Reed Anthony, Cowman HTML version

XXII. In Conclusion
The subsequent history of the ill-fated Cheyenne and Arapahoe Cattle Company
is easily told. Over ninety per cent of the cattle moved under the President's
order were missing at the round-up the following spring. What few survived were
pitiful objects, minus ears and tails, while their horns, both root and base, were
frozen until they drooped down in unnatural positions. Compared to the previous
one, the winter of 1885-86, with the exception of the great January blizzard, was
the less severe of the two. On the firm's range in the Cherokee Strip our losses
were much lighter than during the previous winter, owing to the fact that food was
plentiful, there being little if any sleet or snow during the latter year. Had we been
permitted to winter in the Cheyenne and Arapahoe country, considering our
sheltered range and the cattle fully located, ten per cent would have been a
conservative estimate of loss by the elements. As manager of the company I lost
five valuable years and over a quarter-million dollars. Time has mollified my
grievances until now only the thorn of inhumanity to dumb beasts remains.
Contrasted with results, how much more humane it would have been to have
ordered out negro troops from Fort Reno and shot the cattle down, or to have cut
the fences ourselves, and, while our holdings were drifting back to Texas, trusted
to the mercy of the Comanches.
I now understand perfectly why the business world dreads a political change in
administration. Whatever may have been the policy of one political party, the
reverse becomes the slogan of the other on its promotion to power. For instance,
a few years ago, the general government offered a bounty on the home product
of sugar, stimulating the industry in Louisiana and also in my adopted State. A
change of administration followed, the bounty was removed, and had not the
insurance companies promptly canceled their risks on sugar mills, the losses by
fire would have been appalling. Politics had never affected my occupation
seriously; in fact I profited richly through the extravagance and mismanagement
of the Reconstruction régime in Texas, and again met the defeat of my life at the
hands of the general government.
With the demand for trail cattle on the decline, coupled with two severe winters,
the old firm of Hunter, Anthony & Co. was ripe for dissolution. We had enjoyed
the cream of the trade while it lasted, but conditions were changing, making it
necessary to limit and restrict our business. This was contrary to our policy,
though the spring of 1886 found us on the trail with sixteen herds for the firm and
four from my own ranches, one half of which were under contract. A dry summer
followed, and thousands of weak cattle were lost on the trail, while ruin and
bankruptcy were the portion of a majority of the drovers. We weathered the
drouth on the trail, selling our unplaced cattle early, and before the beef-shipping
season began, our range in the Outlet, including good will, holding of beeves,
saddle horses, and general improvements, was sold to a Kansas City company,
and the old firm passed out of existence. Meanwhile I had closed up the affairs of