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A Cowboy of the Pecos by Patrick Dearen

By Patrick Dearen

BY THE WINNER OF THE 2015 SPUR AWARD
In the overdue Eighties, the Pecos River zone of Texas and southern New Mexico used to be referred to as "the cowboy's paradise." And the cowboys who labored in and round the river have been often called "the so much specialist cowboys within the world." A Cowboy of the Pecos vividly reveals tells the tale of the Pecos cowboy from the 1st Goodnight-Loving farm animals force to the Twenties. those meticulously researched and interesting tales provide a glimpse right into a forgotten and but mythologized period. contains archival photos.

Along a lot of its Texas stretch this day, the Pecos is simply a polluted trickle, squeezing via a jungle of salt cedars that choke banks sloughed and overlooked. the trendy motorist crossing it through bridge is prone to greet it with a yawn than with visceral emotion. yet have been he to learn the background buried deep in its banks, he might locate the sweat and blood of cowhands who knew this ghost because the such a lot ambitious and treacherous river within the West.

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A Log of the Texas-California Cattle Trail," 210. 55. C. Page 29 The Goodnight-Loving Trail Their Livelihood taken away by war, the Texas cowhands who rode the California Trail returned home or were mustered into service to face military action. Almost none of it took place along the Pecos, whichwith the abandonment of Forts Lancaster, Stockton, and Davisreverted to the domain of the Comanche. 3 Moreover, the South's foredoomed defeat in 1865 left Texas with little cash but a lot of potential money-on-the hoof.

Selling the cattle, the men still faced a treacherous ride home. On January 7, 1866, the horse on which St. John had started to Mexico showed up riderless at its home range in North Texas, alarming residents of Fort Davis.  . is back at Greer's Ranch in very good order, and it is reported that the boys are killed," Susan Newcomb lamented in her diary that day. " Page 32 One week later, however, Reynolds and Huff came riding back in to Fort Davis to tell townspeople that "they did not meet with any Indians nor much bad luck," wrote Susan.

Twelve days behind Erskine (who eventually reached California with 814 head)50 was the drove of John James, whose party included twenty-two-year-old James G. Bell and other emigrants anxious to reach the West Coast. Fording Lancaster Crossing June 26 and holding the animals overnight at a grassy spot three miles upstream, they learned why experienced drovers watered their herds only at natural water holes. "Lost some cattle at watering," Bell noted in his diary the next morning. S. Army set up a series of posts along the Texas stretch in the 1850sFort Clark, 127 miles west of San Antonio; Fort Lancaster, 4 miles east of Lancaster Crossing; Fort Page 23 Stockton, 46 miles west of the Pecos; and Fort Davis, 74 miles west of Stockton.

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