Kansas Collection Articles
  Contributed by JULIA CURTIS STEELE and produced by

The Buffalow Hunt, by R. O. Blain

    I think that the Buffallow hunt realy started some years before it materialized. The real start was I think in the fall of 1863, when my Bro. Rodman joined Co. K of the 11th Kans. as a recruit. He was mustered out in the fall of 1865. His army service, entitled Him to take a homestead of Government land without waiting to become of age. & as there was something of a movement for western land he joined a party who were going out to look, They went to a small place on the Solomon River in Ottawa Co., Kans called Lindsay, near the mouth of Lindsay Creek, about 3 miles below where the present town of Minneapolis now stands. the land looked good & game was plenty, Turkey, Antelope, Deer & Elk. And Buffalow were not far off. When He got back to Junction City, where the land office was located He found that some one else had taken out papers on the piece of land that He had picked on. so in the spring Him & His Army Chum went out again. They located Homesteads on the East Fork of Pipe Creek. some 12 miles NE of the town of Minneapolis.

    My Bros. claim was on the East fork of Pipe Creek just above the mouth of the middle fork & His chum Irving Earl took the claim right at the forks, the Two claims being ¼ mile apart. They were both good hunters & thought that, far enough out, so that the setters would not crowd the game out for many years. But They soon found out that They were mistaken. One spring when He was home He wanted father to let me take a team & go out with Him & help do some Work & He would kill a load of buffalow meat for me to bring home. I went out with Him & done the work, but we were advised not to go out for the Buffalow as the wild Indians were to thick out there, So I came home, expecting to have the hunt some other time. Which I did. As you will see.

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    After I became of Age I went out & took a Praire claim about one mile west of my Bros. About this time my Bro. wanted me to help Him build a stone house on his farm. He had learned the stone masons trade. He offered to lay up a house for me, sometime in the future if I would help Him then. There was a piece of state land joining His on the east & the timber on state land was considered free plunder, So we went on the State land & cut wood in 4 foot lengths to burn a kill of lime, we hauled it out & piled it up to dry. After harvest I went up again and we went about 6 miles North in Cloud Co. where there was white limestone, My Bro Cut out stone for the Window & Door Caps & sills, also Square blocks for the Corners of the house, as the stone down at His place was Brown sand stone. I hauled them down also the fragments that He had cut off, which were to be burnt into lime, to be used in laying up the house. All went well, we got a nice kiln of lime. I hauled the stone for the house from the state land just East of His place & helped what I could & done a few jobs in the neighborhood, such as put up 5 ton of hay for a man who was working on the Rail Road in the Eastern part of the state, & worked a week on the Lester's hay contract. Besides taking a load of 40 bu wheat to Belair almost 30 miles further up the Solomon River or Creek.

    Early in the fall my Bros chum Irving Earl & a young man who was staying with Him, West Watson, went out & got some buffalo meat & said that They were going a gain later. I wanted my Bro. to go with them, & kill me a load, but He said that He dident have time, but that He would get West Watson to kill it for me. We got the walls of the house up but could not raise the money to put the roof on. Fall was coming on & the weather was stormy. My Bro. went over near Delphos to work on a house over there & I got impatient for the hunt. Finaly Earl & West Watson agreed to go, but Wests Bro. Sam who lived over on the

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west fork, 4 or 5 miles from us wanted to go. So West & I rode over there Thursday night. Sam lived with His mother-in-law, Mrs Stone & said that He would go if He could get the team, as He was depending on geting a team of His Bro.-in-law umphry stone. so we went there & umphry said that He could have the team. But He looked at West & I & said that He wanted to talk to both of us; he said that His Bro.-in-law wanted to go & that Sam had agreed to kill Him a load of meat, if He would furnish the ammunition, but They could not raise the money. West said that He didn't have it. I asked Him what it would cost & He said $3.00 where upon I told Him that I thought that I could arrange it. so we agreed to meet in Minneapolis Saturday noon, I think Nov. 11th, 1872. Friday and Saturday were pleasant days & we met all right, Umphry Stones Bro.-in-law and all (I have forgotin His name, He was rather tall slim & quiet man & had a covered wagon the only covered wagon in the bunch) my Bro. had agreed to give West ½ the meat for killing the load, but west would furnish corn for the team. This made 4 wagons & 5 men, West having no team. While in Minneapolis, Earl came to me & wanted the $3.00 to get the ammunition which I gave Him. it was repaid to me the next summer. After making a few purchases & eating a lunch we crossed the Solomon River or Creek & ; started West going up Salt Creek. We camped for the night in the head of this creek. The next morning (Sunday Nov. 12th) we went over the divide towards the Saline River & headed NW & about that time it began to rain very slowly & one wheel of my wagon began to howl for grease, so I got West to help me & we greased all 4 wheels. A cold job there in the rain. We traveled all day in that drizzle of a rain, crossed the Saline River or creek & camped for the night on Elk creek, way up nearly to Elsworth, (Now called Ellis). West was cook, because He had no team to look after, He suceeded in getting us some supper. I dont remember what it was, then we all crawled into that covered wagon.

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    Just how all 5 of us slept in that wagon I dont remember, but I do remember of having a hard time geting in & leaving my muday shoes out side & yet not get my feet wet.

    It snowed a little that night & our horses were a sorry looking lot the next morning. It had quit raining & snowing & soon after we started on our days journy it cleared off with & cold wind from the N.W. not hard but chilly. we passed through Elsworth (now Ellis) & crossed the Smokyhill River or creek & headed SW on the road to old Ft. Zaro & stoped for lunch on the sunny side of a bank (I dont remember whether we had crossed Cherry creek or not). While eating lunch another team came a long, it was a open wagon & contained 2 men, A Mr Roads & Mr Christy. They were from the Saline River, down towards Salina & were going out to hunt for buffalow hides. Mr Roads had been out the winter before & was going to try it again. Mr Christy was a carpinter by trade and was going to help skin the buffalow & haul the hides to the Rail road. Mr Roads said that it was to far to go to Ft. Zaro that PM & said that there was a bunch of timber up on Cow creek & sugested that we cut a crost the prarie to it & that we might see a stray buffalow up there & possibly get some meat to eat. So we followed Him. reaching the timber about dark. It being dark we couldnt find dry wood to kook our supper & had a great time trying to bake biscuits in a dutch oven. This was Monday Nov. 13th. Tuesday morning Nov 14 we found dry wood and after breakfast, started on up cow creek. we found plenty of buffalow carkses [carcasses --Ed.], all had been skined, but no live ones. After going up Cow creek several miles, we met two teams & 3 or 4 men, one team was 2 yoke of oxen & was loaded with 200 hides. The other was a small horse team & had some hides & some meat and Their camp equippage.

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    One of the first questions They asked us was, have you any tobacco. The boys had plenty, both chewing & smoking. I didnt use it in any form. They said that the buffalow, were moving, south & west, & advised us to go over towards Ft. Larned. so we turned south & camped that Tuesday Nov. 14th night right on Walnut Creek. Wednesday Nov. 15th we went on south to the road running from Ft. Zaro to Ft. Larned. we turned west on it, & a little further on we found a dead mule, it evidently had not been dead many hours, & there was a small pile of shelled corn near to its nose. After going a few miles we met 2 soldiers; They had been detailed from ft larned to go & see the mule. They said that it belonged to a wagon train that came up the day before & had taken sick & They left it to die or get well. we told them that it was dead but They said They had orders to go & see the mule & that They would have to go & see it. Not that They doubted our word. We journed on & passed the Famous Pawnee Rock about noon down by the rock. I let West drive my team & I stoped & cut my initials & date on the rock. it is of red sand stone: there is a park of 5 acres there now, with a pavillion & monument. The pavillion has an uper deck so if you dont get wind enough from the bottom you can go up stairs. We stoped for lunch a little further on on Ash Creek. After leaving Ash Creek a few miles we saw 2 objects over on the south side of the Arkansas River. Mr Earl & Roades went to see what it was, hoping that there might be buffalow & that we might get some fresh meat as we had only salt pork & not much of that. We went down to the river & camped for the night. When the boys came back They reported that the objects were horses. The day had been very pleasant indeed & so was the night, the stars were thick & an unusialy large number falling, from the NW to the SE. Some said that the wind would blow against the stars the next day and some said that the wind would blow with the stars. I awoke early Thursday morning Nov. 16th but thowght it too early to get up, so went to sleep again. It was at that time clowdy. a little later I awoke again & there was a

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scud coming over & it looked like it might rain almost any minute. I called the boys but before we could get breakfast much more than started it began to mist and a little later the wind came from the NW & the rain turned to sleet. We moved camp to a more sheltered place & after a time Succeeded in geting some breakfast. We could see a house up on the road about ½ mile & 2 of the boys went up to see. The wind was now blowing a huricane & the sleet was turning to snow. When the boys came back They reported that the house was a deserted sutler store, 3 miles east of Ft Larned & that there was already several buffalow hunters in it. So we gathered up & went up there. The buffalow hunters came in from both ways, nearly all day, until there was 17 men & 18 horses of us in there; The house was made of stone & had a dirt roof, & was wide enough so we had room behind the horses, & there was a good fireplace but no wood so we cut every other pole out of the roof to make us wood. The storm continued all day & all night & all day Friday Nov. 17th & all Friday night and almost all day Saturday Nov. 18th. Towards night Saturday the wind went partialy down, the snow was about 4 inches deep & a few buffalow were drifting in going SE with the wind. The hunters from the West had meat so we had fresh meat to go with our biscuits. Early Sunday morning Nov. 19th Earl & Sam Watson saw 2 buffalow coming near the house & went out & shot at them. They run around to the NE perhaps a mile from the house & stoped; a little later we saw 4 coming. Earl & the 2 Watsons & I went out & laid down in the snow where we thought that They would come. They were walking slow & single file. We agreed that Earl was to shoot the head one & Sam the next one & West the 3rd one & I the hind one. When They got close enough Earl counted 3 & we all

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shot or at least tried to. Sam & West both wounded their buffalows & my gun only snaped the cap. Earls buffalow run right at us, but just as it got to us it turned to the right a little & fell right in front of us only a few feet from us. The other 3 ran around to the NE of camp & joined the two that were already over there. we dressed Earls buffalow & took some of the choice parts in for breakfast. Hunters who were loaded with meat & had come in from the West were leaving for home althowgh it was very cold. The sun was coming out & it looked like it might be warmer later in the day. After breakfast we were preparing to go & see if we could get the 5 NE of camp. There as a man there who had a Needle gun Needle guns were very scarce at that time & He wanted to sell it & Earl offered to trade Him some pigs for it. That was satisfactory only the pigs & the man who owned the gun were over 30 miles apart. Whereupon He however told Earl to take it & try it. Which He did. When we got near the buffalow 4 of them ran like wild. The 5th one stood up broad side & looked at us. But He was entirely to far off for our muzzle loading guns. But Earl looked through the sights of the needle gun & said that He believed He could bust Him. West spoke up and said that if you can bust Him, why don't you, where upon Earl shot & broke both fore legs close up to the body. That buffalow thrashed around there on the prarie for a while & then laid down. I got up near it & shot it through the heart. Earl & Sam went on after the other 4 & left West & I to dress that one, which we did, spreading the hide on the ground & laying the hams and choice parts on it. then we started on to catch up with Earl & Sam. Before going far West saw a cow buffalow & crawled up near & shot it. we dressed it and started on, in a few miles we found 2 more, West shot one & we dressed it and started on after the other one. Earl & Sam had gone on North. These buffalow were going west, the country was rolling. When we saw a small flock laying down in a ravine, but to get to

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them we had to lay down & crawl in the snow. This gave me a cramp in my right hip. I told West to go ahead & I would come on as fast as I could. I watched Him. He crawled up with in range. About that time one of the 3 calves that were in the bunch got up & was stretching when West shot it; it run around in a circle, bawling for dear life. the others all ran after it until it fell, when They all gathered around it in a huddle. As soon as West shot the calf & the buffalow began running after it I jumped up & ran up to West & told Him to shoot my gun while I loaded his, which He did. we kept this up for a little while, when the buffalow took off up a side draw or ravine, He told me to follow them out & perhaps I could get another shot. When buffalow are walking a way from you, you can follow them, but every time one looks back you must stop. This I done & worked up within a long gun shot & thought that, that was about as close as I would get, as the buffaloes were geting suspicious of me & were walking faster & looking back oftener, so I shot at the hind one & struck Him to low. Then I went back to West. He was cuting off the hams of those that He had shot, without stoping to skin Them. I dont remember how many He had shot, but several. West was in a hurry as the sun was hanging over in the west quite low He said that we did not know where camp was, nor how far. Having cut all the hams off the Buffalow that were killed we started in a S Easterly direction for camp. As we went out we could see my last buffalow off of our trail a little way. it would lay down & then get up & lay down again. I wanted to go & shoot it over again, but West said that we must hurry on to camp before it got dark. After going what seemed a long way, dark settled down on us & we saw a light to the right of our direction. I thought that it was in Ft Learned, but West thought that we were going to far to the left & that the light was one the boys had built on the ridge back of camp for us to see & come to, so we turned to the right and went towards

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the light. After while we came to the road near the bridge over Pawnee creek and could see that the light was at the Ft. The snow had thawed some & there was water in the wagon tracts in the road. I was very thirsty & tired. I drank a little of the snow water & we walked the 3 miles down to the old sutler store where we found all the boys of our crew & some more huddled around a nice fire. Mr Roads & another man had gone to locate a winter camp leaving Mr Christy & the other mans partner at the camp. Earl & Sam had killed a few but not near as many as West had killed. The next morning Monday Nov. 20 the balance of the buffalow hunters, who were loaded went on towards home. & Earl came to me and said that our friend Umphrys Bro.-in-law had eat to much fresh meat & was sick & He was determined to go right home without waiting to get His load of meat, but that He had persuaided Him to wait one more day & we would try to kill enough to make Him a small load & He (Earl) wished that I would take my team & gather up what was already killed & Him & the 2 Watsons would kill some more; when I was gathering up the meat I saw my wounded buffalow, had died and I had a notion to skin Him; but did not because I couldent turn Him over alone. Earl & the Watsons had some luck that day, but the buffalow were geting scarcer. They were going back west & the snow was nearly gone.

    Tuesday morning Nov. 21st Earl wanted me to put my team on His wagon & tie my wagon behind His, and lead His odd horse, & go with Sam & West on up the Pawnee, while He would go & show our friend the meat that They had killed yesterday, Monday, Nov. 20 & meet us upon the Pawnee some where, this we done, biding our friend good bye. I have never seen Him since. I understood that He got home allright & in the spring went back to St. Louis Mo. After Earl came to us upon the Pawnee we continued our journey up the stream, going west on the s side of the stream without seeing a buffalow, until almost night when West

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saw one & went & shot it. A buffalow cow. We went into camp for the night and had fresh meat to go with our biscuits. These biscuits were made of flour, water and salt & soda as the baking powder had given out. We would fry some suet in the dutch oven, put in the biscuits & put a little suit [suet --Ed.] on top of each one & there was no butter to put on them. But we could eat anything as we were to all that cold. Wednesday morning Nov 22nd we continued on up the Pawnee & by noon we were seeing more buffalow & by the middle of He afternoon we found lots of them. West went to kill some while the rest of us went on to find a good camp. West came in later & said that He was doing fine until He ran out of ammunition. The next 2 days Thursday & Friday Nov 23rd & 24th were devoted to hunting & bringing in the meat & a few hides. I staid & watched camp and tried to cook. we had plenty of black coffe to go with these hot biscuits and meat. By the end of the second day the buffalow had moved further west. & Earl wanted me to stay & watch what we had & He & the 2 Watsons would take 2 teams & go farther west & try to kill enough to make out our loads. They took my team & Earls. Earl had a fine team of young black mares, with a good wagon and harness & when we were traveling all ways went a head followed by Sam & I came on behind as my team was slow. They left me 2 blankets & when night came I laid down a buffalow hide with the hair up & put the blankets on it & put another buffalow hide on top with the hair down & crawled in between the blankets. all went well as the weather had been mild, until midnight or later, when the wind came up from the N.W. & it grew cold. The buffalow hide I had over me began to freeze & roll up. I got along until it began to come light. When I got out & moved camp to a more sheltered place & proceeded to get breakfast slowly as I thought that the cold & wind would drive the hunters in as it was doing the buffalow. By 9 oclock the buffalow were already drifting in. Just how I told when 9 oclock came I dont know, as I had no watch. I had the biscuits made & were puting

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them on to bake when the boys came. Sunday Nov. 26th nearly froze. They had some meat & Earl said that we would load up & try to kill some more as we went down. The wind had partly gone down & the sun was shining brightly. We were on the South side of the creek & He wanted to get over on the north side. so we tried the ice & concluded that it would hold, yet we were affraid of it. so we found a bare bank & scraped up loose dirt & sprinkled it on the ice, there by making a path for the horses as neither Sams or my horses were shod, Earls team was shod. We led my smallest horse over first & then my other one then Sams team one at a time. then Earls team the same way. then we let my wagon down & a crost the ice by hand & Earl stood on the north bank with His team already to hitch on to the end of the tongue & pull it up the bank. then we run Sams wagon over the same way & last of all Earls wagon. Having goten safely over we made our way down stream, shooting a buffalow now & then. this I think was Monday Nov. 27th. The next 2 days, Tuesday & Wednesday Nov. 28 & 29, we continued on down the Pawnee reaching the old sutler store a bout night the second day where we found Mr Christie & another man still waiting for their partners to locate the winter camp. There was one incident on the way down & I dont remember which day I hapened, but I think Tuesday. I was some behind the others, & in crossing a small draw my wagon skided on the ice, until it nearly upset up hill & when the wheel come down, 2 spokes flew out, You could not have knocked them out slicker with a sledge hammer. When I came up with the others we cut some pieces of boards that we had for kindling wood & sprung in 2 false spokes in place of the 2 real ones. While at the old camp we put in some better false spokes. Thursday Nov. 30 we realy started for home. The day was cloudy with a cold wind from the NE & spiting a little snow. Our direction was down the Arkansas River and I think must have been a little S of East. & the road ran on the

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high ground back from the River. The country is quite level along the streams, but rolling further back. The Pawnee is comonly called a river, yet is rather small, but like a river there is only a few places where you can ford it. There has been some timber on it, but the most of it has been cut off - I suppose for fire wood at the Ft. The choppers have clim the white elm trees & cut off the limbs & then cut the limbs into 4 foot legnths like cord wood & when the teamsters went to haul it, They left the biger chunks, therefore we had no trouble in finding plenty of large dry wood. I dont remember how far it was from Ft. Learned to Ft. Zaro, I have 35 miles in my head, yet it dont seem possible that we drove so far that day, But we nearly faced that cold wind all day and then some, as night came on I saw a light, way a head & to the left. it seemed like we never would come to it, in fact we dident, but we passed it & still went on facing that cold wind, finaly we came to Walnut creek, where we Watered our horses & drove out a little way to the old Ft. I think it was about 5 miles nearly north of where the present town of Great Bend is located. We found 2 men there who like ourselves had been out for meat. They had gone to bed but said that They had knocked casings out of the Ft. to get wood to cook their supper. we done the same, the Doors & Windows were already gone. The Ft. was built of Brown sand stone, & had 2 basements under it & there was a tunnell running from one to the other. Sam found this & the snow had drifted in from both ends, yet there was more than room for one bed on the dry ground between the snows; After Sam & Earl had made their beds in one end of this space, West & I draged in a half frozen buffalow hide into what space was left & put our blankets on it & crawled in; it was nearly like laying on a pile of stones

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but I finaly went to sleep. And when I woke up that hide had thawed & our bed was just as warm & nice as could be. the next morning Friday Dec. 1 our fire was poor & we had quite a time geting our biscuits baked. we finaly got tired of fooling with them & ate them anyway. the sun came out nice & the snow began to melt & we finaly started on our way. I think that we went nearly NE and must have crossed Cow Creek but I dont remember it. in the afternoon Earl was taken sick with pains in His stomach, we got to Cherry Creek before night. there was a bunch of timber there & a house not far from the road. West went up to the house & got something & made Earl a hot drink, which relieved Him. He was a big strong raw boned 6 footer & looked more like an indian than a white man, while the Watsons were short & heavy set. I was taller than the Watsons but not so heavy set. We also got some hay at Cherry creek for our horses, which They relished as They had had nothing but dry grass & corn for nearly 3 weeks. We cut down a dry stub which made us plenty of dry wood for our campfire. Saturday Dec 2nd if I have the dates correct, we drove to Elsworth now called Ellis, where we crossed the Smoky hill River or Creek. As we came over a man with a team came down to get some water. He recognized us almost at first wanted to know how we were off for Tobaco But we were not out. Here we turned south or south East. Driving to the Saline River or Creek, it was a bright warm day & the top of the ground thawed, so as to make it slipery, When we reached the Saline the bank was rather steep & as it faced the south, it had thawed & was very slipery, but as the timber was all on the other side, we were anxious to get over. Earls team being shod went down all right but Sams team slid down on their stomachs, so They advised me to leave my wagon

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on that side & bring it over the next morning when the ground would be froze and rough. After geting into camp Earl came to me & wanted some money. He said that I was the only one who had any & the flour had given out & He wanted to go to the house on the north side of the stream & get the lady to bake us some biscuits. When the biscuits came He said that the lady wanted meat in prefference to money. And we found that the biscuits were the same as what we had been making, simply flour, water, & soda & a little salt. Sunday morning Dec 3rd the wind was blowing a gale from the NW. I went over for the biscuits. There was two men & a lady there & They urged me to have the boys come over & eat breakfast in the house where we could be comfortable. This we done & as the wind continued to blow, They urged us to lay over that day & stay with them where we could be comfortable. This we finaly decided to do. When it came noon and time for dinner we found that the biscuits were still more abreviated as the soda had given out.

    Monday morning Dec 4th the wind had gone down, & the sun came up clear, but it was stinging cold, but we made ready to go on. When I went to get my wagon I found that a very large ham which laid on top of my load was gone. As there was nothing that we could do about it, we pulled out. I had no over coat & used to double a light blanket & tie it over my sholders, with a small rope but this morning I took a heavier blanket & the boys laughed at me for taking so heavy a blanket on so bright a morning but before noon They concluded that I had not made a mistake by choosing the heavy blanket. But the weather moderated by noon & as we made our way down the Saline valley, which by the way was Broad & level & looked fine for farming.

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Soon after noon as we were passing a farm house, a man came out & stoped us, to know if we had any hides. we told Him a few & He said that He wanted to buy a few & tan them Himself. He offered $2.00 a piece, which we took. Then we had to unload the meat in order to get the hides that were under neath. We found that we had 10 hides & the man gave Earl a $20.00 bill. soon after this we crossed over the divide & started down Salt Creek. soon after starting down Salt Creek the road crossed the stream & the bank on the north side was steep & slipery. Earls team made it up allright but it didnt look like Sams team or mine could make it. Some men cuting wood advised Sam & I to continue down on the south side, as there as a bridge further down. So we divided, Earl & West going down on the north side & Sam & I on the south side, all hoping to reach the Solomon River for night, but after we separated, Sams team & mine was discouraged & every little draw we came to, we had to double, consiquently we made slow progress. Just before sundown we came to a large sod house, everything looked new. We were back from the creek in a nice valley & I proposed to Sam that we see if anyone lived there & if not that we camp for the night & if some one lived there that we see if They would keep us all night. just what I expected to have to eat in case the house was vacant I dont remember, but there was a man & His wife & small child lived there & They said that we could stay all night. The next morning Tuesday Dec. 5th was clear & warmer & we made it over the bridge & down to the Solomon River, where we found West waiting for us. They had not made it down to the river either the night before. I forgot to say that the man that Sam & I staid with, was like the folks over on the Saline. He wanted meat instead of money.

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Harlan P. SanfordWest said that Earl went over to town & bought 100 feet of rope & let his wagon down by hand & for us to do the same & Earl would pull them up the other bank with His team. This we done using Earls rope. I had not been in town long until I met a neighbor, Mr Harlan Sanford who invited me to ride out home with Him. I told Him I would if I could get West to drive my team out. West agreed, so I gave my gun to Sam & asked Him to return it to Mr Lea Plant, which He said He would do. It was noon & what we done for lunch or whether we had any or not I don't remember. but Earl got the $20.00 bill changed that He had got for the 10 buffalow hides & gave each of us $5.00 apiece & we all went & bought us a shirt apiece & it was about time. When Mr Sanford got ready to start for home I bid Sam good bye & I don't remember of seeing Him since, although he lived within a few miles of me for a long time. I saw West frequently, but after awhile He went up on His own place & I got to moving around & I didn't see Him for years. but when I was back there in Sept 1934 I went to see Him. He looked quite natural but was so deaf I couldent make Him understand & so near blind that He couldent read my writing but I finally got Him to understand who I was & He seemed very glad There was a lady there & she said that He had enough so He would take life easy. I heard about 2 years ago that He had died. Earl died of Neumonia a number of years ago, so unless Sam is still living I am the only one of the 4 living. But to return to my story. I went home with Mr Sanford. He was a batchelor & boarded with His sister Mrs McConnell. They lived in a dugout & it was to close for me. I woke up in the night & was for geting out of there. The next morning, Wednesday Dec. 6th. I went down to Earls & West and I divided the meat. I staid at the McConnells until Sat. noon, Dec. 9. Mr Sanford & His neice Ida McConnell were going to

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Manhattan. I decided to join them. We started Saturday noon Dec. 9th & drove to Chapman creek & camped on the Islip place, just below where the town of Oak Hill now stands. Sunday morning Dec. 10th we had not gone but a few miles when one of Mr Sanfords front wheels came off. It was a nearly new Mitchell wagon and the axile was defective. We however thought that a blacksmith could put some bolts through it & make it hold for awhile, & as we had passed a blacksmith shop only a little ways back He walked back & They said that the smith had just gone to one of the neighbors & that They would put a boy on a horse & send for Him. While waiting for the B.smith we busyed our selves by pushing the wheel back on & working the wagon back to the shop. We camped that night down on the Republican River. Monday night Dec. 11th we reached Mr Sanfords mother's place. She lived on Colledge Hill about 2 miles west of town (Manhattan) & was boarding some colledge students. Tuesday morning Dec. 12 I drove on home about 7 miles. I stoped in town & tried to sell some meat to the dealer there but They did not seem to care much about handling it. After geting home I sold some in small lots to the neighbors. I had only been home a few days, when Mr Sanford came over & wanted me to go back with Him & take a load of lumber up as he had decided to build a house on His farm in Ottawa Co. so I took my wagon over to town & left it to have the 2 broken spokes repaired.

    On the morning that we had agreed upon to load up I went over & got the wagon & we loaded up & drove out to His mothers on Colledge Hill. The next day we drove beyond Ft. Riley and camped on the west side of the Republican River. The following day we drove out on the high ground considerable west of Wakefield & staid at a farm house.

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    The next day was cold & lowery & we reached the crossing of the East fork of Pipe creek, about a mile from our destination just at dusk, we stoped & watered our teams. Some one in hauling hay had lost some & Mr Sanford put a little out one side & set it on fire. My but it did feel good. I could have staid all night. While there watching the fire, it began to snow.

    It snowed all night & off and on for several days. Finaly the weather seemed to clear up & the snow was about 10 inches deep & not drifted so I made a break for home. some places I found a few tracks on the road others not a sign.

    I staid all night at the farm house, where Mr Sanford & I staid the last night on our way up. we had heard a great deal about how we could save distance by crossing the Republican River at Wakefield or Milford so I drove to Milford, crossed the river & made my way over to Wild Cat creek about 10 miles above Manhattan, where night found me. I had saved some distance but Milford was to low. I should have crossed at Wakefield. I staid all night at a house & went on home the next morning. The road from where I struck Wild Cat creek was broke. That ended the work for that winter as the winter was a hard one & I dident care much for any thing only to set by fathers big fire place was all I seemed to care.

    We succeeded in selling and eating all the buffalow meat before it thawed out in the spring.

    I am almost 90 years old & can look back on those hardships much easier than to go through them.
Respectfuly submited by R. O. Blain at Camp Rincon LA Co. [Los Angeles County --Ed.], Calif.

August 25, 1939.
    I met Mr Christie some years later, He had taken the job of building a frame school house NE of us & as the road went through my place & I was working near the road He stoped & talked. Said that He & Mr Roads done real well hunting for hides that winter. I heard later than West Watson helped Mr Christie build the school house.

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