While working on his Divinity Degree at the
, Coe S. Hayne took time away from his
to spend time in the southwest. The following excerpts from his journal describe his experience during the two seasons in which he worked on the
ElYeso Ranch in Chaves Co
., N. M He later completed his degree and had a distinguished career as a clergyperson in the Northern Baptist Church. He was a widely-published
author throughout his career. The Dr. Rev. Coe £ Hayne was born in
in 1875 and died in
R. DeGraftenreid and the ranch stationary.
It was in the fall of 1904 that I went to Las Vegas, New Mexico to win back a physical-social vigor that I had lost during two years of more or less cloistered life as a graduate student in the University of Chicago and as a writer of stories for the David C. Cook Pub. Co. One of the first men I met in Las Vegas was Dick DeGraftenreid of Ranch ElYeso, Chaves Co. He had brought Mrs. De G. and his three young daughters, Mildred and Ethel and ? to this city with him (he had come not only to give his family a trip to the city but to buy supplies that were to be freighted to his ranch.)
Dick and I hit off a real friendship at once and during the course of our conversation, Dick asked me to come to his ranch as one of his “hands”—the ranch roustabout in other words, as he was letting Baker and a Mex. named Manuel go (Baker yearning again for life in some town.) I promised Dick that I would come to his ranch as soon as I had made a little trip into the Mountains above Las Vegas (in other words to the Harvey Ranch—a sort of tourist camp. The term “dude ranch” was unfamiliar to me at the time.) I had my bicycle with me and started out from Las Vegas to make the trip on it to the Harvey Ranch. One tire was soft when I reached Hot Springs it occurred to me that by putting warm water in the tire I would soften up the puncture proof that had been injected into the tube. It seemed to work and I proceeded on my way toward the Harvey Ranch. As I was wheeling along I noticed two horsemen behind me. They were Mexicans and a sort of fear possessed me. I alighted from the wheel and shoved my bicycle pump in my hand as if it were a “short gun.” At that time I had no conception of the friendliness of Mexicans that actual life with them later afforded me. Without paying the slightest attention to me they rode past. This was beautiful country. Mountains rose ahead of me where the northwestern horizon was broken by a lofty spur of the Rockies. I entered a canyon of one of the tributaries of the Pecos River and followed it for what seemed to be a long distance, wondering first when I should reach the Harvey Ranch. Finally I made inquiries at a Mexican house tucked away in a cove of the canyon. It was a fortunate move in my part for I was told by a very hospitable Mexican man that it would be impossible for me to reach the ranch on my bicycle. Without a suggestion from me he offered me the loan of a black saddle horse—horse, saddle and bridle. He told me that I could turn the horse over to a certain Mexican woman at the ranch. I was instructed to follow the canyon road to the Harvey “carriage house” at the foot of the Mt. where I would find a trail that led to the Harvey Ranch. Near dusk I reached the carriage house. How grateful then did I feel because of the friendly act of this, to me, unknown Mexican. How helpless I would have been without that saddle horse.
The trail led off slightly to the right. Whether there was another trail leading to other part of the ruts I do not recall as I am writing this forty-six years after the events herewith described. Majestically, the opposite side of the canyon wall appeared as I ascended. The trail upward seemed endless as twilight deepened. The horse seemed perfectly at home on the trail following the switch backs readily—almost eagerly—as he traveled toward the feed that awaited him at the ranch in the sky. When I reached the upper level—I suppose it may have been called plateau—I was glad to see a light in the distance—a light shining from a window of the Harvey Ranch house. I was given a hearty welcome by Mr. and Mrs. Harvey, arriving in time for supper. The horse was taken care of. (I saw a Mexican woman riding it toward the down trail in the morning.)
Hungry? Well, yes. Everything set before me tasted so good; home cooked ranch fare, including beef butchered by Mr. Harvey and cared for by him. I recall hunks of beef hanging in the cool, rarefied air. Later I leaned that during fall and winter meat is kept well hanging exposed to the air. A sort of cured layer of meat forms an impervious sack for the entire cut of beef One other convenience on the Harvey Ranch:
burro power furnished the means for cutting wood, pumping water, churning butter, etc. No electricity was available on the ranch at that time. Mr. Harvey kept a herd of Jersey cows —his cream for his guests was famous throughout cattle land. (I had trouble sleeping in that high altitude. The first night I sat up in bed). I paid, I think, seven dollars for a full day’s meals and lodging and then offered my services as a ranch hand. At first Mr. Harvey seemed doubtful of my capabilities, or had no need of the help offered. But he took me on for my room and board. I was put to the task of digging potatoes and must have done satisfactory work for at the end of two days when I announced my intention of returning to Las Vegas Mr. Harvey offered me a steady job as one of his ranch hands. I was obliged to reject his offer as I had promised to meet Dick DeGraftenreid in Santa Rosa on a certain day. In order to meet this engagement it was necessary to take the stage from Los Vegas to Santa Rosa at a certain prescribed time. I was glad to have known Mr. And Mrs. Harvey (not related to famousHarvey of the Harvey eating houses along the route of the Santa Fe Railroad.) They were thrifty New Englanders, greatly respected in the community. I believe that it was Dick who told me of the ranch and the virtues of its proprietors. The day following my arrival—while I was a guest—I rode over many mountain trails in a burro train led by Mrs. Harvey as guide. This was an experience that I have never forgotten.
The way down trail was made on a horse that Mr. Harvey loaned with instructions to leave it at the ranch where I had left my wheel. On this trip I took my time, enjoying every mile of it. At one place on the down trail I dismounted and climbed along a ledge to a sort of rock cavern, imagining that I was a prospector, looking for gold. When I reached the floor of the canyon I observed the crystal clearness of the stream (The Pecos) that had its beginning in those great slopes and mesas and ran the length of New Mexico to empty into the Rio Grande in Texas. I could see trout flashing their brilliant sides in the deeper pools of the stream. The air was clear and cool. I would like to visit the region once more.
Securing my wheel at the home of the kind Mexican, I rode to Las Vegas passing on the way Mexican wood sellers with burros laden with the fuel obtained from dead mountain conifers.
I bought a seat in the Santa Rosa bound stage and at Santa Rosa was met by Dick who had preceded me with his family. From Santa Rosa to the ElYeso Ranch (Dick’s place) was a distance of 45 miles.
In Santa Rosa in a room back of a saloon—gambling house—ill in bed was Tom Combs, a man of about thirty. I judge he was friendly and likable. He was a brother of Mrs. DeG who was devoted to him. Dick showed a real regard for him. I reckon Dick had already told Tom about me for Tom immediately upon meeting me, offered to loan to me his saddle horse, his new saddle, his rifle and with the rifle passing over to me a bag of 32 caliber cartridges. This friendly act won me over completely. That I was actually to have my own saddle horse became a fact the next morning at the ranch of John Hicks, distant 8 or 10 miles from Santa Rosa on the way to the El Yeso Ranch. (At this ranch house Dick and his family and I had spent the night.) John Hicks was a well-known ranchman and banker in the Santa Rosa area—in fact he was well-known throughout New Mexico. The story had gone the rounds that Owen Wister had him in mind when he wrote “The Virginian” (I do not think this an authentic rumor.)
Dick and his party were entertained at the ranch of John Hicks the first night of our trip to Ranch El Yeso. Next morning John Hicks placed in my hands his #10 duck shot gun the morning after our arrival. I marveled at its shooting power when I brought down a duck flying rather high in the air. After breakfast Tom’s horse that had been held in one of John Hick’s pastures, was turned over to me. I was given Tom’s saddle, a saddle blanket and sweat pad. Dick and John Hicks, old-time plainsmen and cowmen, stood silently by to watch me saddle the mare. I was the tenderfoot and elicited their interest. When I put the saddle blanket on first—and then the sweat pad—the men considerately made no jeering comment, Very quietly and kindly John Hicks told me that the sweat pad should go on first. I had thought its purpose was to keep the blanket from being worn out by the saddle. (My father, since I was a small tad, had allowed me to ride his horses. I had never seen a stock saddle nor a sweat pad until that morning when I was told to saddle the mare.) But the real test came when I was in the saddle. Leaving the Hicks Ranch Dick told me to ride out in front of his rig, I suppose so that he could watch my style as a rider. Well, I was perfectly at home in the saddle. I rode with the horse, a solid seat in the saddle, rather than (?) (or being jounced up and down willy-nilly with the action of the horse.) The mare was a hard gaited trotter and not a favorite (I later found out.) With the cowboys mares were not used in cow work I later discovered. It was a beautiful horse but not sure footed in rough going—in other words, a stumbler. The horse pasture of the John Hicks Ranch was a tract of about 50,000 acres, I understand. We traveled out of it, passed through the Texas gate into the open range land. And it was not long before I saw a jack rabbit, a most deceptive creature. The jack rabbit will run apace then will stop, as if to invite you to chase him. Well, I did so in this case—the last jack rabbit I ever attempted to run down on horse back. The jack kept just out of reach of a fair rifle shot. I was chasing him rather rapidly when suddenly the front feet of my horse went into a badger hole and I went sailing forward, arms outstretched, still retaining the rifle. I was not injured when I struck the ground and was able to spring erect at once. The mare fell head over heals and had either my foot (or feet) caught in a stirrup, I doubt less would have been crushed or permanently crippled. I believe that this was my narrowest escape from death. Dick had driven over a rise and was out of sight. He might have had difficulty in locating his tenderfoot new hand had I not been fortunate. I did not tell Dick of this accident until years afterward.
I rode circumspectly in the rear of Dick’s rig until we reached the Otero Ranch (famous Otero family. The owner was later governor of New Mexicoand the strong and loyal supporter of Roosevelt when he ran against Wilson and Taft for president of U. S.) It was here that Dick discovered that he had lost his personal bed roll from his mountain hack (two seated (?) with a dropped platform in rear for the tying on of packs.) Where it had been dropped on the back trail we had no way of telling. Dick was disgusted naturally and asked me to ride back for it. There was one ranch between the Otero ranch and the John Hicks ranch. It was owned or at least operated by Mexicans. Dick predicted that I would find the bed roll between the Mexicans’ ranch and the Otero ranch. Dick had loosened the rope around the bed roll in order to get at his chuck box. We had made a morning (?) at the Mexican ranch. So I rode back and nearly lost the trail in the dusk of the evening. I found the bed roll about 1/2 mile beyond the Otero ranch, put it on my horse and returned to the Otero ranch for the night. I spread Dick’s bed roll in the kitchen floor after supper. Aside from being awakened occasionally by the sound of cats licking food out of frying pans here and there 1 slept very well. We had Iamb (or mutton) chops for breakfast. I ate with the Mexican ranch foreman and his wife—was most kindly and hospitably treated—went on my way—followed a cut off over some hills—a cut-off described by Dick to save distance. I went over the hills after leaving the Otero ranch and after riding across the trackless desert for many miles I struck a wagon trail that eventually led me to Ranch El Yeso. From the rim of a mesa I saw the ranch building in the valley of the Yeso, an arroyo that was dry most of the year. A welcome sight to one who was riding rather blindly over an unknown trail.. I had left the bed roll at the Otero ranch in accordance with Dick’s request.
Within two days I had ridden over 50 miles——not a great task for one broken to the saddle—I was soft and unused to the saddle. The morning after my arrival at the El Yeso I was so lame that I could barely get around. I tried to conceal from these ranch people my lameness but did not make out. I was of little account for a day or two.
Dick and I hit it off fairly well.
Shortly after the civil war or during it Dick was born on the Rio Frio in Texas. As a boy he herded the milk cows with his brothers on the open prairie. Some time in the late 70’s or early 80’s the family immigrated in wagons to New Mexico. Their cattle were stolen by Indians, so Dick said, and the DeGraftenreidswere “broke” when they reached New Mexico. Maxwell gave them a piece of land on his immense grant near Ft. Sumner. Here the boys grew to manhood, becoming excellent cowboys. In time Dick married Molly Combs (?) and settled in Puerto de Luna (Gate of the Moon) on the Pecos. Here he ran a saloon for a time. The life did not suit him especially when his daughters grew out of babyhood. He obtained a herd of sheep on “partitha” (I spell it the way Dick pronounced this Spanish word.) It meant that Dick took over the sheep on contract that he should receive the wool and ½ the increase. The wool would pay expenses. Gradually Dick’s credit and reputation grew. He was able finally to own several herds, having established his ranch on the Yeso. The girls wereages 10-7-5 approx. when I first went on the ranch. The youngest suffered from a (?) caused by the savage bite of a dog in Puerto de Luna. Dick said that he walked into the home of the Mexican who owned the dog and shot it. This little girl died after I left the ranch and before I returned to it two years later.
I was told that as ranch roustabout I was relieving the former occupant of the job, named Manuel, a Mexican. Dick told me that he was cruel to his horses. I was told that one of my duties on the Ranch was to gentle Brito so that Mildred could have him as her saddle horse. I took Brito over. He bucked once with me, otherwise a very quiet saddle horse but a cold-blooded paint just the same. When the Bar-V outfit neared the El Yeso on its fill round-up, all hands, including the women, went over N. West to visit the outfit. I helped flank calves and sometimes made out awkwardly but was comparatively strong and got by. I remember the fine dinner we ate about the cook’s wagon at noon.
Just before we left the El Yeso Ranch Corral for the round-up I discovered Manuel about to put his bridle on Brito. As Brito had been assigned to me I was justified in giving Brito a crack on the head with his bridle, so that he broke away from Manuel. There was ranch work including fence building that had brought Manuel back to the ranch. The Brito horse “ran” away from Manuel did not please him one bit. He glared at me out of his one good eye but said nothing. I believe that I remarked that Brito had been allotted to me by Dick, There was no argument. Atanacio, a Mexican cowboy stood by and looked on. After this run-in with Manuel Dick advised me to sleep with Tom’s rifle tucked under my mattress. (I neglected earlier in this chronicle to state that I slept in a tent back of the corral on a cot. In the same tent slept Manuel and Atanacio.)
I greatly enjoyed the work on Ranch El Yeso. The air in the morning was keen and cold but when the sun mounted, the atmosphere warmed up. The ranch was well located on the Yeso hills or rather the breaks of the Mesa to the north and northwest, a gentle slope rising out of the valley to the south-open range for cattle outside the fenced enclosure of the homestead.
It was my duty to look after the herd of milk cows and to chop wood into stove lengths for the house.
Dick secured the services of a carpenter and a family of Mexicans to construct a dwelling to take the place of the first house he had built. This first house was built against a bank somewhat removed from the Yeso. The first home was the dug-out that comprised the first story or basement. When Dick came to the place several years before my arrival he dug out a room in the side of the bank and sided it up with a window and a door. Then later he built on top of the dug-out, level with the ground above a one-room apartment that was the abode of the school marme and was where school was held. Mildred and Ethel also occupied this second story or it might be called the first story and the dug-out called the basement. In the rear of the dug-out was a bed. In this dug-out also the dining room and the kitchen—all in one room.
All the hands ate in the dug-out—Mr. And Mrs. DeG., the three girls, the school teacher, Atanacio, Manuel, myself, and any stray traveler and occasionally the sheep herders when they came in with the herds to water. Mrs. DeG was an excellent cook and housekeeper with a Mexican woman there occasionally to help her. I used to feel sorry for Mrs. DeG. She refused my offer to help her with the weekly wash. She was a small, wiry woman who worked continually, and generally running the ranch and the “store” when Dick was absent. The “store” was another dug-out under pad-lock and key and from it the sheep herders were issued the food, tobacco, and clothing required.
When the carpenters arrived Tom (Mrs. DeG’s brother) came to help Dick with the growing herd of cattle. Tom was an expert roper. (Tom Burge a real Texan also came with his team of mules to serape out a tank to hold water for the stock.
Dick was a tall, sun-tanned Texan who dressed well at all times. He loved his ranch, his family and his horses. Mainly a sheep owner, his heart was in the cattle business and it was his ambition to build up a herd of Herefords, his brand: Rafter-H
For his herds he sought an abundant water supply and along about the 1st of December secured the services of the county surveyor to lay four “forties” along the Pecos, south of Ft. Sumner. I was taken on this surveying trip along with a young Texan whose name I have forgotten, the brother-in-law or brother of Tom Burge. We will call him Tex to identify him.
We started out from Dick’s ranch and reached the lower windmill to find a bunch of burros on the water. Whether or not they were Dick’s burros, I do not know. At any rate, it seems that they had broken into the horse pasture and were in the water. Dick was mad and with our help drove them into the small corral and that’s where we left them.
We drove on down the Yeso and camped at sun down on the Yeso. In the morning one of the horses was not in sight and I was sent out to find him. Well, I was riding the other horse kept up on picket or hobbled and had not found the strayed horse when I met Dick riding it bareback. He had tracked the horse like a real plainsman and had found it, Well, I took myself out of the saddle, giving my mount to Dick, while I rode the other horse bareback to camp. The following night our surveying party, having been joined by the surveyor, camped closer to our designation namely the Pecos. I believe the horse of Kenneth Rich, a sheep herder for Dick was not far away. I recall a humorous incident that occurred that night. Sometime during the day Dick told me that when we made camp that night I should take a gun and try to obtain some meat for camp, either rabbit or quail. Therefore, as soon as we pulled off the road to make camp, I took a gun and went in search of rabbits. I do not recall whether or not I shot one, After the camp meal and Dick had his pipe going well, he announced that a kangaroo trail was to be held, he as judge, the surveyor as prosecutive attorney and myself as the one charged with a misdemeanor, namely that when we headed for camp, I went off hunting without first engaging in gathering cow chips for night and morning camp fire. I was so charged. I turned to Tex, a defense witness as I knew quite well that he had over heard Dick’s request that I look for game. (As I think of the affair now I am convinced that Dick shooed me out of camp in order that the tenderfoot should gain a first lesson in plainsmanship.) Tex failed me completely. He refused to say that he had overheard Dick instruct me to go for rabbits. Accordingly, I was convicted, penalty being to be the first one up each morning to build the camp fire for the cook. (I took my medicine with what good grace I could muster, but saw to it that as soon as I had the fire going, I rousted out the gang promptly. The cook on this trip throughout was Dick; and he did very well as long as the provisions lasted. (Before we were on the back trail for home we had cleaned Dick out completely. “I thought that I had provided food enough for this outfit,” Dick said when the surveying job was within a day of completion. “I did not, however, make provision for a pack of wolves.”)
The day following our second night’s camp another incident further increased my “know” concerning frontier attitudes and etiquette. We reached the King homestead and made a short call. One of the daughters of the house was of an age and attractiveness to make a man self conscious. I was conscious of the lack of a shave and so stated. And did I get a calling from Dick! I accepted the censure as I did the sentence passed upon me at the conclusion of the trial. On the mornings following the trial I got up first as per orders but as soon as the fire was built did I get those westerners out of their warm blankets! The surveyor laid the forties along the Pesos after all the corner stones had been located. We ran out of provisions and the early hour of the morning of the last day was devoted by Tex and me in shooting rabbits. I shot one as he was popping over a divide and the Texan a bag of them. We cleaned the rabbits and went off on the survey. From a distance--along about noon---we saw a man in camp. He left before we returned but we found the rabbits all nicely cooked and ready for us to eat. We later learned that the man was on his way through, saw the camp, saw the rabbits, cooked them, ate what he wanted and went on his way, true western custom.
We ate the rabbits for our noon meal and presently were on our way toward home. Our objective was one of Dick’s sheep camps. At dusk we had not found it but as we were in need of water, one of the party went to the Rich house for it. The well was drawn dry that day, so no water that night. Dick and I had shot some quails that afternoon and these were being cooked when Kenneth Rich appeared. He said that we had frightened the sheep and that he had been having a time of it rounding them up. He said that he had supper all cooked for us. Dick sent me to the sheep camp for water. I was hungry and was glad to sit by Rich’ camp fire and eat mutton and frijoles (brown beans and chili bread.) I had some meal. I took a pail of water to our camp and soon afterward turned
in. When we arrived home Dick and Tex were bound up tight, Tex flat on his back. I laid their trouble to the strong coffee Dick made—my share of it being drunk by the party but not by me.
There was a bit of branding to do and Manuel (brought back for the job and for some fence building, and I did the flanking. I learned to follow down the lariat (lass) rope when the calf was being dragged to the fire. Reaching the head of the calf one of us would throw the rope off while the other leaned across the back of the calf to grab its flank. Quickly you raise, push with knee and pull flopping calf on side. You then back the front leg that’s on top, bracing both knees against the calf—your helper grabs one hind leg by the upper one and braces a foot against the other leg—calf can’t move while being branded and cut (castrated.) Tom Combs was a good roper. Manuel and I were thus engaged in flanking calves when it happened that in the process of getting a hold on a calf that was doing a good job of jumping around, a loop of Tom’s rope swirled about my neck and (quickly) Manuel threw it off’. I think that I would have had my neck jerked and squeezed badly had Manuel not been quick about coming to my rescue. So I carried away a (feeling) of Manuel not so bad after all. Manuel left the ranch before I did and rather suddenly, too. In some altercation with Dick in the saddle shed Dick’s temper got away from him. Accusing Manuel of killing his horses, Dick cracked Manuel across the shoulder with a spade. I was asked by Mrs. Belle K. Towne of the young Peoples’ Weekly to write a hurry-up story in reference to Christmas for their paper. I left the ranch on my wheel. Near the arroyo leading to Puerto de Luna I ran into a bunch of steers that did not seem to take kindly to the sight of a man on a wheel. I pedaled as rapidly out of their vicinity as possible. I was thirsty when I reached the Mexican ranch that lay a few miles from the John Hick’s ranch. I approached the ranch and was met by a passel of dogs that seemed not too friendly. I rushed through them and landed in the middle of a ring of Mexicans who were sitting on the earthen floor finishing their evening meal. “Aqua Buena” I shouted to introduce myself. I got the drink and went on to the John Hick’s ranch. It was now dark. I pushed my wheel now as the road was sandy. I found John Hicks at his ranch. He was there batching it. “So you came all the way from Dick’s ranch today?’ he asked me. “Well, I know what is the matter with you.” He went to his ice box and pulled out a cow’s liver and some celery. He made coffee—bread also was served. That was one of the most appetizing meals I ever ate.
I was entertained over night by John—he strapped on a gun showing me the “draw.” We went to the train together—he getting off at a station near one of his ranches. I went on to Kansas City and at my Aunt Hattie’s wrote my story. Then went on home to Lawton and later back to the U. of Chicago. I conducted a funeral service over a baby of a neighbors—a raw day in late Nov. I had come from a dry, sunny land and caught cold. At the U. of C. cold developed into a light case of pleurisy that left me in bad shape. I had secured a student pastorate in Stillman Valley, Ill., continuing my studies at the U. ofC, within a year I was operated on in the Methodist Wesley Hospital by Dr. Bayard Holmes and his son.
In June, 1906, my sister Jessie graduated from Kalamazoo College. I was already well situated in a tent on the farm of Deacon Osgood three miles from Stillman Valley. I secured board and room for Jessie on this farm for $6.00 a week for both of us. We spent a lovely summer on this farm. In September I received a letter from Dick inviting me to take up life on his ranch once more and to bring sister Jessie with me--she to teach school. The fall of 1906 and the winter of 1906-1907 was spent on Ranch El Yeso by Jess and me. We took the train out of Chicago in a coach for Kansas City, having tickets for Santa Rosa. Our stop over in Kansas City was spent with relatives. We visited with the fine families of Aunt Hattie and Aunt Rosetta too long and our tickets had become invalid, so Edna’s husband (fine up-standing fellow!) advanced me enough money to buy tickets for Santa Rosa. When we arrived there Dick advanced me enough to pay Edna Wright’s husband the refund. Edna’s husband is now gone. She lives in Bay City and we write to each other at Christmas time.
Well, we arrived in Santa Rosa as I have stated and found Dick impatiently waiting for us. No wonder! No joke to be held over a day or so from your ranch 45 miles away!
We left Santa Rosa in Dick’s Mt. Hack and put up that night at the Ostero Ranch. We arrived at the ranch, Jessie and I. Jess to open school for Mildred and Ethel—I to become ranch man to relieve Baker who became the cowboy on Brito, my famous paint.
The night of arrival—or was it a few days later?—it started to rain and such a deluge! The arroyo at Yeso ran full, washed out the windmill on an upper ranch, within the past year Dick had brought his old mother—a real Texan—tall and lanky like Dick and with a lot of spirit left. A cabin was built for her and Tex and his wife. The two families had their cabin straddling two homesteads (now or eventually to be merged into Dick’s holding.) Dick’s mother won my adoration by reason of her dauntless spirit, recalling that when she first trekked from Texas to N. Mexico, the Indians drove off her cattle.
I obtained the loan of a small black pony for Jess to ride, a horse for her own use, the horse belonging to Luke Hunter, a neighboring rancher.)
The range had been troubled by cattle rustlers. The occupant out of a neighboring ranch was suspected of butchering beef and hauling it to the railroad construction camps — the Santa Fe RR cut off from Clovis to Vaughn, N. Mex. What came of this rustling operation I do not know. The old man who owned the ranch was suspected but nothing could be proved against him. The rustling on a larger scale continued. Dick worked in cooperation with the Bar-V people to get after the rustlers—John Collier, a cattle Ass’n. detective and a pal were engaged. Dick furnished them horses.
Two rustlers were arrested—two young brothers who owned a ranch somewhere between the Yeso and Roswcll. An old scheme was tried by these young fellows. They took young calves from their mothers before they were branded, side-lined them (so that they could be driven—a young calf can run almost as fast as a horse) and drove them to their pasture. The calves were suspect because of the marks on their legs of the side lines.
Now, how to prove that these calves belonged to ranchers other than the young fellows who had them in pasture?
The young fellows were arrested on suspicion; the calves taken to Dick’s ranch and thrown on pasture. An old time cow man who used to be a driver for Chisum was brought in because of his ability to identify a mother cow once he had seen her calf. He joined the Bar-V round-up and spotted quite a herd of cows who were not sided with calves. These cows were brought to Dick’s ranch and at night—each night—the calves were thrown into a corral with them. In time several cows owned their calves. The cows and calves were then driven to Roswell as exhibit A in the trial. The trial came off with result that the two young fellows were each given three years in the pen. Baker, Dick, the Chisum old time driver, Luke Hunter and myself went to Roswell for the trial.
I rode to Roswell on an old carriage horse that Dick intended to turn over to a friend of his to use. Mildred gave her Dad a note written to this friend in which she made a plea for the old horse, requesting good care etc. The note so touched Dick that he bought a single harness for the old horse (I believe he had a single buggy on the ranch or did be buy one and trot it out behind the Mt. back? I forgot, at any rate, Mildred and her grandma used to drive the old horse about the ranch.)
I offered photos of Baker and Luke Hunter taken when they had brought to market the skins of the Bar V cattle taken to Roswell as evidence against the cattle thieves. It appears that they had been pastured on grass and water impregnated with alkali and as a result died.
While we were in Roswell a storm assailed N. Mex. A real one with wet snow at first—this changed to cold blizzard that drove sheep and cattle to theft death. Some Mexican family organized a searching party to find a lost herder. Cattle were driven against fences or into deep arroyos where they died. Horses could paw through snow and grass—not so cattle and sheep.
On our return to ranch I rode the old black horse. But beyond the Ballard Ranch I noticed that Dick was restless. He wanted to send word to the YesoRanch that we were on our way. I started out—then it occurred to me that perhaps Dick had better take my place on the horse and appear at the ranch in person. I therefore traded places with him. He wrapped a blanket about his long legs and rode away.
We traveled slow—the road was muddy. The men passed around their whisky bottle. We spent the intervening night at an abandoned ranch about 12 miles from El Yeso—I slept in Dick’s bed roll under the wagon—the men in the cabin. We had little to eat. But I had some salted peanuts and we found sugar in the cabin. I made peanut candy at the fireplace. We killed a rabbit next morning for breakfast—killed it with a stone after the old trail driver and I failed to hit it by using a pistol.
It was foggy the last day on the trail. I went ahead finally on foot and nearly got lost. I arrived at the fence near the lower windmill. Jessie was so glad to see me that she jumped into my arms from her bedroom window, raising the comment by Mrs. DeG that we acted like newly weds or lovers.
Christmas approached and Jess and Mrs. DeG planned a Christmas party, inviting the housekeeper from the Ranch El Mona and the two Cooley girls. I wrote a little Christmas play, enacted by Mildred, Ethel, Jess and myself. Forgot what it was about.
Dick and Mrs. DeG took a long trip after Christmas I think to California leaving Tom in charge. Jess, the two girls and I went into Santa Rosa with Dick and Mrs. DeG, putting up at a hotel in Santa Rosa. The next day Jess, the two girls and I drove back to the ranch. The girls got rather cold and I stopped on the trail to build a fire to warm them up. Toni and Baker ran the ranch o.k. Ethel became unmanageable in school and practically quiet, Mildred was o.k. In addition to the ranch work I did some trapping and wolf poisoning. Result: 20 coyotes and 4 wild eats. When Jess and I went to Roswell after the return of Dick and Mrs. DeG, I received bounty on all these wild animals, $1 each. The sheriff’s office paid, I believe. Slit the skin from one eye-hole to edge of hide to show that bounty had been paid. Jess and I secured a small cottage furnished near the N. Mex. Military Academy.
We went to Chicago in the private car of a land speculator, a Lawton neighbor being employed by hire and it was through father’s acquaintance with this Lawton man that we were given a free ride in this private car back to Chicago—in June, 1907, we both entered the University of Chicago. Jess received her A. B. This summer quarter was my last in the U. of C. having completed the majors comprising a 3 yr. Divinity course. I met a charming girl on the campus, being interested in her by reason of Jess’s cracking her up as a real person. Within a month after we met Ethel and I were engaged, a circumstance I have had many reasons since to consider most fortunate. We all—that is the group from Kalamazoo—took passenger steamer from Chicago to South Haven in August and that fall I began a pastorate in Eaton Rapids, Michigan. On July 1, 1909, Ethel and I were married at the residence of Ethel’s parents in Summer St., Kalamazoo; father performing the ceremony.
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