01.’ FAITHFUL Is Anxious to Present The Texas Observer To Your Friends.in 1956. \(What Better Gift Than the Truth About -First Gift, $4.00; Second Gift, $3.50; Each Additional Gift, $3.00 Name of Receiver: Address: Please Sign the Gift Card: .,11 11 VIi. 1 ;1 F. M Name of Receiver: Address: Please Sign the Gift Card: Name of Receiver: Address: Please Sign the Gift Card: CHISHOLM TRAIL cGREGoit Few men there are who from first hand experience can sing of the troubles on the old hisholrn .Trail, but there is one in this McLennan County town. He is Monroe WaltersUncle Mona true cowpoke of the early West who hired his rope and saddle’ first to this outfit, then to that ; who drove cattle herds to Dodge City and fought the stampeding brutes during electrical storms along the way ; who appeased Indian tribes with a beef a day ; and who, at 93, delights in talking about it. Uncle Mon’s cattle drives were over both the Chisholm Trail and the Chisum Traildistinct routes to the Kansas market, the one named for plainsman Jesse . Chisholm and the other for cattleman John Chisum. “I knew old John ChiSum well,” Uncle Mon said, “and a finer man never lived. “He had a big ‘dobe house on his ranch near Ft. Sumner \(ori the Pecos River 80 miles north of Roswell,. everybody. John Chisum told his niece to keep the table set at all times; that was her duty. A man could ride up therea perfect strangereat a meal,’ feed his horse, and ride on. “Chisum was a brave man, too. That western country was dangerous in those days and I watched John Chisum ride off more than \(vice, alone,. and never carry a gun. “He was the biggest cattleman there was in those days. One year he branded 2.500 calves just think of that and he had two or three herds on the trail all the time. “His brand was a straight line from shoulder to thigh. They called it the Rail brand and it was impossible to Old Timer Remembers the R About Which We Hear So change. And he slit the right ear of each of his cattle so one ear stuck up and One ear hung down. They called it the jinglebob.” ANOTHER CATTLEMAN Uncle Mon worked for was Bill Poage father of Rep. Bob Poage of Waco. Uncle . Mon called .Bill Poage “the smartest uneducated man I ever saw,” and “the best .cattleman that ever operated” in Central Texas. It was with a herd of Poage’s cattle that Walters made his first trip up the old Chisholtn-Trailin 1880. ,-He didn’t go all the ‘way to Dodge City with Poage’s’ ,herd i however: “I drove with. Bill: Poage’s cattle from here out to .Ft… Griffin where the trail joined the main.trail to Dodge City,” Uncle.. Mon recalled, .. Ft. Griffin is on the Brazos – River about 45, Miles northwest of Abilene. Dodge City’ is about 370 miles straight north of Abilene’ through the Oklahoma panhandle. “I le f t.Piiage ‘at Ft. Griffin,”. Uncle Mon said, “and went on to Dodge with a man named Williams from Corpus Christi..I believe his first name was Mose.” Uncle Mon ‘said actually there were three Chisholm Trails, all of them converging at Fort Griffin like a crow foot. He said one came up from around Fairfield, another from Corpus, and a third from . West Texas. Reference books indicate innumerable branchesleading to the three trails Uncle ‘Mon described, all of them known locally -as Chisholm trails, which accounts for the confusing disagreement among Texas cities edifies of the Days Much Guff –especially Central Texas citiesas to where the Chisholm Trail actually passed. The Chisum Trail also went near or through Ft. Griffin from Chisum’s ranch at Ft. Sumner. Another Chisum trail passed west of Abileneprobably nearer Amarillo. ttAi VV E LOST ONLY one man on that first trail drive, and none on the second,” Uncle Mon recalled. “The , man we lost was struck by lightning and so were about 25 head of cattle: . “The cattle took out a-running when the lightning struck, and they stampeded another time during a storm. “We .never lost any cattle to the Indians by them taking them from us, but we sure gave them plenty to keep them haPpy. “We passed about 10 or 12 tribes when we went through the Indian country, and each tribe made us give them a beef a day. If we hadn’t they would have stampeded the cattle. “And they wouldn’t let us pick the steer, either. They drove into the herd and cut out the fattest steer. “One day we. asked them if we could watch how they slaughtered the steer and they let us. It was the most barbarous sight I ever. saw. “About a half dozen young Indians, about 15 or 16 years old, rode around ARLINGTON Dow NS Anyone who has had even. one day at the races must feel a twinge of sadness when he passes abandoned Arlington Downs on the highway between Fort .Worth and Dallas. The old ticket box-stand is lonely at the rusted steel gate, the galloping tin horses poised over the archway a somehow live reminder of the day when horses raced here and people bet and cheered under the stands. The cavern beneath the stands is only a place to work now for some men hired by a company to paint sports boats. Through the shed, past the brightly colored skiffs suspended to let the paint dry, you go out to the forward fence. There is the old wooden starting standthe seats -row upon row, the aisles, the encovering hood over it all, like some huge eyeshade on a city editor. The sky was overcasting when 1 went to Arlington Downs, and the wind was come in from the north. The track where long sleek mounts once sped. beneath closehugging jockeys is overgrown now with cockleburrs and sunflower weeds and johnson grass. The turf is still good to walk on, giving – a-little, but the weeds enclose it and break into the middle here and there. As you walk on around the bend, against the way the horses would come, you send grasshoppers. whirring in every direction forward . of youbig; yellow-bodied, squashy ones, timid -little green ones. The track grows narrower’ until you are stepping over the twisted roots and doubling back `to. find the waY. Out iii the middle close by the back stretch is the lake and the pacing grounds. The dark winds and the dark moving clouds overlie ad make the water ripple and whisper. At the edge you step into the dry mud hoofholes where cows have watered, and you find the hollow rusty red bones of a cow died there and picked clean, the skull with the teeth still in neat open rows. It seems a ghost of the outlawed sporting times. The rain falls lightly on the water and the field and you start back across to the stands hooded under the dark the steer shooting arrows in him! That steer must have had a hundred arrows in him before one hit him in the right place and he fell.” There were about 800 head of cattle in the Williams herd, Uncle Mon said, and he described how they drove them along the trail. “We’d start out of a morning,.about 5 o’clock and keep ’em grazing .until about 10:30, then move them off the trail and let them graze some more. We’d move them slowly while . they were grazing, always in the direction of Kansas. ‘Then we’d eat and drive ’em back on’the trail aboul 2:30 and keep ’em Moving until abotit 4 :30; then we’d let theM graze until ‘night. “At night we’d bed ’em down. I’ve seen the whole herd lie down at once. At about 11 :30 they’d all get up, graze a little and stretch their legs, then they’d lie down again. “We were never afraid of anything except rattlesnakes. I’ve seen the cattle get bit by ’em, but never a man. The report was that a rattler never would cross a hair rope, so at night we stretched a rope all around where we ‘slept and I never saw one snake inside the rope.” Uncle Mon said there were 10 men in the company, counting the boss and the cook. “Eight of us worked the cattle,” he said. “The boss, Williams, would ride ahead and pick out the grazing and watering and camp sites, and the cook did nothing but cook.” Uncle Mon did not recall how long the trip took. “But it was a lonely life,” he said, “a lonely life.” sky and the rain comes more and hard, lope up a ridge and along the edge and down a gulley and over the track guard and over the track and up the old steel steps of the track stand. it is raining hard on the wooden roof and slants across the field, dims the dairy sheds off to the horizon and hides the lake from view. There is a boarded off but at the left of the stand , and through an open window nothing inside but some empty board shelves. At the front to the track, the little built-out square where the judge stood to watch as they galloped home nose to nose. It sounds like hail now and forces you to the-middle and still it sprays in. Up under the woodwork two wasps’ nests, and a birds’ nest just under the eaves. The paint is. white and green and blistered off by rain and sun -nose . :, :lie and Silverdust third, and Mohawk has .White. Streak, White Streak by a .they ‘re dashing for it, and Mo …. Mohawk fades, with White Streak holding fast a length. An’ they’re across And it’s Mohawk and White Streak Streak ?;\(to the lead, Mohawk second, and Silverdust outside ! And . they’re round from the outside and round the first bend with White White Streak, and Smith gives him the lead, White Streak moves up, Streak leading by a half length. And Snowman noses tip inside, and Mothe backstretch, with Silverdust chalthe home stretch, if you ain’t bet yet, the w nos ing to White Streak, and they’re onto hip at the far bend, and he’s nosSnowman dropping back of the pack, Mohawk at the rail closing on it’s too late now ! Here they come! Anethey’re off ; and it’s White rain roars down on the lonely 1-1e8, roars until the people roar again, then . fades away … years and aging glory. So the grasshoppers’ play and the wind moans and , the rain roars and the bones bleach in the sun that. breaks through the. heavy clouds over the stately, silent stands. The Texas Observer Page 6 Nov. 30, 1955. AN OLD RACE TRACK R.D. D.