SKETCH OF MY LIFE
Felix Carroll McKinney, Sr.
My fatherís name was Julius Nichols MCKINNEY born in South Carolina in 1821. My motherís maiden name was Melvirda BATES born in Alabama in 1829. Both were of Scotch, Irish ancestry. They were married in Arkansas, 1849, and when my father asked my mother to marry him, he told her it must be understood if they married they would start at once for Texas. My mother looked my father straight in the eyes and says, "Julius, I love you and will marry you, and not only go to Texas with you, but I will go to the end of the world with you." That was the kind of stuff the old pioneers were made of.
They married and started at once for Texas in their covered wagon drawn by oxen. When they crossed the Mississippi River into the wild Indian country, my mother sat in the rear end of the wagon with her rifle and shotpouch and powder horn around her shoulders looking out through a port hole through the wagon over to see that the Indians didnít attack them from behind, while my father sat in front with his rifle, shotpouch and powder horn driving the ox team and looking out in front that the Indians didnít attack them.
They first settled in Texas, near where the town of McKinney in Collin County is located today. There my father met his Uncle Collin MCKINNEY who had preceded him several years; in fact his Uncle Collin MCKINNEY came to Texas when Texas yet belonged to Mexico. He soldiered under Sam HOUSTON, and he was one of the Committee of Five who was appointed to draft the Texas Declaration of Independence from Mexico. The present county of Collin and its county seat McKinney was named in honor of Collin MCKINNEY, my uncle.
My father lived in Collin County, Texas, until 1858; having lost from sickness their first three children my parents became discouraged. My father went to Uncle Collin MCKINNEY for advice. His uncle advised him to round up his cattle, load up his ox wagon and move on farther west, and said, Ďmy two sons, Robert and Columbus, might go with you," and they did.
While on their way they camped one night about fifty miles west from San Antonio, Texas. Their usual habits hobbling their oxen out at night to graze and the two cousins as usual went out next morning to bring in the oxen, came running back shouting to my father who had stayed to help the women load the wagon, "letís go back, letís go back!" My father asked, "What is the matter?" They said, "We found three white men hanging on the limb of a tree, marked horse-thieves across the breast." Father says, "No! No! I shall not go back. This is the country Iím looking for where they hang all horse-thieves." They continued on.
Father located in Frio County which was unorganized at that time, 1858. This, however, was a wonderful cattle country, full of wild game of all description, and plenty of wild Indians visiting every light of the moon.
My father settled down to raising cattle and hogs and fighting Indians. Later on when other cattlemen came into this country my father started a general-merchandise store to furnish the cattlemen with supplies. Father freighted all the goods by ox wagons from San Antonio, taking about two weeks to make the round trip.
I shall never forget when father was gone on one of these trips for goods. We had a cloudburst to full above us on the Leona River, where we lived, and the flood came on our ranch near midnight. Mother was alone with only four of us small children. We children wanted to go up stream to the nearest neighbor, but mother says, "No. The water is rising fast. Hang on to my dress all of you, I will take us out." She was carrying the baby in her arms. She thought of our cattle corrals and got on top of the fence as they were on high ground. But the water kept rising, and we had to climb from the fence on up into a hackberry tree. All Texans know what a hackberry tree isóhard to sit on. There we all sat up in the tree until the next day about sundown. G. W. DAUGHERTY, my brother-in-law, and some other cattlemen swam in on horses and rescued us. Our store and all the buildings were washed away. This occurred in 1869, always mentioned by the family as the year of the flood.
My mother took us children up to what was known as the "Todos Santos", All Saints Ranch, owned by a man by the name of Tim ODEN. He wanted to sell the ranch and my mother bought it. So when my father arrived later with his ox wagons loaded with goods, my mother had another storehouse ready for the goods, and a better cattle ranch, the Todos Santos, All Saints. My dear mother was a good businesswoman, and she didnít know what fear was. I never saw her excited in my life. Often I think if the flood would happen to the women of today they would have run around in the house looking for their lipsticks and rouge and got drowned. The Indians were the only people who painted in those good old days. The good women of those days were naturally beautiful. Their good hard sense, bravery and intelligence made them beautiful. I was a grown up young man when I saw the first white woman painted. I really thought they were on the warpath. These women came west with the railroads. Paint up girls all you want to, but thank God my little good old wife has never used a lipstick or paint; yet, she is 66 years old and a good looker I think.
The nearest public school was seventy-five miles from our ranch. My father set about giving us all an education so he hired his own school teachers and built his own school houses, and he invited all the cattlemen to send their children to this school, known as the McKinney School at Todos Santos Ranch, Frio County, Texas. The cattle ranches were miles apart; of course the distance was too great to go to their homes. They only went home during vacations. I have seen as many as fifty children at our home attending the school. We were at all times under our teachersí supervision.
Two of the pupils of this school turned out to be notorious outlaws years later. These were Billie [Billy] the Kid who was going under the assumed name of Jimmie SIMPSON. He was picked up by my brother-in-law G. W. DAUGHTERY in 1873, shortly after he had killed his first man, a blacksmith at Silver City, New Mexico. Tom FOLLIARD [OíFOLLIARD] another pupil of the school became very chummy with Billie the Kid; "Birds of a feather will flock together." When they left our school they always corresponded and kept in touch with each other. FOLLIARD lived near our ranch and in 1879, FOLLIARD told me he was going out to New Mexico and join the Kid which he did; however, this is another story which I may write up some day.
When the oldest of our family in our school got far enough advanced, he or she was sent off to college to graduate; but my good father failed physically and financially before time came to me. I told my father to let me go out and go to work that I might get in shape to care for them, he and my dear old mother, in their old days. I did do that very thing, which I will explain later, and it gives me more pleasure in my old days to have this to my credit that all the college education and money in this world. When this McKinney school was being carried on the Indians were so bad that our school teachers and all the oldest boys carried guns to and from the school as the Indians were liable to attack us at any time. It was a custom when any Indians were seen in the country a runner was sent at once over to notify the different ranches.
In 1873, two young men came to notify us that Indians had been seen. The young men stayed over night with us and staked their horses back of a corral where grass was good. Early next morning they went out to get their horses and saw the Indians taking them.
My brother Julius, two years older than I, started to milk the cows of which we always had a big bunch, to supply our school with milk and butter. We would milk at night, keep the cows in the corral and let the calves run out. So this morning I went to drive the calves in and I met the two young men coming running shouting, Indians. I turned and ran back to the house with them. I shouted to my brother in the corral to runóIndians were coming. I can hear the rattling of the milk buckets my brother threw down yet. When we reached the house my mother was walking the front porch shouting for everybody to get their guns and fight the Indians. The Indians charged our cow corral thinking we had horses. When they saw it was cows, they shot some of the cows with arrows and went away. As soon as our men folks could get mounted they tried to follow the Indiansí trail, but the Indians all scattered, so they could not trail them. This was an old trick with them.
Our schoolteacher at this time was Mr. John A. PRANGLIN from Georgia. He went with the party following these Indians. When they returned to our ranch there were no school lessons that day. Preparations were being made for another Indian raid. Our teacher, Mr. PRANGLIN, complained of his horse being scared of gun firing, so by brother-in-law, in order to have some fun, told Mr. PRANGLIN to get on his horse, go up the road and run his horse as fast as he could go and when he got near us to fire his pistol between the horses ears, which he did. The horse bucked and threw our teacher high in the air. He was a good schoolteacher, but a very poor rider and Indian fighter.
While our school was going on at our ranch, my brothers and I would go out on the range and bring in fresh milk cows with young calves, and brand mavericks. We never passed up a maverick, as Father allowed all of us an individual brand, this would be on Saturdays and Sundays and during vacations. Brother Julius, who was two years older than me, and I were out on the range and had just branded a maverick, I was turning the maverick loose when my brother shouted, "Here comes some Indians." I mounted my horse and we ran for the ranch. My brotherís horse was faster than mine was. I shouted to him, "Donít leave me." He came back and fell behind my horse whipping him with his rope. When we got within hearing distance of the ranch we began to shout, "Open the gate, open the gate." We had quite a large yard fence around the ranch building. When I reached the gate, my father was standing there with the gate open. He says,"Whatís the matter?" I said, "Indians." I could not stop my horse. He ran around the house and ran over some of my motherís ducks. Mother ran out with the broomstick and she stopped me. The Indians didnít run us far, they had a big bunch of horses they had stolen from other cattlemen.
All of the cattlemen kept a man called the Ranch Keeper. His duty was to stay near the family and protect them from the Indians. Mr. MARTIN, a cattleman living fifteen miles from us, had a Mr. AKENS for ranch keeper. Mr. MARTIN was away looking after his cattle; a bunch of Comanche Indians attacked the ranch. Mr. AKENS managed to get the family into the house; the family was Mrs. MARTIN, her three young children and her mother, known by all as Grandma KAYS. Mr. AKENS and Mrs. MARTIN both armed with the old muzzle loading rifles, we had no Winchesters then, kept shooting through cracks in the house at the Indians, while Grandma KAYS had the children with her under the bed. About this time Mr. AKENS called to Mrs. MARTIN saying, "I am getting short of bullets. You mold some more bullets and I will keep shooting." Mrs. MARTIN went to the fireplace where the old bullet molds always hung, cut the lead and molded some more bullets. Grandma heard a noise and looked and it was a Buck Indian looking at her. Of course, grandma lost no time getting out from under the bed. Just then Mr. AKENS cried out, "Mrs. MARTIN, there goes one of the Indians with little Frankieís saddle." Well, Mrs. MARTIN says, "Aim your gun at him about where your galises, i.e. suspenders, crosses and cut down on him, and Mr. AKENS obeyed orders and killed the Indian. That ended the battle. The other Indians threw the dead Indian on a horse and left. The Comanche Indians were never known to leave one of their dead on a battlefield.
The fourth day of July always brings three instances fresh to mind. First, we gained our independence from England. Second, my oldest sister, named Mary Independence, was born July 4, 1855. Third, Indian battle fought by the cattlemen in our neighborhood in Frio County, Texas, July 4, 1865. It caused such an excitement that I remember it very distinctly.
On this day July 4, 1865, quite a lot of people, women, men and children, had gathered at Ed BURLESONíS ranch to celebrate the 4th and wind up with a dance. Mr. BURLESON went out a short distance to get some horses and some Indians ran into him and chased him back to his house. Ere the sun went down on that day the festivities were changed into mourning. Instead of the gay tramp and joyous laughter of the dancers, wailing and the slow tread of a funeral procession was heard. Excitement ran high when BURLESON rushed in and gave the alarm. Most of the men mounted in haste to go in pursuit and others were notified. When all the men had gotten together on short notice, they numbered eleven. When the main trail of the Indians was struck, the Indians were found to be in large forces. The settlers first came in sight of them two miles off, but they went down into a valley and were lost to sight for some time. Suddenly, however, they came into view again not more than two hundred yards away. There were thirty-six Indians mounted two and two on a horse. The Indians now discovered the white men for the first time and at once commenced a retreat. The white men were all brave frontiersmen and made a reckless and impetuous charge and began firing too soon. The Indians ran nearly a mile, and thinking likely they had well drawn the fire of the settlers, checked their flight at a lone tree, at the signal from their chief, and each Indian who was mounted behind another jumped to ground and came back at a charge and for the first time commenced shooting. The mounted ones circled to the right and to the left, and sent a shower of bullets and arrows. Some of the Indians went entirely around the white men and a desperate battle at close quarters ensued. The Indians had the advantage of the whites in point of numbers and shots, the latter having nearly exhausted their shots at long range. They had no time to reload a cap and ball pistol or gun in such a fight as now was being inaugurated.
Three of the white men were killed, and the balance of eight were wounded. G.W. DAUGHERTY, (my brother-in-law) was among the wounded, he married my oldest sister later on. She was ten years old that fatal day. In this wounded and scattered condition they went back to BURLESONíS ranch and told the sad news of their sad defeat. Other men were collected and returned to the battleground to bring away the dead, led by the ones least wounded. The three bodies lay within a hundred yards of each other and were badly mutilated. The Indians as usual carried away their dead, how many was not known. ODEN and WILLIAMS, two of the white men that were killed, were brother-in-laws and both were buried in the same box. We had no embalming in that country at that time. People were buried in rough lumber boxes and often just rolled in their blankets. Lumber was very scarce at that time in that section.
This is a very good description of the early day life of Texas. I think back now and wonder how us seven brothers escaped from being killed or carried away by the Indians. There is no doubt in my mind we were guided and protected by kind providence, our God.
1861, when our Civil War was started, all of our young men volunteered and joined the Confederate Army. They went down in history as the Texas Volunteers. The Indians were quick to see this and gave us western cattlemen more trouble. My father and others concentrated their families and moved them one county east, Atascosa County, where they would have more protection. I was born Sept. Second, 1861, while our family was in Atascosa County, TX. Father moved our family back to our old ranch in Frio County, Texas immediately after the Civil [War] was ended 1865. My mother often asked me after I grew up if I ever felt like going on the warpath. I replied to her, "No mother, I think I have a very peaceful mind." The only time I show my anger is when some one-steps on my toes, then my Scotch-Irish blood shows up. Mother then said, "Why I ask you this, when you were born we were engaged in two wars." The Yankees on the west side trying to kill us. The cattlemen of our section lost heavily in live stock during the Civil War. Their ranches and cattle being so near the Rio Grande River which was the line between Texas and Mexico, Mexican cattle thieves stole thousands and thousands of cattle and took them into Mexico.
Our father always mounted us on the beat of horses so we could outrun the Indians. We were too young to carry firearms. However, one of his cattle foremen gave me a cap and ball pistol when I was only eight years old, but I had to keep it concealed from my father. I had become quite a marksman with my pistol. One day some neighbor boys were visiting brother Tom and me, and I was showing them how I could whirl this gun around my fingers, as we had often seen the Texas Rangers do, but my gun fired accidentally and shot my brother Tom who was only six years old. It was only a flesh would, but proved to be very painful. We had to keep the shooting from Mother for she would have whipped me and luckily Father was away. I got liniments and wagon grease and dressed the wound the best I could. We slept together that night; next morning I asked Tom how he felt, he said, "My leg is awful sore. I will not be able to go to school today." I said, "Stay in bed and tell mother you are sick, but donít tell her you were shot." I would apply the axle grease and liniments during the nights. Finally, the third day mother was by his bed side, she says, "Tommie, I smell liniment on you." Tom says, "Mother, if I tell you the truth, will you promise not to whip Felix or tell father when he comes home?" She agreed to that and she always kept her word. Father never knew about this until I was a grown man. He said, "Felix, I ought to whip you yet." I said, "Too late now, Dad." Tom soon recovered, but always carried the scar.
During this McKinney school we had at our ranch so many boys we were always up to some mischief. And poor brother Tom got in trouble again, but Father gave me a good whipping this time. We were playing horse thieves and Texas Rangers. Children you know are imitators. We had seen the Texas Rangers capture the horse thieves and hang them. Horse stealing in Texas was considered worse than murder. So our gang of boys divided up. I was the captain of the Rangers and brother Tom captain of the horse thieves. We used sticks for horses. Tom with his band of horse thieves stole a bunch of stick horses; the sticks would drag on the ground leaving marks that we could trail them by. I followed the trail with my Rangers and came upon them while in camp and a hard fight took place, both sides armed with sling shots and bows and arrows of our own make. I, with my Rangers win the battle, recapture the horses and took Brother Tom and all his men prisoners. I ordered my men to hang Brother Tom, as he was the leader. My men put an old hair rope around Tomís neck and threw the rope over the limb of a tree and pulled Tom up off the ground before I could stop them, this scratched his neck pretty bad. My father was home at this time and heard about it, but Tom didnít tell him. Father sent for me. I went. He says, "Is this Captain McKinney of the Texas Rangers? I understand you hung a man." I argued with him that this man had stolen horses, and the law was harder on a horse their than a murderer. He gave me a whipping and disbanded my Ranger Company.
When Brother Tom was about five years old and I seven, we lived on the Leona River which was very high at this time. Mother had cautioned us that we must not go to the river which was only a short distance. We slipped away and went to the river. Tom fell into the water but I caught him by the hair as he was sinking and pulled him out of the river upon the bank before I would turn loose. He was crying and fighting at me for pulling his hair. Mother heard the racket and ran to us. Oh Boy! I got a whipping that time, but mother didnít whip Tom. I thought this strange, after me being the hero and saving the life of brother to be whipped and Brother Tom go free. I waited until mother got in good humor, and I asked her why she did this, she replied, "You are the oldest and I hold you responsible." I guess she was right.
Brother Tom and I were together more than any two other of the brothers, perhaps because we were nearer in age. He was my last brother of six to leave me. He passed on over the great divide July 16, 1936, while visiting me here in Los Angeles, California. May he rest in peace. I miss him very much.
My mother was very kind and good to all of us children, but I always thought that she believed too strongly in the old saying, spare the rod and spoil the child.
During the many strenuous years we old cattlemen spent on the frontier of Texas raising cattle and fighting Indians to civilize the country, not one of those brave women and girls who was with us ever said, "Let us retreat and go back where there are no Indians." But the brave women said, "We will stick it out with you men and conquer the wilderness and civilize the West or all of us go down together." My brave and beloved sisters, I salute you. We old cattlemen in the West acquired a habit when the Indians were still hostile; we would get up early every morning and circle around the ranch to see if we could see any sign of Indians. We called this habit cutting sign. I still practice that habit, even living here in Los Angeles. I get up early and circle around several blocks on foot, and quite often one of those reckless automobile drivers runs into me, who is as dangerous as the Indians used to be. I am going to see my old friend Frank KING and the other old timers, and try to petition our governor to let us old timers carry our old guns again. I think we old timers could stop this reckless driving and killing people.
I canít remember when I first learned to ride a horse. I was born in 1861, on fatherís cattle ranch and remember very distinctly when our men came home from the Civil War, 1865. I was four years old and I had a little black pacing pony to ride. I made a full hand on the range at eight years old gathering and branding cattle and helping to put up trail herds, and when I was nine years old my father let me go up trail, the first trip with G.W. DAUGHERTY, my brother-in-law, who was a big cattleman at that time. My father would always allow us boys to have our own brand of cattle even when we were small. My brother Tom and I were partners, our brand was ZV. In 1877, I bought his half interest. In 1879, I let my cattle on shares to party for five years and I went to the Panhandle of Texas with a cousin of mine by the name of BATES. I worked for him one year. He sold out. I then went to work for the SCHUSTER Cattle Co. in Tom Green County, as a hand for $20.00 per month. After the first year my wages was raised and I was made trail boss. When the time was up on my own cattle that I left in southern Texas, I went down and formed a partnership with my two older brothers, Thalis and Julius. We moved the cattle to Lincoln County, New Mexico, 1884. I went with the cattle to the Pecos River. My brothers took them on and I returned to Tom Green County, and went to work for the SCHUSTER Cattle again. They stocked a steer ranch out in Hockley County near the XIT outfit. I had charge of this ranch and we trailed the steers from this ranch called the Lazy V to steer ranches our company had in the Indian Territory. I remained with this Co. in Texas until 1888; they then had me go to New Mexico and close out a ranch they owned there, which was a branch from their ranch in Pinal County, Arizona, known as the San Pedro Land and Cattle Co., located near Mammoth, Arizona on the San Pedro River. I closed out their New Mexico ranches and cattle in 1890, and took charge of their San Pedro ranches March 1, 1890. I was manager for this company until 1895, when they retired and sold out.
I continued on in the cattle business in Pinal County, Arizona until 1900. Then I bought a ranch in Sulphur Spring Valley, Cochise County, known as the Old Tom STEEL Ranch eight miles west of Willcox and moved my cattle there from Pinal County. My brother Tom came from Texas in 1892, and associated himself with me in the butcher and cattle business until I moved my cattle to Cochise County 1900. Brother Tom remained in Pinal County, did well selling beef to different mining camps and raising cattle. 1890, I bought my two brothersí, Thalis and Julius, interest in our X 7 cattle we owned on Black River, New Mexico. I had young Clabe MERCHANT, who was a nephew to the late Clabe MERCHANT of Abilene, Texas, in charge of these cattle until 1894. I sold the outfit to him, poor fellow was later murdered by a negro. In 1888, when I was on my way from Colorado City, Texas to Engle, New Mexico to take charge of my companyís ranch, I met my wife in El Paso, Texas, whose name was Nora MILLS. She was quite ill in bed; the doctors said she had consumption and would only live a short time. I had known my wife from a child, and we were engaged to be married for years, only waiting until I thought I had plenty to take care of her which I had then. We talked matters over, her dear old mother advised us not to marry at that time, as my wife was so ill. I figured that I was going to keep my word and if my wife was willing we would marry then, and we did marry then and there. She was sick in bed, shortly I took her to our cattle ranch in New Mexico and she commenced to improve. She is still with me today, sixty-six years old. We have raised three children, two living yet; and these doctors and all who said she could not live all passed on.
I always kept in touch with my father and mother to see that they didnít want or were neglected. I told you in the first of the history that my fatherís failed financially and physically in the early seventies, was not able to send me to college as he did the other older ones. I told him I didnít want it. I only wanted my freedom to go out to work so that I might be able to take care of him and Mother in their old days. Shortly after I was married in 1888, I received a letter from my parents saying they had lost their old home and all. I went immediately and brought them to my cattle ranch in New Mexico. My father was very ill. I had him under a doctorís care at Los Cruces, New Mexico where he died April 1889. I kept my mother with me, and brought her to Arizona when I came to take charge of our Companyís ranches, 1890. In 1891, while at the ranch I came into Motherís room one day, and found her crying. I asked her what was the matter; she says, "I was just thinking of our Texas home where all of you children were born. If I could only get it back." Lucky my father sold it to an old friend of his by the name of Joe BROWN. I says, "Mother, donít worry and cry. I will see if I can get the home back." I wrote immediately to Mr. BROWN that I had my old mother with me and she longed to go back to her old home. I wrote him facts. I didnít want the place for myself or for speculation. I wanted it for a home for my mother for the balance of her days. I received a reply immediately. He wrote me, "Felix, I see you are trying to do a great and noble deed for your old mother." He wrote, "That land has more than doubled in price since I bought it from your father, but you may have it for the same price I paid your father with 10% interest added. " When I read this letter to my mother, I said, "Mother, get ready at once and I will take you back to the old home," and brother Mancil, the youngest brother who was working for me at this time, went with us, two of the happiest people I ever saw. I paid Mr. BROWN for the farm and ranch, fitted my brother out for business, and bought them a bunch of cattle. My brother Mancil never married and he lived with mother until she died, 1908.
Everything went fine with my mother and brother Mancil until 1902, when an awful drought struck that country. In the meantime they had increased this bunch of cattle up to quite a herd. My brother wanted to sell. Mother says, "No, we will round up our cattle and trail them on west into New Mexico or Arizona where your brothersí are." Mother said she would drive the chuck wagon. She did, at the age of seventy-five. This drive was from her old home in Uvalde County, Texas to La Luz, New Mexico, over four hundred miles. She still had that good old pioneer spirit within her. My mother and brother Mancil sold their cattle finally and returned to their old home in Texas, where mother died in 1908. Peace be with her. My brother Mancil came back to Arizona after mother died, and he died in Douglas, Arizona in 1911.
1900, I decided I would go north and buy me a steer ranch. I figured if those northern cattlemen who were buying our steers and shipping north and making money, why couldnít I not ship my own steers and buy others and ship north and make more money. I went to Colorado in Custer County, sixty miles west of Pueblo and bought me a steer ranch. I had been short on water so often in Arizona that I had decided in selecting this northern ranch that I would get plenty of water, which I did; but I go up too high to get this water and got too much snow. First I had to pay more for my range that the older timer did when they acquired their ranges years before. I am always willing to try.
I came down to Arizona and New Mexico spring of 1902, shipped my own steers and bought other steers and shipped to my Colorado ranch. I found this range lots of larkspur, which comes early in spring and is very poisonous to cattle, and I lost a lot of cattle with that weed. Then winter came on me early and I had to gather my cattle out of this heavy snow and take them down on the Arkansas River and buy hay off the farmers and feed them until next May before I could get back to my own range. I tried this out for two years, and with the great handicaps I just mentioned and low markets, I lost money. I came back to my ranch in Arizona and found that we were in a drought and I lost heavily in the drought. Too bad that we didnít have a good president to help us out then like our present president, ROOSEVELT. I made a losing at both ends.
1905, I met Albert LONG, a nephew of Henry MILLER one time the cattle king of California. LONG persuaded me to come to California. He had in mind a ranch that MILLER and LUX had leased at that time. He thought he could get it and stock it with cattle. I came to Los Banos, California, and met Mr. Henry MILLER. He would not lease this ranch. Mr. Henry MILLER gave me the following advice and I took it. He said, "MCKINNEY, I know you are a cattleman, but you waited too long to come to California to buy or lease land for a cattle business. It is too high. I acquired my land holdings years ago when land was cheap." Mr. MILLER made me a proposition to take charge of one of his cattle ranches in Mariposa and Merced Counties and buy cattle for him. I remained with him until he had to give up the management on account of his health, 1912. I want to say right here that he was one of the best wealthy men I ever knew. He died in 1916, at the age of 84.
Albert LONG, Mr. MILLERíS nephew and my friend also quit when Mr. MILLER retired and came to Los Angeles, as I did. He was a cattle buyer for BENNETT and WOODARD when he was accidentally killed in Utah. It makes me lonely when I look around and see about all the old cattlemen friends have passed on. My first job after coming to Los Angeles, 1912, was with W. R. PATTERSON and GATES. I had charge of feeding 1700 steers for them at Huntington Beach, both good men. PATTERSON I regarded as my best friend, had known him since 1890. He passed on recently. Mr. GATES passed on several years ago.
When I finished with PATTERSON and GATES, I was next employed by FULLER Bros. as cattle superintendent, C.H. and O. B. FULLER who were big cattlemen. I was with them eight years; they both have passed on. I was next employed by the First National Bank of Los Angeles, as a cattle appraiser and range inspector. Next employed by the Standard Pacific Packing Company of Los Angeles as head cattle buyer. I was next employed by the Imperial Livestock and Mortgage Company of Los Angeles, California, as cattle appraiser and range inspector. These services ended in latter part of 1923, that was my last outside active work.
I have lived quietly at home with my good little wife ever since 1923, at this same place, 2006 S. Grand Ave., Los Angeles, California. The greatest pleasure I get now is when I meet one of my old cattlemen friends and talk over old times, which is very seldom now as they have about all passed on. My last brother Thomas H. MCKINNEY passed on last July 16, 1936. My last friend to go was W. R. PATTERSON, of Los Angeles, since my last brother passed on. We will all soon be gone just like the buffalo.
Dear brothers and cowboy comrades rest,
Your work is over,
Sleep the sleep that has no breaking,
Dream of cattle drives no more.
Days of toil and nights awakens.
In closing this article I want to advise all boys or young men starting out in the world to work and hustle for themselves. First be honest, truthful and industrious. Always get employment of someone that is able to advance you if you make good, and always remember that you must attend strictly to business and make money for your employer, otherwise he can not afford to keep you or advance you. Take what he offers you on the start, prove to him what you can do, if satisfactory he will keep you and advance you. I learned this by experience, when I first started out at seventeen years old. I hired to a cattle company for twenty dollars per month as a hand for the first year, then I was promised to a foreman, then to manager. I was with this same company for fifteen years, went from twenty dollars a month as a hand to manager, drawing five thousand dollars all expenses per year. At the expiration of the fifteen years the company sold me one of their ranches with three thousand head of cattle, that put me in business for myself. Always associate with the best and most influential people. By all means, donít drink nor gamble. Save your money.
I am spending my days at home looking after my old little wife whose health is not good. The greatest pleasure I get is when an old time cattleman calls to see me. Come all you old time cowboys and see me. The old latchstring still hangs on the outside of my door.
Signed Felix C. McKinney, Sr.
TXGenWeb, Frio County - McKinney Genealogy updated on 08/10/2005
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