By Patrick Dearen
Along a lot of its Texas stretch at the present time, the Pecos is barely a polluted trickle, squeezing via a jungle of salt cedars that choke banks sloughed and missed. the fashionable motorist crossing it through bridge is prone to greet it with a yawn than with visceral emotion. yet have been he to learn the historical past buried deep in its banks, he might locate the sweat and blood of cowhands who knew this ghost because the such a lot bold and treacherous river within the West.
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Extra info for A cowboy of the Pecos
37 Even as Spain's rule over the Pecos ended in 1821, and on through fifteen years under the flag of Mexico and a near decade of Republic of Texas dominion that ended when Texas joined the United States,38 the Pecos largely was shunned by white men, who settled no closer than hundreds of miles to the east. 39 Soon, the Pecos witnessed the approach of not only emigrants, but their herds of work oxen, beeves, and breeding stock. 40 And riding in the dust raised by the hooves were "herdsmen"the first cowboys of the Pecospointing the way into myth and history for all the cowhands who would follow.
They said yes. '" Spending impossibly long hours in the saddle, they pushed up the Pecos through a land ruled by Comanches and Apaches. "They must have had a hard time of it," wrote diarist Samuel P. " Nevertheless, Reynolds, St. John, and Huff saw the herd through, all the way up the Pecos to within seventy five miles of Santa Fe. Selling the cattle, the men still faced a treacherous ride home. On January 7, 1866, the horse on which St. John had started to Mexico showed up riderless at its home range in North Texas, alarming residents of Fort Davis.
Adams, Western Words: A Dictionary of the American West (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, rev. edition, 1968), 223. 3. F. S. Millard, A Cowpuncher of the Pecos (J. ), 36. Throughout the text, I have edited Millard's comments for spelling and punctuation. 4. From an old song, as quoted by 1880s cowhand Ed Burnett, manuscript statement, J. Evetts Haley Collection (hereinafter, Haley Collection), Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library (hereinafter, Haley Library), Midland. 5. Burnett, manuscript statement.