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"Yes, Al, we are all right."

Soon we came to where we could see down into the depression where the briny salt lake was in front and two miles east of the Casa Amarilla proper. 

"Well," said Al, "if my tongue was not so thick I'd whistle and sing a song." Turning his horse to the left he said, "Let's go this way and strike the upper water-hole." I said "No." The Casa Amarilla and the upper water-hole were less than a mile apart, but I was afraid we might miss the upper one by going too far west, and we parted. We were then three miles from water. After I had ridden down from the plateau into the basin and had rounded a little point ahead, our stone pyramid and flag came into view on the bluff above the spring.

As I rounded the point my horse worked his ears and gave vent to a low whinny. He had scented the water, and he started into a trot, and finally broke into a gallop of his own accord. He was a headstrong animal, and when we were near the water-hole, which was about twelve feet over, I did not have strength enough to stop him. He surged into the water, groaning as if he were dying. I dismounted in the water to loosen the cinches. He had been so long without water and was so gaunt, he looked like a wasp. As he got more hollow, from time to time, I would tighten the rear cinch to keep the saddle from chafing his back.

Loosening both cinches entirely, and taking off the bridle, when I had to jerk with what strength I had to get his mouth out of the water, I let him drink until I thought he should have no more at that time; but I had to strike him over the head with the bridle-bits before I could drive him out of and away from the water.

As he turned suddenly the saddle fell off into the water and splashed water up into my face. I think no mortal ever experienced more sudden relief from intense suffering, both in body and mind, than I did at that time. I drank moderately of the water, and bathed my face and hands. The horse came back into the water and drank till he was tight as a drum. Then he went out a little way and began nibbling the grass, what little grass there was, near by, when a negro soldier came out of the draw from the upper water-hole. He had seven canteens full of water. He was one of the party that had started for the Laguna Plata the evening before, and getting lost from the others during the night, his horse had brought him to the upper water-hole, where he arrived about noon that day.

He told me there were two other white men at the water-hole, or big Dripping Spring proper. One got there a little after he did, and the other one had just come. I was quite sure the last one must be Al. Waite.

I asked him if he had heard the first one's name?

"Yes; the man who just came called him Dick." So that accounted for Dick Wilkinson.

I said to the darky: "You give me that big U. S. horse; I'll take those canteens and go back on the trail."

He said, "Yes, sah! Take him, sah!" Which I would have done anyway.

Taking off my belt and pointing to my Creedmoor, I said, "I'll take your carbine. Give me your belt," which he did. Then I was immediately off on the back track.

I had barely started when I saw two men approaching from the salt lake. Turning and meeting them, I found it was Rees and Foley. They had struck too far east, and were coming back. They told me to hurry to Louie Keyes, Cornett and Squirrel-eye. They had given up the struggle.

I hurried ahead, and about a mile and a half from there I met John Mathias afoot. I offered him water. He said: "No, I know where the water is. Go on; hurry to the other boys; Carr has wandered off. You get to Keyes, Cornett, and Emery first. They are east of the route, about two and one-half miles back."

Hurrying on a half-mile, I met the rest, except the three or four alluded to. I left three canteens of water with them. They said: "Burn the earth, Cook, to reach Keyes, Cornett and Squirrel-eye. You will see their horses, two of them, by going this way," they pointing out the course.

I did not take time to hear all the truth, but made my horse fairly fly, and soon I was beside them. They were lying down, side by side, having been very methodical about it. They were lying on their backs, facing the east. They had written their names and had them fastened to their saddles. I dismounted and tied my horse to the neck-rope of Cornett's horse, which stood there, a melancholy wreck of what I knew he had been. Each man had his face covered with a towel.

Charles Emery's horse had been killed and its blood drunk by the three men. They had severed his jugular vein and used their tin-cup in which to catch the blood. The dead horse was lying about twenty feet from the men. I got down upon my knees at their heads and lifted the towel from Cornett's face. His eyes were closed, apparently in death. Then I opened a canteen of water; saturated one of the towels, and began rubbing their faces alternately.

Squirrel-eye was in the middle, and was the first to respond. Dried blood was on their lips and mustaches. Their lower jaws had dropped. Louie's tongue was swollen and protruding. It was not death. They were all in a comatose condition. The first murmur came from Emery; but it was only a mutter. I opened all their shirt collars, took off their cartridge-belts, pulled off two pairs of boots and took off the other one's shoes. I began to talk loudly to them. I said anything and everything I thought would arouse them.

Now, let the infidel laugh; but, feeling my utter helplessness, I said, "Oh, God, help me to save these men's lives." I dashed water in their faces and on their chests. I raised Keyes up to a sitting posture; but his head dropped to one side, and I began to think he was a "goner," sure.

Just then Emery raised himself up of his own accord and said, "Where am I?" I placed Keyes back into a reclining position, and, holding the canteen to Emery's mouth, said, "Squirrel-eye, _drink_! there is lots of water; we must hurry." I talked loudly. At the first swallow he clutched the canteen with both hands, and would have drained it of all the water had I allowed him to do so. His consciousness came to him when I said, "Now, help me with the other boys."

Just then Rees came to us, and asked: "Did you find Carr?"

I said, "No, Sol.; I've not had time yet."

Just then Cornett arose to his full height and said, "Oh! God, how long is this to last?"

Rees got him to drink some water.

Two of the canteens were nearly exhausted, when Rees said: "John, for God's sake try to find Carr; my own horse is about done up and that Government horse will carry you like the wind. I'll attend to the boys and get them to the water-hole."

Anticipating where Carr was from what Mathias had told me about where he last saw him, I rode west for several miles around the Casa Amarilla.

The plains were wavy or slightly undulating or rolling. I hurried on. After going some three miles I saw to my right, and about one mile west of the upper water-hole, a riderless horse. Having left my glasses on my own saddle, that was all I could make out. I hurried on to the horse, and on near approach I saw that it was "Prince."

Carr was lying on the shady side of him, but the sun was nearly down. I dismounted, threw the rein of the horse I was riding over the saddle-horn on Prince, went around to the side Carr was on, and said to him: "Well, you're making it into camp, I see." I was holding the canteen in my hand. He raised himself up to a sitting position and said, "It's Cook's voice, but I can't see you." I put one hand upon his brow and the canteen to his lips, when he, too, with the first swallow, seized the canteen with both hands.

After a good long drink, I took it from him, he letting go reluctantly. I wet his head, washed his face, trickled some water down his neck, and gave him another drink from the canteen. I saturated Sam's pocket-handkerchief with the little water that remained and moistened Prince's nostrils and lips with it; then said: "Now, Sam, get on your horse and let's go to camp, for there is lots to do."

I helped him to mount and got him to the upper water-hole. To my great surprise there were our pack animals, except the two head we had with us in the morning.

The absence of Wilkinson the night before was now accounted for. He had awakened before the shooting in the night, and, missing the pack-mules and his own horse, he went out away from the main crowd, and, lying flat upon his belly, he skylighted one of the mules moving off toward the Casa Amarilla; and he followed, passed by it looking for more, until he got to the lead of all, except his own horse, which he could not get up to, nor would his horse stop at his call. Knowing what animal instinct was, and as they were all going the same direction, one after another, he waited until the last one had passed him, when he followed in the rear. That took him to the big Dripping Spring at the Casa Amarilla.

He had killed a large buck antelope, and skinned him shot-pouch fashion. Turning the hide back like a stocking, he had tight-laced up both ends, and, filling the hide full of water through the opening of one of the front legs, closed it by tying a rawhide thong around it. He got forty-two quarts of water. While he was filling the hide, Waite went down to where I had struck the water, and finding Mathias, Foley, and the darky soldier there, and the rest of the party except Rees and the three men who had "thrown up the sponge," he explained to them about the pack outfit, and that he and Dick would start immediately for the relief of Harvey and those who were with him.

Mathias and the darky went back up to the Dripping Springs, leaving Foley to state matters to the others upon their arrival. It was now dark. Dick and Al. started across the country to find the footmen if possible. I rode down the draw to the Casa water-hole, where the main party had arrived. Getting the three canteens, I started for Rees and the three other men.

Soon it began to thunder in the southwest. The lightning was flashing in the south and west near the horizon. After I had gone some distance, it became quite dark. Fearing I would miss finding the men, I fired the carbine. I soon saw the flash and heard the report of a gun a half-mile or so to my left. Turning that way, I would fire now and again, and get an answer.

It was Rees and the three men, Rees walking and Emery riding Rees's horse. They were all burning with thirst; and soon the four men had drunk the contents of the canteens.

The deep rumbling, muttering thunder was now almost continuous. The sky was overcast with heavy black clouds. The vivid, forked lightning was "cavorting" high above the horizon. We necessarily moved very slowly between lightning intervals, on account of the inky darkness.

On top of the Casa bluff, at short intervals, a streak of blaze would go up thirty or forty feet high and fall back to the ground. "Soap-balls," said Squirrel-eye, who had been raised in Texas. And so they were. There was a soap-root growing profusely in all this region, with which the Mexicans washed their clothes. From the top of its stalk grew a round, fuzzy ball about four inches in diameter, which would ignite at the touch of a burning match. They were something like the turpentine balls, which the boys of my generation used to sport with on Fourth of July nights. And this lurid blaze could be seen for many miles at night.

When we got within speaking distance that well-known clarion voice of John Mathias told us with vim, to "follow up the draw." He added: "We've got a coon cook, and he has a supper ready of antelope, bread and coffee."

Mathias was a man whose countenance had but one expression. It never changed. He always looked as if dire misfortune had suddenly overtaken him. Yet withal he was the most affable, sociable, and humorous man in our company. He was always turning the sublime to the ridiculous. But when others were in distress he was tender-hearted. His help was free, and he was kind and generous. We had no sooner reached camp when his solicitation for the welfare of Harvey, Kress, Perry, and Williams cropped out.

The violent thunder had abated, and the air was perfectly still, when Mathias said: "Now, boys, after you all eat, let's all string out from here southwest toward where we left the boys, those in front with the canteens keeping within speaking distance of one another, and we will throw up burning soap-balls to signal them in if they are on the move."

Some of the men could not eat at all. Those who did, were not ravenously hungry. It was water, _water_, WATER, they wanted first. Leaving the darky soldier and Louie Keyes, whose vitality was at a low ebb, we all filed out on the yarner, and with two men holding the four corners of a blanket, to hold soap-balls in, dark though it was we gathered many a one, over a hundred, by shuffling and scuffling our feet along and around.

All the while we were busily gathering them, one man would light and toss the blazing ball as high as he could throw it, and in the light of a blazing ball as it was ascending and descending, we would see others and skip toward them by this light. We kept from one to as many as five soap-balls in the air at once. These brightly burning blazing balls were fine night signals.

Loud thunder and bright lightning could be heard and seen, then continuous, deep roaring thunder like the sound of artillery which was not far distant, could be distinctly heard. Then to the south and southwest we heard a deafening and I may say an appalling roar that lasted, it seemed, for at least three minutes. The sound was like the rushing of a mighty torrent.

When it ceased the stillness of the tomb prevailed for a while. We all returned to camp, and _to sleep_.

Not a drop of rain fell where we were. But the next morning when the second relief party went out they found the earth deluged six miles south of our camp, and rode through one basin where the water was belly-deep to their horses. They said the rain strip was two miles wide; and one mile south of it they found our boys; Waite and Wilkinson had found them early in the morning. They had traveled on about seven miles after they had found the bottle of brandy, and they were in earnest when they declared that had it not been for that stimulant they would have succumbed.

Another thing helped them: they held a bullet in their mouths, which caused the saliva to flow, which kept the mouth moist and they did not experience that dry, hot, hacking sensation in their throats that we did.

But when found they were very weak. Hudson was delirious. On the evening of the 30th of July they arrived in camp, where we remained three days resting and recuperating from this disaster. Benson was the only man of our party not present.

Hosea and the negro soldiers that went with him to Laguna Plata, with the exception of the colored soldier with us, found the lake near morning of the 29th.

At this lake occurred an act on the part of the mulatto sergeant which was a disgrace to manhood, and purchased the sergeant a home in the military prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, for a period of twenty years at hard labor, when he should have been shot, as Mathias said, with all the buffalo-guns on the range. This sergeant refused to go back to the relief of his officers and comrades, and ordered his squad _not to return_. But one did disobey him, and followed Hosea with forty-four canteens full of water, and they struck the backtrack.

Faithful Hosea returned to where he found the previous night's halt; found that the soldiers had taken one course, we another. He followed the soldiers until he felt assured they would get to the Double Lakes or Laguna Sabinas. He thought they could not miss both, as they were nearly in sight of them then. Hosea turned and crossed that thirty miles of trackless waste to the Casa Amarilla, and found us the morning of the 31st.

The sergeant and his men put back to Fort Concho; and we hunters went east to our old battle-ground at the head of Thompson's cañon, where we found Benson, who had left the soldiers, after traveling half the day of the 29th, and when night came on he lost his horse and had walked the rest of the way, he being ninety-six hours without water. When we came to where he was he was as crazy as a bug. It was three weeks before his mind was thoroughly restored.

Here we found our missing pack-mules. Now we were all together, not losing a man, after undergoing one of the most horrifying experiences that ever fell to mortals' lot on land. We read of horrors of the sea, where castaways resorted to cannibalism when they became frenzied, where seemingly there was nothing else could be done and live. But here in this great "Lone Star State," with water all around us, was a party of strong men who became demoralized by thirst, which, together with intense heat, will weaken the body and impair the mental faculties far quicker than hunger or any other calamity that can happen to man.

The soldiers first found Laguna Rica, then the Double Lakes, where Captain Lee was encamped at the time; but in covering the vast distance from where they left us they had killed and drank the blood from twenty-two of their horses; and yet five of them died on the route. So Lieutenant Ward told us when he went out from Fort Concho afterward, with a part of his company, and buried the dead.

For twenty miles this route was strewn with carbines, cartridge-belts, blankets, hats, blouses, pants, and cooking utensils, dead horses and mules, so that one object or a number of objects could be seen from one to another.

With those two officers and their colored soldiers was big raw-boned Barney Howard, black as a crow, and as kinky-wooled as his Congo Basin progenitors. He was the true _hero_ of the occasion. After his own horse had been sacrificed, he said to the officers and men, "It would take worser dan dis for me to drap." And when Lieutenant Cooper handed him his watch and money that he had with him he asked Barney to give them to his (Cooper's) wife, if he (Barney) got through. Barney tied them up in the silk handkerchief that Mrs. Cooper had monogrammed, and said:

"I'll carry dese for you, sah, till we git to watah, for you isn't gwine to peter out and worry dat pooh little black-eyed woman, is you? No, sah, dat talk am all nonsense."

He threw military discipline aside and told Captain Nolan he ought to be ashamed of himself to set a whining patten (pattern) befo' his men. He would walk around among his weak, discouraged comrades, and tell them of the good things in store for them in the future. I had a long talk with this ebony-colored child of Ham, afterward, at Fort Concho. He was cut out for a regular, and it is but fair to presume that he climbed the San Juan hill, doing his duty in his capacity equally as well as Theodore Roosevelt did in his.

After recuperating, the soldiers went to Concho, and Captain Lee back to Fort Griffin.

       *       *       *       *       *

What about the Indians?

That is another story, part of which was a revelation to us. They knew where we hunters were from day to day, and through an interpreter at Fort Sill, the next June, I listened to Cuatro Plumas's (Four Feathers) statement. He was born at the Big Springs of the Colorado.

They knew that Quinnie was coming to them. He was born at the south end of Laguna Sabinas, on the Staked Plains. One of the runners met Quinnie at the old camp they were in when they killed Sewall, and they told him where we were. After we had killed and wounded so many of them in March, they said they would never fight the hunters again, in a body. The lesson of the Adobe Walls, and that of the Casa Amarilla, as they called the place where we fought them in March, had taught them to not go up against the long-range guns that the hunters carried; and that they would just dodge and elude us until we got weary of the chase.

Quinnie knew perfectly well, when he was observed coming straight to us, where we were, soldiers and all. He also knew where the Indians were camped, which was in the Blue sand-hills, not to exceed seven miles from where we finally abandoned the trail. He would never have thought of coming to our camp if the soldiers had not been with us, fearing we would seize him and under penalty of death make him take us to the Indians, which we surely would have done had it not been for Captain Nolan.

Quinnie expected us to follow him when he left our camp at the head of the Colorado. He would accomplish two purposes in coming out of his way some forty miles in all, to reach our camp and then get back again to the Indians: one was, "To show his commission and orders, thus hoping to allay the vengeance of the hunters, and check the movement of the soldiers against their camp;" the other was, "To get us as far south as possible, when he would, under cover of night, turn and hurry to the sand-hills and get the hostile Indians moving for Fort Sill, with us too far away to overtake them."

But we did not follow him. In the end we really did worse. Quinnie was supplied with a pair of army field-glasses from Fort Sill, and from their point of observance in the sand-hills they noted our approach on the 28th; and in the early evening they were all moving east, keeping in the basins of the sand-hills. When they saw our command turn toward the Laguna Plata, following the water party, they halted and camped. They saw as separate the morning of the 29th, and watched us all the forenoon. Then, on the evening of the 29th, they started to run the gauntlet between us, and, some of them knowing these plains from childhood, they could safely anticipate where each party was that night; and keeping a course as far from us hunters as possible, and crossing Nolan's trail well in his rear, they got through to the eastern breaks of the Staked Plains without being seen, and hurried on to Fort Sill as fast as they could.

They left nearly 200 head of horses and mules in the sand-hills. They camped one day, the 30th, in the rough broken country northeast, a little way from the old first camp, where Freed and his party first fought them. They left more than one hundred head of stock here in these breaks. They were so scared and in such a hurry they were afraid to take time to gather them up. In fact, they lost more or less stock until they got across Red river into the Indian Territory.

After leaving the old battle-ground, where we found Benson, we followed down Thompson's cañon at easy stages, and when we were near the mouth of the cañon we ran onto a large surveying party. At sight of us they fortified in a hurry, the best they could. When we were within a quarter of a mile of them, we sent a truce ahead, and soon there were joyful greetings. They saw the Indians during the 30th, and were about to leave for Fort Griffin, on account of their close proximity, but seeing the next morning that they were gone and their horses scattered in every direction, they concluded to remain close in camp, awaiting developments. And when they first saw us coming down the valley of the Thompson Fork of the Brazos, they thought and feared we were Indians.

Their story of the Indians' scattered horses interested us considerably. We passed on out into the region where they were to be found. We went into camp below where the Indians had stopped over on the 30th, and went to work scouring the country over for horses. The next day we gathered in 136 head. Poor old "Keno" was there! His back on each side was raw and swollen, the top of his withers was bruised and chafed raw. When John Mathias saw him, and as I was using a lot of words about it, which I refrain from using here, he said: "It just makes a fellow feel like he wanted to scalp the Chairman of the Indian Rights Association."

None of us had ever seen the most of this stock. The big spotted horse belonging to George Williams, that one of the Indian warriors had caught, mounted, and rode through Rath, when the Rath raid was made, was even in worse condition than "Keno." Billy Devins's, Freed's, and the two Englishmen's stock were all here, and some belonging to other hunters, who were not members of the Forlorn Hope, were also identified.

That evening we held a council. We looked over the descriptions in the "bills of sale" the ranchmen had given us. It was decided to divide the party, one-half taking the Indians' back trail for the sand-hills, the other half to take the stock, follow the Indians' trail to the north prong of the Salt Fork of the Brazos, thereby hoping to pick up more stock that the Indians might have left behind them, then turn and go to Rath and there await the return of the party that would go back to the sand-hills. Some of us were eager to go back, more from curiosity than otherwise; and we did so.

The next morning we were up by daylight. Breakfast was over and the division of the party about to be made. Harvey said:

"Now, boys, fix it up among yourselves which end of the trail you will take. I won't make the division. Some of you want to go back to the sand-hills. For myself, I am feeling badly. The last few days' work have been hard on me. You boys have readily performed every duty I have imposed upon you ever since we left Rath, and I now hand the responsibility over to you for the future."

"No, no," we told him, one and all of the same voice; "you make the detail. We will stay organized until the stock question is settled. You take one-third of the men then and go to Rath's Store. Take all the extra stock along and wait for us to come in."

He took Carr, Keyes, Cornett, Squirrel-eye, the two Englishmen, the negro soldier, the Boston boy, and poor Benson, whom we had to watch to keep him from wandering off; as he would keep saying, "I must go and find the boys." Had he suffered during his ninety-six hours of thirst?

I was one of the party who went to the sand-hills.

We separated, all three parties leaving camp at once, with "So-long to you," and "So-long to you," calling back to each other by name. "Don't let the Quohadas get those horses again." "Yes, and look out for the pale-face rustlers, too, Harvey." This last was an admonition with a meaning. For the cattle-men along the border had given us the names of a few professional horsethieves.

We were two days going back to the sand-hills. We followed the trail the Indians had made in their flight for Fort Sill. When we got fairly out of the breaks and on top of the "yarner," we met Tonkawa Johnson and his five scouts. From him we learned the condition of Nolan's command. Johnson had been sent out to hunt for that part of Nolan's missing pack train which was finally found at Laguna Rica.

We entered the Blue sand-hills where the Indians left them. After following the trail about seven miles we came to the place where they had lived since Captain Lee captured their camp at Laguna Plata. We passed by horses, mules and ponies for two miles before we came to the camp. We stayed in these sand-hills for three days. We went out to where we had abandoned the trail on the evening of the 28th of July. Seven miles on an air line would have led us to their camp. Twice that distance was the trail we abandoned, the trail leading past their camp on the north some five miles, and looping back again. We could not but admire their strategy. We rounded up in these sand-hills 107 head of stock, and drove them to Rath, where the other boys who had followed the Indian trail to the Brazos had arrived two days before us.

We placed all the stock in one herd, and sent out word in every direction for the hunters to come and get their stock. Rath boarded us at the restaurant until we got our outfits rigged up for the fall and winter hunt. In September we scattered over the range from the South Concho to the Pease river, as secure in our camps as if we were in a quiet and peaceful Quaker neighborhood, so far as Indians were concerned.

       *       *       *       *       *

The summer of 1877 is on record as being the last of the Comanches in the rôle of raiders and scalpers; and we hunters were justly entitled to credit in winding up the Indian trouble in the great State of Texas, so far as the Kiowas and Comanches were concerned. Those Indians had been a standing menace to the settlement of 90,000 square miles of territory in Texas and New Mexico.

And today, 1907, it is a pleasing thought to the few surviving hunters of the old Southwest to know that the entire country of the then vast unsettled region is now dotted over with thousands of peaceful, prosperous homes.

I pulled out of Rath September 21st for the head of North Concho; and that winter hunted along the eastern edge of, and on, the Staked Plains.

The last great slaughter of the buffaloes was during the months of December 1877, and January 1878, more than one hundred thousand buffalo-hides being taken by the army of hunters during that fall and winter. That winter and spring many families came onto the range and selected their future homes, and killed buffaloes for hides and meat. More meat was cured that winter than the three previous years all put together.

In the spring of 1877 but few buffalo went north of Red river. The last big band of these fast-diminishing animals that I ever saw was ten miles south of the Mustang Spring, going southwest. They never came north again. And I afterward learned that the remnant of the main herd that were not killed crossed the Rio Grande and took to the hills of Chihuahua in old Mexico. This last view was in February 1878. During the rest of the time that I was on the range, the hunters could only see a few isolated bands of buffaloes. And if one heard of a herd which contained fifty head he would not only look, but be surprised.

In May the hunters were leaving the range. Some went to the San Juan mines, some to the Black Hills, and some "back to the States," as they would say.

Many picked out one of the many fine locations that he had had an eye on for a year, two years, or three years, as the case might be, and he would settle down to ranching. In a few years, personally I lost track of them. _But in memory, never._

Speaking of the members who took part in the battle of March 18th, 1877, and were also members of the Forlorn Hope: I can now look back in my evening of life, with very many pleasant recollections. It was the most democratic body of men imaginable. Different in religious views, politics, financial standing, and in the social scale of life, yet, as the phrase goes, all "common as old boots." There were men with a classical education; some there were who could not read, write, or cipher; but they could name the brands and could tell you the peculiarities of the owners from the Rio Grande to the Red river. One of the Englishmen, as we called the two whose camp was literally destroyed, and who were with us in the Casa Amarilla fight, also a member of the "Forlorn Hope," was not wholly English, for Scotch blood flowed in his veins. He was a poet. He never told the author, but it came to him second-hand, that Harry Burns, the Scotch-Englishman, was a descendant of Bobbie Burns, the famous Scotch poet. His verses composed and published in the Dodge City _Times_, addressed to the "hunters" after the ninety days' scout, and which are reproduced in this book, are timely, and surely will be appreciated by the hunters of those days.

Another hunter, a "Prodigal Son," also composed a few verses when he was leaving western Kansas to hunt in Texas. The words were sung all over the range with as much vim as the old-time "John Brown's Body." It had a very catchy tune, and with the melody from the hunters' voices it was beautiful and soul-inspiring to me. One stanza and the chorus is all that I can now recall of it. It ran thus:

    "I love these wildflowers, in this fair land of ours, I love to hear the wild curlew scream On the cliffs of white rock, where the antelope flock, To graze on the herbage so green.

CHORUS.

    "O, give me a home, where the buffalo roam, Where the deer and the antelope play, Where seldom is heard a discouraging word And the sky is not cloudy all day."

We were camped at the Casa Amarilla on the Fourth of July. We made a flag from a part of a blue shirt; the red stripes from a red shirt, the white stripes from a flour-sack. We used the tin-foil from around our plug tobacco for stars. Our standard was a tepee-pole. We planted it on top of the pyramid which we made, twelve feet high, from the stones from the old Indian fort. After the flag was hoisted, it floated about twenty-five feet above the ground.

One of the boys said, "It's a little trick, ain't it?" Then he added, "But it's got a mighty big meaning."

"Yes," said another; "I fit agin it wunst, but it's sacred now; I love it. It's got a portion of my old red shirt in its folds."

We delivered patriotic orations; declaimed some of Daniel Webster's and Henry Clay's speeches to Congress. We belabored King George in particular, and Great Britain in general, much to the delight of the two Englishmen, whom we had told in advance that "present company was excepted"; but that all Englishmen not present would "catch fits."

We had a code of etiquette, and woe to the man that violated it. There was a kangaroo court always in session, with Judge Kress (Wild Bill) on the bench. Men were even tried for imaginary offenses, and always found "guilty." The sentence was to go out a given number of steps from camp and bring in buffalo-chips to cook with. All those dry hot days there was not the semblance of ill-feeling one toward another. Some had singular peculiarities, but they were all by common consent passed by.

I remained in Texas until the fall of 1879; helped to organize Wheeler county in the Panhandle, it being the first county organized in that part of Texas. From Texas I went to Chautauqua county, Kansas, and from there to Fort Berthold, in the Dakota Territory; was in the U. S. Indian service, serving as Superintendent of Indian farming; was there during the Sioux Indian Messiah craze, the winter Sitting Bull was killed.

I first saw Sitting Bull, that crafty old Medicine-man, in the winter of 1885, when he came to visit the Mandan, Gros Ventre, and Arickaree Indians. He was then paving the way to get into their good graces in order to get those friendly tribes to violate their peace compact with the Government. While living in Dakota Mrs. Cook was one of the unfortunate victims of the great blizzard of January, 1888. She lay in a snow-drift two nights and one day, over forty hours, and from the effects of this experience, her feet were badly frozen, so much so that she had to undergo a partial amputation of both feet. And when the wounds healed she suffered so with chilblains that I was compelled to take her to the Cascade mountain region of Oregon, where we now reside.

Illustration: Alice V. Cook

Having no living children of our own, we took to raise, as best we could, an orphan child of a Confederate ex-soldier. When we took him, he was four years old. He is now (1907) near fourteen years of age, a manly little man. His father had been one of Robert E. Lee's veterans, enlisting in Virginia in 1861, and surrendering at Appomattox in 1865, having been continuously in the service four years, fighting for the principles that _his_ conscience told him were right. He has the distinction of being one of the victims of the "Petersburg Mine Explosion." He was thrown many feet into the air, and fell back into the crater unharmed.

And if I am the only Union ex-soldier who has cared as best we could for the baby-boy of one of General Lee's valiant soldiers, I will feel it is a distinction that Mrs. Cook and myself can take great consolation in.

John Crump was the name of the Confederate soldier spoken of. I never changed his son's name, but left it by his father's request—John Nelson Crump. The Crumps were a credit to the State of Virginia.

Illustration: John Nelson Crump.