A Texas Cowboy: or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony (Penguin Classics)
Charles A. Siringo
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After a nomadic childhood, Charles Siringo signed on as a teenage cowboy for the noted Texas cattle king, Shanghai Pierce, and began a life that embraced all the hard work, excitement, and adventure readers today associate with the cowboy era. He "rid the Chisholm trail," driving 2,500 heads of cattle from Austin to Kansas; knew Tascosa—now a historic monument—when it was home to raucous saloons, red light districts, and a fair share of violence; and led a posse of cowboys in pursuit of Billy the Kid and his gang.
First published in 1885, Siringo's chronicle of his life as a itchy-footed boy, cowhand, range detective, and adventurer was one the first classics about the Old West and helped to romanticize the West and its myth of the American cowboy. Will Rogers declared, "That was the Cowboy's Bible when I was growing up."
acquaintances—and then walked to Lebanon, Ill., twenty-five miles. I thought may be I might find out through some of my Lebanon friends where mother and sister were. It was nearly noon when I struck out on my journey and nine o‘clock at night when I arrived at my destination. I went straight to Mrs. Bell’s, where sister had worked, but failed to hear a word of mother and sister’s whereabouts. Mrs. Bell gave me a good bed that night and next morning I struck out to hunt a job. After
ranch and found that it had changed hands in our absence. “Shanghai” Pierce and his brother Jonathan had sold out their interests1 to Allen, Pool & Co. for the snug little sum of one hundred and ten thousand dollars. That shows what could be done in those days, with no capital, but lots of cheek and a branding iron. The two Pierce’s had come out there from Yankeedom a few years before poorer than skimmed milk. Everything had taken a change—even to the ranch. It had been moved down the river
his responsibilities. He drives herds east and west and, later, heads into New Mexico to round up rustlers stealing from Texas ranchers and selling their beef in the Southwest or in northern Mexico. Obviously, in these happenings Charlie was living out the western myth and the American Dream: riding free on the frontier and slowly making his way up the cattle country ladder of success. After several cattle-trailing trips eastward, Charlie returned to the LX in mid-summer 1880. With early fall
After being out three days we landed in Tascosa,1 a little mexican town on the Canadian. There were only two americans there, Howard & Reinheart, who kept the only store in town. Their stock of goods consisted of three barrels of whisky and half a dozen boxes of soda crackers. From there we went down the river twenty-five miles where we found a little trading point, consisting of one store and two mexican families. The store, which was kept by a man named Pitcher, had nothing in it but whisky
abused animal, especially in large outfits, where so many different men are at work. It requires treble the number of men on a cow-ranch in the summer that it does in winter, therefore it will be seen that most of the cow-ponies are subject to a new master every season, if not oftener. For instance; a man goes to work on a large ranch, and is given five or six horses for his regular “mount.” Maybe he has just hired for a few months, during the busiest part of the season, and therefore does not