Trail Drivers of Texas

Trail Drivers of Texas


Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys and Their Experiences
on the Range and on the Trail during the Days That
Tried Men's Souls-True Narratives
Related by Real Cowpunchers and Men who Fathered the
Cattle Industry in Texas

Originally Compiled and Edited by J. Marvin Hunter
George W. Saunders

President of the Old Time Trail Drivers Association

Indians Got Their Horses

Narrated by William H. Crain* of Pipe Creek, Texas

I was born in Leon County, Texas, November 25,1849, in a log house which my father and neighbors built. In those days when a new family moved into a community everybody attended the "log rolling" and helped to put up a comfortable log cabin for the newcomers to live in. Our farm was just in the edge of the timber and the Leon prairie spread out in front of our cabin and we had a fine view for miles. There were no fences then, everything ran loose. People depended on bells and hobbles to keep their work animals near home. My father sold this place and bought land in Burleson county, and we lived there until some time in 1864, when we moved out to McCulloch county, on the Colorado River. Our nearest postoffice was Camp San Saba, about twenty-five miles distant. My father's brother-in-law, Judge John Beasley, had moved out there from Missouri, and father decided to make his home there too, but after a time the Indians became so troublesome he concluded to move again, and we went to Kendall county in 1865. Marion Hodges, well known in Bandera county for many years, came along with us. His wife, Nancy A. Hodges** was my father's niece. We rented a log house from Charlie Sughart on the east side of the Cibolo, and the next year we raised a fine crop of corn right in the heart of the present town of Boerne. We often went out and caught wild cattle and made good steers of them after they became gentle.

In 1869 I went back to McCulloch county with Jim Dophlemier and Billie Beasley to help Newt Beasley gather a herd of cattle to drive to Kansas. I had to ride a mule. Her name was not Maud, but she proved herself to be Mand's equal. When we reached Newt Beasley 's we found George Chamberlain, Tom Reese, Jim Parker, Dick Hudson, Charlie Ellington, Jeff Singleton helping to gather the cattle. Jeff Singleton, Newt Beasley and myself went out to gather some cattle one day and rode up on three Indians. One of them had a very pretty striped blanket and before Newt could prevent him, Jeff made a dash for the Indian, saying that he was going to have that blanket. He ran right up to the Indian, with his pistol in his hand, but when he saw two of them armed, with guns he turned his horse quickly and started back toward us. The Indian with the blanket shot him in the back with an arrow. The other Indians then began shooting at Jeff, and Newt went to his assistance, having only an old cap and ball pistol with three loads in it. The Indians beat a retreat and got away. I was only a boy in my teens, and riding that mule I thought my time had come, but I kept up with the other boys. We took Jeff to Mrs. Lindley's house and with a pair of dentist's forceps pulled the arrow out of his back.

Newt Beasley and a man named Gotcher had just bought twenty fresh cow ponies in Coryell county, and had them out grazing. When we went out to bring them in to camp about fifteen Indians dashed in between the boys and the herd of horses, and they had to run for hiding as they had no arms to fight the redskins with. The Indians got every horse they had for the drive, and left Beasley and Goteher with a thousand cattle rounded up and only about twelve head of tired, worn out horses to take the trail with. They had to go on to Kansas with what we had.

When I got back to Boerne in Kendall County, William and Deaters were preparing to go down to Powder Horn after a steam engine for their mill, and I went with them. It took us twenty-one days to make the trip.

I have a small ranch at PipeCreek, in Bandera county, where I am raising a few cows, horses, and goats. If any of the old trail drivers ever get lost up on the Bandera road I want them to hunt me up.

William H. Crain* of Pipe Creek, Texas

*William H. Crain (b.1849 TX) was the son of Hiram CRAIN, born 1815, KY. William B. and Rachael CRAIN were his grandparents.

**Nancy A. Hodges was the daughter of Lucinda (Crain) and John Beasley.