Reed Anthony, Cowman HTML version

XV. Harvest Home
The firm's profits for the summer of '77 footed up over two hundred thousand
dollars. The government herds from the Cherokee Outlet paid the best, those
sent to market next, while the through cattle remunerated us in the order of
beeves, young steers, and lastly cows. There was a satisfactory profit even in the
latter, yet the same investment in other classes paid a better per cent profit, and
the banking instincts of my partners could be relied on to seek the best market
for our capital. There was nothing haphazard about our business; separate
accounts were kept on every herd, and at the end of the season the percentage
profit on each told their own story. For instance, in the above year it cost us more
to deliver a cow at an agency in the Indian Territory than a steer at Dodge City,
Kansas. The herds sold in Colorado had been driven at an expense of eighty-five
cents a head, those delivered on the Republican River ninety, and every cow
driven that year cost us over one dollar a head in general expense. The
necessity of holding the latter for a period of four months near agencies for
issuing purposes added to the cost, and was charged to that particular
department of our business.
George Edwards and my active partner agreed to restock our beef ranch in the
Outlet, and I returned to Missouri. I make no claim of being the first cowman to
improve the native cattle of Texas, yet forty years' keen observation has
confirmed my original idea,--that improvement must come through the native and
gradually. Climatic conditions in Texas are such that the best types of the bovine
race would deteriorate if compelled to subsist the year round on the open range.
The strongest point in the original Spanish cattle was their inborn ability as
foragers, being inured for centuries to drouth, the heat of summer, and the
northers of winter, subsisting for months on prickly pear, a species of the cactus
family, or drifting like game animals to more favored localities in avoiding the
natural afflictions that beset an arid country. In producing the ideal range animal
it was more important to retain those rustling qualities than to gain a better color,
a few pounds in weight, and a shortening of horns and legs, unless their
possessor could withstand the rigors of a variable climate. Nature befriends the
animal race. The buffalo of Montana could face the blizzard, while his brother on
the plains of Texas sought shelter from the northers in cañons and behind sand-
dunes, guided by an instinct that foretold the coming storm.
I accompanied my car of thoroughbred bulls and unloaded them at the first
station north of Fort Worth. They numbered twenty-five, all two-year-olds past,
and were representative of three leading beef brands of established reputation.
Others had tried the experiment before me, the main trouble being in acclimation,
which affects animals the same as the human family. But by wintering them at
their destination, I had hopes of inuring the importation so that they would
withstand the coming summer, the heat of which was a sore trial to a northern-