holding their meeting• We left our horses at the hitch rack, filed into the room, lined up against the wall and listened. Colonel Goodnight was talking and he said something like this: "We have enough evidence against them to hang every damn one of them and that is what is going to hap- pen right away. I have eighteen good riders, every one a fighting man. Every one has a thirty-thirty, besides his belt guns, and we have lost all the cattle we are going to lose. Now we will clear the room and not let anyone in that is not a cowpuncher• Each foreman must vouch for all his men. We will fix up our plans and give the boys the names of the men we want and they can bring them in. When we will hold court and give them justice. Now, all you owners keep you seats; and everybody else must go. A foreman will be at each door to see that everyone who comes in belongs you don't know but that you have orders to wait and then maybe take a ride in the hills. Now, don't drink too much and don't let any ]nan kick you into a fight. The boys scattered and the foremen and the ranchers had a celebration of their own laughing over the trick they had played. Of the eighteen men that left town that night only three ever came back. They were very careful for a long time not to lay a rope on a calf and when they did they were promptly hung by the Vigilantes. Late the next nmrning the different outfits started for home. They had broken the cow-stealing ring without fir- ing a single shot, and it stayed that way for a long time. They still laugh, down there in Texas, about Colonel Goodnight's bluff. Whooping It Up, in Town After the spring roundup, 1884, Colonel Goodnight and J A outfit took a herd of up the trail to Kansas, where the colone'l sold them. The cattle were shipped from Caldwell, Kansas, to Kansas City and the colonel went along with them to Kansas City. We made camp at the edge of town where we were to wait until the colonel came back. It was just at the beginning of the depression of the middle '80, but money was getting tight and so was credit for the cattlemen. Talk among the cow hands was that the Colonel had gone to Kansas City to look into the situation. After the cattle were shipped the boys all got paid and went into Caldwell to have some fun. Rolla and I did not drink but we went along to see the sights and there sure were plenty of them. The town was full of railroaders, cow- boys, freighters and traders, buffalo hunter, gamblers and loafers of all kinds. The dance halls and saloons were run- ning wide open. We took turns going to town; part of the boys had to stay in camp and take care of the remuda, that's the saddle horses, and the stuff in camp. When the bunch got back from town they watched the things and let the boys who had stayed at camp go in and look around. Rolls and I were watching the dancers one night when a couple of pretty girls came up and asked us to dance. It was the old-fashioned square dance and we were having lots of fun. There were about, thirty-five railroaders in the room and two of them had partners in the same set. They were drinking heavily and could hardly stand on their feet. Pretty soon the dancers got all tangled up and the floor manager was trying to straighten them out. One of the drunks came over and grabbed my girl and started back to his set with her. The girl broke away from him and slapped his face and just as I came up he struck at her with his fist. l caught his arm and struck him right under the ear, knock- ing him out cold. There was a roar from the railroaders on the sidelines and they all started for the dance floor• Rolls and I backed against the wall and drew our guns. Telling the girls to get into the other room, we waited for the mob to come on. to immunize the Herefords, too, if he only could tried everything he heard about but the Herefords on dying. One day Rolla and I were out on the range the grass watching the cattle• We got to talking Herefords and the Texas fever. Rolls said that he thinking about it and he believed if the young was taken away from its mother as soon as it was not allowed to suck but given to a Texas cow immune to the fever, the calf might become disease. His idea sounded sort of reasonable and I to got to his Uncle Charlie and talk to him when we went back to the ranch, Rolls went to the and told him what he had been thinking. The colonel t it might work, too, so he tried it. We used to Hereford calf as soon as we found it and give it to cow. We would milk the native cow's milk all over then she would mother it. It was slow but it worked and it was one of things that helped the Hereford cattle to live in were imported but they still died of the fever. It until a generation or two of Herefords were raised i! that they were immune to the Texas fever. were better ways, but that was one of the first was tried with any success. That was the be " Hereford cattle in Texas. The Parson In the fall, 1884, Colonel Goodnight, Nick Deaf Smith gathered up a bunch of cattle in the part of Texas and drove them through to Caldwell, to be shipped east. A nice-looking boy came into our camp just started the drive and wanted to ride through to with us. The boss gave him a job as horse wrangler. good, clean-looking boy and had a beautiful sin He was rather small but well put together and had retiring disposition. He never drank, used tobacco and was always ready to help anybody. For his ties we called him Parson. Whenever the boys talking or acting tough, the Parson always had his horses. He never carried a gun and showed ing and good sense in every move he made. The Parson helped drive clear through to Kansas. When we got to Bluff Creek, where we the end of the drive, the Parson quit and the boss off. He shook hands with all of us and went to the wagon went in for supplies. The next day Rolla and I were saddling up to the aRernoon watch when Rolls let out a "Hold me down, buddy, look what's coming!" I saw a lady riding the trail toward camp. She had black riding habit with a pink silk waist and a hat with a long curly ostrich plume around the was riding sidesaddle, rode up alongside of us in. This is a cattlemen's meeting for the purpose of stopping The other boys from our outfit were at the bar watch- "Hello, fellows, where are you going?" cow thieves; no one but cattle men and their hands will be .drew .... ,, and ...... _t e,, igig. tt I loo ed at her a minute and then I said, "I don allowed. ennington, who is my foreman, will- ouch': or l " o ac e . o aj r.. , ea gueu rm g .cr az v* , Y I've•'seen'y u men :t e" has with him. Nick Eat0nl here , and :his b-5 .s are • • just outside. . - - She laughed, i"Why Fra don't-you know ready. You other men are as ready as you ever wilLlae' so ....... • ..... " . , There Were all kinds and sizes of guns working at theRolla took off his hat ntl- said, "WeHI be let's clear out all but the cattlemen and get to work. Clear same time, from thirty-twos to forty-fives - and the gain- Oh, excuse me, Parson for swearing." the room, boys." The boys got busy and started to clear the room• There were a lot of town loafers and shady characters who wanted to stay and hear what was confing off, but they were all put out and two guards were stationed at each door and win- dow. The foremen stood at the doors and let in only their own men. After they were all settled down, Nick Eaton and Deaf Smith, another big cattle owner, went out and the others just sat around and waited for them to come back. When they did come back they were laughing; they told the other cattlemen their plan was working and they all laughed. Then Colonel Goodnight said. "Pennington. take the boys down and line them up against the wall in the saloon and " let them stand there awhile and wait for orders. Now, they will try. to get you to drink: but I don't want any damn one of you to take a drink of any kind, so tell them you haven't got time now but you will later, Now don't talk to anyone, just go in and line up with vou backs against the wall and stand there Until we . ,end ti)r you." It was a very qmet town JUSt then. There were over fifty armed cowboys ]n the different groups and they went into every saloon and (lance hall in town and nobody wanted to , tart any trouble with them as they stood silently wait- ing orders. They wondered what the orders would be and there were a good many others in the town that would have liked to know. In that t)rief time there were eighteen men who left town and went to the hills to camp until they could learn how things were going to turn out After we had stood there for hbout half and hour the foreman came in and said. "Come on. boys, they are going to wait until morn- ing and make a, clean sweep of the whole shebang. Let's get b ck to camp." We all file out and went to the chuck wagon where the cook had supper ready and the foreman said. "Stay in camp. boys: don't anyone go to town tonight. We have them on the run and in the morning we will .finish up and hoist a .few drinks and go back home•" Pennington went over and joined the bosses and they all rode into towg and weVt around asking.for certain men who they knew had left town. Then. a little later, when they saw a man ride out of town. they knew he was taking word to the suspects who had left for the hills earlier in the day, so they let him go - fbr that was part of the game. The next mo ning Pennin on told Rolla. Jack and me to get our rifles and go with him and the others, When we roacl ed the first .sal%o9 saw, the = her foremen, with s hall squads offencebow.; going rote the other saloons and darfcg halls and wondered what it meant. Pennington went up to the barkeeper and asked for a man name The barkeeper said the man had not been in that morning and he guessed he was down at his boarding place Penning :on answered that we had just come from there and he was not there. Then he turned to us and said, "Co e on, boys. we will fred himif we have to go all over hell with afine4ooth eoml " We turned and walked out and went:over to whei"e' the boys from the other outfits had gatll r( l': P etty,we saw another horseman ride out of tqwn. the dir ctiofi of the hills, hell bent for leather• We sfood around a little while longer; then the foreman said, "All right, boys. go wet you whistle but don't take too much. If anyone wants to know what we are going to do, tell him biers were shooting their derringers, short-barreled pocket pistols of large caliber• The air was idled with yells, creams and oaths• The forty-fives of the cowboys were belching fire clear across the room as we scrambled for the door. Outside, finding that we were all there, we got on our ponies and, shooting in the air a few times as we rode past the door, we headed for camp. The foreman was sitting on the wagon tongue and was sure surprised to see us ride in so early, all sober. "What the hell is the matter with you fellows?" he asked, "Have they run out of whiskey and shipped all the girls out? What's the reason for vo " getting in this time of night?" "We joined the W. .TU ," Charlie Siringo replied. One of the boys who ha'd stayed in camp said, "Hey, boys. it's not late: let's go to town and start in where they left off." "'Well, go ahead, t llows," said charlie., "but I don't thi nk the J A cowboys would be very welcome at :the dance hall we just left." He gave them a rough idea of the, fight and when he had finished, the foreman saddled up his pony and rode into t wn to see what had really happened. The boys all waited for him to come back until after midnight. Th.en they went •bed and, Rolls, Jack Landrum and I started out to look for the foreman. We met him not far from camp, riding along samlaling the contents that hung from his saddle horn. "It's all right, boys!" he called to us. "I talked to the manager of the dance hall and be said it was all the fault of those drunken railroaders. He said you boys just finished up what he started to do. He made the railroaders pay the damages, and just so there would be no hard feelings he gave me this jug of good whiskey." The next day the foreman took the wagon to town and had it loaded for the trip home. Colonel Goodnight got back from Kansas City that day, so the next morning we pulled out for the J.A. .When we arrived ai the ranch, we found Quanah Parker, with a band of Indian warriors and their womenfolk, camped in the lower end of the canyon. Quanah Parker was chief of the Comanche ][aditans. His mother, Cynthia Ann Parker, w as a white w man. She had been captured as a child and raised by the Comanche India is. When was grown she married a Comanche warrior, so Quanah, their son, was half'Indian. ,- "" Coloi i G oodnight and Quanah Parker were firm friends hey were glad to see each other. The colonel drove some beeves down to the Indian-camp and there was feast- ing and dancing among the warriors and their squaws. And the colonel knew his cattle were safe from marauding .Comanches for a long time. Herefords Colonel Charles Goodnight was always interested in the progress of the cattle business. He was a real old-time cattle king and he Was always trying to improve his breeds. He was a great leader and had far-sighted vision. He was one of the cattlemen who organized the Panhandle Stock Association in the early '80's to protect themsel, es against the spreading of Texas fever by infected herds passing over their ranges• The colonel tried to bring the Hereford cattle into Texas, but they died with the Texas fever almost as soon as he got them there. The Texas longhorns were im- mune to the disease and the colonel knew there was a way Some of the other boys gathered round and we gized for some of the language we had used on the The Parson explained to us she had been obli from Texas to Topeka, Kansas, and since there was road across the Indian Territory, she had decided ,with us on our drive, letting on all the time that boy. Now that we had reached the railroad at could go on to Topeka by train. But she said she just leave without telling us all good-by. The 8ehoolttaeher After we got back home to the J A ranch, Goodnight had us drive a herd of about forty-five head of cattle to another range. We were west of Texas, and had five brands of cattle in the herd, longhorns and a few extra longhorns. One day we passed a schoolhouse. In those had a fence wherever you didn't want the cattle to the schoolhouse was fenced in. The schoolteacher the children were out in the yard watching the The teacher was small and young and just as could be. By gosh, she was a beauty! We rode twenty steps of the schoolhouse. Rolla was of me in the swing and I was on the flank. When to the school house I hollered at Rolla, "Oh Rolla, off right here and finish our education." Rolla hollered back, "We21 draw our money and come back." Then we rode on. Up at Enid, Oklahoma, in 1945, Rolla and I helping a girl named Betty Jo Glover with some facts for a historical-event contest in which she prize. We were there when the prize was awarded the ceremony was over, Betty Jo said, "Let's 'go visit Grandma. She is an old Texas know she would like to meet you men. Her name is Swindler." So we went over to meet Grandma Swindler - her mother and father and Rolla and I. The old was just as white as milk, long and wavy and She wasn't any bigger than a prairie but just a three-year-old. By George, she was active! She see pretty good too. Mr. Glover introduced us as a old Texas cow hands. She shook hands with us "It's good to meet some of the old boys from Texas. know lots of Texas cow hands. When I was young teach school out west of Fort Worth. One day the big herd of Texas cattle going by the schoolhouse children wouldn't study anyway, so I let them all yard to look at the cattle. The herd had pretty near the school when one of the fellows called out to a ahead of him, 'Let's stop here and finish our other one answered, 'Wait till we draw our money come back,' but they never did." I looked at Rolla and laughed. "Oh yes they said, "we're here to finish up!" Buckskin Pete's Fight with the Indians Rolla and I were still riding, helping drive cattle up the Chisholm Trail. There were two close together by night but there was a herd and we didn't know what they were going to do. As I have said, in driving a herd of cattle out front are called the "pointers"; the ones you alongside the herd are the "swing," and the