Reed Anthony, Cowman eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 333 pages of information about Reed Anthony, Cowman.
plentiful, and, selecting a site well out on the prairie, we began the corral.  It was no easy task; palisades were cut twelve feet long and out of durable woods, and the gate-posts were fourteen inches in diameter at the small end, requiring both yoke of oxen to draw them to the chosen site.  The latter were cut two feet longer than the palisades, the extra length being inserted in the ground, giving them a stability to carry the bars with which the gateway was closed.  Ten days were spent in cutting and drawing timber, some of the larger palisades being split in two so as to enable five men to load them on the wagon.  The digging of the narrow trench, five feet deep, in which the palisades were set upright, was a sore trial; but the ground was sandy, and by dint of perseverance it was accomplished.  Instead of a few weeks, over a month was spent on the corral, but when it was finished it would hold a thousand stampeding cattle through the stormiest night that ever blew.

After finishing the corral we hunted a week.  The country was alive with game of all kinds, even an occasional buffalo, while wild and unbranded cattle were seen daily.  None of the men seemed anxious to leave the valley, but the commissary had to be replenished, so two of us made the trip to Belknap with a pack horse, returning the next day with meal, sugar, and coffee.  A cabin was begun and completed in ten days, a crude but stable affair, with clapboard roof, clay floor, and ample fireplace.  It was now late in September, and as the usual branding season was at hand, cow-hunting outfits might be expected to pass down the valley.  The advantage of corrals would naturally make my place headquarters for cowmen, and we accordingly settled down until the branding season was over.  But the abundance of mavericks and wild cattle was so tempting that we had three hundred under herd when the first cow-hunting outfits arrived.  At one lake on what is now known as South Prairie, in a single moonlight night, we roped and tied down forty head, the next morning finding thirty of them unbranded and therefore unowned.  All tame cattle would naturally water in the daytime, and anything coming in at night fell a victim to our ropes.  A wooden toggle was fastened with rawhide to its neck, so it would trail between its forelegs, to prevent running, when the wild maverick was freed and allowed to enter the herd.  After a week or ten days, if an animal showed any disposition to quiet down, it was again thrown, branded, and the toggle removed.  We corralled the little herd every night, adding to it daily, scouting far and wide for unowned or wild cattle.  But when other outfits came up or down the valley of the Clear Fork we joined forces with them, tendering our corrals for branding purposes, our rake-off being the mavericks and eligible strays.  Many a fine quarter of beef was left at our cabin by passing ranchmen, and when the gathering ended we had a few over five hundred cattle for our time and trouble.

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Reed Anthony, Cowman from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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