Reed Anthony, Cowman eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 333 pages of information about Reed Anthony, Cowman.
open and their hoofs dropped off.  Hundreds of young steers were wandering aimlessly around on hoofless stumps, while their tails cracked and broke like icicles.  In angles and nooks of the fence, hundreds had perished against the wire, their bodies forming a scaling ladder, permitting late arrivals to walk over the dead and dying as they passed on with the fury of the storm.  I had been a soldier and seen sad sights, but nothing to compare to this; the moaning of the cattle freezing to death would have melted a heart of adamant.  All we could do was to cut the fences and let them drift, for to halt was to die; and when the storm abated one could have walked for miles on the bodies of dead animals.  No pen could describe the harrowing details of that winter; and for years afterward, or until their remains had a commercial value, a wayfarer could have traced the south-line fences by the bleaching bones that lay in windrows, glistening in the sun like snowdrifts, to remind us of the closing chapter in the history of the Cheyenne and Arapahoe Cattle Company.



The subsequent history of the ill-fated Cheyenne and Arapahoe Cattle Company is easily told.  Over ninety per cent of the cattle moved under the President’s order were missing at the round-up the following spring.  What few survived were pitiful objects, minus ears and tails, while their horns, both root and base, were frozen until they drooped down in unnatural positions.  Compared to the previous one, the winter of 1885-86, with the exception of the great January blizzard, was the less severe of the two.  On the firm’s range in the Cherokee Strip our losses were much lighter than during the previous winter, owing to the fact that food was plentiful, there being little if any sleet or snow during the latter year.  Had we been permitted to winter in the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country, considering our sheltered range and the cattle fully located, ten per cent would have been a conservative estimate of loss by the elements.  As manager of the company I lost five valuable years and over a quarter-million dollars.  Time has mollified my grievances until now only the thorn of inhumanity to dumb beasts remains.  Contrasted with results, how much more humane it would have been to have ordered out negro troops from Fort Reno and shot the cattle down, or to have cut the fences ourselves, and, while our holdings were drifting back to Texas, trusted to the mercy of the Comanches.

I now understand perfectly why the business world dreads a political change in administration.  Whatever may have been the policy of one political party, the reverse becomes the slogan of the other on its promotion to power.  For instance, a few years ago, the general government offered a bounty on the home product of sugar, stimulating the industry in Louisiana and also in my adopted State.  A change of administration followed, the bounty was removed, and had not the insurance companies promptly canceled their risks on sugar mills, the losses by fire would have been appalling.  Politics had never affected my occupation seriously; in fact I profited richly through the extravagance and mismanagement of the Reconstruction regime in Texas, and again met the defeat of my life at the hands of the general government.

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Reed Anthony, Cowman from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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