Monday, July 30, 2007

The isolated life of a ranchers wife

Mrs. Goodnight patched the cowboys’ clothes, sewed on the buttons, doctored the sick and injured, and sympathized with those rough but tender-hearted cowboys, isolated by the plains. Her first woman neighbor was the wife of T.S. Bugbee, the second ranchman of the panhandle. “For six months she and Mrs. Goodnight lived the most isolated life I have ever known in all my frontier experience,” said Goodnight. “Neither could have seen any women associates for from six to twelve months, but they both claim those to be among their happiest days.” Goodnight arranged for Capt. Willingham to bring his wife and two children to the Panhandle, but the first women who entered the Canyon after Mrs. Goodnight were Comanche with Quanah Parker’s band.

Charles Goodnight Cowman and Plainsman by J. Evetts Haley

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Drifting with a storm

In connection with his holding the stock on the home range, the puncher frequently found his work including trailing the stock following a storm. The cattle drifted ahead of the storm and had to be brought back to the home range when the weather cleared. After the fences were built, the stock drifted to the fences and then stood there until they froze or were trampled to death. On some such occasions the punchers would cut the fences and let the cattle drift with the storm, sometimes trailing with them in order to hold together as many as possible. Cattle that drifted too far from the home range were recovered by the outside man during the spring roundups or during the general roundup after that practice became established.

From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ranch wages

Wages on the ranch were standardized; $25 was the going wage, and a man’s wages were raised as he proved worthy. Top wages were $45. Mail service was a free, cooperative courtesy. The JA mail came from Wichita Falls to old Mobeetie; then a horse backer brought it to the nearest ranch, and it was carried to the next ranch, and so on. Mail was received about once a moth.
From Fred Scott transcripts

Monday, July 9, 2007

Roping buffalo and breaking horses

Many leisure moments was spent, pencil in hand, pondering over a tablet, wondering what to write the girl back home. Other leisure time was spent in breaking broncos, and the ranch paid us five dollars a head for all we broke.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian

Scott laughingly added that he roped the first buffalo he ever saw, being young and not guessing what would happen once he had it roped. The Goodnight buffalo herd was started about 1882. Mrs. Goodnight offered $75 for each live buffalo brought in. Scott states that he was thinking of that when he roped the buffalo. The buffalo ran the length of the rope and the abrupt jerk broke off the top of its head and the last Mr. Scott saw of it, it was headed in the direction of Plainview.
From Fred Scott transcripts

Monday, July 2, 2007

Prairie dogs at play

I remember once watching a bunch of young prairie dogs play. The little dogs were about the size of half-grown cats. I got off my horse, and started crawling toward them, flattened out against the ground as best I could. When they would notice me, I would lie perfectly still. I proceeded in this way until I got within reach of their hole, knowing the next move I made would cause them to run into it. I slammed my hat in the hole, and they darted in, as I had expected, and I came up with a hat full of baby dogs.
From The Camp Life of a Cowpuncher by Carroll Doshier as told by Jim Christian