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Reed Anthony, Cowman by Andy Adams

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trailed them until they bedded down, when he dismounted and examined
every bed. No cow ever lay down without leaving hair on its bed, so
when the Texan had examined the ground where half a dozen had slept,
his suspicions were confirmed. Declaring them buffalo, the two men
took up the trail in a gallop, overtaking the band within ten miles
and securing four fine robes. There is little or no difference in the
tracks of the two animals. I simply mention this, as my patience has
been sorely tried with the modern picturesque cowboy, who is merely an
amateur when compared with the men of earlier days.

I spent three weeks riding the range on the Medicine. The cattle had
been carefully selected, now four and five years old, and if the
season was favorable they would be ready for shipment early in the
fall. The lower camp was abandoned in order to enlarge the range
nearly one third, and after providing for the wants of the men, I rode
away to the southeast to intercept the Chisholm trail where it crossed
the Kansas line south of Wichita. The town of Caldwell afterward
sprang up on the border, but at this time among drovers it was known
as Stone's Store, a trading-post conducted by Captain Stone, afterward
a cowman, and already mentioned in these memoirs. Several herds had
already passed on my arrival; I watched the trail, meeting every
outfit for nearly a week, and finally George Edwards came snailing
along. He reported our other cattle from seven to ten days behind,
but was not aware that I had an individual herd on the trail. Edwards
moved on to Wichita, and I awaited the arrival of our second outfit.
A brisk rivalry existed between the solicitors for Ellsworth and
Wichita, every man working faithfully for his railroad or town, and at
night they generally met in social session over a poker game. I never
played a card for money now, not that my morals were any too good, but
I was married and had partners, and business generally absorbed me to
such an extent that I neglected the game.

I met the second herd at Pond Creek, south in the Cherokee Outlet, and
after spending a night with them rode through to Wichita in a day and
night. We went into camp that year well up the Arkansas River, as two
outfits would again hold the four herds. Our second outfit arrived at
the chosen grazing grounds on time, the men were instantly relieved,
and after a good carouse in town they started home. The two other
herds came in without delay, the beeves arriving on the last of the
month. Barely half as many cattle would arrive from Texas that summer,
as many former drovers from that section were bankrupt on account of
the panic of the year before. Yet the market was fairly well supplied
with offerings of wintered Texans, the two classes being so distinct
that there was very little competition between them. My active partner
was on hand early, reporting a healthy inquiry among former customers,
all of whom were more than pleased with the cattle supplied them the
year before. By being in a position to extend a credit to reliable
men, we were enabled to effect sales where other drovers dared not

Business opened early with us. I sold fifteen hundred of my heaviest
beeves to an army contractor from Wyoming. My active partner sold the
straight three-year-old herd from Erath County to an ex-governor from
Nebraska, and we delivered it on the Republican River in that State.
Small bunches of from three to five hundred were sold to farmers, and
by the first of August we had our holdings reduced to two herds in
charge of one outfit. When the hipping season began with our customers
at The Grove, trade became active with us at Wichita. Scarcely a week
passed but Major Hunter sold a thousand or more to his neighbors,
while I skirmished around in the general market. When the outfit
returned from the Republican River, I took it in charge, went down
on the Medicine, and cut out a thousand beeves, bringing them to the
railroad and shipping them to St. Louis. I never saw fatter cattle
in my life. When we got the returns from the first consignment, we
shipped two trainloads every fortnight until our holding's on the
Medicine were reduced to a remnant. A competent bookkeeper was
employed early in the year, and in keeping our accounts at Wichita,
looking after our shipments, keeping individual interests, by brands,
separate from the firm's, he was about the busiest man connected with
the summer's business. Aside from our drive of over thirteen thousand
head, we bought three whole herds, retailing them in small quantities
to our customers, all of which was profitable. I bought four whole
remudas on personal account, culled out one hundred and fifty head
and sold them at a sacrifice, sending home the remaining two hundred
saddle horses. I found it much cheaper and more convenient to buy my
supply of saddle stock at trail terminals than at home. Once railroad
connections were in operation direct between Kansas and Texas, every
outfit preferred to go home by rail, but I adhered to former methods
for many years.

In summing up the year's business, never were three partners more
surprised. With a remnant of nearly one hundred beeves unfit for
shipment, the Medicine River venture had cleared us over two hundred
per cent, while the horses on hand were worth ten dollars a head more
than what they had cost, owing to their having wintered in the North.
The ten thousand trail cattle paid splendidly, while my individual
herd had sold out in a manner, leaving the stock cattle at home clear
velvet. A programme was outlined for enlarging our business for the
coming year, and every dollar of our profits was to be reinvested in
wintering and trailing cattle from Texas. Next to the last shipment,
the through outfit went home, taking the extra two hundred saddle
horses with it, the final consignment being brought in to Wichita for
loading out by our ranch help. The shipping ended in October. My last
work of the year was the purchase of seven thousand three-year-old
steers, intended for our Medicine River range. We had intentionally
held George Edwards and his outfit for this purpose, and cutting the
numbers into two herds, the Medicine River lads led off for winter
quarters. We had bought the cattle worth the money, but not at a
sacrifice like the year before, neither would we expect such profits.
It takes a good nerve, but experience has taught me that in land and
cattle the time of the worst depression is the time to buy. Major
Hunter accompanied the herds to their winter quarters, sending Edwards
with his outfit, after their arrival on the Medicine, back to Texas,
while I took the train and reached home during the first week in



I arrived home in good time for the fall work. The first outfit
relieved at Wichita had instructions to begin, immediately on reaching
the ranch, a general cow-hunt for outside brands. It was possible that
a few head might have escaped from the Clear Fork range and returned
to their old haunts, but these would bear a tally-mark distinguishing
them from any not gathered at the spring delivery. My regular ranch
hands looked after the three purchased brands adjoining our home
range, but an independent outfit had been working the past four months
gathering strays and remnants in localities where I had previously
bought brands. They went as far south as Comanche County and picked
up nearly one hundred "Lazy L's," scoured the country where I had
purchased the two brands in the spring of 1872, and afterward confined
themselves to ranges from which the outside cattle were received that
spring. They had made one delivery on the Clear Fork of seven hundred
head before my return, and were then away on a second cow-hunt.

On my reaching the ranch the first contingent of gathered cattle were
under herd. They were a rag-tag lot, many of them big steers, while
much of the younger stuff was clear of earmark or brand until after
their arrival at the home corrals. The ranch help herded them by day
and penned them at night, but on the arrival of the independent outfit
with another contingent of fifteen hundred the first were freed and
the second put under herd. Counting both bunches, the strays numbered
nearly a thousand head, and cattle bearing no tally-mark fully as
many more, while the remainder were mavericks and would have paid the
expenses of the outfit for the past four months. I now had over thirty
thousand cattle on the Clear Fork, holding them in eleven brands, but
decided thereafter to run all the increase in the original "44." This
rule had gone into effect the fall previous, and I now proposed to run
it on all calves branded. Never before had I felt the necessity of
increasing my holdings in land, but with the number of cattle on hand
it behooved me to possess a larger acreage of the Clear Fork valley.
A surveyor was accordingly sent for, and while the double outfit was
branding the home calf crop, I located on the west end of my range a
strip of land ten miles long by five wide. At the east end of my ranch
another tract was located, five by ten miles, running north and taking
in all that country around the junction of the Clear Fork with the
mother Brazos. This gave me one hundred and fifty sections of land,
lying in the form of an immense Lazy L, and I felt that the expense
was justified in securing an ample range for my stock cattle.

My calf crop that fall ran a few over seven thousand head. They were
good northern Texas calves, and it would cost but a trifle to run them
until they were two-year-olds; and if demand continued in the upper
country, some day a trail herd of steers could easily be made up from
their numbers. I was beginning to feel rather proud of my land and
cattle; the former had cost me but a small outlay, while the latter
were clear velvet, as I had sold thirty-five hundred from their
increase during the past two years. Once the surveying and branding
was over, I returned to the Edwards ranch for the winter. The general
outlook in Texas was for the better; quite a mileage of railroad
had been built within the State during the past year, and new and
prosperous towns had sprung up along their lines. The political
situation had quieted down, and it was generally admitted that a
Reconstruction government could never again rear its head on Texas
soil. The result was that confidence was slowly being restored among
the local people, and the press of the State was making a fight for
recognition, all of which augured for a brighter future. Living on the
frontier and absent the greater portion of the time, I took little
interest in local politics, yet could not help but feel that the
restoration of self-government to the best elements of our people
would in time reflect on the welfare of the State. Since my advent in
Texas I had been witness to the growth of Fort Worth from a straggling
village in the spring of 1866 to quite a pretentious town in the fall
of 1874.

Ever since the partnership was formed I had been aware of and had
fostered the political ambitions of the firm's silent member. He had
been prominently identified with the State of Kansas since it was a
territory, had held positions of trust, and had been a representative
in Congress, and all three of us secretly hoped to see him advanced to
the United States Senate. We had fully discussed the matter on various
occasions, and as the fall elections had gone favorably, the present
was considered the opportune time to strike. The firm mutually
agreed to stand the expense of the canvass, which was estimated on a
reasonable basis, and the campaign opened with a blare of trumpets.
Assuming the role of a silent partner, I had reports furnished me
regularly, and it soon developed that our estimate on the probable
expense was too low. We had boldly entered the canvass, our man was
worthy, and I wrote back instructing my partners to spare no expense
in winning the fight. There were a number of candidates in the race
and the legislature was in session, when an urgent letter reached me,
urging my presence at the capital of Kansas. The race was narrowing to
a close, a personal consultation was urged, and I hastened north as
fast as a relay of horses and railroad trains could carry me. On my
arrival at Topeka the fight had almost narrowed to a financial one,
and we questioned if the game were worth the candle. Yet we were
already involved in a considerable outlay, and the consultation
resulted in our determination to win, which we did, but at an expense
of a little over four times the original estimate, which, however,
afterward proved a splendid investment.

I now had hopes that we might enlarge our operations in handling
government contracts. Major Hunter saw possibilities along the same
line, and our silent partner was awakened to the importance of
maintaining friendly relations with the Interior and War departments,
gathering all the details in contracting beef with the government for
its Indian agencies and army posts in the West. Up to date this had
been a lucrative field which only a few Texas drovers had ventured
into, most of the contractors being Northern and Eastern men, and
usually buying the cattle with which to fill the contracts near the
point of delivery. I was impatient to get into this trade, as the
Indian deliveries generally took cows, and the army heavy beef, two
grades of cattle that at present our firm had no certain demand for.
Also the market was gradually moving west from Wichita, and it was
only a question of a few years until the settlements of eastern Kansas
would cut us off from our established trade around The Grove. I
had seen Abilene pass away as a market, Wichita was doomed by the
encroachments of agriculture, and it behooved us to be alert for a new

I made up my mind to buy more land scrip. Not that there had been
any perceptible improvement in wild lands, but the general outlook
justified its purchase. My agent at Austin reported scrip to be had
in ordinary quantities at former prices, and suggested that I supply
myself fully, as the new administration was an economical one, and
once the great flood of certificates issued by the last Reconstruction
regime were absorbed, an advance in land scrip was anticipated. I
accordingly bought three hundred sections more, hardly knowing what
to do with it, yet I knew there was an empire of fine grazing country
between my present home and the Pecos River. If ever the Comanches
were brought under subjection there would be ranches and room for all;
and our babies were principally boys.

Major Hunter came down earlier than usual. He reported a clear, cold
winter on the Medicine and no serious drift of cattle, and expressed
the belief that we would come through with a loss not exceeding one
per cent. This was encouraging, as it meant fat cattle next fall, fit
for any market in the country. It was yet too early to make any move
towards putting up herds for the trail, and we took train and went
down the country as far as Austin. There was always a difference in
cattle prices, running from one to two dollars a head, between the
northern and southern parts of the State. Both of us were anxious
to acquaint ourselves with the different grades, and made stops in
several intervening counties, looking at cattle on the range and
pricing them. We spent a week at the capital city and met all the
trail drovers living there, many of whom expected to put up herds for
that year southeast on the Colorado River. "Shanghai" Pierce had
for some time been a prominent figure in the markets of Abilene and
Wichita, driving herds of his own from the extreme coast country. But
our market required a better quality than coasters and Mexican cattle,
and we turned back up the country. Before leaving the capital, Major
Hunter and I had a long talk with my merchant friend over the land
scrip market, and the latter urged its purchase at once, if wanted, as
the issue afloat was being gradually absorbed. Already there had been
a noticeable advance in the price, and my partner gave me no
peace until I bought, at eighteen dollars a section, two hundred
certificates more. Its purchase was making an inroad on my working
capital, but the major frowned on my every protest, and I yielded out
of deference to his superior judgment.

Returning, we stopped in Bell County, where we contracted for fifteen
thousand two and three year old steers. They were good prairie-raised
cattle, and we secured them at a dollar a head less than the prices
prevailing in the first few counties south of Red River. Major Hunter
remained behind, arranging his banking facilities, and I returned home
after my outfits. Before leaving Bell County, I left word that we
could use fifty good men for the trail, but they would have to come
recommended by the ranchmen with whom we were dealing. We expected to
make up five herds, and the cattle were to be ready for delivery to
us between the 15th and 30th of March. I hastened home and out to the
ranch, gathered our saddle stock, outfitted wagons, and engaged all
my old foremen and twenty trusty men, and we started with a remuda
of five hundred horses to begin the operations of the coming summer.
Receiving cattle with me was an old story by this time, and frequently
matters came to a standstill between the sellers and ourselves. We
paid no attention to former customs of the country; all cattle had
to come up full-aged or go into the younger class, while inferior or
knotty stags were turned back as not wanted. Scarcely a day passed but
there was more or less dispute; but we proposed paying for them, and
insisted that all cattle tendered must come up to the specifications
of the contract. We stood firm, and after the first two herds were
received, all trouble on that score passed, and in making up the last
three herds there was actually a surplus of cattle tendered. We used a
road brand that year on all steers purchased, and the herds moved out
from two to three days apart, the last two being made up in Coryell,
the adjoining county north.

George Edwards had charge of the rear herd. There were fourteen days
between the first and the last starts, a fortnight of hard work, and
we frequently received from ten to thirty miles distant from the
branding pens. I rode almost night and day, and Edwards likewise,
while Major Hunter kept all the accounts and settled with the sellers.
As fast as one herd was ready, it moved out under a foreman and
fourteen men, one hundred saddle horses, and a well-stocked
commissary. We did our banking at Belton, the county seat, and after
the last herd started we returned to town and received quite an
ovation from the business men of the village. We had invested a
little over one hundred and fifty thousand dollars in cattle in that
community, and a banquet was even suggested in our honor by some of
the leading citizens. Most of the contracts were made with merchants,
many of whom did not own a hoof of cattle, but depended on their
customers to deliver the steers. The business interests of the town
were anxious to have us return next year. We declined the proposed
dinner, as neither Major Hunter nor myself would have made a
presentable guest. A month or more had passed since I had left the
ranch on the Clear Fork, the only clothes I had were on my back, and
they were torn in a dozen places from running cattle in the brush. My
partner had been living in cow-camps for the past three weeks, and
preferred to be excused from receiving any social attentions. So we
thanked our friends and started for the railroad.

Major Hunter went through to The Grove, while I stopped at Fort Worth.
A buckboard from home was awaiting me, and the next morning I was at
the Edwards ranch. A relay team was harnessed in, and after counting
the babies I started for the Clear Fork. By early evening I was in
consultation with my ranch foreman, as it was my intention to drive an
individual herd if everything justified the venture. I never saw the
range on the Clear Fork look better, and the books showed that we
could easily gather two thousand twos and threes, while the balance of
the herd could be made up of dry and barren cows. All we lacked was
about thirty horses, and my ranch hands were anxious to go up the
trail; but after riding the range one day I decided that it would be
a pity to disturb the pastoral serenity of the valley. It was fairly
dotted with my own cattle; month-old calves were playing in groups,
while my horse frequently shied at new-born ones, lying like fawns
in the tall grass. A round-up at that time meant the separation of
mothers from their offspring and injury to cows approaching maternity,
and I decided that no commercial necessity demanded the sacrifice.
Then again it seemed a short-sighted policy to send half-matured
steers to market, when no man could bring the same animals to a full
development as cheaply as I could. Barring contagious diseases, cattle
are the healthiest creatures that walk the earth, and even on an open
range seldom if ever does one voluntarily forsake its birthplace.

I spent two weeks on the ranch and could have stayed the summer
through, for I love cattle. Our lead herd was due on the Kansas state
line early in May, so remaining at the Edwards ranch until the last
possible hour, I took train and reached Wichita, where my active
partner was awaiting me. He had just returned from the Medicine River,
and reported everything serene. He had made arrangements to have the
men attend all the country round-ups within one hundred miles of our
range. Several herds had already reached Wichita, and the next day I
started south on horseback to meet our cattle at Caldwell on the line,
or at Pond Creek in the Cherokee Outlet. It was going to be difficult
to secure range for herds within fifteen miles of Wichita, and the
opinion seemed general that this would be the last year that town
could hope to hold any portion of the Texas cattle trade. On arriving
at Pond Creek I found that fully half the herds were turning up that
stream, heading for Great Bend, Ellsworth, Ellis, and Nickerson, all
markets within the State of Kansas. The year before nearly one third
the drive had gone to the two first-named points, and now other towns
were offering inducements and bidding for a share of the present
cattle exodus.

Our lead herd arrived without an incident en route. The second one
came in promptly, both passing on and picking their way through the
border settlements to Wichita. I waited until the third one put in an
appearance, leaving orders for it and the two rear ones to camp on
some convenient creek in the Outlet near Caldwell. Arrangements were
made with Captain Stone for supplying the outfits, and I hurried on
to overtake the lead herds, then nearing Wichita. An ample range was
found but twenty miles up the Arkansas River, and the third day all
the Bell County men in the two outfits were sent home by train.
The market was much the same as the year before: one herd of three
thousand two-year-olds was our largest individual sale. Early in
August the last herd was brought from the state line and the through
help reduced to two outfits, one holding cattle at Wichita and the
other bringing in shipments of beeves from the Medicine River range.
The latter were splendid cattle, fatted to a finish for grass animals,
and brought top prices in the different markets to which they were
consigned. Omitting details, I will say it was an active year, as we
bought and sold fully as many more as our drive amounted to, while I
added to my stock of saddle horses an even three hundred head.

An amusing incident occurred with one of my men while holding cattle
that fall at Wichita. The boys were in and out of town frequently,
and one of them returned to camp one evening and informed me that he
wanted to quit work, as he intended to return to Wichita and kill a
man. He was a good hand and I tried to persuade him out of the idea,
but he insisted that it was absolutely necessary to preserve his
honor. I threatened to refuse him a horse, but seeing that menace and
persuasion were useless, I ordered him to pick my holdings of saddle
stock, gave him his wages due, and told him to be sure and shoot
first. He bade us all good-by, and a chum of his went with him. About
an hour before daybreak they returned and awoke me, when the aggrieved
boy said: "Mr. Anthony, I didn't kill him. No, I didn't kill him. He's
a good man. You bet he's a game one. Oh, he's a good man all right."
That morning when I awoke both lads were out on herd, and I had an
early appointment to meet parties in town. Major Hunter gave me the
story immediately on my arrival. The boys had located the offender in
a store, and he anticipated the fact that they were on his trail. As
our men entered the place, the enemy stepped from behind a pile of
clothing with two six-shooters leveled in their faces, and ordered a
clerk to relieve the pair of their pistols, which was promptly done.
Once the particulars were known at camp, it was looked upon as a good
joke on the lad, and whenever he was asked what he thought of Mr.
Blank, his reply invariably was, "He's a good man."

The drive that year to the different markets in Kansas amounted to
about five hundred thousand cattle. One half this number were handled
at Wichita, the surrounding country absorbing them to such an extent
that when it came time to restock our Medicine River range I was
compelled to go to Great Bend to secure the needed cattle. All saddle
horses, both purchased and my own remudas, with wagons, were sent to
our winter camps by the shipping crew, so that the final start for
Texas would be made from the Medicine River. It was the last of
October that the last six trains of beeves were brought in to the
railroad for shipment, the season's work drawing to an end. Meanwhile
I had closed contracts on ten thousand three-year-old steers at
"The Bend," so as fast as the three outfits were relieved of their
consignment of beeves they pulled out up the Arkansas River to receive
the last cattle of the year. It was nearly one hundred miles from
Wichita, and on the arrival of the shipping crews the herds were
received and started south for their winter range. Major Hunter and
I accompanied the herds to the Medicine, and within a week after
reaching the range the two through outfits started home with five
wagons and eight hundred saddle horses.

It was the latter part of November when we left our winter camps and
returned to The Grove for the annual settlement. Our silent partner
was present, and we broke the necks of a number of champagne bottles
in properly celebrating the success of the year's work. The wintered
cattle had cleared the Dutchman's one per cent, while every hoof in
the through and purchased herds was a fine source of profit. Congress
would convene within a week, and our silent partner suggested that all
three of us go down to Washington and attend the opening exercises. He
had already looked into the contracting of beef to the government, and
was particularly anxious to have my opinion on a number of contracts
to be let the coming winter. It had been ten years since I left my old
home in the Shenandoah Valley, my parents were still living, and all
I asked was time enough to write a letter to my wife, and buy some
decent clothing. The trio started in good time for the opening of
Congress, but once we sighted the Potomac River the old home hunger
came on me and I left the train at Harper's Ferry. My mother knew and
greeted me just as if I had left home that morning on an errand, and
had now returned. My father was breaking with years, yet had a
mental alertness that was remarkable and a commercial instinct that
understood the value of a Texas cow or a section of land scrip. The
younger members of the family gathered from their homes to meet
"Texas" Anthony, and for ten continuous days I did nothing but answer
questions, running from the color of the baby's eyes to why we did not
drive the fifteen thousand cattle in one herd, or how big a section of
country would one thousand certificates of land scrip cover. My visit
was broken by the necessity of conferring with my partners, so,
promising to spend Christmas with my mother, I was excused until that

At the War and Interior departments I made many friends. I understood
cattle so thoroughly that there was no feature of a delivery to the
government that embarrassed me in the least. A list of contracts to be
let from each department was courteously furnished us, but not wishing
to scatter our business too wide, we submitted bids for six Indian
contracts and four for delivery to army posts on the upper Missouri
River. Two of the latter were to be northern wintered cattle, and we
had them on the Medicine River; but we also had a sure market on them,
and it was a matter of indifference whether we secured them or not.
The Indian contracts called for cows, and I was anxious to secure as
many as possible, as it meant a market for the aging she stuff on
my ranch. Heretofore this class had fulfilled their mission in
perpetuating their kind, had lived their day, and the weeds grew
rankly where their remains enriched the soil. The bids would not be
opened until the middle of January, and we should have notice at once
if fortunate in securing any of the awards. The holiday season was
approaching, Major Hunter was expected at home, and the firm separated
for the time being.



I returned to Texas early in January. Quite a change had come over
the situation since my leaving home the spring before. Except on the
frontier, business was booming in the new towns, while a regular
revolution had taken place within the past month in land values. The
cheapness of wild lands had attracted outside capital, resulting in
a syndicate being formed by Northern capitalists to buy up the
outstanding issue of land scrip. The movement had been handled
cautiously, and had possibly been in active operation for a year or
more, as its methods were conducted with the utmost secrecy. Options
had been taken on all scrip voted to corporations in the State and
still in their possession, agents of the syndicate were stationed at
all centres where any amount was afloat, and on a given day throughout
the State every certificate on the market was purchased. The next
morning land scrip was worth fifty dollars a section, and on my return
one hundred dollars a certificate was being freely bid, while every
surveyor in the State was working night and day locating lands for
individual holders of scrip.

This condition of affairs was largely augmented by a boom in sheep.
San Antonio was the leading wool market in the State, many clips
having sold as high as forty cents a pound for several years past on
the streets of that city. Free range and the high price of wool was
inviting every man and his cousin to come to Texas and make his
fortune. Money was feverish for investment in sheep, flock-masters
were buying land on which to run their bands, and a sheepman was an
envied personage. Up to this time there had been little or no occasion
to own the land on which the immense flocks grazed the year round, yet
under existing cheap prices of land nearly all the watercourses in the
immediate country had been taken up. Personally I was dumfounded at
the sudden and unexpected change of affairs, and what nettled me most
was that all the land adjoining my ranch had been filed on within the
past month. The Clear Fork valley all the way up to Fort Griffin had
been located, while every vacant acre on the mother Brazos, as far
north as Belknap, was surveyed and recorded. I was mortified to think
that I had been asleep, but then the change had come like a thief
in the night. My wife's trunk was half full of scrip, I had had a
surveyor on the ground only a year before, and now the opportunity had

But my disappointment was my wife's delight, as there was no longer
any necessity for keeping secret our holdings in land scrip. The
little tin trunk held a snug fortune, and next to the babies, my
wife took great pride in showing visitors the beautiful lithographed
certificates. My ambition was land and cattle, but now that the scrip
had a cash value, my wife took as much pride in those vouchers as if
the land had been surveyed, recorded, and covered with our own herds.
I had met so many reverses that I was grateful for any smile of
fortune, and bore my disappointment with becoming grace. My ranch
had branded over eight thousand calves that fall, and as long as it
remained an open range I had room for my holdings of cattle. There was
no question but that the public domain was bountiful, and if it were
necessary I could go farther west and locate a new ranch. But it
secretly grieved me to realize that what I had so fondly hoped for had
come without warning and found me unprepared. I might as well have
held title to half a million acres of the Clear Fork Valley as a
paltry hundred and fifty sections.

Little time was given me to lament over spilt milk. On the return from
my first trip to the Clear Fork, reports from the War and Interior
departments were awaiting me. Two contracts to the army and four to
Indian agencies had been awarded us, all of which could be filled with
through cattle. The military allotments would require six thousand
heavy beeves for delivery on the upper Missouri River in Dakota,
while the nation's wards would require thirteen thousand cows at four
different agencies in the Indian Territory. My active partner was due
in Fort Worth within a week, while bonds for the faithful fulfillment
of our contracts would be executed by our silent partner at
Washington, D.C. These awards meant an active year to our firm, and
besides there was our established trade around The Grove, which we had
no intention of abandoning. The government was a sure market, and as
long as a healthy demand continued in Kansas for young cattle, the
firm of Hunter, Anthony & Co. would be found actively engaged in
supplying the same.

Major Hunter arrived under a high pressure of enthusiasm. By
appointment we met in Fort Worth, and after carefully reviewing the
situation we took train and continued on south to San Antonio. I had
seen a herd of beeves, a few years before, from the upper Nueces
River, and remembered them as good heavy cattle. There were two
dollars a head difference, even in ages among younger stock, between
the lower and upper counties in the State, and as it was pounds
quantity that we wanted for the army, it was our intention to look
over the cattle along the Nueces River before buying our supply of
beeves. We met a number of acquaintances in San Antonio, all of whom
recommended us to go west if in search of heavy cattle, and a few days
later we reached Uvalde County. This was the section from which the
beeves had come that impressed me so favorably; I even remembered
the ranch brands, and without any difficulty we located the owners,
finding them anxious to meet buyers for their mature surplus cattle.
We spent a week along the Frio, Leona, and Nueces rivers, and closed
contracts on sixty-one hundred five to seven year old beeves. The
cattle were not as good a quality as prairie-raised north Texas stock,
but the pounds avoirdupois were there, the defects being in their
mongrel colors, length of legs, and breadth of horns, heritages from
the original Spanish stock. Otherwise they were tall as a horse,
clean-limbed as a deer, and active on their feet, and they looked like
fine walkers. I estimated that two bits a head would drive them to
Red River, and as we bought them at three dollars a head less than
prevailing prices for the same-aged beeves north of or parallel to
Fort Worth, we were well repaid for our time and trouble.

We returned to San Antonio and opened a bank account. The 15th of
March was agreed on to receive. Two remudas of horses would have to
be secured, wagons fitted up, and outfits engaged. Heretofore I had
furnished all horses for trail work, but now, with our enlarging
business, it would be necessary to buy others, which would be done at
the expense of the firm. George Edwards was accordingly sent for, and
met us at Waco. He was furnished a letter of credit on our San Antonio
bank, and authorized to buy and equip two complete outfits for the
Uvalde beeves. Edwards was a good judge of horses, there was an
abundance of saddle stock in the country, and he was instructed to buy
not less than one hundred and twenty-five head for each remuda, to
outfit his wagons with four-mule teams, and announce us as willing to
engage fourteen men to the herd. Once these details were arranged for,
Major Hunter and myself bought two good horses and struck west for
Coryell County, where we had put up two herds the spring before. Our
return met with a flood of offerings, prices of the previous year
still prevailed, and we let contracts for sixty-five hundred
three-year-old steers and an equal number of dry and barren cows. We
paid seven dollars a head for the latter, and in order to avoid any
dispute at the final tender it was stipulated that the offerings
must be in good flesh, not under five nor over eight years old, full
average in weight, and showing no evidence of pregnancy. Under local
customs, "a cow was a cow," and we had to be specific.

We did our banking at Waco for the Coryell herds. Hastening north, our
next halt was in Hood County, where we bought thirty-three hundred
two-year-old steers and three thousand and odd cows. This completed
eight herds secured--three of young steers for the agricultural
regions, and five intended for government delivery. We still lacked
one for the Indian Bureau, and as I offered to make it up from my
holdings, and on a credit, my active partner consented. I was putting
in every dollar at my command, my partners were borrowing freely at
home, and we were pulling together like a six-mule team to make
a success of the coming summer's work. It was now the middle of
February, and my active partner went to Fort Worth, where I did my
banking, to complete his financial arrangements, while I returned to
the ranch to organize the forces for the coming campaign. All the
latter were intrusted to me, and while I had my old foremen at my beck
and call, it was necessary to employ five or six new ones. With our
deliveries scattered from the Indian Territory to the upper Missouri
River, as well as our established trade at The Grove, two of us could
not cover the field, and George Edwards had been decided on as the
third and trusted man. In a practical way he was a better cowman than
I was, and with my active Yankee partner for a running mate they made
a team that would take care of themselves in any cow country.

A good foreman is a very important man in trail work. The drover or
firm may or may not be practical cowmen, but the executive in the
field must be the master of any possible situation that may arise,
combining the qualities of generalship with the caution of an
explorer. He must be a hail-fellow among his men, for he must command
by deserving obedience; he must know the inmost thoughts of his herd,
noting every sign of alarm or distress, and willingly sacrifice any
personal comfort in the interest of his cattle or outfit. I had a few
such men, boys who had grown up in my employ, several of whom I would
rather trust in a dangerous situation with a herd than take active
charge myself. No concern was given for their morals, but they must
be capable, trustworthy, and honest, as they frequently handled large
sums of money. All my old foremen swore by me, not one of them would
accept a similar situation elsewhere, and in selecting the extra trail
bosses their opinion was valued and given due consideration.

Not having driven anything from my ranch the year before, a fine herd
of twos, threes, and four-year-old steers could easily be made up. It
was possible that a tenth and individual herd might be sent up the
country, but no movement to that effect was decided on, and my regular
ranch hands had orders only to throw in on the home range and gather
outside steer cattle and dry cows. I had wintered all my saddle horses
on the Clear Fork, and once the foremen were decided on, they repaired
to the ranch and began outfitting for the start. The Coryell herds
were to be received one week later than the beef cattle, and the
outfits would necessarily have to start in ample time to meet us
on our return from the upper Nueces River country. The two foremen
allotted to Hood County would start a week later still, so that we
would really move north with the advance of the season in receiving
the cattle under contract. Only a few days were required in securing
the necessary foremen, a remuda was apportioned to each, and credit
for the commissary supplies arranged for, the employment of the men
being left entirely to the trail bosses. Taking two of my older
foremen with me, I started for Fort Worth, where an agreeable surprise
awaited me. We had been underbidden at the War Department on both our
proposals for northern wintered beeves. The fortunate bidder on one
contract was refused the award,--for some duplicity in a former
transaction, I learned later,--and the Secretary of War had approached
our silent partner to fill the deficiency. Six weeks had elapsed,
there was no obligation outstanding, and rather than advertise and
relet the contract, the head of the War Department had concluded to
allot the deficiency by private award. Major Hunter had been burning
the wires between Fort Worth and Washington, in order to hold the
matter open until I came in for a consultation. The department had
offered half a cent a pound over and above our previous bid, and we
bribed an operator to reopen his office that night and send a message
of acceptance. We had ten thousand cattle wintering on the Medicine
River, and it would just trim them up nicely to pick out all the
heavy, rough beeves for filling an army contract.

When we had got a confirmation of our message, we proceeded on south,
accompanied by the two foremen, and reached Uvalde County within a
week of the time set for receiving. Edwards had two good remudas in
pastures, wagons and teams secured, and cooks and wranglers on hand,
and it only remained to pick the men to complete the outfits. With
three old trail foremen on the alert for good hands while the
gathering and receiving was going on, the help would be ready in
ample time to receive the herds. Gathering the beeves was in active
operation on our arrival, a branding chute had been built to
facilitate the work, and all five of us took to the saddle in
assisting ranchmen in holding under herd, as we permitted nothing to
be corralled night or day. The first herd was completed on the 14th,
and the second a day later, both moving out without an hour's delay,
the only instructions being to touch at Great Bend, Kansas, for final
orders. The cattle more than came up to expectations, three fourths of
them being six and seven years old, and as heavy as oxen. There was
something about the days of the open range that left its impression on
animals, as these two herds were as uniform in build as deer, and I
question if the same country to-day has as heavy beeves.

Three days were lost in reaching Coryell County, where our outfits
were in waiting and twenty others were at work gathering cattle. The
herds were made up and started without a hitch, and we passed on to
Hood County, meeting every date promptly and again finding the trail
outfits awaiting us. Leaving my active partner and George Edwards to
receive the two herds, I rode through to the Clear Fork in a single
day. A double outfit had been at work for the past two weeks gathering
outside cattle and had over a thousand under herd on my arrival.
Everything had worked out so nicely in receiving the purchased herds
that I finally concluded to send out my steers, and we began gathering
on the home range. By making small round-ups, we disturbed the young
calves as little as possible. I took charge of the extra outfit and my
ranch foreman of his own, one beginning on the west end of my range,
the other going north and coming down the Brazos. At the end of a week
the two crews came together with nearly eight thousand cattle under
herd. The next day we cut out thirty-five hundred cows and started
them on the trail, turning free the remnant of she stuff, and began
shaping up the steers, using only the oldest in making up thirty-two
hundred head. There were fully two thousand threes, the remainder
being nearly equally divided between twos and fours. No road branding
was necessary; the only delay in moving out was in provisioning a
wagon and securing a foreman. Failing in two or three quarters, I
at last decided on a young fellow on my ranch, and he was placed in
charge of the last herd. Great Bend was his destination, I instructed
him where to turn off the Chisholm trail,--north of the Salt Fork in
the Cherokee Outlet,--and he started like an army with banners.

I rejoined my active partner at Fort Worth. The Hood County cattle had
started a week before, so taking George Edwards with us, we took train
for Kansas. Major Hunter returned to his home, while Edwards and I
lost no time in reaching the Medicine River. A fortnight was spent in
riding our northern range, when we took horses and struck out for Pond
Creek in the Outlet. The lead herds were due at this point early in
May, and on our arrival a number had already passed. A road house and
stage stand had previously been established, the proprietor of which
kept a register of passing herds for the convenience of owners. None
of ours were due, yet we looked over the "arrivals" with interest, and
continued on down the trail to Red Fork. The latter was a branch of
the Arkansas River, and at low water was inclined to be brackish,
and hence was sometimes called the Salt Fork, with nothing to
differentiate it from one of the same name sixty miles farther north.
There was an old Indian trading post at Red Fork, and I lay over there
while Edwards went on south to meet the cows. His work for the summer
was to oversee the deliveries at the Indian agencies, Major Hunter
was to look after the market at The Bend, and I was to attend to the
contracts at army posts on the upper Missouri. Our first steer herd to
arrive was from Hood County, and after seeing them safely on the Great
Bend trail at Pond Creek, I waited for the other steer cattle from
Coryell to arrive. Both herds came in within a day of each other,
and I loitered along with them, finally overtaking the lead one when
within fifty miles of The Bend. In fair weather it was a delightful
existence to loaf along with the cattle; but once all three herds
reached their destination, two outfits held them, and I took the Hood
County lads and dropped back on the Medicine. Our ranch hands had
everything shaped up nicely, and by working a double outfit and making
round-ups at noon, when the cattle were on water, we quietly cut
out three thousand head of our biggest beeves without materially
disturbing our holdings on that range. These northern wintered cattle
were intended for delivery at Fort Abraham Lincoln on the Missouri
River in what is now North Dakota. The through heavy beeves from
Uvalde County were intended for Fort Randall and intermediate posts,
some of them for reissue to various Indian agencies. The reservations
of half a dozen tribes were tributary to the forts along the upper
Missouri, and the government was very liberal in supplying its wards
with fresh beef.

The Medicine River beeves were to be grazed up the country to Fort
Lincoln. We passed old Fort Larned within a week, and I left the
outfit there and returned to The Bend. The outfit in charge of the
wintered cattle had orders to touch at and cross the Missouri River at
Fort Randall, where I would meet them again near the middle of July.
The market had fairly opened at Great Bend, and I was kept busy
assisting Major Hunter until the arrival of the Uvalde beef herds.
Both came through in splendid condition, were admired by every buyer
in the market, and passed on north under orders to graze ten miles a
day until reaching their destination. By this time the whereabouts of
all the Indian herds were known, yet not a word had reached me from
the foreman of my individual cattle after crossing into the Nations.
It was now the middle of June, and there were several points en
route from which he might have mailed a letter, as did all the other
foremen. Herds, which crossed at Red River Station a week after my
steers, came into The Bend and reported having spoken no "44" cattle
en route. I became uneasy and sent a courier as far south as the state
line, who returned with a comfortless message. Finally a foreman in
the employ of Jess Evens came to me and reported having taken dinner
with a "44" outfit on the South Canadian; that the herd swam the river
that afternoon, after which he never hailed them again. They were my
own dear cattle, and I was worrying; I was overdue at Fort Randall,
and in duty bound to look after the interests of the firm. Major
Hunter came to the rescue, in his usual calm manner, and expressed his
confidence that all would come out right in the end; that when the
mystery was unraveled the foreman would be found blameless.

I took a night train for the north, connected with a boat on the
Missouri River, and by finally taking stage reached Fort Randall. The
mental worry of those four days would age an ordinary man, but on my
arrival at the post a message from my active partner informed me that
my cattle had reached Dodge City two weeks before my leaving. Then the
scales fell from my eyes, as I could understand that when inquiries
were made for the Salt Fork, some wayfarer had given that name to
the Red Fork; and the new Dodge trail turned to the left, from the
Chisholm, at Little Turkey, the first creek crossed after leaving the
river. The message was supplemented a few days later by a letter,
stating that Dodge City would possibly be a better market than the
Bend, and that my interests would be looked after as well as if I were
present. A load was lifted from my shoulders, and when the wintered
cattle passed Randall, the whole post turned out to see the beef herd
on its way up to Lincoln. The government line of forts along the
Missouri River had the whitest lot of officers that it was ever my
good fortune to meet. I was from Texas, my tongue and colloquialisms
of speech proclaimed me Southern-born, and when I admitted having
served in the Confederate army, interest and attention was only
heightened, while every possible kindness was simply showered on me.

The first delivery occurred at Fort Lincoln. It was a very simple
affair. We cut out half a dozen average beeves, killed, dressed, and
weighed them, and an honest average on the herd was thus secured. The
contract called for one and a half million pounds on foot; our tender
overran twelve per cent; but this surplus was accepted and paid for.
The second delivery was at Fort Pierre and the last at Randall, both
of which passed pleasantly, the many acquaintances among army men that
summer being one of my happiest memories. Leaving Randall, we put in
to the nearest railroad point returning, where thirty men were sent
home, after which we swept down the country and arrived at Great Bend
during the last week in September. My active partner had handled
his assignment of the summer's work in a masterly manner, having
wholesaled my herd at Dodge City at as good figures as our other
cattle brought in retail quantities at The Bend. The former point had
received three hundred and fifty thousand Texas cattle that summer,
while every one conceded that Great Bend's business as a trail
terminal would close with that season. The latter had handled nearly a
quarter-million cattle that year, but like Abilene, Wichita, and other
trail towns in eastern Kansas, it was doomed to succumb to the advance
guard of pioneer settlers.

The best sale of the year fell to my active partner. Before the
shipping season opened, he sold, range count, our holdings on the
Medicine River, including saddle stock, improvements, and good will.
The cattle might possibly have netted us more by marketing them, but
it was only a question of time until the flow of immigration would
demand our range, and Major Hunter had sold our squatter's rights
while they had a value. A new foreman had been installed on our giving
up possession, and our old one had been skirmishing the surrounding
country the past month for a new range, making a favorable report on
the Eagle Chief in the Outlet. By paying a trifling rental to the
Cherokee Nation, permission could be secured to hold cattle on these
lands, set aside as a hunting ground. George Edwards had been rotting
all summer in issuing cows at Indian agencies, but on the first of
October the residue of his herds would be put in pastures or turned
free for the winter. Major Hunter had wound up his affairs at The
Bend, and nothing remained but a general settlement of the summer's
work. This took place at Council Grove, our silent partner and Edwards
both being present. The profits of the year staggered us all. I was
anxious to go home, the different outfits having all gone by rail or
overland with the remudas, with the exception of the two from Uvalde,
which were property of the firm. I had bought three hundred extra
horses at The Bend, sending them home with the others, and now nothing
remained but to stock the new range in the Cherokee Outlet. Edwards
and my active partner volunteered for this work, it being understood
that the Uvalde remudas would be retained for ranch use, and that
not over ten thousand cattle were to be put on the new range for the
winter. Our silent partner was rapidly awakening to the importance of
his usefulness in securing future contracts with the War and Indian
departments, and vaguely outlining the future, we separated to three
points of the compass.



I hardly knew Fort Worth on my return. The town was in the midst of
a boom. The foundations of many store buildings were laid on Monday
morning, and by Saturday night they were occupied and doing a
land-office business. Lots that could have been bought in the spring
for one hundred dollars were now commanding a thousand, while land
scrip was quoted as scarce at twenty-five cents an acre. I hurried
home, spoke to my wife, and engaged two surveyors to report one
week later at my ranch on the Clear Fork. Big as was the State and
boundless as was her public domain, I could not afford to allow this
advancing prosperity to catch me asleep again, and I firmly concluded
to empty that little tin trunk of its musty land scrip. True enough,
the present boom was not noticeable on the frontier, yet there was
a buoyant feeling in the air that betokened a brilliant future.
Something enthused me, and as my creed was land and cattle, I made up
my mind to plunge into both to my full capacity.

The last outfit to return from the summer's drive was detained on the
Clear Fork to assist in the fall branding. Another one of fifteen men
all told was chosen from the relieved lads in making up a surveying
party, and taking fifty saddle horses and a well-stocked commissary
with us, we started due west. I knew the country for some distance
beyond Fort Griffin, and from late maps in possession of the
surveyors, we knew that by holding our course, we were due to strike
a fork of the mother Brazos before reaching the Staked Plain. Holding
our course contrary to the needle, we crossed the Double Mountain
Fork, and after a week out from the ranch the brakes which form the
border between the lowlands and the Llano Estacado were sighted.
Within view of the foothills which form the approach of the famous
plain, the Salt and Double Mountain forks of the Brazos are not over
twelve miles apart. We traveled up the divide between these two
rivers, and when within thirty miles of the low-browed borderland a
halt was called and we went into camp. From the view before us one
could almost imagine the feelings of the discoverer of this continent
when he first sighted land; for I remember the thrill which possessed
our little party as we looked off into either valley or forward to the
menacing Staked Plain in our front. There was something primal in the
scene,--something that brought back the words, "In the beginning God
created the heavens and the earth." Men who knew neither creed nor
profession of faith felt themselves drawn very near to some great
creative power. The surrounding view held us spellbound by its beauty
and strength. It was like a rush of fern-scents, the breath of pine
forests, the music of the stars, the first lovelight in a mother's
eye; and now its pristine beauty was to be marred, as covetous eyes
and a lust of possession moved an earth-born man to lay hands on all
things created for his use.

Camp was established on the Double Mountain Fork. Many miles to the
north, a spur of the Plain extended eastward, in the elbow of which it
was my intention to locate the new ranch. A corner was established, a
meridian line was run north beyond the Salt Fork and a random one west
to the foothills. After a few days one surveyor ran the principal
lines while the other did the cross-sectioning and correcting back,
both working from the same camp, the wagon following up the work.
Antelope were seen by the thousands, frequently buffaloes were
sighted, and scarcely a day passed but our rifles added to the larder
of our commissary supplies. Within a month we located four hundred
sections, covering either side of the Double Mountain Fork, and
embracing a country ten miles wide by forty long. Coming back to our
original meridian line across to the Salt Fork, the work of surveying
that valley was begun, when I was compelled to turn homeward. A list
of contracts to be let by the War and Interior departments would be
ready by December 1, and my partners relied on my making all the
estimates. There was a noticeable advance of fully one dollar a head
on steer cattle since the spring before, and I was supposed to have
my finger on the pulse of supply and prices, as all government awards
were let far in advance of delivery. George Edwards had returned a few
days before and reported having stocked the new ranch in the Outlet
with twelve thousand steers. The list of contracts to be let had
arrived, and the two of us went over them carefully. The government
was asking for bids on the delivery of over two hundred thousand
cattle at various posts and agencies in the West, and confining
ourselves to well-known territory, we submitted bids on fifteen
awards, calling for forty-five thousand cattle in their fulfillment.

Our estimates were sent to Major Hunter for his approval, who in turn
forwarded them to our silent partner at Washington, to be submitted
to the proper departments. As the awards would not be made until the
middle of January, nothing definite could be done until then, so,
accompanied by George Edwards, I returned to the surveying party on
the Salt Fork of the Brazos. We found them busy at their work, the
only interruption having been an Indian scare, which only lasted a few
days. The men still carried rifles against surprise, kept a scout on
the lookout while at work, and maintained a guard over the camp and
remuda at night. During my absence they had located a strip of country
ten by thirty miles, covering the valley of the Salt Fork, and we
still lacked three hundred sections of using up the scrip. The river,
along which they were surveying, made an abrupt turn to the north, and
offsetting by sections around the bend, we continued on up the valley
for twenty miles or until the brakes of the Plain made the land no
longer desirable. Returning to our commencement point with still one
hundred certificates left, we extended the survey five miles down both
rivers, using up the last acre of scrip. The new ranch was irregular
in form, but it controlled the waters of fully one million acres of
fine grazing land and was clothed with a carpet of nutritive grasses.
This was the range of the buffalo, and the instinct of that animal
could be relied on in choosing a range for its successor, the Texas

The surveying over, nothing remained but the recording of the
locations at the county seat to which for legal purposes this
unorganized country was attached. All of us accompanied the outfit
returning, and a gala week we spent, as no less than half a dozen
buffalo robes were secured before reaching Fort Griffin. Deer and
turkey were plentiful, and it was with difficulty that I restrained
the boys from killing wantonly, as they were young fellows whose very
blood yearned for the chase or any diverting excitement. We reached
the ranch on the Clear Fork during the second week in January, and
those of the outfit who had no regular homes were made welcome guests
until work opened in the spring. My calf crop that fall had exceeded
all expectations, nearly nine thousand having been branded, while
the cattle were wintering in splendid condition. There was little or
nothing to do, a few hunts with the hounds merely killing time until
we got reports from Washington. In spite of all competition we secured
eight contracts, five with the army and the remainder with the Indian

Then the work opened in earnest. My active partner was due the first
of February, and during the interim George Edwards and I rode a circle
of five counties in search of brands of cattle for sale. In the course
of our rounds a large number of whole stocks were offered us, but
at firmer prices, yet we closed no trades, though many brands were
bargains. It was my intention to stock the new ranch on the Double
Mountain Fork the coming summer, and if arrangements could be agreed
on with Major Hunter, I might be able to repeat my success of the
summer of '74. Emigration to Texas was crowding the ranches to the
frontier, many of them unwillingly, and it appealed to me strongly
that the time was opportune for securing an ample holding of stock
cattle. The appearance of my active partner was the beginning of
active operations, and after we had outlined the programme for the
summer and gone through all the details thoroughly, I asked for the
privilege of supplying the cows on the Indian contracts. Never did
partners stand more willingly by each other than did the firm of
Hunter, Anthony & Co., and I only had to explain the opportunity of
buying brands at wholesale, sending the young steers up the trail and
the aging, dry, and barren cows to Indian agencies, to gain the hearty
approval of the little Yankee major. He was entitled to a great deal
of credit for my holdings in land, for from his first sight of Texas,
day after day, line upon line, precept upon precept, he had urged upon
me the importance of securing title to realty, while its equivalent
in scrip was being hawked about, begging a buyer. Now we rejoiced
together in the fulfillment of his prophecy, as I can lay little claim
to any foresight, but am particularly anxious to give credit where
credit is due.

With an asylum for any and all remnants of stock cattle, we authorized
George Edwards to close trades on a number of brands. Taking with us
the two foremen who had brought beef herds out of Uvalde County the
spring before, the major and I started south on the lookout for
beeves. The headwaters of the Nueces and its tributaries were again
our destination, and the usual welcome to buyers was extended with
that hospitality that only the days of the open range knew and
practiced. We closed contracts with former customers without looking
at their cattle. When a ranchman gave us his word to deliver us as
good or better beeves than the spring before, there was no occasion to
question his ability, and the cattle never deceived. There might arise
petty wrangles over trifles, but the general hungering for a market
among cowmen had not yet been satiated, and they offered us their best
that we might come again. We placed our contracts along three rivers
and over as many counties, limiting the number to ten thousand beeves
of the same ages and paying one dollar a head above the previous
spring. One of our foremen was provided with a letter of credit, and
the two were left behind to make up three new and complete outfits for
the trail.

This completed the purchase of beef cattle. Two of our contracts
called for northern wintered beeves, which would be filled out of our
holdings in the Cherokee Outlet. We again stopped in central Texas,
but prices were too firm, and we passed on west to San Saba and
Lampasas counties, where we effected trades on nine thousand five
hundred three-year-old steers. My own outfits would drop down from the
Clear Fork to receive these cattle, and after we had perfected our
banking arrangements the major returned to San Antonio and I started
homeward. George Edwards had in the mean time bargained for ten
brands, running anywhere from one to five thousand head, paying
straight through five to seven dollars, half cash and the balance
in eight months, everything to be delivered on the Clear Fork. We
intentionally made these deliveries late--during the last week in
March and the first one in April--in order that Major Hunter might
approve of the three herds of cows for Indian delivery. Once I had
been put in possession of all necessary details, Edwards started south
to join Major Hunter, as the receiving of the Nueces River beeves was
set for from the 10th to the 15th of March.

I could see a busy time ahead. There was wood to haul for the
branding, three complete outfits to start for the central part of the
State, new wagons to equip for the trail, and others to care for the
calf crop while en route to the Double Mountain Fork. There were oxen
to buy in equipping teams to accompany the stock cattle to the new
ranch, two yoke being allowed to each wagon, as it was strength and
not speed that was desired. My old foremen rallied at a word and
relieved me of the lesser details of provisioning the commissaries and
engaging the help. Trusty men were sent to oversee and look out for
my interests in gathering the different brands, the ranges of many of
them being fifty to one hundred miles distant. The different brands
were coming from six separate counties along the border, and on their
arrival at my ranch we must be ready to receive, brand, and separate
the herds into their respective classes, sending two grades to market
and the remnant to their new home at the foot of the Staked Plain. The
condition of the mules must be taken into consideration before the
army can move, and in cattle life the same reliance is placed on the
fitness for duty of the saddle horses. I had enough picked ones to
make up a dozen remudas if necessary, and rested easy on that score.
The date for receiving arrived and found us all ready and waiting.

The first herd was announced to arrive on the 25th of March. I met it
ten miles from the ranch. My man assured me that the brand as gathered
was intact and that it would run fifty per cent dry cows and steers
over two years old. A number of mature beeves even were noticeable and
younger steers were numerous, while the miscellany of the herd ran to
every class and condition of the bovine race. Two other brands were
expected the next day, and that evening the first one to arrive was
counted and accepted. The next morning the entire herd was run through
a branding chute and classified, all steers above a yearling and dry
and aging cows going into one contingent and the mixed cattle into
another. In order to save horseflesh, this work was easily done in the
corrals. By hanging a gate at the exit of the branding chute, a man
sat overhead and by swinging it a variation of two feet, as the cattle
trailed through the trough in single file, the herd was cut into two
classes. Those intended for the trail were put under herd, while the
stock cattle were branded into the "44" and held separate. The second
and third herds were treated in a similar manner, when we found
ourselves with over eleven thousand cattle on hand, with two other
brands due in a few days. But the evening of the fourth day saw a herd
of thirty-three hundred steers on its way to Kansas, while a second
one, numbering two hundred more than the first, was lopped off from
the mixed stuff and started west for the Double Mountain Fork.

The situation was eased. A conveyance had been sent to the railroad to
meet my partner, and before he and Edwards arrived two other brands
had been received. A herd of thirty-five hundred dry cows was approved
and started at once for the Indian Territory, while a second one
moved out for the west, cleaning up the holdings of mixed stuff.
The congestion was again relieved, and as the next few brands were
expected to run light in steers, everything except cows was held under
herd until all had been received. The final contingent came in from
Wise County and were shaped up, and the last herd of cows, completing
ten thousand five hundred, started for the Washita agency. I still had
nearly sixty-five hundred steers on hand, and cutting back all of a
small overplus of thin light cows, I had three brands of steers cut
into one herd and four into another, both moving out for Dodge City.
This left me with fully eight thousand miscellany on hand, with
nothing but my ranch outfit to hold them, close-herding by day and
bedding down and guarding them by night. Settlements were made with
the different sellers, my outstanding obligations amounting to over
one hundred thousand dollars, which the three steer herds were
expected to liquidate. My active partner and George Edwards took train
for the north. The only change in the programme was that Major Hunter
was to look after our deliveries at army posts, while I was to meet
our herds on their arrival in Dodge City. The cows were sold to the
firm, and including my individual cattle, we had twelve herds on the
trail, or a total of thirty-nine thousand five hundred head.

On the return of the first outfit from the west, some three weeks
after leaving, the herd of stock cattle was cut in two and started.
But a single man was left on the Clear Fork, my ranch foreman taking
one herd, while I accompanied the other. It requires the patience of
a saint to handle cows and calves, two wagons to the herd being
frequently taxed to their capacity in picking up the youngsters. It
was a constant sight to see some of the boys carrying a new-born calf
across the saddle seat, followed by the mother, until camp or the
wagon was reached. I was ashamed of my own lack of patience on that
trip, while irritable men could while away the long hours, nursing
along the drag end of a herd of cows and their toddling offspring.
We averaged only about ten miles a day, the herds were large and
unwieldy, and after twelve days out both were scattered along the Salt
Fork and given their freedom. Leaving one outfit to locate the cattle
on the new range, the other two hastened back to the Clear Fork and
gathered two herds, numbering thirty-five hundred each, of young
cows and heifers from the ranch stock. But a single day was lost in
rounding-up, when they were started west, half a day apart, and I
again took charge of an outfit, the trip being an easy one and made in
ten days, as the calves were large enough to follow and there were no
drag cattle among them. On our arrival at the new ranch, the cows
and heifers were scattered among the former herds, and both outfits
started back, one to look after the Clear Fork and the other to bring
through the last herd in stocking my new possessions. This gave me
fully twenty-five thousand mixed cattle on my new range, relieving the
old ranch of a portion of its she stuff and shaping up both stocks to
better advantage.

It was my intention to make my home on the Clear Fork thereafter, and
the ranch outfit had orders to build a comfortable house during the
summer. The frontier was rapidly moving westward, the Indian was no
longer a dread, as it was only a question of time until the Comanche
and his ally would imitate their red brethren and accept the dole of
the superior race. I was due in Dodge City the first of June, the
ranches would take care of themselves, and touching at the Edwards
ranch for a day, I reached "Dodge" before any of the herds arrived.
Here was a typical trail town, a winter resort for buffalo hunters, no
settlement for fifty miles to the east, and an almost boundless range
on which to hold through Texas cattle. The business was bound to
concentrate at this place, as all other markets were abandoned within
the State, while it was easily accessible to the mountain regions on
the west. It was the logical meeting point for buyers and drovers; and
while the town of that day has passed into history as "wicked Dodge,"
it had many redeeming features. The veneer of civilization may have
fallen, to a certain extent, from the wayfaring man who tarried in
this cow town, yet his word was a bond, and he reverenced the pure in
womanhood, though to insult him invited death.

George Edwards and Major Hunter had become such great chums that I was
actually jealous of being supplanted in the affections of the Yankee
major. The two had been inseparable for months, visiting at The Grove,
spending a fortnight together at the beef ranch in the Outlet, and
finally putting in an appearance at Dodge. Headquarters for the summer
were established at the latter point, our bookkeeper arrived, and
we were ready for business. The market opened earlier than at more
eastern points. The bulk of the sales were made to ranchmen, who used
whole herds where the agricultural regions only bought cattle by the
hundreds. It was more satisfactory than the retail trade; credit was
out of the question, and there was no haggling over prices. Cattle
companies were forming and stocking new ranges, and an influx of
English and Scotch capital was seeking investment in ranches and live
stock in the West,--a mere forerunner of what was to follow in later

Our herds began arriving, and as soon as an outfit could be freed it
was started for the beef ranch under George Edwards, where a herd of
wintered beeves was already made up to start for the upper Missouri
River. Major Hunter followed a week later with the second relieved
outfit, and our cattle were all moving for their destinations. The
through beef herds from the upper Nueces River had orders to touch
at old Fort Larned to the eastward, Edwards drifted on to the Indian
agencies, and I bestirred myself to the task of selling six herds of
young cattle at Dodge. Once more I was back in my old element, except
that every feature of the latter market was on an enlarged scale.
Two herds were sold to one man in Colorado, three others went under
contract to the Republican River in Nebraska, and the last one was cut
into blocks and found a market with feeders in Kansas. Long before
deliveries were concluded to the War or Interior departments,
headquarters were moved back to The Grove, my work being done. In
the interim of waiting for the close of the year's business, our
bookkeeper looked after two shipments of a thousand head each from the
beef ranch, while I visited my brother in Missouri and surprised him
by buying a carload of thoroughbred bulls. Arrangements were made for
shipping them to Fort Worth during the last week in November, and
promising to call for them, I returned to The Grove to meet my
partners and adjust all accounts for the year.



The firm's profits for the summer of '77 footed up over two hundred
thousand dollars. The government herds from the Cherokee Outlet
paid the best, those sent to market next, while the through cattle
remunerated us in the order of beeves, young steers, and lastly cows.
There was a satisfactory profit even in the latter, yet the same
investment in other classes paid a better per cent profit, and the
banking instincts of my partners could be relied on to seek the
best market for our capital. There was nothing haphazard about our
business; separate accounts were kept on every herd, and at the end
of the season the percentage profit on each told their own story. For
instance, in the above year it cost us more to deliver a cow at an
agency in the Indian Territory than a steer at Dodge City, Kansas. The
herds sold in Colorado had been driven at an expense of eighty-five
cents a head, those delivered on the Republican River ninety, and
every cow driven that year cost us over one dollar a head in general
expense. The necessity of holding the latter for a period of four
months near agencies for issuing purposes added to the cost, and was
charged to that particular department of our business.

George Edwards and my active partner agreed to restock our beef ranch
in the Outlet, and I returned to Missouri. I make no claim of being
the first cowman to improve the native cattle of Texas, yet forty
years' keen observation has confirmed my original idea,--that
improvement must come through the native and gradually. Climatic
conditions in Texas are such that the best types of the bovine race
would deteriorate if compelled to subsist the year round on the open
range. The strongest point in the original Spanish cattle was their
inborn ability as foragers, being inured for centuries to drouth, the
heat of summer, and the northers of winter, subsisting for months on
prickly pear, a species of the cactus family, or drifting like game
animals to more favored localities in avoiding the natural afflictions
that beset an arid country. In producing the ideal range animal it
was more important to retain those rustling qualities than to gain a
better color, a few pounds in weight, and a shortening of horns and
legs, unless their possessor could withstand the rigors of a variable
climate. Nature befriends the animal race. The buffalo of Montana
could face the blizzard, while his brother on the plains of Texas
sought shelter from the northers in canons and behind sand-dunes,
guided by an instinct that foretold the coming storm.

I accompanied my car of thoroughbred bulls and unloaded them at the
first station north of Fort Worth. They numbered twenty-five, all
two-year-olds past, and were representative of three leading beef
brands of established reputation. Others had tried the experiment
before me, the main trouble being in acclimation, which affects
animals the same as the human family. But by wintering them at their
destination, I had hopes of inuring the importation so that they would
withstand the coming summer, the heat of which was a sore trial to a
northern-bred animal. Accordingly I made arrangements with a farmer
to feed my car of bulls during the winter, hay and grain both being
plentiful. They had cost me over five thousand dollars, and rather
than risk the loss of a single one by chancing them on the range, an
additional outlay of a few hundred dollars was justified. Limiting the
corn fed to three barrels to the animal a month, with plenty of rough
feed, ought to bring them through the winter in good, healthy form.
The farmer promised to report monthly on their condition, and agreeing
to send for them by the first of April, I hastened on home.

My wife had taken a hand in the building of the new house on the Clear
Fork. It was quite a pretentious affair, built of hewed logs, and
consisted of two large rooms with a hallway between, a gallery on
three sides, and a kitchen at the rear. Each of the main rooms had an
ample fireplace, both hearths and chimneys built from rock, the only
material foreign to the ranch being the lumber in the floors, doors,
and windows. Nearly all the work was done by the ranch hands, even the
clapboards were riven from oak that grew along the mother Brazos, and
my wife showed me over the house as though it had been a castle that
she had inherited from some feudal forbear. I was easily satisfied;
the main concern was for the family, as I hardly lived at home enough
to give any serious thought to the roof that sheltered me. The
original buildings had been improved and enlarged for the men, and an
air of prosperity pervaded the Anthony ranch consistent with the times
and the success of its owner.

The two ranches reported a few over fifteen thousand calves branded
that fall. A dim wagon road had been established between the ranches,
by going and returning outfits during the stocking of the new ranch
the spring before, and the distance could now be covered in two days
by buckboard. The list of government contracts to be let was awaiting
my attention, and after my estimates had been prepared, and forwarded
to my active partner, it was nearly the middle of December before I
found time to visit the new ranch. The hands at Double Mountain had
not been idle, snug headquarters were established, and three line
camps on the outskirts of the range were comfortably equipped to
shelter men and horses. The cattle had located nicely, two large
corrals had been built on each river, and the calves were as thrifty
as weeds. Gray wolves were the worst enemy encountered, running in
large bands and finding shelter in the cedar brakes in the canons and
foothills which border on the Staked Plain. My foreman on the Double
Mountain ranch was using poison judiciously, all the line camps were
supplied with the same, and an active winter of poisoning wolves
was already inaugurated before my arrival. Long-range rifles would
supplement the work, and a few years of relentless war on these pests
would rid the ranch of this enemy of live stock.

Together my foreman and I planned for starting an improved herd of
cattle. A canon on the west was decided on as a range, as it was well
watered from living springs, having a valley several miles wide,
forming a park with ample range for two thousand cattle. The bluffs
on either side were abrupt, almost an in closure, making it an easy
matter for two men to loose-herd a small amount of stock, holding them
adjoining my deeded range, yet separate. The survival of the fittest
was adopted as the rule in beginning the herd, five hundred choice
cows were to form the nucleus, to be the pick of the new ranch, thrift
and formation to decide their selection. Solid colors only were to be
chosen, every natural point in a cow was to be considered, with
the view of reproducing the race in improved form. My foreman--an
intelligent young fellow--was in complete sympathy, and promised
me that he would comb the range in selecting the herd. The first
appearance of grass in the spring was agreed on as the time for
gathering the cows, when he would personally come to the Clear
Fork and receive the importation of bulls, thus fully taking all
responsibility in establishing the improved herd. By this method,
unless our plans miscarried, in the course of a few years we expected
to be raising quarter-bloods in the main ranch stock, and at the same
time retaining all those essential qualities that distinguish the
range-raised from the domestic-bred animal.

On my return to the Clear Fork, which was now my home, a letter from
my active partner was waiting, informing me that he and Edwards would
reach Texas about the time the list of awards would arrive. They had
been unsuccessful in fully stocking our beef ranch, securing only
three thousand head, as prices were against them, and the letter
intimated that something must be done to provide against a repetition
of this unforeseen situation. The ranch in the Outlet had paid us a
higher per cent on the investment than any of our ventures, and to
neglect fully stocking it was contrary to the creed of Hunter, Anthony
& Co. True, we were double-wintering some four thousand head of cattle
on our Cherokee range, but if a fair allowance of awards was allotted
the firm, requiring northern wintered cattle in filling, it might
embarrass us to supply the same when we did not have the beeves in
hand; it was our business to have the beef.

At the appointed time the buckboard was sent to Fort Worth, and a few
days later Major Hunter and our main segundo drove up to the Clear
Fork. Omitting all preludes, atmosphere, and sunsets, we got down to
business at once. If we could drive cattle to Dodge City and market
them for eighty-five cents, we ought to be able to deliver them on our
northern range for six bits, and the horses could be returned or sold
at a profit. If any of our established trade must be sacrificed, why,
drop what paid the least; but half stock our beef ranch? Never again!
This was to be the slogan for the coming summer, and, on receiving the
report from Washington, we were enabled to outline a programme for the
year. The gradually advancing prices in cattle were alarming me, as
it was now perceptible in cows, and in submitting our bids on Indian
awards I had made the allowance of one dollar a head advance over the
spring before. In spite of this we were allotted five contracts from
the Interior Department and seven to the Army, three of the latter
requiring ten thousand northern wintered beeves,--only oversold three
thousand head. Major Hunter met my criticisms by taking the ground
that we virtually had none of the cattle on hand, and if we could buy
Southern stock to meet our requirements, why not the three thousand
that we lacked in the North. Our bids had passed through his hands
last; he knew our northern range was not fully stocked, and had
forwarded the estimates to our silent partner at Washington, and now
the firm had been assigned awards in excess of their holdings. But he
was the kind of a partner I liked, and if he could see his way clear,
he could depend on my backing him to the extent of my ability and

The business of the firm had grown so rapidly that it was deemed
advisable to divide it into three departments,--the Army, the Indian,
the beef ranch and general market. Major Hunter was specially
qualified to handle the first division, the second fell to Edwards,
and the last was assumed by myself. We were to consult each other when
convenient, but each was to act separately for the firm, my commission
requiring fifteen thousand cattle for our ranch in the Outlet, and
three herds for the market at Dodge City. Our banking points were
limited to Fort Worth and San Antonio, so agreeing to meet at the
latter point on the 1st of February for a general consultation, we
separated with a view to feeling the home market. Our man Edwards
dropped out in the central part of the State, my active partner wished
to look into the situation on the lower Nueces River, and I returned
to the headwaters of that stream. During the past two summers we had
driven five herds of heavy beeves from Uvalde and adjoining counties,
and while we liked the cattle of that section, it was considered
advisable to look elsewhere for our beef supply. Within a week I
let contracts for five herds of two and three year old steers, then
dropped back to the Colorado River and bought ten thousand more in
San Saba and McCulloch counties. This completed the purchases in
my department, and I hastened back to San Antonio for the expected
consultation. Neither my active partner nor my trusted man had
arrived, nor was there a line to indicate where they were or when they
might be expected, though Major Hunter had called at our hotel a few
days previously for his mail. The designated day was waning, and I was
worried by the non-appearance of either, when I received a wire from
Austin, saying they had just sublet the Indian contracts.

The next morning my active partner and Edwards arrived. The latter had
met some parties at the capital who were anxious to fill our Indian
deliveries, and had wired us in the firm's name, and Major Hunter had
taken the first train for Austin. Both returned wreathed in smiles,
having sublet our awards at figures that netted us more than we could
have realized had we bought and delivered the cattle at our own risk.
It was clear money, requiring not a stroke of work, while it freed a
valuable man in outfitting, receiving, and starting our other herds,
as well as relieving a snug sum for reinvestment. Our capital lay idle
half the year, the spring months were our harvest, and, assigning
Edwards full charge of the cattle bought on the Colorado River,
we instructed him to buy for the Dodge market four herds more in
adjoining counties, bringing down the necessary outfits to handle them
from my ranch on the Clear Fork. Previous to his return to San Antonio
my active partner had closed contracts on thirteen thousand heavy
beeves on the Frio River and lower Nueces, thus completing our
purchases. A healthy advance was noticeable all around in steer
cattle, though hardly affecting cows; but having anticipated a growing
appreciation in submitting our bids, we suffered no disappointment. A
week was lost in awaiting the arrival of half a dozen old foremen. On
their arrival we divided them between us and intrusted them with the
buying of horses and all details in making up outfits.

The trails leading out of southern Texas were purely local ones, the
only established trace running from San Antonio north, touching at
Fort Griffin, and crossing into the Nations at Red River Station in
Montague County. All our previous herds from the Uvalde regions had
turned eastward to intercept this main thoroughfare, though we had
been frequently advised to try a western outlet known as the Nueces
Canon route. The latter course would bring us out on high tablelands,
but before risking our herds through it, I decided to ride out the
country in advance. The canon proper was about forty miles long,
through which ran the source of the Nueces River, and if the way were
barely possible it looked like a feasible route. Taking a pack horse
and guide with me, I rode through and out on the mesa beyond. General
McKinzie had used this route during his Indian campaigns, and had even
built mounds of rock on the hills to guide the wayfarer, from the exit
of the canon across to the South Llano River. The trail was a rough
one, but there was grass sufficient to sustain the herds and ample
bed-grounds in the valleys, and I decided to try the western outlet
from Uvalde. An early, seasonable spring favored us with fine grass on
which to put up and start the herds, all five moving out within a week
of each other. I promised my foremen to accompany them through the
canon, knowing that the passage would be a trial to man and beast, and
asked the old bosses to loiter along, so that there would be but a few
hours' difference between the rear and lead herds.

I received sixteen thousand cattle, and the four days required in
passing through Nueces Canon and reaching water beyond were the
supreme physical test of my life. It was a wild section, wholly
unsettled, between low mountains, the river-bed constantly shifting
from one flank of the valley to the other, while cliffs from three to
five hundred feet high alternated from side to side. In traveling the
first twenty-five miles we crossed the bed of the river twenty-one
times; and besides the river there were a great number of creeks and
dry arroyos putting in from the surrounding hills, so that we were
constantly crossing rough ground. The beds of the streams were covered
with smooth, water-worn pebbles, white as marble, and then again we
encountered limestone in lava formation, honeycombed with millions of
sharp, up-turned cells. Some of the descents were nearly impossible
for wagons, but we locked both hind wheels and just let them slide
down and bounce over the boulders at the bottom. Half-way through the
canon the water failed us, with the south fork of the Llano forty
miles distant in our front. We were compelled to allow the cattle to
pick their way over the rocky trail, the herds not over a mile apart,
and scarcely maintaining a snail's pace. I rode from rear to front
and back again a dozen times in clearing the defile, and noted that
splotches of blood from tender-footed cattle marked the white pebbles
at every crossing of the river-bed. On the evening of the third day,
the rear herd passed the exit of the canon, the others having turned
aside to camp for the night. Two whole days had now elapsed without
water for the cattle.

I had not slept a wink the two previous nights. The south fork of the
Llano lay over twenty miles distant, and although it had ample water
two weeks before, one of the foremen and I rode through to it that
night to satisfy ourselves. The supply was found sufficient, and
before daybreak we were back in camp, arousing the outfits and
starting the herds. In the spring of 1878 the old military trail, with
its rocky sentinels, was still dimly defined from Nueces Canon north
to the McKinzie water-hole on the South Llano. The herds moved out
with the dawn. Thousands of the cattle were travel-sore, while a few
hundred were actually tender-footed. The evening before, as we came
out into the open country, we had seen quite a local shower of rain in
our front, which had apparently crossed our course nearly ten miles
distant, though it had not been noticeable during our night's ride.
The herds fell in behind one another that morning like columns of
cavalry, and after a few miles their stiffness passed and they led out
as if they had knowledge of the water ahead. Within two hours after
starting we crossed a swell of the mesa, when the lead herd caught a
breeze from off the damp hills to the left where the shower had fallen
the evening before. As they struck this rise, the feverish cattle
raised their heads and pulled out as if that vagrant breeze had
brought them a message that succor and rest lay just beyond. The point
men had orders to let them go, and as fast as the rear herds came up
and struck this imaginary line or air current, a single moan would
surge back through the herd until it died out at the rear. By noon
there was a solid column of cattle ten miles long, and two hours later
the drag and point men had trouble in keeping the different herds from
mixing. Without a halt, by three o'clock the lead foremen were turning
their charges right and left, and shortly afterward the lead cattle
were plunging into the purling waters of the South Llano. The rear
herds turned off above and below, filling the river for five miles,
while the hollow-eyed animals gorged themselves until a half dozen
died that evening and night.

Leaving orders with the foremen to rest their herds well and move out
half a day apart, I rode night and day returning to Uvalde. Catching
the first stage out, I reached San Antonio in time to overtake Major
Hunter, who was awaiting the arrival of the last beef herd from the
lower country, the three lead ones having already passed that point.
All trail outfits from the south then touched at San Antonio to
provision the wagons, and on the approach of our last herd I met it
and spent half a day with it,--my first, last, and only glimpse of our
heavy beeves. They were big rangy fellows many of them six and seven
years old, and from the general uniformity of the herd, I felt proud
of the cowman that my protege and active partner had developed into.
Major Hunter was anxious to reach home as soon as possible, in order
to buy in our complement of northern wintered cattle; so, settling
our business affairs in southern Texas, the day after the rear beeves
passed we took train north. I stopped in the central part of
the State, joining Edwards riding night and day in covering his
appointments to receive cattle; and when the last trail herd moved out
from the Colorado River there were no regrets.

Hastening on home, on my arrival I was assured by my ranch foreman
that he could gather a trail herd in less than a week. My saddle stock
now numbered over a thousand head, one hundred of which were on the
Double Mountain ranch, seven remudas on the trail, leaving available
over two hundred on the Clear Fork. I had the horses and cattle, and
on the word being given my ranch foreman began gathering our oldest
steers, while I outfitted and provisioned a commissary and secured
half a dozen men. On the morning of the seventh day after my arrival,
an individual herd, numbering thirty-five hundred, moved out from the
Clear Fork, every animal in the straight ranch brand. An old trail
foreman was given charge, Dodge City was the destination, and a finer
herd of three-year-olds could not have been found in one brand within
the boundaries of the State. This completed our cattle on the trail,
and a breathing spell of a few weeks might now be indulged in, yet
there was little rest for a cowman. Not counting the contracts to the
Indian Bureau, sublet to others, and the northern wintered beeves,
we had, for the firm and individually, seventeen herds, numbering
fifty-four thousand five hundred cattle on the trail. In order to
carry on our growing business unhampered for want of funds, the firm
had borrowed on short time nearly a quarter-million dollars that
spring, pledging the credit of the three partners for its repayment.
We had been making money ever since the partnership was formed, and
we had husbanded our profits, yet our business seemed to outgrow our
means, compelling us to borrow every spring when buying trail herds.

In the mean time and while we were gathering the home cattle, my
foreman and two men from the Double Mountain ranch arrived on the
Clear Fork to receive the importation of bulls. The latter had not yet
arrived, so pressing the boys into work, we got the trail herd away
before the thoroughbreds put in an appearance. A wagon and three men
from the home ranch had gone after them before my return, and they
were simply loafing along, grazing five to ten miles a day, carrying
corn in the wagon to feed on the grass. Their arrival found the ranch
at leisure, and after resting a few days they proceeded on to their
destination at a leisurely gait. The importation had wintered
finely,--now all three-year-olds,--but hereafter they must subsist on
the range, as corn was out of the question, and the boys had brought
nothing but a pack horse from the western ranch. This was an
experiment with me, but I was ably seconded by my foreman, who had
personally selected every cow over a month before, and this was to
make up the beginning of the improved herd. I accompanied them beyond
my range and urged seven miles a day as the limit of travel. I then
started for home, and within a week reached Dodge City, Kansas.

Headquarters were again established at Dodge. Fortunately a new market
was being developed at Ogalalla on the Platte River in Nebraska, and
fully one third the trail herds passed on to the upper point. Before
my arrival Major Hunter had bought the deficiency of northern wintered
beeves, and early in June three herds started from our range in the
Outlet for the upper Missouri River army posts. We had wintered all
horses belonging to the firm on the beef ranch, and within a fortnight
after its desertion, the young steers from the upper Nueces River
began arriving and were turned loose on the Eagle Chief, preempting
our old range. One outfit was retained to locate the cattle, the
remaining ones coming in to Dodge and returning home by train.
George Edwards lent me valuable assistance in handling our affairs
economically, but with the arrival of the herds at Dodge he was
compelled to look after our sub-contracts at Indian agencies. The
latter were delivered in our name, all money passed through our hands
in settlement, so it was necessary to have a man on the ground to
protect our interests. With nothing but the selling of eight herds of
cattle in an active market like Dodge, I felt that the work of the
summer was virtually over. One cattle company took ten thousand
three-year-old steers, two herds were sold for delivery at Ogalalla,
and the remaining three were placed within a month after their
arrival. The occupation of the West was on with a feverish haste, and
money was pouring into ranches and cattle, affording a ready market to
the drover from Texas.

Nothing now remained for me but to draw the threads of our business
together and await the season's settlement in the fall. I sold all the
wagons and sent the remudas to our range in the Outlet, while from the
first cattle sold the borrowed money was repaid. I visited Ogalalla
to acquaint myself with its market, looked over our beef ranch in the
Cherokee Strip during the lull, and even paid the different Indian
agencies my respects to perfect my knowledge of the requirements of
our business. Our firm was a strong one, enlarging its business year
by year; and while we could not foresee the future, the present was a
Harvest Home to Hunter, Anthony & Co.



The summer of 1878 closed with but a single cloud on the horizon. Like
ourselves, a great many cattlemen had established beef ranches in the
Cherokee Outlet, then a vacant country, paying a trifling rental to
that tribe of civilized Indians. But a difference of opinion arose,
some contending that the Cherokees held no title to the land; that the
strip of country sixty miles wide by two hundred long set aside by
treaty as a hunting ground, when no longer used for that purpose by
the tribe, had reverted to the government. Some refused to pay the
rent money, the council of the Cherokee Nation appealed to the general
government, and troops were ordered in to preserve the peace. We felt
no uneasiness over our holdings of cattle on the Strip, as we were
paying a nominal rent, amounting to two bits a head a year, and were
otherwise fortified in possession of our range. If necessary we could
have secured a permit from the War Department, on the grounds of being
government contractors and requiring a northern range on which to hold
our cattle. But rather than do this, Major Hunter hit upon a happy
solution of the difficulty by suggesting that we employ an Indian
citizen as foreman, and hold the cattle in his name. The major had
an old acquaintance, a half-breed Cherokee named LaFlors, who was
promptly installed as owner of the range, but holding beeves for
Hunter, Anthony & Co., government beef contractors.

I was unexpectedly called to Texas before the general settlement
that fall. Early in the summer, at Dodge, I met a gentleman who was
representing a distillery in Illinois. He was in the market for a
thousand range bulls to slop-feed, and as no such cattle ever came
over the trail, I offered to sell them to him delivered at Fort Worth.
I showed him the sights around Dodge and we became quite friendly,
but I was unable to sell him his requirements unless I could show the
stock. It was easily to be seen that he was not a range cattleman, and
I humored him until he took my address, saying that if he were unable
to fill his wants in other Western markets he would write me later.
The acquaintance resulted in several letters passing between us that
autumn, and finally an appointment was made to meet in Kansas City and
go down to Texas together. I had written home to have the buckboard
meet us at Fort Worth on October 1, and a few days later we were
riding the range on the Brazos and Clear Fork. In the past there never
had been any market for this class of drones, old age and death being
the only relief, and from the great number of brands that I had
purchased during my ranching and trail operations, my range was simply
cluttered with these old cumberers. Their hides would not have paid
freighting and transportation to a market, and they had become an
actual drawback to a ranch, when the opportunity occurred and I sold
twelve hundred head to the Illinois distillery. The buyer informed
me that they fattened well; that there was a special demand for this
quality in the export trade of dressed beef, and that owing to their
cheapness and consequent profit they were in demand for distillery

Fifteen dollars a head was agreed on as the price, and we earned it a
second time in delivering that herd at Fort Worth. Many of the animals
were ten years old, surly when irritated, and ready for a fight when
their day-dreams were disturbed. There was no treating them humanely,
for every effort in that direction was resented by the old rascals,
individually and collectively. The first day we gathered two hundred,
and the attempt to hold them under herd was a constant fight,
resulting in every hoof arising on the bed-ground at midnight and
escaping to their old haunts. I worked as good a ranch outfit of men
as the State ever bred, I was right there in the saddle with them,
yet, in spite of every effort, to say nothing of the profanity wasted,
we lost the herd. The next morning every lad armed himself with a
prod-pole long as a lance and tipped with a sharp steel brad, and we
commenced regathering. Thereafter we corralled them at night, which
always called for a free use of ropes, as a number usually broke away
on approaching the pens. Often we hog-tied as many as a dozen, letting
them lie outside all night and freeing them back into the herd in the
morning. Even the day-herding was a constant fight, as scarcely an
hour passed but some old resident would scorn the restraint imposed
upon his liberties and deliberately make a break for freedom. A pair
of horsemen would double on the deserter, and with a prod-pole to his
ear and the pressure of a man and horse bearing their weight on
the same, a circle would be covered and Toro always reentered the
day-herd. One such lesson was usually sufficient, and by reaching
corrals every night and penning them, we managed, after two weeks'
hard work, to land them in the stockyards at Fort Worth. The buyer
remained with and accompanied us during the gathering and en route to
the railroad, evidently enjoying the continuous performance. He
proved a good mixer, too, and returned annually thereafter. For years
following I contracted with him, and finally shipped on consignment,
our business relations always pleasant and increasing in volume until
his death.

Returning with the outfit, I continued on west to the new ranch, while
the men began the fall branding at home. On arriving on the Double
Mountain range, I found the outfit in the saddle, ironing up a big
calf crop, while the improved herd was the joy and pride of my
foreman. An altitude of about four thousand feet above sea-level had
proved congenial to the thoroughbreds, who had acclimated nicely, the
only loss being one from lightning. Two men were easily holding the
isolated herd in their canon home, the sheltering bluffs affording
them ample protection from wintry weather, and there was nothing
henceforth to fear in regard to the experiment. I spent a week with
the outfit; my ranch foreman assured me that the brand could turn
out a trail herd of three-year-old steers the following spring and a
second one of twos, if it was my wish to send them to market. But it
was too soon to anticipate the coming summer; and then it seemed a
shame to move young steers to a northern climate to be matured, yet it
was an economic necessity. Ranch headquarters looked like a trapper's
cave with wolf-skins and buffalo-robes taken the winter before, and it
was with reluctance that I took my leave of the cosy dugouts on the
Double Mountain Fork.

On returning home I found a statement for the year and a pressing
invitation awaiting me to come on to the national capital at once. The
profits of the summer had exceeded the previous one, but some bills
for demurrage remained to be adjusted with the War and Interior
departments, and my active partner and George Edwards had already
started for Washington. It was urged on me that the firm should make
themselves known at the different departments, and the invitation
was supplemented by a special request from our silent partner, the
Senator, to spend at least a month at the capital. For years I had
been promising my wife to take her on a visit to Virginia, and now
when the opportunity offered, womanlike, she pleaded her nakedness in
the midst of plenty. I never had but one suit at a time in my life,
and often I had seen my wife dressed in the best the frontier of Texas
afforded, which was all that ought to be expected. A day's notice was
given her, the eldest children were sent to their grandparents, and
taking the two youngest with us, we started for Fort Worth. I was
anxious that my wife should make a favorable impression on my people,
and in turn she was fretting about my general appearance. Out of a
saddle a cowman never looks well, and every effort to improve his
personal appearance only makes him the more ridiculous. Thus with each
trying to make the other presentable, we started. We stopped a week at
my brother's in Missouri, and finally reached the Shenandoah Valley
during the last week in November. Leaving my wife to speak for herself
and the remainder of the family, I hurried on to Washington and found
the others quartered at a prominent hotel. A less pretentious
one would have suited me, but then a United States senator must
befittingly entertain his friends. New men had succeeded to the War
and Interior departments, and I was properly introduced to each as
the Texas partner of the firm of Hunter, Anthony & Co. Within a week,
several little dinners were given at the hotel, at which from a dozen
to twenty men sat down, all feverish to hear about the West and the
cattle business in particular. Already several companies had
been organized to engage in ranching, and the capital had been
over-subscribed in every instance; and actually one would have
supposed from the chat that we were holding a cattle convention in
the West instead of dining with a few representatives and government
officials at Washington.

I soon became the object of marked attention. Possibly it was my
vocabulary, which was consistent with my vocation, together with my
ungainly appearance, that differentiated me from my partners. George
Edwards was neat in appearance, had a great fund of Western stories
and experiences, and the two of us were constantly being importuned
for incidents of a frontier nature. Both my partners, especially the
Senator, were constantly introducing me and referring to me as a man
who, in the course of ten years, had accumulated fifty thousand cattle
and acquired title to three quarters of a million acres of land. I was
willing to be a sociable fellow among my friends, but notoriety of
this character was offensive, and in a private lecture I took my
partners to task for unnecessary laudation. The matter was smoothed
over, our estimates for the coming year were submitted, and after
spending the holidays with my parents in Virginia, I returned to the
capital to await the allotments for future delivery of cattle to the
Army and Indian service. Pending the date of the opening of the bids
a dinner was given by a senator from one of the Southern States, to
which all members of our firm were invited, when the project was
launched of organizing a cattle company with one million dollars
capital. The many advantages that would accrue where government
influence could be counted on were dwelt upon at length, the rapid
occupation of the West was cited, the concentration of all Indian
tribes on reservations, and the necessary requirements of beef in
feeding the same was openly commented on as the opportunity of the
hour. I took no hand in the general discussion, except to answer
questions, but when the management of such a company was tendered me,
I emphatically declined. My partners professed surprise at my refusal,
but when the privacy of our rooms was reached I unburdened myself on
the proposition. We had begun at the foot of the hill, and now having
established ourselves in a profitable business, I was loath to give it
up or share it with others. I argued that our trade was as valuable as
realty or cattle in hand; that no blandishments of salary as manager
could induce me to forsake legitimate channels for possibilities
in other fields. "Go slow and learn to peddle," was the motto of
successful merchants; I had got out on a limb before and met with
failure, and had no desire to rush in where angels fear for their
footing. Let others organize companies and we would sell them the
necessary cattle; the more money seeking investment the better the

Major Hunter was Western in his sympathies and coincided with my
views, the Senator was won over from the enterprise, and the project
failed to materialize. The friendly relations of our firm were
slightly strained over the outcome, but on the announcement of the
awards we pulled together again like brothers. In the allotment for
delivery during the summer and fall of 1879, some eighteen contracts
fell to us,--six in the Indian Bureau and the remainder to the Army,
four of the latter requiring northern wintered beeves. A single award
for Fort Buford in Dakota called for five million pounds on foot and
could be filled with Southern cattle. Others in the same department
ran from one and a half to three million pounds, varying, as wanted
for future or present use, to through or wintered beeves. The latter
fattened even on the trail and were ready for the shambles on their
arrival, while Southern stock required a winter and time to acclimate
to reach the pink of condition. The government maintained several
distributing points in the new Northwest, one of which was Fort
Buford, where for many succeeding years ten thousand cattle were
annually received and assigned to lesser posts. This was the market
that I knew. I had felt every throb of its pulse ever since I had
worked as a common hand in driving beef to Fort Sumner in 1866. The
intervening years had been active ones, and I had learned the lessons
of the trail, knew to a fraction the cost of delivering a herd, and
could figure on a contract with any other cowman.

Leaving the arrangement of the bonds to our silent partner, the
next day after the awards were announced we turned our faces to the
Southwest. February 1 was agreed on for the meeting at Fort Worth, so
picking up the wife and babies in Virginia, we embarked for our
Texas home. My better half was disappointed in my not joining in the
proposed cattle company, with its officers, its directorate, annual
meeting, and other high-sounding functions. I could have turned into
the company my two ranches at fifty cents an acre, could have sold my
brand outright at a fancy figure, taking stock in lieu for the same,
but I preferred to keep them private property. I have since known
other cowmen who put their lands and cattle into companies, and
after a few years' manipulation all they owned was some handsome
certificates, possibly having drawn a dividend or two and held an
honorary office. I did not then have even the experience of others to
guide my feet, but some silent monitor warned me to stick to my trade,

Leaving the family at the Edwards ranch, I returned to Fort Worth
in ample time for the appointed meeting. My active partner and our
segundo had become as thick as thieves, the two being inseparable at
idle times, and on their arrival we got down to business at once. The
remudas were the first consideration. Besides my personal holdings
of saddle stock, we had sent the fall before one thousand horses
belonging to the firm back to the Clear Fork to winter. Thus equipped
with eighteen remudas for the trail, we were fairly independent in
that line. Among the five herds driven the year before to our beef
ranch in the Outlet, the books showed not over ten thousand coming
four years old that spring, leaving a deficiency of northern wintered
beeves to be purchased. It was decided to restock the range with
straight threes, and we again divided the buying into departments,
each taking the same division as the year before. The purchase of
eight herds of heavy beeves would thus fall to Major Hunter. Austin
and San Antonio were decided on as headquarters and banking points,
and we started out on a preliminary skirmish. George Edwards had an
idea that the Indian awards could again be relet to advantage, and
started for the capital, while the major and I journeyed on south.
Some former sellers whom we accidentally met in San Antonio complained
that we had forsaken them and assured us that their county, Medina,
had not less than fifty thousand mature beeves. They offered to meet
any one's prices, and Major Hunter urged that I see a sample of the
cattle while en route to the Uvalde country. If they came up to
requirements, I was further authorized to buy in sufficient to fill
our contract at Fort Buford, which would require three herds, or ten
thousand head. It was an advantage to have this delivery start
from the same section, hold together en route, and arrive at their
destination as a unit. I was surprised at both the quality and the
quantity of the beeves along the tributaries of the Frio River, and
readily let a contract to a few leading cowmen for the full allotment.
My active partner was notified, and I went on to the headwaters of the
Nueces River. I knew the cattle of this section so well that there was
no occasion even to look at them, and in a few days contracted for
five herds of straight threes. While in the latter section, word
reached me that Edwards had sublet four of our Indian contacts, or
those intended for delivery at agencies in the Indian Territory. The
remaining two were for tribes in Colorado, and notifying our segundo
to hold the others open until we met, I took stage back to San
Antonio. My return was awaited by both Major Hunter and Edwards, and
casting up our purchases on through cattle, we found we lacked only
two herds of cows and the same of beeves. I offered to make up the
Indian awards from my ranches, the major had unlimited offerings from
which to pick, and we turned our attention to securing young steers
for the open market. Our segundo was fully relieved and ordered back
to his old stamping-ground on the Colorado River to contract for six
herds of young cattle. It was my intention to bring remudas down from
the Clear Fork to handle the cattle from Uvalde and Medina counties,
but my active partner would have to look out for his own saddle stock
for the other beef herds. Hurrying home, I started eight hundred
saddle horses belonging to the firm to the lower country, assigned
two remudas to leave for the Double Mountain ranch, detailed the same
number for the Clear Fork, and authorized the remaining six to report
to Edwards on the Colorado River.

This completed the main details for moving the herds. There was an
increase in prices over the preceding spring throughout the State,
amounting on a general average to fully one dollar a head. We had
anticipated the advance in making our contracts, there was an
abundance of water everywhere, and everything promised well for an
auspicious start. Only a single incident occurred to mar the otherwise
pleasant relations with our ranchmen friends. In contracting for the
straight threes from Uvalde County, I had stipulated that every animal
tendered must be full-aged at the date of receiving; we were paying
an extra price and the cattle must come up to specifications. Major
Hunter had moved his herds out in time to join me in receiving the
last one of the younger cattle, and I had pressed him into use as a
tally clerk while receiving. Every one had been invited to turn in
stock in making up the herd, but at the last moment we fell short
of threes, when I offered to fill out with twos at the customary
difference in price. The sellers were satisfied. We called them by
ages as they were cut out, when a row threatened over a white steer.
The foreman who was assisting me cut the animal in question for a
two-year-old, Major Hunter repeated the age in tallying the steer,
when the owner of the brand, a small ranchman, galloped up and
contended that the steer was a three-year-old, though he lacked fully
two months of that age. The owner swore the steer had been raised a
milk calf; that he knew his age to a day; but Major Hunter firmly yet
kindly told the man that he must observe the letter of the contract
and that the steer must go as a two-year-old or not at all. In reply a
six-shooter was thrown in the major's face, when a number of us rushed
in on our horses and the pistol was struck from the man's hand. An
explanation was demanded, but the only intelligent reply that could be
elicited from the owner of the white steer was, "No G---- d----
Yankee can classify my cattle." One of the ranchmen with whom we
were contracting took the insult off my hands and gave the man his
choice,--to fight or apologize. The seller cooled down, apologies
followed, and the unfortunate incident passed and was forgotten with
the day's work.

A week later the herds on the Colorado River moved out. Major Hunter
and I looked them over before they got away, after which he continued
on north to buy in the deficiency of three thousand wintered beeves,
while I returned home to start my individual cattle. The ranch outfit
had been at work for ten days previous to my arrival gathering the
three-year-old steers and all dry and barren cows. On my return they
had about eight thousand head of mixed stock under herd and two trail
outfits were in readiness, so cutting them separate and culling them
down, we started them, the cows for Dodge and the steers for Ogalalla,
each thirty-five hundred strong. Two outfits had left for the Double
Mountain range ten days before, and driving night and day, I reached
the ranch to find both herds shaped up and ready for orders. Both
foremen were anxious to strike due north, several herds having crossed
Red River as far west as Doan's Store the year before; but I was
afraid of Indian troubles and routed them northeast for the old ford
on the Chisholm trail. They would follow down the Brazos, cross over
to the Wichita River, and pass about sixty miles to the north of the
home ranch on the Clear Fork. I joined them for the first few days
out, destinations were the same as the other private herds, and
promising to meet them in Dodge, I turned homeward. The starting of
these last two gave the firm and me personally twenty-three herds,
numbering seventy-six thousand one hundred cattle on the trail.

An active summer followed. Each one was busy in his department. I met
Major Hunter once for an hour during the spring months, and we never
saw each other again until late fall. Our segundo again rendered
valuable assistance in meeting outfits on their arrival at the beef
ranch, as it was deemed advisable to hold the through and wintered
cattle separate for fear of Texas fever. All beef herds were routed
to touch at headquarters in the Outlet, and thence going north, they
skirted the borders of settlement in crossing Kansas and Nebraska.
Where possible, all correspondence was conducted by wire, and with the
arrival of the herds at Dodge I was kept in the saddle thenceforth.
The demand for cattle was growing with each succeeding year, prices
were firmer, and a general advance was maintained in all grades of
trail stock. On the arrival of the cattle from the Colorado River, I
had them reclassed, sending three herds of threes on to Ogalalla. The
upper country wanted older stock, believing that it withstood the
rigors of winter better, and I trimmed my sail to catch the wind. The
cows came in early and were started west for their destination, the
rear herds arrived and were located, while Dodge and Ogalalla
howled their advantages as rival trail towns. The three herds of
two-year-olds were sold and started for the Cherokee Strip, and I took
train for the west and reached the Platte River, to find our cattle
safely arrived at Ogalalla. Near the middle of July a Wyoming cattle
company bought all the central Texas steers for delivery a month later
at Cheyenne, and we grazed them up the South Platte and counted them
out to the buyers, ten thousand strong. My individual herds classed as
Pan-Handle cattle, exempt from quarantine, netted one dollar a head
above the others, and were sold to speculators from the corn regions
on the western borders of Nebraska. One herd of cows was intended for
the Southern and the other for the Uncompahgre Utes, and they had been
picking their way through and across the mountains to those agencies
during the summer mouths. Late in August both deliveries were made
wholesale to the agents of the different tribes, and my work was at an
end. All unsold remudas returned to Dodge, the outfits were sent home,
and the saddle stock to our beef ranch, there to await the close of
the summer's drive.



I returned to Texas early in September. My foreman on the Double
Mountain ranch had written me several times during the summer,
promising me a surprise on the half-blood calves. There was nothing
of importance in the North except the shipping of a few trainloads

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