BRADFORD ROBBINS GRIMES
(Familiarly Known as “B. R.”)
Daisy Ferguson Grimes
(Mrs. B. R.”)
From Ft. Supply to Dodge was considered the hardest part of the Trail. The water was hottest, grass driest and water scarcest. Receiving a message by courier, that necessitated a speedy return to Texas, Bradford started riding on ahead of the herd. His horse gave out and died on the Beaver, Oklahoma. Leaving saddle and equipment by the Trail, he started walking. Passing a camp where a cook had thrown out some corn bread-I gathered the pieces up and put them into my moral. Late in the evening, he caught up with an out-fit encamped for the night, obtained another horse and hurried into Dodge.
Marks of the old Trail may yet be found in Woodward and Harper Counties, Oklahoma, Clark and Ford Counties, Kansas. A surfaced highway follows it now. People riding in swiftly moving cars move over it with no thought of the tired men, horses and millions of trampling hoofs that passed that way a half century ago.
With the closing of the open range, Mr. Grimes leased from the government a tract of land south of the Kansas border, known as the Spade Ranch. The Oklahoma opening of April 20, 1889 pushed him farther west into the Cherokee Strip or No Mans Land. This government leased pasture embraced a tract twenty miles east and west, by ten miles north and south, adjacent to Clark County, Kansas. The town of Buffalo, Oklahoma, is on the site of one of his round-up grounds. On Willow Creek, near Peruna, may be seen parts of the dam, he caused to be constructed forty years ago.
The on coming march of settlers reached the climax for free land in 1893, Noon, September 16, 1893, Mr. Grimes fired the shot that sent the rush across the Kansas State line into his last big leased pasture, and along with it went fences, windmills and tanks. Land hungry farmers or land grabbing speculators had small regard for personal property rights.
Mr. Grimes says, “I have never quit the cattle business, though there were times it nearly quit me. As an instance, the fall I turned 1600 big steers on the Dakota range. Come on of those killing winters. I gathered just sixty head in the Spring.”
Ever an optimist, he challenged
adversities if and when they came with calm faith and assurance in
himself. The writer has many times heard him quote--
He speaks pridefully, now, of his comparatively modest holdings, the 1400 acre well equipped ranch five miles north of Buffalo, Oklahoma, and stocked with 200 high grade white face cows, and of his horses and colts that an old time cattle man always wants about him.
He has often said, “I have made it a life rule to give the other fellow a generous deal. Then he wants to comeback.”
One who enjoys life and with good health, he may be found often at the ranch, or visiting or playing bridge with a group of old time friends.
Few are left of Bradford Robbins Grimes’ day and age to tell the cattle story as it was and as he lived it. And all too soon the lure of the prairie with sun bright days and star bright nights; the colorful life of the cowboy; and the fascination of trampling herds will pass into memory with the brave, fearless, generous and warm-hearted men who were a part of it.
As the B. R. Grimes story draws to its close, word comes to him of the death in Texas, May 8, of Antonie Jefferson, Familiarly known as “Twine.”
“Twine” came up the Trail with Mr. Grimes as cook on his third trip. And of him he says, “He was an honor to his race, a remarkable character and cook. He could unharness four mules, start a fire, bake bread and have a meal ready in half an hour, for the first relief off duty.”
He was a retainer of the Grimes’ ranch. His first wife Liza, being the daughter of Aunt Patience one of the earlier slaves and his second wife, Frances, one of the house girls.
Honored and respected in the Tres Palacios community-thru out the more than one hundred years of his life, Mr. Grimes pauses to pay him tribute in the evening of his eventful story.
“And the evening
and the morning were the fifth day.”
to Dodge City & To Oklahoma
Copyright 2007 -
Present by the Grimes Family
Oct. 25, 2007
Oct. 25, 2007