By Patrick Dearen
Along a lot of its Texas stretch at the present time, the Pecos is just a polluted trickle, squeezing via a jungle of salt cedars that choke banks sloughed and missed. the trendy motorist crossing it by way of bridge is likely 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 may locate the sweat and blood of cowhands who knew this ghost because the so much ambitious and treacherous river within the West.
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Additional info for A cowboy of the Pecos
S. 21 Such an undertaking would have been impossible with a cattle herd, so drovers had to heed the advice of James Campbell, who first drove the California Trail in 1853. "22 Drovers seeking watering placesnot only on the California Trail's river frontage, but on later routes upstreamlearned to pay careful attention to the bends. ," noted W. H. Boyd, who trailed a herd up the Pecos to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, in 1867. "23 Still, there was a technique to watering a herd, as nine-year-old Jim Lane Cook learned when he accompanied his father on a drive up the Pecos to New Mexico in 1867.
Otis D. Coggins, taped interview with author, Alpine, 3 March 1990. Coggins crossed the Rio Grande with herds in 1933 and 1934. 18. Taylor, Coming Empire, 297. 19. Jim Witt, taped telephone interview with author, Loving, New Mexico, 22 July 1995. 20. "Tom Green County," San Angelo Standard, 4 October 1884. 21. Report of Lieutenant Francis T. Bryan, Reports of the Secretary of War, 20. 22. , Diary of Michael Erskine, 160 ("Memo of Mr. Campbell's Route to California"). 23. W H. Boyd, interview with Haley, Sweetwater, 24 January 1932, Haley Collection, Haley Library, Midland.
Take cattle, or sheepyou know, they have stomach worm bad," said Rankin. . "43 James Campbell of San Antonio, pointing his herd west down the California Trail from Eagle Pass on June 12, 1853,44 didn't worry about the "putrid Pecos potion" (as one old-time Pecos hand termed it);45 he just wanted to see his herd through to the river and on to the West Coast. 46 Page 22 Encouraged in part by his drive, Texas cattlemen pushed numerous herds down the California Trail in 1854. In late April, Michael Erskine set out with 1,054 head, including work oxen.
A cowboy of the Pecos by Patrick Dearen