Reed Anthony, Cowman HTML version

VIII. The "Lazy L"
The homeward trip was a picnic. Counting mine, we had one hundred and fifty
saddle horses. All surplus men in the employ of Major Mabry had been
previously sent home until there remained at the close of the season only the
drover, seven men, and myself. We averaged forty miles a day returning,
sweeping down the plains like a north wind until Red River Station was reached.
There our ways parted, and cutting separate my horses, we bade each other
farewell, the main outfit heading for Fort Worth, while I bore to the westward for
Palo Pinto. Major Seth was anxious to secure my services for another year, but I
made no definite promises. We parted the best of friends. There were scattering
ranches on my route, but driving fifty loose horses made traveling slow, and it
was nearly a week before I reached the Edwards ranch.
The branding season was nearly over. After a few days' rest, an outfit of men
was secured, and we started for my little ranch on the Clear Fork. Word was sent
to the county seat, appointing a date with the surveyor, and on arriving at the
new ranch I found that the corrals had been in active use by branding parties. We
were soon in the thick of the fray, easily holding our own, branding every
maverick on the range as well as catching wild cattle. My weakness for a good
horse was the secret of much of my success in ranching during the early days,
for with a remuda of seventy picked horses it was impossible for any unowned
animal to escape us. Our drag-net scoured the hills and valleys, and before the
arrival of the surveyor we had run the "44" on over five hundred calves,
mavericks, and wild cattle. Different outfits came down the Brazos and passed up
the Clear Fork, always using my corrals when working in the latter valley. We
usually joined in with these cow-hunting parties, extending to them every
possible courtesy, and in return many a thrifty yearling was added to my brand.
Except some wild-cattle hunting which we had in view, every hoof was branded
up by the time the surveyor arrived at the ranch.
The locating of twenty sections of land was an easy matter. We had established
corners from which to work, and commencing on the west end of my original
location, we ran off an area of country, four miles west by five south. New outside
corners were established with buried charcoal and stakes, while the inner ones
were indicated by half-buried rock, nothing divisional being done except to locate
the land in sections. It was a beautiful tract, embracing a large bend of the Clear
Fork, heavily timbered in several places, the soil being of a rich, sandy loam and
covered with grass. I was proud of my landed interest, though small compared to
modern ranches; and after the surveying ended, we spent a few weeks hunting
out several rendezvous of wild cattle before returning to the Edwards ranch.
I married during the holidays. The new ranch was abandoned during the winter
months, as the cattle readily cared for themselves, requiring no attention. I now