WPA COLLECTION ,
Written in Tarrant County Texas
Spence Hardie, 63, was born in New Orleans, La., His family moved to Dallas, then to an 18,000 acre ranch which they leased in 1879, and was located in Montague Co., Tex. Spence learned to ride at an early age, and worked as a regular cowhand by the time he was eight Yrs. old. A.F.Hardie, Spence's father, quit the ranching business to return to the banking business in Dallas to
allow Spence and his bro. to go to school at Austin College in Sherman. The boys worked their way through college by working on the Gunter Ranch near the college. After leaving the Gunter ranch, he spent the rest of his life in the banking business but returned to the range at every opportunity. He was Justice of the Peace from 1906 to 1910, in Vaughn, N.M., a city he and his
brother, started. Gov. Pat Neff appointed his a Tex. Ranger in 1922. He served in Central Texas for 9 Mos., then resigned to organize a bank at Guymon Okla. The failure of his health and fortune forced him to retire to the Home For Aged Masons, located 12 Mi. E. of Ft. Worth Tex. His story:
"I spent my youth on the range, worked my way through the Austin College at Sherman Texas by playing nurse to old Colonel Jot Gunter's cattle and busting hosses for him. His place was about 20 miles from Sherman but I'll take that up later.
"First, I was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, on January the 30th, 1875. In December of that year, my father came to Dallas Texas, where he was made president of the City National Bank. The bank went bankrupt in 1879, and my father then leased 18,000 acres in Montague county, where he established a ranch. I was too young at the time to know who he bought his cattle from but he
bought 6,000 cattle and branded them with the Bar H brand. You make it by burning the middle line longer than the two vertical lines in the H, and it will look like this: -H.
"When I was five years old in 1880, I had already learned to ride a horse fairly well and my brother Alva, who was 16 months older than I, were saving my father from having to hire to more cow hands by riding the fence and repairing the breaks where ever we found them.
"I rode the fence line 'til in 1882, when my father brought a herd of sheep home that he had foreclosed on. My father then gave me the saddest task I've ever been called on to do then, when he told as to ride herd on that bunch of sheep. While there weren't many in the flock, about 500, I felt like the grown cowhands, that it was a come-down for me to have to herd sheep. Since sheep will hunt the shade on a hot summer's day, I'd do the same. One day, when I was sound asleep under a tree and the flock was the same, I was suddenly awakened by the sound of a shot. The next thing I knew, an eagle that was so large it's [talons?] were as big as my hands, fell into my lap. My father,
who was a very good rifle shot, had spied it in the tree top where it was waiting for the flock to move out into the open so it could pounce on one and carry it off.
"Father sold the sheep with the Fall market roundup beef in the Fall of 1883. Since the hay crop on the farm section of the ranch was so prolific that he had more than he could possibly use, he contracted with the Spur Ranch, in Dickens county, and the 'JO' Ranch, another large ranch to the North of the Spur, to winter 500 head of saddle stock from each ranch. These ranches comprised millions of acres but I couldn't tell you anymore than that they were located on the Llano Estacado, or, 'The Staked Plains', due East of the Caprock section of Texas.
"One of the men in charge of the Spur horses was a great talker, so much so that the boys all called him, 'Gabby', and didn't believe a word he said. I was too young at the time to remember the things he told about but his talk was mostly about stage coach and train robberies, and bank holdups. A stranger came out to visit the ranch one night, intending to ride over the place the next day and be introduced to the riders on the place. Gabby disappeared
that night, and the stranger turned out to be a Texas Ranger and Gabby was a badly wanted desparado. He was the kind of a man that gave the cowboy a black eye by pulling off those stunts. The real cowboy was a law abiding man that feared nothing that walked. The meanest things he ever did was in the nature of a practical joke played on themselves but mostly on green horns out on therange for the first time in their life.
"I spoke of having a part of the place in cultivation, it was really about 300 acres and in charge of an old man whose name I've forgotten. He stayed drunk most of the time and his 32 year old daughter worked the place, cared for his children, and did all the housework. A widower over in the Territory
heard about her and came over to court her. He needed someone to care for his three children. After he won her agreement to a marriage, he went to her father who was then half drunk, and sitting just in front of the houses and leaning back on the front door. When he was told that his daughter and the widower wanted to marry, he refused. The widower then told him that they had already decided and would anyway, so the best thing he could do was to agree. The old man then reached behind him and got his double barreled shot gun out, and shot the fellow from his hoss. I heard the shot, saw him fall from his saddle, then saw the old man run to the hoss, mount and ride into the Territory. After two years in the Territory, he came back, was captured, tried, and acquitted.
"I spoke of the real cowboy loving to play practical jokes so I'll tell you about one that was a joke to the player but not to my dad. My brother, Alva, and I were just about to dismount and go into the house when two shots hit the house not two feet from us. Two drunken cowboys who used our lane to get to their place had decided to scare us. My father heard the shots and rushed out to see what had happened. He saw the men responsible, grabbed Alva's horse and hurriedly rode to where they were. When he reached them, he said, 'You low down dogs! If you ever come through this lane again, I'll kill you! If I had anything to do it with, I'd do it now!' Although they had two six shooters
apiece, and a Winchester in their saddle holster, my father's nerve overawed them and they never used that lane again.
"The winters of '83 and '84 were the same in that both were so cold that Red River froze over. My father, who as I said, was an unusual man, had his hands build a log house in a place on the river that would be the coolest the year around. Then, he went to Montague and bought all the saw-dust the saloon had, which he brought to this house. When he came back, he brought an ice saw and we all sawed out blocks of ice which we stored in this house. Since there was about nine inches of saw-dust between the ice and the walls, this ice lasted throughout the next summers and we had ice all summer.
"I'll never forget the hardships we hands went through in'tending to the work on the ranch those winters. We would simply freeze right through to the marrow it seemed. It was so cold that grown men cried and never thought anything about it. Now, when a hard bitten range hand cries, you can well believe it was tough. If one of happened to be caught away from the ranch headquarters at night, we'd build two fires, one on each side of us. When we
laid down, we'd move one fire over and lay down on the hot spot the fire was on. We didn't dare to go to sleep for it might be the last sleep we'd ever have. Instead, we'd stay awake and move the fire around as the place we were on grew cold.
"Years later, my mother and a neighboring lady were talking and some way or other, this winter came up. Mother said, 'Oh, you'll never know how I suffered those winters. Every step was torture, and I was constantly saying, 'Oh, I wonder if my boys are alright or frozen, or laying somewhere with a broken leg and unable to get help or build themselves a fire'.' You know, that was the first
time I'd ever thought about what she had had to go through because not one word of complaint ever came from her.
"I often hear of stampedes and rustlers on a good many of the ranches but we never had any trouble with either. The nearest we ever came to a stampede was when we had the Fall of '84 market beef rounded up and was herding it on the Northern side of the place, intending to trail them to Kansas. A thunder -storm came up with lots of lightning and the steers, about 1,000 of them, were very restless, I'll never forget how anxious we were to keep them from stampeding. We sang and rode around them all night long for it meant the loss of a great number of them if they stampeded. "Let me tell you one of the most comical things that ever happened to me. I will lead up to it by first
telling one on dad that gave me the idea. Our branding was done in a corall, and the corral was built in a way that we'd have a tree in the middle for a snubbing post. In the '84 Fall roundup, a new hand had tied a wild cow up so loose that it got away in the pen before dad could get out of it's way. He
had to run to the snubbing post and get around on the opposite side from the cow when it charged. They did that way for awhile, and dad got madder all the time. Finally, he stood to one side of the post, and waited for the cow to charge. When she got so close, dad took good aim and kicked her right in the nose. You know, that kick made that cow a pet. Actually, she was such a pet that we
didn't sell her but kept her 'til the next sale.
"Now, about me. I was visiting some friends in Dallas county in '86. Their ame was Parker, and they ran the Parker Ranch which was located about three miles South of Grand Prairie. I don't think they ran over 300 head but I know their brand was the 'PKR'. I happened in on them when they were in their Spring maverick branding roundup. In the herd was a young heifer that belonged to somebody else but she wouldn't separate from the herd. While they were trying to get her out, she ran against Walter Parker's hoss and nearly upset them both so they decided to let her go and take her out in the corral.
"Now, their barn was one that opened on both ends into a corral [.?] at each end. This was called a 'Double Corral'. I was in on the fun and saw the boys run her into the corral on the opposite side from where I was. They were all afraid of the critter and I wanted to do a little grandstanding so I grabbed a stick about five long, crawled over the corral fence and hollered, 'Where is that critter? I'll beat it to death.' By this time, all the cow hands were on the fence and looking at me. All of a sudden, there was a hush, and everybody seemed to be terrified. Somebody bawled out, 'look out!' I looked around and the cow
was coming at me as fast as she could go. I realized I didn't have time to get behind something or get on the fence so I waited. At the right time, I broke that stick across her nose. It had the same reaction dad's act did and I was saved from a goring. All the hands came down into the corral and slapped me on the back. Walter came through the bunch and said, 'That was too close. You'd better not try that any more'.
"After the Fall roundup in '86 was over, dad decided to visit my uncle, Robert Harvey, who ran a big plantation at Union Town, Alabama. Dad had been making plenty of money but he always tried not to make a move unless he could make money by it so we rounded up about three car loads of
hosses. These hosses were then loaded into the cars and shipped to Union Town. The hosses were sold from the plantation to the different farmers and all that were in the market for a hoss. "Dad came back from town one day and told my brother Alva, to roundup sixteen head, that he had sold them to a livery stable in town. My uncle didn't believe that he was big enough to do it but dad said, 'We make cow punchers out of kids in Texas'. In less time than an ordinary cow hand would take, Alva come back with all 16 of them tied one behind the other to each other's tails. He had started out without a saddle on his hoss, and came back that way. We boys were always trying to do stunts like that. I'll tell one on Alva.
"The merchants put on a contest at Union Town, and the best boy rider was to get $5.00. Now,$5.00 in those days was a whale of a sight bigger in a boy's eyes than nowadays. Alva thought they meant a real rough rider would win, and picked out the worst hoss in our remuda. When he went out on that race track, he went around it in almost nothing flat, pitching and bucking, and gave them a
real rodeo performance but to his surprise, they gave the prize to a boy who had ridden in a very gentlemanly manner.
"There wasn't much about the plantation that interested we boys after we looked around at all the buildings and saw how they carried on the plantation business. We wanted to get back to the cattle country but didn't get to go back because dad decided it was high time we started into school. He became interested in the Dallas cotton mills, and later made a real fortune out of them, but that's another story.
"In the year of 1891, I and my brother Alva, went to Austin College which is in Sherman, Texas. I got a part time job on old Jot Gunter's ranch, which was located out about 20 miles from Sherman, and worked full time while on my vacation from the college. The Colonel ran about [8,000?] head on about 25,000 acres with the 'Anchor T' brand. You make it by first making a T, then making the hook end of an anchor on the bottom of the T.
"Part of the ranch was fenced off and known as 'The Hoss Ranch'. Zeke Miller and his son, Jake, ran that part with the help of a mullatto nigger by the name of 'Tups'. One of the funniest things I ever saw, happened to Tups and Jake. ake was the hoss buster (A hoss is never a bronc 'til after it has been ridden once by a hoss buster) and he sent to mount his wild while Tups mounted the hoss called, 'Indian Runner', to herd for Jake. Well, here comes Jake on the supposedly 'Wild' one, and Indian Runner broke for the brush, pitching wildly
and putting on a good show.
"One day, tups and I were coming back from town and he had five boxes of matches in his saddle pockets. Well, the heat of the day or friction, set the matches off and put his bronc to pitching wildly. The fire scared him pretty bad and he was trying to get away from it because it was making his side hot too. Well, that was as pretty an exhibition of riding as I ever saw. Tups stayed on the hoss and got those burning matches from the pocket at the same time. He said that was the worst ride he'd ever gotten.
"To show you the way the cattlemen of those days did, the Colonel bought 500 head of wild hosses from the Kennedy Ranch, a part of the famous ring Ranch in South Texas. These hosses were sired by a Cleveland Bay and Mustang Mares. When they got to Howe, Texas, about 15 miles from the ranch, they were sided to some unloading chutes. They were so wild that they'd seen only a few men on horse back, and never a man on foot. A man on foot put them to pitching in earnest and trying to climb the corral walls. They just lapped up petting 'til they saw you. I'd sneak up to the chute, and rub their back. As long as they didn't see you, they'd just take it fine 'til they looked up and saw it
was a man, then they'd crouch down. If they were in the corral, they'd go to pitching.
"All the hoss busters were called out for the occasion. It happened to be Sunday but there was no Sunday School in Howe that day because everybody turned out to see the show. Some of the good riders that day were, Al
Rogers, Charley Ethridge, Charlie Brewer, a fellow named Wylie, Jake, Zeke, and myself. Of course, it took several weeks to get them all to the ranch because they had to be broke a little to herd. At that, about 20 of them got away and we were over a week rounding them up. Two of them we never got. I guess they're still running. "While on the Anchor T, I had a remuda of from six to eight hosses. Each rider broke his personal mounts in as he needed them. Since I needed one, I broke in a hoss I named, 'Blue'. Old. Blue made
a good herd hoss but was leary of the branding work. I had to give my string up when I left, and old Blue made an outlaw before he'd let another man mount him.
"One of the things that happened on the Anchor I will give you an idea of the true Westerner. As I said before, they were real men and law abiding. This fellow's name was Potts, and he was called, 'The Yard Boss', because he took care of the headquarter properties, the corrals and so on. Because, the boys out rabbit hunting would use dogs, and the dogs would scare the cattle, causing
them to run off $1,000.00 worth of fat in a little while in a stomp, Colonel Jot posted the ranch and notified all the neighboring farms. The Anchor T was the last big ranch in that section and was entirely surrounded by farms. Since the ranch bought all their stuff from wholesale houses and traded mighty little in the various communities, the cow punchers had to hold up for themselves or be badly treated.
"One day, Colonel Jot heard dogs yapping in a pasture over the hill from headquarters and he grabbed him a gun, took out after the hunters, and shot every dog. You talk about a commotion! That sure raised one for you know how a boy loves his dog.
"Well, since I bunked with Potts, I always kind of buddied with him. The next morning, he says, 'Spence, lets you and the old man go to town in our glad rags'."I was surprised but I agreed. Since I was first to get dressed, he said, 'Get that old double barrel shot gun down. We might get a squirrel or two on yur way'. Well, I did that and he gave me two buckshot bullets to load it with. "He said, 'Can't never tell, we might meet a bear'.
"I was again surprised when we went to Howe instead of Sherman. When we got into town, we saw a crowd down the street in front of the JP's office. It turned out that the boys were on trial for tresspassing that morning, and a real crowd had turned out to see it. Potts said, 'You stay here. The Colonel sent me in to represent him at the trial here and those skunks sent me word that they'd kill me and I just want to see if [theywwill'?].
"I said, Well, I'll go with you and pick you up'. We went on down and he rough shouldered his waythrough the crowds when he got through, he turned around to me and said,
'"I know them dam skunks didn't have the nerve to do what they said they would'.I believe this is about the most interesting things I know about the Anchor T. It was nine and a half miles across, and Gunter, [exas?], stands about where two ranch headquarters used to. After [I?]left the [Anchor T?], I went into the banking business but kept my hand in with the range whenever I
could. "On a trip from Tuscon, Arizona, to Elpaso, I met an old friend I'd been introduced to in Dallas one time. He was Major Harris, and he was telling a tale on himself to a bunch of us in the Smoker on the train. As I recall it,
he said, 'I'd been going over into Juarez (He owned a large ranch near Elpaso, Texas, but I don't recall the brand nor location) to the Bull fights they held every year and was getting tired of hearing people talk about those brave matadors. You see, I knew that a bull will shut his eyes when he charges and all you have to do is just step out of his way, but a wild cow will follow you where ever you step. I decided to let the people know what those matadors were so I had my boys corral a herd of wild cows, then slip across in the night before the bull fight was to be held the next day, take the bulls out and put the cows in their places.'
"'Well, this wasn't discovered before the time for the act and several of my friends that I had let in on it, were with me. We were all set and when the time came to release the bulls, in charged the cows. Since they only release two at a time for the opener, and one at a time after that, we had a real show. It took those cows about two minutes to clear that arena of picadors and matadors. The matador is the follow that waves the flag, and the picador is the one that sticks the critters with a long, keen sword. In the hullabaloo, we slipped out and back across.
"Some way or another, it happened that this was opening day and the Governor of Chilhuahua was in the arena to open the doings. Well, he was so mad that he found out who did it, and issued a banishment against me from the State of Chicuahua. It meant that I returned on pain of death. You know, I never did want to go to a place as I wanted to go over there after that banishment was issued.
"'One day while walking around in Elpaso, I saw the Governor of Chihuahua in a saloon so I walked in and said, 'Well, Governor, you issued the banishment on me in your State so I hereby issue one on you. The next time you come to Elpaso, or the State of Texas, I'll kill you or my name's not Major Harris!''
"'You know, he went right back and recalled the banishment on me so I could go over there any time I wanted to.'
"While In Dallas, I was invited by the Warner Brothers to visit their ranch at Carolton, a few miles North. They didn't run a very large place there, mostly thorough-bred cattle. I don't recall the brand either but I want to tell you a story they told me happened along in the '90s. They were related to some English people along in their young fellows wanted to come over and see how the American cattle ranches looked. Since he lived in Manchester, England, he went to a Manchester tailor and ordered a cowboy suit. He didn't want to appear strange to the folks over here, so he got himself all tricked out according to the notions of this tailor. When he got off the train at Carolton,
the wagon boss said, "Max, for goodness sakes, get that boy up an alley and get that outfit off of him. He'll make us the laughing stock of the country'. He had shown up in the most outlandish fashion you ever heard of.
"While I was there, two of them came but not dressed like the other. They had the idea though, that they wanted to ride a hoss like the rest of the boys because they rode back in the country they came from. They borrowed things from the cow punchers to ride with, and they particularly wanted some
spurs after one of them told the boys that they were to hold on with. Well, the boys were given a couple of broncs about half broke, to ride. They were helped on, and being nervous, the hosses started into pitching. After one was thrown and was laying on the ground, looking up, he hollered, 'Stick your holders into him! Stick your holders into him!' Which he did and was immediately thrown.
"Along about the time I met the Warner Brothers, I was friendly with Ross Clark, whose father owned extensive ranch properties all over Texas. Ross told me that he knew a stage coach driver who operated into San Saba, where they had the W Cross ranch. To make the brand, you first make a W, then make a cross after the W. Well, he said he happened to be along the road about the time the coach was due, so he decided to give the passengers a thrill. We waited behind a rock, then stepped out into the road at the right moment, threw his six shooters on the driver, and hollered, 'Stick 'em up!' To his amazement, his friend was off that day and a new driver was on duty. Ross
said he apoligized but the Postal Authorities kept their eyes on him for a year after that.
"The last roundup I ever went to, was when I made a trip to their place near Port LaVaca, in Calhoun county, Texas. I don't recall the brand but there were about 5,000 acres in the place and it had about the only prairie chickens left in that part of the country. An interesting thing about this trip was that a neighboring rancher by the name of, O'Conner, had invited the head of the Republican Party down for some prairie chicken shooting, and he didn't have any on his place so he asked Ross for permission to hunt on his property. This was bad because he never had to ask anybody for anything and it humiliated him but he had no idea he'd be turned down. Rose told him that he couldn't do it because he'd already invited some one down. O'Conner begged him so hard that he said his guest could hunt for two hours, but only two hours and nobody else could fire a gun on the place.
"When I say that O'Connor usually got his way, let me tell you what he did once in Port LaVaca. He spent the night before in a hotel but couldn't sleep. The first I knew about it was when I heard the train whistle blowing. It seemed like the engineer had tied the whistle down. I dressed and went down to see what had happened, and found that the train crew was whistling to hurry the man up but couldn't go off and leave him because he was such a heavy shipper on the road. O'Conner had spent such a restless night, that he was late in getting up and was eating at the time the train began blowing. O'Conner owned a yacht in the Gulf, too.
"Well, we went hunting for the prairie chickens but I soon tired of the sport because they were defenceless and didn't fight much. While we were riding around, we looked across onto the next ranch, they were fenced, and saw a roundup in progress. Ross said, 'Oh Yes, I am supposed to help in that roundup. All the neighbors in this section pitch in and help anybody in a roundup.' I didn't want to [huntuanymore?] so I asked him to let me go in his place. After he agreed, and picked me out his two ace roundup hosses, and I borrowed some boots, spurs, chaps, stetson, from the different hands, I let out for the place to help.
"When I got there, the man in charge told me that he didn't need anymore help. I asked him if it was alright if I stuck around awhile. While I stood and watched them, I noticed a Mex' eyeing me. Since I was tricked out in the ranch's best, I was a dude for sure and my flashy dress kept his eyes glued
"After a little while, the roundup boss came over and said, 'You look like you're riding a mighty good hoss. I wish you'd cut for me because I have nothing but plow hosses to try to cut with.' Well, I was riding 'Rowdy', one of the finest horses I'd ever got astride. They'd point out a two-year old, I'd
show Rowdy, and he'd bring it out. The next day when I returned to work, I was astride the other, whose name was 'Simmons' and he repeated Rowdy's performance. Why, it was a real pleasure to me to ride those two. The Rosses specialized in fine hoss flesh and had a good many more just as good.
"In 1901, my dad bought the residue of the old Mahoney Ranch down near Waco, and I bought a plantation about 12 miles South of Waco, Texas. My place had about 1,500 acres in it. I only bought it for speculation because dad advised me to. He would have taken it but he was all spread
out already and couldn't right then.
"I went out to the ranch to see what had to be done to condition it for fine stock raising. When I got there, I found about 115 head of range cattle, just starving to death. They had already eaten the mesquite down and was beginning to strip the bark from the Elm trees. I loaded them into five cars, sent two to the plantation, and the other three to dad's Hunt county place. He had several thousand acres of bottom land there. We finally kept about 700 prize winning, fine bred Holstein cattle on that place.
"About the next thing of importance that I did was to organize a bank at Guyman, in Beaver County, Oklahoma. It was in the strip of territory between Texas and Oklahoma that was once known as, 'No Man's Land'.
"When I was there, I heard one of the old timers tell how the strip got it's name. He said that a Kansas political faction came down to 'Wild Hoss Lake' to fish and hunt, and that the rival faction heard about it, came down and almost massacred the entire bunch. The title of the place came about
because the states of Colorado, Texas, and Kansas refused to claim the territory in order to escape filing charges against the murderers and having the huge court costs in prosecuting the cases. The United States gave the strip to the State of Oklahoma when that State was organized. Of course, that might have been a tall tale but it's probable.
"Among the backers of the bank was Bud Steels, a true Western character that nobody known where he came from, nor where he got his money. All that was known about him was that he was a good hossman, a good shot, and a good roper. He was a bachelor, but was fairly wealthy and was the one that pushed the organization of the bank.
"Huff Wright was elected president. He lived in Hansford county, Texas, about 40 miles South of Guyman. You know, I once met his wife, and she looked as if she had spent a life of ease with never a worry in her life. Her complexion was just beautiful. I've seen other women but none so beautiful. The reason I mentioned this was because Huff used to freight from Liberal, Kansas, and be gone for a month at a time. At that time, the Indians would go on the war path and scalp people. The Territory was full of outlaws, rustlers, and hard characters of all types. She had to live in a dugout, rustle her own wood, do all the housework, wash her clothes with lye soap that she made right there,hunt and kill her own meat,and take the place of a man where might was right and the man that shot first and truest was the best man. It was harder on a woman than it was on a man because a man would think first before he shot
another but he wouldn't think a women would be able to fight back. You just try and visualize the life she must have had to live there while her husband was gone, then wonder with me how she could escape looking hard as nails. Of course, Most of the frontier women lived a life like that but very, very few of them were very far from their people at a time like Mrs. Wright was for weeks at a time.
"While in this bank, I met a good many cattlemen but I can't tell enough about them to make it interesting so I'll skip to where my brother Alva, and I built a town. I became interested in the Romero Lumber Company in 1905, and went to their mills in New Mexico. I saw that if I established a lumber yard in a spot not so far from the mills, I might start a good business so I asked Alva to come out and help me.
"We selected a good place, built the sheds with Mexican labor, trades people were attracted to the laborers, and began to build a few stores. From that start, Vaughn, New Mexico, was made a city. Other interests were attracted there, and finally the men came who ruin every decent place there is to live. The liquor palaces and bawdy housed began to show up. I was elected Justice of the Peace in [1906?], and served 'til 1910.
"While I was Justice of the Peace, I had a tremendously big Mex' on trial for white slavery out of Mexico. He must have weighed around 300 pounds and went around with his hairy chest exposed
all the time. Word got to me that he meant to beat me to death right in front of the witnesses that were to testify against him.
"When I opened the court the next day, I laid a pistol on the desk in front of me, and had it pointed toward the aisle he has to travel to reach me. When he came in the door, he looked at me and said, 'Ah ha! You're here! I'll teach you to stick your nose into other people's business!' Then, he proceded to walk down the aisle toward me. While I wasn't scared of old 'Hairy' himself, I still didn't think I would have a physical chance in those muscles of his so I just closed my eyes and prayed the Lord to stop him. I said, "'Oh, God! Don't let me have to kill him!', then I opened my eyes and picked up the pistol and
pointed it right at him. He saw this, tore his shirt front open, and said 'Ha! You Killa me Now! Shoot right here where you can see!' Then, he started a stiff legged walk on down toward me. When he got about seven feet in front of me, I said, 'God, if he takes one more step, I'll have to kill him'. Well, I know there's a good many people in this world who wouldn't believe this but he didn't take another step toward me. Instead, he turned around, went back to his place and the trial proceded. He was found guilty, and sentenced without any more trouble.
"About the next most important thing that happened was when Governor Pat Neff appointed me a Texas Ranger, and I was assigned to Central Texas to serve. I arrested many men but I never even tried to take a man unless I first had the drop on him. After I was on the force about nine months, I heard a rumor that the higher-ups were going to send me to the border because of my efficiency in getting my man. Well, I didn't want to go because I know that meant I'd have to kill somebody. I always had a dread of some day having to kill somebody, then finding out later that they had loved ones somewhere. I quit and returned to the banking business where I belonged.
"I feel sure that it isn't a question of nerve because I don't want to kill a man. When I was a boy on the old ranch in [Mautogue?] county, in about '85, I was riding the fence with my brother and wejust about to stop and build a fire to warm by when we saw a big smoke over the hill from us. It came from an arm of Post Oak trees that extended down on our property, and was the place where our hosses liked to hang out because of the shade. Anytime you wanted to catch a hoss to bust, all you had to do was to go to [?] trees and you'd find them there.
"We mounted our hosses, he rode for help, and I rode on to the fire. I looked and looked but couldn't see them. I pictured them up against the fence, trying to jump over but couldn't, and trying to escape the fire but not knowing how so I just rode on into the flames. I followed the fence right on through, and when I came out on the other side, there they were, wild eyes but safe and sound.
The failure of the bank where I had my money invested broke me financially, and a few years later, I was forced to come here to live. Now, I went you to know that I wouldn't want to live in a better place for they treat you as nice as they know how here. It's the Home for Aged Masons, and is about 12 miles or so from Fort Worth Texas. on the Dallas Pike.