6,000 Miles of Fence by Cordia Duke,Joe B. Frantz

By Cordia Duke,Joe B. Frantz

This publication of recollections of previous XIT Ranch cowmen places on checklist the standard lifetime of the people who made the ranch run.

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I had another experience there one night with a cougar. He got away, as I didn’t have any gun that night, but he did get my horse, which he seemed to want. I had a gun on the night with the Apache Indians, but I didn’t let them know it. “When I left the Spur Company about June, 1887, I went up to the Quaker colony Estancia on the Plains out about eighteen miles from Blanco Canyon and stayed that night with Mr. Dockeen. Before that he had been located down in the Spur Range in an early day and had a store and post office known as Dockeen’s Ranch.

But Joe Adams had presence of mind enough to make us dig a hole in the ground. It wasn’t hard to dig in the sand, we dug it to the depth of about ten feet, and large enough for us all to get in, with a small fire in the middle. “Next morning everything was covered with snow, and the wind still blowing a gale, but the sun was shining. So we went back to work. And during the day I had the misfortune to lose my hat—the wind whipped it off my head and simply blew it away. I was forced to wear a flour sack tied round my head for two days.

After the first amenities had been exchanged, he said, “You know, you should see Mrs. ” Before I went to Dalhart I had corresponded with Mrs. Duke and had talked with her on the telephone. Somehow I had pictured a gaunt, raw-boned cowman’s wife, face leathery and seamed by the sun, voice rough and language rougher. What I found the next morning was a genteel little woman, the perfect portrait of a sentimental grandmother, dressed in taste, with a wide-ranging interest and a feeling for the cultural side of life that contrasted strikingly with her story of having homesteaded as a barely grown girl, of having threatened an intruder with a gun, or of having fought dust and blizzard a hundred miles from anything that in the usual sense could be called civilization.

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