No Time For Slickers
My wife’s great granddaddy is in the book “Trail Driver’s of Texas” with his story of going up the trail in 1880 for the first time. Jim P. Wilson said he went up the trail to Kansas in 1880, leaving Bee County with a herd for Millett & Lane, and turned them over in the Indian Territory. Dave Clair and I went with Woodward & Oge, with Jim Newton as boss. Bill Hancock, a brother-in-law to Newton, was with the outfit, and as he was about my age, we fell in together somewhat. One night Dave Clair, Bill Hancock, myself and a boy from Kansas were on herd when a severe thunderstorm came up, and we drifted off with the cattle. The Kansas boy was pretty badly scared during the storm and kept saying that his people were all killed in a storm and he just knew we were going to be killed, too. Bill got excited, too, and asked me: “Did you ever pray?” I told him no, not in a long time. He said, “Some of us have got to pray, for the lightning is going to kill all of us.” The storm increased in fury, the lightning striking near us frequently, and we got separated. We found some stray cattle in our herd, cows and calves, and Bill remarked that “one of those fat calves would be good eating, if it was ours,” I told him stampeded cattle in the Territory belonged to the trail and we would just take one. He said : “No. Jim Newton will fire us if we do that, and I wouldn’t eat stolen meat anyway.” I did not care if we were fired, for I was nearly served for fresh meat, as we had not had any since we left home, so I cut out one of those calves, ran it over to the wagon, and the cook and I killed it. Before it quit kicking I had the sweetbread on the fire. Before it was skinned the sweetbread was hot. I went back to where Bill was with some of it in my hand and told him to go and help himself, but he said, “I’ll go and get some coffee, but I won’t eat any of that beef,” but he came back about daylight with a chunk as big as his foot, and was eating it. When I went to camp I found that he had buried the head, hide and all. These stray cattle turned out to be Captain Lytle’s, which had been lost the year before, and we turned them over to his outfit. After delivering our herd I went back to Mobeetie and then made two trips to Dodge City that fall with the Turkey Track outfit.