Monday, August 20, 2007

Sleeping with an umbrella

I met Mrs. Cornelia Adair in 1891. She and her niece and Dick Walsh and a man from Kansas came by and my sister-in-law had dinner—you call it lunch, now, but we called it dinner—for them. Mrs. Adair was nice-looking, wore a simple riding habit with divided skirt. Her niece was a tall, gangling girl. The niece rode a left-handed sidesaddle, and we thought that was the funniest thing. Guess she was left-handed, but imagine bringing that saddle all the way out here. After dinner Mrs. Adair asked if she and her niece might rest a bit and my sister-in-law showed them to the bedroom and they lay down awhile. Mrs. Adair laughed and joked about the night in the Goodnight cabin. Said she didn’t get any sleep; she was scared of rats tumbling down on her. Finally she opened her umbrella and held it over her face all night, but didn’t sleep much.
Marie Barbier Hess Interview Nov 22, 1956

Monday, August 13, 2007

Party from Friday to Sunday

Mrs. Adair would ride side saddle out with the cowboys to see what they were doing. Mrs. Adair thought a lot of her cow hands; she even set up a commissary where the cowhands and their families could purchase groceries and other dry goods. Every fourth of the July she would throw a big party in honor of them. Anyone who wanted to come could, and it lasted from Friday until Sunday night. All one could eat or drink was there at the taking.
Marie Barbier Hess Interview Nov 22, 1956

Monday, August 6, 2007

Chickens for company

The solitude and the wind were trying for a woman, and it was quite a domestic blessing when one day a cowboy rode in with three chickens in a sack. “No one can ever know how much pleasure and company they were to me,” Mrs. Goodnight once said. “They were something I could talk to; they would run to me when I called them and follow me everywhere I went. They knew me and tried to talk to me in their language. If there had been no outside danger, the loneliness would not have been bad.
Charles Goodnight Cowman and Plainsman by J. Evetts Haley

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