Deaf Smith
County, Texas

Interview with John Riding

from The Library of Congress ~ American Memories.

American Life Histories: Manuscripts from the Federal Writers' Project, 1936-1940

Deaf Smith County Memories

 

Interview with Mr. John Riding, 4003 Harrison.

Begin handwritten}[??]{End handwritten}

Mr. Riding came in about 1890 with two other boys to the Frying Pan ranch, where they lived in a dugout in a draw that is now the site of a golf course. The dugout, although it had not been recently inhabited, was a "pretty good dugout". For a trunk the boys used flour sacks, in which they kept a change of clothing, because fleas were so bad in the dugout. They would take the flour sacks out on the open prairie and pin them down with sticks to prevent the high Panhandle winds from blowing them away. When they came in from work at night, they would change to the fresh garments in order to get some rest from the fleas.

One night when the boys were sleeping across the draw from the dugout, rain suddenly began falling in torrents, drenching them as they slept together on the ground before they woke up. When one of the three sleepers moved, the rain leaked in {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}to{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the space left open by the disarranged "tarp". At last Tom Stringer, one of the three, lost his temper and kicked all the cover off and, grabbing it up in his arms, made for the dugout. The boys, who had been sleeping with their boots for pillows, snatched up bedding and boots and, barefoot, waded, the draw. Old paper and sticks found in the dugout furnished fuel for warmth and heat to dry the bedding. The fleas, however, did not have their spirits {Begin deleted text}dampene{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}dampened{End handwritten}{End inserted text} by the downpour. They were still on the job. They "just manhandled us. They rolled us over and over". Mr. Riding says of that hectic night.

The three boys, Will Caufelt, Tom Stringer, and Mr. Riding, were staying at the dugout for Mr. McBride, who had promised them three ponies apiece to break wild horses for him.

Mr. Riding had never had any dealings with "such wild horses", but the other boys thought the animals were "not so bad". However, when one of them was thrown by a wild horse, he "gave up that it was not so good". Mr. Riding recalls that "We had to blindfold him {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text} the horse, of course {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}){End handwritten}{End inserted text} after he was throwed down, and then put on a saddle and let him, up still blindfolded. I remember the first time I tried it, he got up and we took off the blindfold and he gave a big leap and threw me into a

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somersault. I got my feet out of the stirrups, but this horse kicked so much that he got his {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} front feet in there and he was fastened. We tried the same thing over. He was the wildest horse I ever saw, and the meanest. I finally tied down the stirrups and tied my coat to the saddle and tried it again. He bucked for seventy-five yards with me, but somehow I sort of got the movement of the horse and tried to keep with him. McBride called him Blood Boy, and I can truthfully say that, as hard as I worked for my three [ponies?], he couldn't have given me that {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} one".

When Mr. Riding was about eighteen years old, he came with a younger brother, of about eleven years, to La Plata, the first county seat of Deaf Smith County. The party was traveling in covered wagons, an old Mexican driving one in which were loaded the chuck, other supplies, and some lumber. The second wagon contained bedding and {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} three other men, which, besides the {Begin deleted text}broohers{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten} brothers, {End handwritten} {End inserted text} included a Mr. Brown.

The Mexican driver had to take a side trip to unload the lumber, so he said, promising to rejoin the caravan {Begin deleted text}farthe{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text} {Begin handwritten} farther {End handwritten} {End inserted text} along the route the {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} following day at {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}sundown.{End handwritten}{End inserted text}

The Americans thought nothing of the matter until the pangs of hunger called attention to the missing food supplies. Then they realized that the Mexican had decamped with the food and that there were about 50 miles between them and {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} anything to eat. It was nearly sundown and they were not getting any less hungry. Suddenly, Brown saw a streamer of smoke flying upward near a distant lake. {Begin handwritten}continued on page 3{End handwritten}

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Riding {Begin handwritten}3{End handwritten} {Begin deleted text}a [???????] [?]{End deleted text}

In those days a person did not have to know another to enjoy the hospitality of the Western home. The chance traveler overtaken by night was made welcome and no questions were asked. The caravan sought the source of the smoke and came upon the house of an old {Begin deleted text}musanger{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}mustanger{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, a friend of Brown's, {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} named {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} Walter {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Harris{End handwritten}{End inserted text} Brown.

Wild horses, or mustangs, were numerous on the plains at the time. That night the old mustanger told {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} stories of mustanging until a late bedtime. He described for {Begin deleted text}them{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}his guests{End handwritten}{End inserted text} how he "walked down" the wild horses. The {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}mustangs{End handwritten}{End inserted text} would run like "wild fire" at the sight of him, but as long as the {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin deleted text}a imals{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}animals{End handwritten}{End inserted text} could see him, he trotted his own mount placidly along. Once the mustangs were out of sight, he urged his {Begin deleted text}h rse{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}horse{End handwritten}{End inserted text} into a run. Previously he had made {Begin deleted text}[?] a rrangements{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}arrrangements{End handwritten}{End inserted text} with a helper to meet him with a wagon and other mounts at a designated spot in the evening. The wild horses would run all day until they were near exhaustion. He kept them away from water during the chase, also. In {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} about ten days the mustangs, tired and weak and stiff from constant running, became accustomed to the sight of their pursurer, who then prepared snares {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}and{End handwritten}{End inserted text} milled them about until they ran into the traps.

When Mr. Riding and his companions first came to La Plata, there was no road connecting the {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} new county seat with the outside world. Dave McBride ploughed a furrow from La {Begin deleted text}P ata{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Plata{End handwritten}{End inserted text} to Amarillo so that no one would get lost on the open prairie. The ploughing of the approximately 50 miles between the two county seats took two days. Another reason for the road ploughing was the fact that state law required "cardinal" roads to be established from each new county seat to the mid-point of the adjoining county lines.

According to Mr. Riding, Mr. McBride was the founder of La Plata (Mrs. Lowndes says that her father, Mr. Dean was the one who established the first settlement at [La Plata?]).

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Mr. McBride had many old buildings {Begin deleted text}trn{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}torn{End handwritten}{End inserted text} down, some as far away as Vernon, Texas, to be hauled and erected at the site of La {Begin deleted text}P lata{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Plata{End handwritten}{End inserted text}. Mr. Riding "straightened rusty nails for days at a time {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}"{End handwritten}{End inserted text} for Mr. McBride to use in the rebuilding of these old houses in La Plata.

Mr. Riding recalls that Mr. McBride had several of the wildest horses which he had ever seen. They were so wild that when hitched to a cart they would start running and he would have to catch them "on the fly". They would run "like mad" for a few miles before slowing down to a trot. They would "go down that furrow" to Amarillo at a dead run. When someone warned Mr. McBride that he would kill the brutes, he replied that he "wouldn't care if it did, because they ran themselves, he did not make them do it". {Begin deleted text}The three boys, [????]. Will Caufelt, Tom Stringer, and John Riding, were staying at the dugout for Mr. McBride, who had promised them that he would give them three horses apiece to break wild horses for him.

Mr. Riding had never had any dealings with "such wild [?] horses", but the other boys thought the animals were "not so bad". However, when one [?] {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}of{End handwritten}{End inserted text} them was thrown by a wild horse, he "gave up that if was not so good". Mr. Riding recalls that "We had to blindfold him (the horse, of course) after he was throwed down, and then put on a saddle and let him up still blindfolded. I remember the first time I tried it, he got up and we took off the blindfold and he gave a big leap and threw me into a somersault. I got my feet out of the stirrups, but this horse kicked so much that he got his two front feet in there and he was fastened. We tried the same thing over. He was the wildest horse I ever saw, and {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}the{End handwritten}{End inserted text} meanest. I finally tied down the stirrups and tied my coat to the saddle and tried it again. He bucked for [?] [seve ty-five?] {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}seventy-five{End handwritten}{End inserted text} yards with me, but somehow I sort of got {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the movement of {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the horse and tried to keep with him. McBride called him Blood Boy, and I can truthfully say that as hard as I worked for my three [po ies?] {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}ponies{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, he couldn't {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} have {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} given me [t at?] {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}that{End handwritten}{End inserted text} one".{End deleted text}

Mr. {Begin deleted text}Raiding{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}Riding{End inserted text} well remembers his first experience at cow camp: "One day when I was just a big old boy. I went with Mr. Barlow out north of Amarillo to shoot antelopes. My duty was to go off to one side and sort of scare the antelope so it {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text}{Begin handwritten}[?] paragraph goes after the paragraph in back [?] page 1.{End handwritten}

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would run by and Mr. Barlow would shoot it. We were wandering along and went over a hill and began to see cows. There {Begin deleted text}[???]{End deleted text} was cattle everywhere. Barlow said, 'Look, there's a cow outfit. Let's go over and eat with them'. I said, 'Do you know them {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}'{End handwritten}{End inserted text}? He said he did not. 'Well, I was hungry and I decided to 'just play monkey' and {Begin deleted text}g{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}go{End handwritten}{End inserted text} ahead. I would do {Begin deleted text}w tever{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}whatever{End handwritten}{End inserted text} he did. Sure enough, the {Begin deleted text}b ys{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}boys{End handwritten}{End inserted text} had stopped to eat. We got down from our horses and {Begin deleted text}wa ked{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}walked{End handwritten}{End inserted text} up to the camp. No one paid any attention to us. Barlow walked up and got him a plate and tin cup and then walked around to the barbecue. He filled his plate with {Begin deleted text}me t{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}meat{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, got him an onion, looked in the oven and got some bread, and filled his cup with coffee. I was doing likewise. Barlow sat down by one of the men and they exchnaged brief greetings, asking each other where they were from. Nothing more was said. When we had finished, we put our plates and cups up and got on our horses and rode off. I can remember thinking that was the strangest thing I ever saw, our eating with them, uninvited {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten},{End handwritten}{End inserted text} and leaving without a word."

Mr. {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Riding{End handwritten}{End inserted text} knew Amarillo when the {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} Texas Rangers were stationed in the comparatively new town. They were {Begin deleted text}stationed{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}brought{End handwritten}{End inserted text} here, as he recalls, "because of outlaws, cattle thieves, and robbers". The rangers, with Capt. McDonald and {Begin deleted text}eutenant{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Lieutenant{End handwritten}{End inserted text} John {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}L{End handwritten}{End inserted text}. Sullivan, were garrisoned in a camp located where the old Rock {Begin deleted text}arn{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Barn{End handwritten}{End inserted text} now is.

The rangers who were "most all nice-looking young men who had white hands, mustaches" and who wore "big guns, fine boots {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten},{End handwritten}{End inserted text} big hats, {Begin deleted text}g oves{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}gloves{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, and {Begin deleted text}a ifornia{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}California{End handwritten}{End inserted text} pants". They did not wear uniforms, their suits being mainly of striped or checked design. They {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} received a {Begin deleted text}sa ary{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}salary{End handwritten}{End inserted text} of $30 a {Begin deleted text}mo th{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}month{End handwritten}{End inserted text} each, {Begin deleted text}with{End deleted text} ammunition and grub {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} being free. They were "rushed to death by Amarillo girls" as they did not have regular hours to work and {Begin deleted text}cou d{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}could{End handwritten}{End inserted text} go on {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} picnics or parties at any hour {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/of{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the day.

Mr. Riding recalls one instance in which the rangers were called out to capture an outlaw named Bill Cook, who is now in Sing Sing. The outlaw and his gang, consisting of six or more men, were in the vicinity, but Capt. McDonald did not know their exact whereabouts. He did know, {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} however, a family who was reported to have shielded the outlaws at one time or another.

One dark night McDonald went to the house occupied by this family and knocked

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lightly on the window. A woman came to the opening and {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} asked what he wanted. McDonald, pretending that he was a member of Cook's gang, told her that he had only a minute as the rangers were on his trail and he needed to get to Cook's hideout for {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} protection as quickly as possible. She could not see {Begin deleted text}is{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}his{End handwritten}{End inserted text} face because of the darkness. Not doubting that he was one of the outlaws, she old him where the hideout was and that Cook and his men were already there.

The next day McDonald and his rangers went to {Begin deleted text}t e{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}the{End handwritten}{End inserted text} hideaway and surrounded the little log cabin. He called out to Cook to surrender and he would not shoot. But the outlaw answered by firing his gun. The rangers returned the fire {Begin deleted text}[??]{End deleted text} with interest. {Begin deleted text}Liuetenant{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}Lieutenant{End inserted text} Sullivan, who was a six-footer, and a boy of eighteen who had just become a full-fledged ranger, started up to the door. Cook yelled to the boy to go back, but the youngster came on, telling the outlaw that he was going to {Begin deleted text}k ck{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}kick{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the door down".

About this time a shot went between Sullivan {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}'{End handwritten}{End inserted text} s knees. The rangers, undaunted, pressed {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} closer and closer around the cabin. The gang took refuge in the {Begin deleted text}oft{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}loft{End handwritten}{End inserted text} of the building. McDonald called to them to surrender. One of the {Begin deleted text}outlwas{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}outlaws{End inserted text} answered that Cook would not let them come down and give themselves up. The rangers told the man to reach down his hands and they would pull him down and would shoot Cook to ribbons if he attempted to kill the man for his action. One by one the men came down from their {Begin deleted text}iding{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}hiding{End handwritten}{End inserted text} place, until only Cook remained in the loft. At last he said, "All right, Mac, I'm coming down".

Mr. Riding knew H. H . Brookes, the first newspaper man in Amarillo. Mr. Brookes had an office in Old Town until {Begin deleted text}Hnery S born{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Henry Sanborn{End handwritten}{End inserted text} gave him a lot to move to [his?] location for the new town of Amarillo. According to Mr. {Begin deleted text}iding{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Riding{End handwritten}{End inserted text} Brookes was also given a printing press. The newspaper office was {Begin deleted text}loc ed{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}located{End handwritten}{End inserted text} at the corner of Seventh and Polk in the new town. Mr. Brookes lived {Begin deleted text}b ck{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}back{End handwritten}{End inserted text} of {Begin deleted text}e{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}the{End handwritten}{End inserted text} printing shop.

The inhabitants of Old Town were {Begin deleted text}[??????]{End deleted text} at first against moving to the new townsite and resented the fact that Mr. Brookes was leaving them without a paper. He solved the problem by publishing a paper in

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the new location and one in Old Town, also. In the first, he "gave the folks down in the old town the devil" for not wanting {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} Amarillo moved, and in the second, published material pleasing to the residents of Old Town, saying that Mr. Sanborn was" an outsider coming in and trying to break up the town that the first comers had worked so hard to build up". However, Mr. Brookes lived up to his contract with Mr. Sanborn. When the time of the contract expired, he left town, being very unpopular with the citizens of both old and new Amarillo. {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} At his departure a cannon was fired and bells were rung by saloon-keepers. Small boys of Amarillo pulled off stunts in celebration as the train bore the Brookes family away.

Mr. Riding has a {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}painful{End handwritten}{End inserted text} memory of the fleas in Amarillo as well as on the Frying Pan ranch. There were so many hogs and cattle and other animals running loose in the town that fleas {Begin deleted text}bec me{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}became{End handwritten}{End inserted text} a great pest. When Mr. Riding and his wife attended services at the Baptist Church at Fifth and Pierce streets, it was almost impossible for them to sit still because of these fleas. The churchhouse, which sat upon a rock foundation, afforded a cool place for hogs to lie and root. Fleas from the animals came up through the floor and sought new homes on the members of the congregation.

Some of Mr. Riding's most vivid recollections are of his early schooldays in Amarillo. One day Burris Peterson, now brother-in-law of Mr. Riding, and a friend of his, George Hayden, of about the same age as Burris, decided that they would play hookey and go skating.

The year was 1891, {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} during the age in which teachers punished their pupils with {Begin deleted text}a{End deleted text} hickory {Begin deleted text}limb{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}limbs{End handwritten}{End inserted text}. Professor Woodsen, a red-haired Irishman, who taught the little school [[?] at Eighth and Van Buren streets, not only whipped boys, but girls, {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} Once he lined the grown girls up and thrashed them all for attending a dance the night before, even when they were not under his discipline.

Knowing the propensities of Professor Woodsen the truant boys were apprehensive about returning to school the following day. They decided to " {Begin deleted text}fr e{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}frame{End handwritten}{End inserted text} up" on the teacher. Burris told George that they would take their guns {Begin deleted text}o{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}to{End handwritten}{End inserted text} school and if the professor started to whip one of them, the other would start shooting. The plan {Begin deleted text}[??]{End deleted text} gave them a {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}false{End handwritten}{End inserted text} sense of {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} security. The next morning when Professor Woodson asked Burris if he had been {Begin deleted text}laying{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}playing{End handwritten}{End inserted text} hookey, the youngster answered impudently,

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"Yes". The saucy rejoinder aroused the Irish in the professor and he hauled away and wrapped a slate around {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} Burris' neck, leading him around by the frame and laying on the hickory to his heart's content. Burris could do {Begin deleted text}othing{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}nothing{End handwritten}{End inserted text} but go where the teacher willed, for he was {Begin deleted text}afr id{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}afraid{End handwritten}{End inserted text} that {Begin deleted text}is{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}his{End handwritten}{End inserted text} head would be cut off by the broken slate if he did not {Begin deleted text}gollow{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}follow{End handwritten}{End inserted text} each enraged tug of the guiding hand. He kept thinking that {Begin deleted text}Geor{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}George{End handwritten}{End inserted text} would come to his rescue with the pre- {Begin deleted text}a anged{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}arranged{End handwritten}{End inserted text} shooting, but {Begin deleted text}George{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}he{End handwritten}{End inserted text} never did. A hint to the wise {Begin deleted text}w s{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}was{End handwritten}{End inserted text} sufficient for George.

One day when Professor Woodsen had gone home for lunch at the noon recess, the students stood on benches and nailed the teacher's "cowhide" {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten},{End handwritten}{End inserted text} with which he did his whipping, to the top of the building.

When the professor returned, he {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} immediately noticed the unusual decorative scheme. None of the pupils knew who did the trick, when they were interrogated, one by one.

"Somebody has lied," shouted the exasperated professor.

He walked furiously up and down, his coat tails {Begin deleted text}wavngg{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}waving{End handwritten}{End inserted text} agitatedly behind him. "If any of you {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}boys{End handwritten}{End inserted text} want to fight, just come on and we'll have it out, " he roared.

Down inside, the {Begin deleted text}b ys{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}boys{End handwritten}{End inserted text} were [really?] afraid of the old teacher. None of them wanted to fight - especially while he {Begin deleted text}w s [?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}was in{End handwritten}{End inserted text} his present state of mind. Dick Stratton, a studious young fellow, was sitting at his desk, absorbed in a book. One of his {Begin deleted text}fr ends{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}friends{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, who is now a {Begin deleted text}Prebyteriian{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Presbyterian{End handwritten}{End inserted text} minister, spoke up, " {Begin deleted text}Proffesor{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}Professor{End handwritten}{End inserted text}, Dick says he will try you a round".

[[?]Dick jumped up. " {Begin deleted text}T at's{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}That's{End handwritten}{End inserted text} a lie. I never said any such thing". But he had a hard time convincing the teacher that he {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} did not want to fight.

Mr. Riding recalls the barbecues which {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}were frequently given by{End handwritten}{End inserted text} {Begin deleted text}the{End deleted text} early settlers in Amarillo {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text}, at which jousting tournaments would be held. Men on horses tilted at rings on poles. The victor was granted the privilege of crowning the queen or most popular girl at the barbecue entertainment. One of the {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}participants{End handwritten}{End inserted text} at one of these barbecues {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten},{End handwritten}{End inserted text} a Mr. Neeley, got drunk and kept the other {Begin deleted text}contesta ts{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}contestants{End handwritten}{End inserted text} from {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} going through with the tilting, until some one took him off his horse. To prevent injury to themselves, the jousters wore shields.

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During the Indian scare of 1890 or 1891, Mr. Riding and others made bullets all night and the next day after the report was received that Indians were coming into the Panhandle. The bullets, moulded hurriedly, were used later in hunting antelope and other game, often blowing the animals to pieces, either from defective manufacture or {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text} from an overcharge of powder. The discharge from one of these bullets often knocked the firer down and blew smoke in his eyes. One man who used the bullets in his gun was thought to have been blinded by the shot, but he later recovered his sight. {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} A woman who started from home with her two little ones to take refuge in La Plato at the time of the scare, lost one of the babies, it was said, and went on without it, in her excitement.

For a week after the alarm, watchers were placed on top of the courthouse at La Plata to warn of the expected approach of Indians.

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{Begin handwritten}[?] Range Lore 1{End handwritten}

Notes from an interview with Mr. Riding.

The Texas Rangers came here because of the outlaws, cattle thieves, and robbers. TheYwere most all nice looking young men who had white hands, mustaches, carried big guns, and earned a salary of $30. a month. and ammunition and grub. They were rushed to death by the Amarillo girls as they didn't have regular hours to work and could go on picnics or parties at any hour in the day. They all wore fine boots and big hats and gloves. They did not have uniforms but most of them wore what we called California pants. They were stripes or big checks usually. They had their camp down where the old Rock Barn is that White and Kirks are now using. The Rangers did not have an official cook but took time about. Their captain was named McDonald and John L. Sullivan was a Ltd.

Once they were called out to get a fugitive, an outlaw named Bill Cook who is now in Sing Sing Prison. The outlaw and his gang, about six of them were in this vicinity but McDonald did not know {Begin deleted text}ehere{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}where{End handwritten}{End inserted text}. He did know, however, a family that helped to shield them so one dark night he rushed up to the house and knocked on the window very lightly. The woman came over and asked who it was and what he wanted. McDonald pretended to be a member of Cook's gang and he told her that he had only a minute that they were on his trail and he must get with Bill Cook for protection as soon as possible! The woman could not see him since it was so dark and he was out of sight behind the house, anyway, and she did not doubt that he was one of them. She told him where the hideout was and that they were there. Next day he and the other rangers went to the place. It was a little log house. They surrounded it and called out to Cook to surrender and they would not be hurt. But Cook only began shooting and the rangers fired back! John L. Sullivan who was about six feet at the least and another boy who had just become a ranger, under 18, started up to the door. Cook made the boy go back but he went on up and told {Begin handwritten}C12 - 2/11/41 Tex.{End handwritten}

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the gang that he was going to kick the door down. About this time a shot was fired that went between Sullivan's knees. But he went on and the other rangers closed in and they went in. The gang were in the loft of the house and McDonald told them once more that they must surrender. One of the men called down that Cook would not let them come down and give themselves up! He was told to put his hands down and they would pull him out and if Cook shot him they would shoot him to ribbons. One by one then the men came down until Cook was left by himself. He said, "All right, Mack, don't shoot! I'm coming down!" The people of Amarillo really needed the Rangers and they did quite a bit of good. The sheriff didn't get along so well with them.

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]I well remember my first experience at a cow camp. One day when I was just a big old boy I went with Mr. Barlow out here north of town to shoot antelopes. My duty was to go off to one side and sort of scare the antelope so it would run by and Mr. Barlow would shoot it. We were wandering along and went over a sort of hill and began to see cows. There was cattle everywhere. Barlow said, "Look, there's a cow outfit. Let's go over and eat with them". I said, "Do you know them?" He told me that he didn't. Well, I was hungry and I decided to just play monkey and go ahead. I would do what ever he did. Sure enough, the boys had stopped to eat. We got down from {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}our{End handwritten}{End inserted text} horses, and walked up. No one paid any {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} attention to us. Barlow walked up and got him a plate and tin cup and then walked around to the barbecue. He filled his platewith meat, got him an onion, looked in the oven and got some bread and filled his cup with coffee. I was doing likewise. Barlow sat down by one of the men to eat and they exchanged brief greetings, asking each other where they were from. Nothing more was said. When we had finished, we put our plates and cups up and got on our horses and rode.off. I can remember thinking that was the strangest thing I ever saw., our eating with them, uninvited and

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and leaving without a word.

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Mr. Riding said that there was one peculair thing about this country and that was fleas. He said that there was no hogs or cattle or animals here to speak of when he came, not anymore than there were any place else but he said he never hoped to see so many again. Mrs. Riding [said?] that they went to the Baptist Church down at 5th and Pierce Street and it was almost impossible to sit through the services. She accounted for that however, by the fact that the house sat upon rocks, for a foundation, that made the building off the ground. She said hogs stayed under there most of the time and those fleas would come on up and get on the people when they came to church. {Begin handwritten}1 see p. 5 & 8{End handwritten}

[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]Mr. Riding said that in about 1890, he and two more boys came here to live in a dugout out on the Frying Pan. The dugout was down in that draw about where the golf Course is now. He said No one had lived in the dugout for years but it was a pretty good dugout. He said that they had what they called their trunks but was only a flour sack which they kept a change of clothing. {Begin deleted text}The{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}They{End handwritten}{End inserted text} would take that out on the prairie and put a stick in it to hold it down and keept the wind from blowing it away. When they came in nights they could change their clothes and this was the only way they could get any piece or rest. One night, they were sleeping out across the draw from the dugout. The three were sleeping together. A rain came up and it came down in torrents and had been for about an hour when any of [them?] woke up. When any one {Begin deleted text}orf{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}of{End handwritten}{End inserted text} the three moved he let in a new leak until finally Tom Stringer lost his temper and kikked all the cover off and took a load of the cover and ran for the dugout. We had been sleeping with {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}our{End handwritten}{End inserted text} boots under our heads. We all grabbed our beds and ran and I remember that we had to walk on tip toe and hold the bedding up over our {Begin deleted text}[??]{End deleted text} {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}heads to{End handwritten}{End inserted text} keep from getting it any wetter as as we wadded that draw. There was some old papers and sticks in the dugout and we built us a fire and got warma and dried out some of our bed clothing.[ {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}){End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]Those fleas came to life about that time and they just manhandled us. They just rolled us over and over. That was truly a miserable right.

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]We three boys were staying there for Mr. McBride. There was Will Caufelt, Tom Stringer and myself. He had promised us that he would give us three horses a piece if we would come and break some horses for him. I had never had any dealing with such wild horses but the other boys thought they were good. The first evening one of them got throwed and gave up that he wasn't so good. There was one that I decided I would ride. We had to blind fold him after he was throwed down. and then put on a saddle and let him up still blindfolded. I remember the first time I tried it he got up and we took off the blindfold and he gave a big leap and threw me into a summerset. It got my feet out of the stirrups but this horse kikked so much that he got his two front feet in there and he was fastened. We tried the same thing. over. He was the wildest horse I ever saw, and themeanist. I finally tied down the stirrup and tied my coat to the saddle and tried it again. He bucked for 75 yeards with me but some how, at the very first I sort of got the movement of the horse and tried to keep [with?] him. McBride called him Blood Boy and I can truthfully say that as hard as I worked for my three ponies, he couldn't have given me that one.

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]In about the year of 1890, we came to Amarillo from La Plata. I was about 18 and my brother was 11. We were traveling in covered wagons, an old Mexican had one wagon, it had the chuck, matches, tobacco, water and food supplies. The other wagon had the bedding. Mr. Brown and my brother and I were on that one. The old Mexican had some lumber on the wagon with him and he had to take it down to a draw off the road. He told us to go on and we would meet back on the road at about sundown the next evening. Finally, however, we grew hungry. Then we realized that the Mexican was gone with the food and water and there was 50 miles between us and any more. It was almost sundown and we getting pretty hungry and blue. Brown saw a smoke coming out of the lake. He was wondering what it was. In those days you didn't have to know people to stay all night with them. If you came up to their house at night you were welcome to stay. We droved up to the house and an old Mustanger lived there. He was a friend of Browns named Walter Harris Brown. I recall that there was horses everywhere. He told us stories that night about mustangs until we all went to sleep. He told us about how you "walk down" a wild horse. He said that he would get on a pony and sort of trot until those wild horses saw him. They would run just like wild fire and when they were out of seen distance of him he would run his horse like that. Everytime the wild ones went under a hill he would run fast but when they saw him he would just be trotting along. He would have an agreement to meet a man with a wagon at a certain place in the evening. The horses would have run all day and would be so tired that they could drop. He would keep them away from water. In about ten days they would be weak and tired and stiff. They would also be sort of used to seeing him too so he would make snares out of stakes driven in the ground and would mill the mustangs around until they stepped in the holes. They {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} would fall and he usually be able to handle them then.[ {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}){End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]

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Burris Peterson, who is now my brother-in-law, and a friend of his George Hayden, both boys about the same age, decided they would play hookey from school and go skateing. They went to a little school located at 6th and Van Buren Street and had a red headed Irish teacher named Professor Woodsen. That was in the year of '91 and during that age the teachers punished the pupils with hickory limbs. This teacher even whipped the grown girls and he was so unreasonable that he lined them all up and thrashed them all out for going to a dance one night even while they were out from under his discipline.

These boys were just at the age when they wanted to be bad men and they were pretty uneasy about having to go back to school next day anyway and getting their punishment so they decided to frame up on the teacher. Burris told George that they would take their guns and if he started to whip one of them, the other would shoot. Burris was feeling very secure then and when they went back to school and Prof. Woodsen asked him if he had not played hookey and gone skateing the day before, he sassed him and said yes. This made the teacher fierce and he picked up a slate and broke it over Burris' head. This put the slate frame around his neck and the teacher just lead him around and thrashed him good. Burris was afraid he would get his head cut off if he didn't go with him where {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} he tugged. He kept thinking George would shoot and save him but George never did.

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Mr. Riding told of another incident that happened at that same school and in that same year. He said that one day when the teacher had gone home for lunch the kids stood up on benches and nailed Professor Woodsen's cow hide to the top of the house. This cow hide was what he used for a hickory limb. When he came back, of course he noticed it and called them all up, one by one and of course none of them knew any thing about how come the whip up there.

Some one has lied!" said Prof. Woodsen. The

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Prof Woodsen was raving mad and was walking up and down the school room. The boys there were almost grown and they sometimes would take whippings for the girls. This made the old teacher mad, always, and he began about that. "If any of you want to fight, just come on and we'll have it out," he roared. Of course all the boys, way down inside, were afraid of the old teacher, and none of them wanted to fight. There was a boy sitting there, apparently studying whit intense interest, named Dick Stratton. {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} One of Dick's friends, who is now a presbyterian preacher. noticed Dick, apparently so absorbed in study, and he said "Teacher, Dick said he would try you a round." Dick jumped up and began to defend himself and said John is lying. I never thought of such thing. Poor Dick had an awful time [convincing?] the teacher that he didn't want to fight.

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]Mr. Brooks was the first newspaper man in Amarillo. He had an office down in Old Town.. When Mr. Sanborn came here, he gave Mr. Brooke a lot, at the corner of 7th and Polk and a printing machine, to move over and put out a [paper?] in new town. Mr. Brooks accepted the contract and moved over. He lived in the back of the shop. Old Town was against moving over into the New Town, of course, so the people where Mr. Brooks moved from resented his leaving them with a paper. Now Mr. Brroks wanted to mae money so of the morning, he would publish a paper in his new office, and uphold the new town and just "give the folks down in the old town the devil" for not wanting Amarillo is move. This pleased Mr. Sanborn immensely but soon he learned that Mr. Brooks was going over to his old shop in the afternoons and publishing just such a paper the other way around for his old friends. He would say that Mr. Sanborn was an outsider coming in trying to break up the little town that all the old town folks had worked so hard for and tried to build and had been so proud of. Mr. Brooks was living up to his contract with Mr. Sanborn, because he had not promised not to publish another paper. He got to stay until his contract was up which was much over a year. This

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made him very unpopilar and finally hen he had made all the money he needed he left town. {Begin deleted text}[?]{End deleted text} A cannon was fired when {Begin deleted text}[??]{End deleted text} he left and the bells of the saloons were rung. The boys of Amarillo went in or qute a celebration as the train pulled out taking the Brooks' away.

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[{Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}({End handwritten}{End inserted text}?]Mr. Riding is from La Plata, which is 12 years older than Hereford. He said there was no road to La Plata and Dave McBride plowed a furrow there. It took him two days. He had it surved before he stared and sticks put down for each section. Mr. McBride was the founder of La Plata. He had every old building torn down such as livery stables and old shacks and buildings {Begin deleted text}[??]{End deleted text} and hauled them there. Some he brought so far as Vernon. Mr. Riding said he had straightened rusty nails for Mr. McBride for days at a time so that he might take them to La Plata to start a town. Mr {Begin inserted text}{Begin handwritten}/{End handwritten}{End inserted text}. Riding recalls that Mr. McBride had the of the wildest horses he had ever seen worked to a cart. They were so wild that whn hooked to the cart they [would?] start running and he would catch them "on the fly". They would run like mad for a few miles and then would low down to a trot. They would go down that furrow to La Plata., from Amarillo. Some one told him that that run would kill those horses. McBride said that it wouldn't but he wouldn't care if it did because they ran it themselves. He didn't make them do it.


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