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Monday, February 20, 2017

Moving On Chapter 8 - Home again


 
Chapter 8 - Home again

Papa met me when I arrived and we went to the bank. After the obligatory greeting we adjourned to my office and we spent the next four hours going over the events I dealt with and made plans to keep the bank safe from the family's claims and to protect our assets.

I finally made it home and it took several hours for me to properly greet Mercy. Being gone for to weeks required me to show her how much I missed her… and oh yes the kids also.

It was times like this I remembered how I first saw her on board ship, while on our way to America. How innocent she was and how Mama took to her and protected her.

Now she is a fully matured woman with a mind of her own. I often think about how lucky I am to have her completely.

Too many married men I know only have part of the women they married.  They are holding back part of themselves perhaps for someone else, I don't know. In my case she gave her whole self to me, holding back nothing, she's all mine.
 The End

Monday, February 13, 2017

Moving On -Chapter 7 - Meanwhile back East



Too Much Debt is NOT Good
 
Chapter 7 - Meanwhile back East

Papa and I had no more financial interest back in the farms my brothers still owned but there was still the family connection. Anything that affected the family was of concern for Papa and me. 

Since both of us couldn't be away from the banking business Papa decided I should go and see what could be done to straighten things out.

Mercy got along with papa's new wife although she wasn't very new now because they had been together for a number of years. Given that she had lived in the East all her life and associated with the lower society (people who were not super rich) she had good manners and Mercy helped her to be proper in the higher societal echelons.

This was where the real money was to be made and Papa wanted to fit right in.  He had no trouble mixing with the men for most of them were a bit raunchy.

However with the women it was a bit more difficult because the women of that ilk were quite catty and gossipy.

The idea was to add something to the subject matter and be able to fight off the slings and arrows that were cast at you; All this while remaining friends with the people you were slamming.

Since my step-mother was quite successful in this endeavor Papa always had an open door for conducting business.

Papa was going to be busy going back and forth between Sacramento and San Francisco but he thrived on all the action he was getting. The only thing I didn't like about this arrangement was he would change the way I operated into his style of doing things. When I returned I would have to change things back.

I finally hired three extra employees to setup an extra set of books and when he wanted to see how the business was doing he could look at his books. He found out what I was doing and started to pitch a fit till I told him it was a check and balance way to keep the employees honest.  He never mentioned it again. He liked the idea of keeping the hires’ honest.

Now it was time for me to head back east and deal with whatever the issue was back there.

As I stated before there was no connection between the two businesses. The ranches belong to the part of the family that had remained and the West coast businesses belong to Papa and me.

When I arrived it seemed that no one was happy to see me. Neither of my brothers wanted to see me so I stayed in town instead of going out to one of the ranches.

Another thing, no one wanted to talk to me so I went to the bank and found out what the problem was. It seemed that some of the in-laws had borrowed quite a large sum of money against our holdings on the West coast. They claimed to be partners with Papa and me, putting up our holdings as security. They wasted the money they borrowed and now it was time to pay it back.

The bank told me that if I didn't pay up immediately they would sue. I asked for copies of proof that the in-laws owned or had an interest in our properties.

They produced some papers and documents which were forgeries and I told the bankers that they should have the in-laws arrested for fraud.

I went on and told them they should come against the ranch properties the families owned. The told me that the ranches were up to the hilt with mortgages and there was no equity left in them.
 
Cutting Ties
(This saddened me for before I had love and respect for all four of my brothers, Albert, George, Phillip, and Charles.

I wasn't sure why they shunned me; whether they were ashamed or just lost respect for me. Whatever the reason we were finished and no longer a family.)

Upon hearing that I produced evidence that Papa and I were the only owners of the West coast properties with the history of said properties. The bankers could immediately see that what they loaned against wasn't the same holdings as that which Papa and I owned.

They apologized and said they hoped I understood how the mistake had been made. I told them I would forget the whole matter if they paid my expenses incurred by the travel including a new suit I damaged in a fight with a drunk on the main street. They agreed and as I left, the bankers called for the sheriff.  

By the time I left I knew everything about everything. What they did and why they did it. I understood why they didn't want to see me or talk to me. After making the discoveries I didn't want to see them either.

I contacted Papa and laid everything out for him he said catch the next train and come home. He added let them stew in the mess they made family or not.

TO BE CONTINUED

 

Monday, February 6, 2017

Moving On Chapter 6 - A New Bank in Town Opens


14 Year Old Isaac Wanted to Marry the Girl
 
Chapter 6 - A new bank in town opens

A month had passed and much had happened. We bought the building and remodeled it. Our huge safe had arrived and was installed. Our grand opening was near and Papa had made some good contacts in Sacramento and San Francisco.

Papa and I had put our money in the safe so we had assets right off. Papa said there were something called vaults in the works that would be better than the safe and he wanted one when they were perfected.

Right now the huge safe was the center piece of our bank and had a double lock system it was a safe within a safe. The outer safe could be open while the inner safe was still locked. The outer safe was for conducting business and the inner was for the big money.

I must admit papa had a head for business. In six months we had most of the money business in Sacramento and a branch in San Francisco.

Papa had moved to the big city while leaving me to tend the bank in Sacramento. The bank was thriving because of the reputation we had built up. No one ever lost their savings in our bank because of the bank closing up and the bankers absconding with the funds.

There seems there are always some problems waiting in the wings just waiting for the right time to manifest themselves.

Isaac had arrived at the old age of fourteen and was on the courting circuit big time. You have to realize I was really busy because Papa had left me with all the bank business in Sacramento.

He of course was just as busy in San Francisco and didn't have time to come to my aid if I had a situation to deal with. Then it happened. Isaac fell in love with a girl about his age and he wanted to marry her.

This wasn't going to happen but how I was going to stop him wasn't very clear at the moment. On one hand I had Isaac to deal with and then was Mercy having a fit.

She had plans for him to go to college before he married up. Then to top it off his grandfather found out about it. It seemed like I was the only one left that had any common sense.

Then it happened. If things weren’t bad enough another issue complicated the matter. Isaac was supposed to go to a dance with his intended and when he went to pick her up she had already gone with another guy.

He questioned her father and he said he didn't know anything about it. Her mother told him her daughter could go with whomever she wanted to and for him not to bother her anymore and closed the door. Isaac wasn't used to rejection and he didn't take to it very well.

He came home and went directly to his room slamming the door. I never paid any attention to it for the kids were always making a lot of unnecessary noise, but Mercy knew something was up for he was supposed to be at the dance.

Mercy was upset with me because I couldn't talk Isaac out of wanting to marry the girl. I told her the dang boy wouldn't listen to me.

The problem was he was just like his mother and like her he ignored me unless I got really het up. Then there was his grandpa. He had a lot of his traits like wanting his way and flying off the handle if he didn't get it.

I wondered why he wasn't like me in some ways. I couldn't see myself in that boy in any way except my good looks.

Mercy tried to talk to the boy but he had locked her out and turned the light off. The other kids were not making a sound. Mercy retired to the bedroom and I was left alone in the parlor. There wasn't a sound in the house and I didn't want to go to my bed with Mercy in her present mood.

Alone with my thoughts I surmised I have three of these offspring and I don't think I am going to like this part of their raising if there is much of this. I knew this wasn't over with the worse to come. Here Isaac was ready to go to the parson and his intended was courting someone else.

I didn't sleep much sitting in the big chair and was awake when Isaac came down from his room.

I immediately saw some of Grandpa’s nature showing forth because he had his gun in his hand as he went out of the door.

I leaped up to stop him when I saw his grandpa leading him back into the house. I asked Papa, “Where did you come from?”  and he said; "I spent the night here in Sacramento."

Papa said; "Someone has to talk some sense in that moonstruck boy."

I told him, “The job is yours if you want it.”

Our cook was in the kitchen so Papa took Isaac into the kitchen and told the cook to feed the both of them. After a couple of hours they came out and I went in and got some coffee. I didn't want to disturb them so I stayed out until they got finished.

Papa had Isaac's gun, the same one he had taught Isaac how to kill with. He was a crack shot and never missed thanks to his grandpa. He was so much like the old man that he paid attention to everything he said. He went up to his room shutting the door without slamming it which told me he had settled down and the crisis was over.

While I was content with the outcome of the circumstances Papa wasn't for this was his grandson they were messing with.

He had other grandsons back where we came from but Isaac was his favorite and lived nearby. He found out it was a college boy that took the girl away from Isaac. He fumed, “What chance did a fourteen year old boy have with one of those fast talking college boys laying their lies on a gullible young girl.”

There was strong evidence that the college boy had his way with her and that made Papa even madder. The next day it seems the college man was sorely beaten and he and the soiled girl was taken to a parson and was married.

I felt it was the duty of her father to have handled the affair, but apparently he was willing to let things pass.

Papa didn't see it like that and let it slip while talking to me saying: "I reckon he won't be able to enjoy his honeymoon."

That told me everything I wanted to know about what happened. To myself I admitted that Papa knew best how to handle the situation and for that I was glad.

Isaac never confided in me as to how he was feeling but he told his mother everything, and was comforted by her much like when he was younger for after all he was her baby… still.

As I watched, I saw the little boy that was left in him seeking comfort from his mother for the last time.

After that session was over I could tell the man he was to be had his beginning and never again would he look to Mercy for solace. From this point on he would stand on his own till he found a woman he truly loved.

I hoped it would some time before she came into his life for he needed to experience life growing up as a young boy and not be thrust into adulthood before he was actually an adult.

One more talk by Grandpa to Isaac and the issue was put behind him. Grandpa explained how the future was going to unfold as Isaac went forward.
 
Isaac like a knight of old would go forward with armor polished and sword in hand winning every battle forthwith.
 
To Be Continued

Monday, January 30, 2017

MOVING ON - CHAPTER 5 - Once Again a New Beginning



Papa bought me 3 New Suits
CHAPTER 5 - Once again a new beginning

Our business was finished and our money was in our suitcase. Our goods we wanted to take with us filled a car half full. We had a compartment to stay in which helped us to be more comfortable. It had a lock on the door if we wanted to lock it.

Our money case we kept with us at all times. I was packing my six guns in my hostler and a derringer in my vest. Mercy had a small 32 in a pocket in her dress.

I also hired an ex-Pinkerton man to keep an eye out for anyone who might look suspicious.

We were made more nervous when the train broke down in the middle of nowhere.

One of the baggage car guards climbed a telegraph pole and sent a message to the nearest station requesting help.  By the next day we were on our way again.

Because of the breakdown it took us five days to make the trip. I had some hot water brought in so Mercy and I could wash up. We felt better after our sponge bath. The kids were scrubbed up lastly for they were getting nasty is the best way to put it.  Crawling around in the floor of the train dirtied them up rather quickly.

We arrived in Sacramento worn out and needing a bath. Traveling with three kids was something I promised myself I would never do again. I threatened to throw them off the train more than once but manage to rescind the threat before I carried it out.

Papa met us with some wagons and armed men. I asked, “Why the men with guns?”  Papa said, “I am carrying some money and I figured you might have some also, so I am just being careful.”

I answered, “You're right about that, is there a bank in town we can trust?”

“Not with for our money there isn't.”

I told him, “It sounds like we need to go into the banking business.”

Papa agreed as we pulled up to the house he had built for us.

He called the kids over to him and said you must be feeding these kids very well for they have grown since I last saw them. He asked, ‘Have you been teaching them to work?”

I told him, “Yes but I've been teaching how to use their head mostly.”

He said, “I guess that is important also.”

The men started unloading our goods and Mercy showed them where she wanted everything put.  In an hour we were moved in and ready to start living in Sacramento.

One of the guards took Mercy to the general store and she bought enough food to feed a small army. Though I never said anything I couldn't help but wonder what we had got our selves into.

Then I realized Papa was wearing a suit and it wasn't even Sunday or a funeral. As he walked about I saw he had a pistol under his coat in a holster. Later I found out he had a small derringer in his vest pocket.  Papa's wife was carrying one also and he was learning my half brothers how to shoot just like he taught me. He said when he took the kids for the next lesson he would take mine also.

The next day Papa came by in a buggy and said, “Let's go.”

I climbed in and he took me down to a tailor. In short order he had me fitted for three new suits.  He said I could carry my gun under the coat and it wouldn't show.
 
He said he had found a building he wanted me to buy and it would make a good bank with a few changes. Then I realized the reason for the new suits. He wanted me to look the part of a banker.

He had outfitted Mercy with a derringer and told her not to hesitate to use it to protect herself and the kids.

It didn't take long to see why Papa was doing all these unusual things. The gold fields were playing out for small claim prospectors and only the large mining operations were still running at a profit.

A lot of the prospectors had drifted to Sacramento and they were broke and looking for women. When they had money the whores were available but with no money they were out of luck.

Women were assaulted on the streets until they began to carry guns and knives. Papa said things were getting better but it was going to take some more time before the law got the upper hand.

He insisted that a guard go with the women when they went out. I realized the reason for the wall around our house he had built and the mean dogs that roamed the premises. Oh, those dogs took to Mercy and the kids right off so I knew anyone would have to go through them before they could bother my family at home.
TO BE CONTINUED

 

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Moving On Chapter 4 "Westward Ho"


The New Sheriff was All Business
 
CHAPTER 4  WESTWARD HO

Papa has got the itch again

The time had passed without what you might call a catastrophic event occurring in the family. Unless you consider papa's new wife having three children and all us boys siring several kids of our own.

Mercy had presented me with three of our own being two boys and one girl who I could see was going to boss the boys around.

Papa was beginning to become bored once more and I could tell he was on the verge of wanting to move on again. On paper it made no sense but this was an emotional issue.

Papa sold of some of his town holdings the saloon being one of them. Almost every night I was called upon to come to the saloon and break up a fight so I felt relieved that it was gone. I hesitated to tell him I was tired of having to be the bouncer of the joint because it was his cash cow and he always had a need for the money it brought in.

Shortly after he had raised a substantial amount of money he called the heads of the family together and told us of his plans.

He had decided to head west and look into several investments he had in mind. He said he was going to take his new wife and three kids with him. He said each of the rest of us should manage the ranches we owned and that I should care for the investments in the town. He seemed to forget that all the town investments were Mercy's and mine.

He went on saying that the gold rush was over and we missed out on that except there was a few mines still producing that belonged to some large corporations.

Where there are failures there are opportunities you just have to know where to find them. The last thing was that he would let us know what he was doing and if he needed some of us to come and help him.

That last remark didn't set too well with we boys for we had everything we needed right here, and didn't feel the need to look for new horizons. None of us gave voice to our feelings so papa was of the mind that all he had to do was whistle and we would come running.

After Papa had left each of my brothers said they had no intention of starting all over again for it made no sense to them at all. I had to agree with them although Mercy wasn't in totally agreement. She said if it made sense to move west then we should at least consider it. On that note I said this meeting is over for I knew we would start to disagree with what she said.

A few weeks later Papa was packed up and left. Everything was different with Papa gone. 

Mercy and I sold everything in town except the hotel and our house. Albert and my foreman on my ranch were not getting along very well. I didn't want to get in the middle of their disagreements for I felt my foreman should handle the situation. As it turned out it was more serious than I thought.  The thing was the hands on the two ranches were ready to start a war. I went to see Albert and told him I would sell him my place for a reasonable price. Then he would be able to solve any and all disagreements as they came up.

I felt relieved for some reason. We could have resolved the problem between the two ranches; but selling out seemed the best way to go.

Then came what all of us boys had dreaded.

Papa wanted Charles and Phillip to come to the west coast. They absolutely refused to do as he wished.  They had been several years building up their ranch and had no desire to leave. We all had taken bare land and build houses and barns on it and raised crops and cattle. These were our homes and to up and leave them and go to a new place with no guarantee of success didn't appeal to the boys.

As you might expect Papa was incensed at the boys refusal but there was nothing he could do about it. I was waiting for the other boot to drop.

Since the boys refused to move I knew what was going to be Papa's next move. You must remember Papa sold all of his holdings when he left and I had sold our ranch to my brothers. My place was the crown jewel of all out properties and I wanted it to stay in the family should I leave the area.

Then I received my expected letter. Mercy got hold of it first and read it. By the time I got home she had time to think it through and was waiting for me to read the letter.

When I arrived home she was in the parlor and had the three kids sitting on the floor on the side of her chair. I knew something was going on and read the letter after she gave it to me.

For the longest time, I didn't look at her but I could feel her eyes on me. I looked at the letter again and she just said; “Well?”

I was still thinking about it so I said; “Well what?”

She said, “Well when do you want to leave?”

I could see she had made up my mind for me so I said; “As soon as we can settle up our business here.” We had a house and hotel to sell along with some valuable lots to sell. The Mayor and some business partners bought all of our holdings in two weeks and we were free and clear of everything that held us there.

The Mayor had one stipulation. He wanted me to get rid of the sheriff. About a year ago when I was out of town they had brought in a new sheriff and now they were afraid to fire him.

I could understand why they wanted him out of there for he never bathed and stunk to high heaven.  His deputies were as bad as he was. He was also unjust and mean and they were scaring the old people.

Since I didn't have anything to do with the hiring I had let the council deal with them.  However because it was part of the deal I said okay but told them I would do it my way to which they agreed.

There was a sheriff who had semi-retired but was getting restless just sitting around so I sent for him. He was all business and what he said was going to happen was law.

When he arrived I put the sheriff's badge on him and told him that he was in charge from that moment on.  I let him know it was time to go get rid of the old sheriff.

I removed my coat and strapped on my guns. The sheriff just grinned and said,  “Let's go.”

When we got to the jail the sheriff was asleep at his desk and his deputies were asleep in the cells. I slipped his gun from his holster and took the badge from his shirt. He awoke and I told him to meet the new sheriff.

It took him a minute or two to realize what was going on. I said there was a train going east in an hour and for him to be on it. I told him he had a half month's pay coming and paid him off. I also said for him to pay his debts before he left.

As he left he has some unkind words for me. The new sheriff started to go after him but I said to let it go.

The new sheriff had woke all the deputies, and brought them into his office.

After looking at them he said the two of them were fired. He said to me pay them off. I gave them twenty dollars each and sent them on their

The sheriff told the others he was in charge and if they wanted to work under him they had better listen and obey his rules.

He said the first order of business was they were getting a ten dollar a month raise. He explained that was to pay for some nice clothes and a bath everyday if they were in town.  He told them, if they ever smelled bad again, they were fired on the spot.

The men looked at each other but didn't say a word. He then told them to see that the old sheriff and the two ex-deputies were on the train when it left or they would be on the next one.

He said; “Don't let me see you again until you have cleaned up and then we will clean the jail for it smells like a pig sty.”  There were a couple of prisoners left over from the weekend that he put to work cleaning out the cells.

I took the new sheriff down to meet the city council and they were pleased with my choice. They had seen the old sheriff and the two worthless deputies leave on the train and breathed a sigh of relief. 
To Be Continued

Monday, January 16, 2017

Moving on - Chapter 3 The Town is Growing



Leave Your Husband and Come Away With Me !!
 
The town is growing and us with it

After proving up on my ranch Mercy and I spent most of out time in town.

The town had grown and on a couple of our lots we built a hotel. Our rooms were full most of the time and the restaurant also had a full house.

The railroad made our town one of their stops and put up a station with cattle yards. This one particular year we had the round up and took our much improved herd to the railroad to sell them. We were the first herd for sale so we got top dollar for them.

There just happen to be a cattle buyer in town that bought cattle for a packing house in Chicago. He spent a lot of time out at Albert's place; in fact he spent too much time there. Sarah, Albert's wife had chosen that name when we arrived in New York and had smartened up a bit but still wasn't too bright. This buyer had pretty well mesmerized her into thinking he was madly in love with her.

A woman out on the prairie was not used to the wiles of a city dude. As you recall she was an immigrant and was married to Albert while still on shipboard. In any case Albert was in charge of the cattle sale and he insisted we receive payment in gold coin. The buyer agreed but said it would take a few days longer for payment to which Albert agreed.

When the gold arrived Albert was back at the ranch and Sarah who was staying in town signed for it. I had been watching over the transaction from afar not being active in the sale of the cattle.

Mercy came and told me that the buyer was going into Sarah's room from time to time and she didn't think that it was proper for him to do that.

I sent for Albert to come to town and deal with what I thought had suspicious overtones. By the time Albert arrived, silly Sarah had moved the gold coin strong box to the railroad station and had bought two tickets to the West coast.

Albert went directly to the station and took possession of the coins and removed Sarah from the train.

The buyer wasn't aware of what was happening so he got aboard the train and was looking for Sarah. When he couldn't find her he began to panic especially when he saw two of my brothers and me on the train.

As we approached ten mile trestle we escorted the buyer to the platform between cars after hitting him on the head with a six gun. The river was rushing madly below in the canyon and as we crossed the trestle we gave him a downward toss to the canyon some hundred feet below. He quickly disappeared below the surface of the rushing river. Our other brother had brought horses for us on the town side of the trestle and we stopped the train and got off telling the conductor we were going to look for some missing cattle. He smiled and said we might also look for a missing passenger while we were at it. Phillip said we would but doubted if we would find him.

Perhaps some might say that was a harsh treatment for the man but in our world people had a way of coming back and try to get even from some ill treatment and we made sure that never happened.

Meanwhile Albert was dealing with Sarah! He had used a whip on her and she could hardly sit down.  Papa had found out what had happen and was in full agreement with the lashing she had received. Papa said Albert should get rid of her right now but Mercy said; I will handle this and everybody stay out of it. She told Albert to come to her room for she had something to tell him. When Albert came in he was all flushed and highly agitated.

Mercy told him to have a big drink of whiskey and settle down. After three big shots he began to cool off and she started in. Her defense of Sarah went along the lines of her not being able to cope with someone that Albert had allowed to come to the ranch when he wasn't there.

After an hour later and a couple more drinks Mercy said Sarah hadn't laid with the man she had just been deceived with his telling her sweet things Albert had never said to her. 

Mercy said, “A woman needs to hear loving complements and things like that from her man once in a while.” She then told him, “Now go and makeup with her and do not beat her anymore.”  He told Mercy; alright he would do as she said.

He staggered out of the room as the whiskey was having it effects on his equilibrium to where Sarah was weeping. She was cowering in a corner when he came in.

He asked her questions about the affair the main one being if the man had bedded her.  She vehemently denied that anything happened yet, and he accepted her explanation as he fell into the bed and went to sleep.

Come the morning he became amorous and she did her wifely duty through the painful stripes she wore.

I was glad Mercy had intervened because Albert might have killed Sarah in a moment of rage. Albert was happy Mercy had settled him down also although he never said so.
 

To be Continued

Monday, January 9, 2017

MOVING ON - CHAPTER 2 - RUSH DAY



Chapter two - Rush day


 Over the last year papa had made some friends who were the chief politicians and government men in the area.

The time was getting nearer to the land rush and papa had picked out several parcels he wanted, It was well watered land by a full flowing creek. He had all of us boys get familiar with the lay of the land and how to set the markers. All told we had several thousand acres we were going to lay claim to on rush day. I wasn’t too interested in living out on the claims but knew I would have to make improvements over the first years of ownership.

Then there was the new town that was going to spring up. Papa had picked out several lots that were laid out in what was going to be the new town. After waiting for what seemed to be an eternity it was only a few more days to rush day.

It wasn’t but five o’clock A.M. and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw all the hundreds of people lined up to make the run for parcels they had picked for them selves.

Papa had us to be a part of what was later called Sooners, It wasn’t a title to be proud of but it assured you got the land you wanted. My brothers had already headed out to the place we were going to claim as ours.

After being amazed at the number of people who were already lined up I left the mass of people and circled around as if I was heading back toward what was going to be the new town then I turned toward our claims.

When I arrived there I saw some Sooners who had the same idea as Papa but they weren’t in very good shape after my brothers got through with them. We put them on their horses and told them there was some pretty good land to the east of where we were standing. Albert advised them to head over there before some other Sooners beat them to it.

Shortly thereafter all we could see was a cloud of dust.

The boys had already placed our stakes and markers. Papa had all the necessary paper work ready to file as soon as the clock struck twelve. He also had a bag of money to spread around to the officials. I headed back to town and met with Papa, his new wife, and Mercy and we claimed our lots in the town.

As the sun set we had prime land on the prairie and some of the best lots in town.

By the end of the week papa had wagon loads of lumber on their way to our new property. There was a lot of available labor due to many not getting a piece of land so our houses and barns went up pretty fast.

Papa sent me to some of the towns east of us to buy furniture and other supplies. When I finished shopping I had several wagon loads of goods and headed west.

I dropped off one wagon in town for Papa's and my houses in town and then headed out to where the brothers were overseeing the construction of the houses out there.

Even with the long list of goods I bought the brother's wives were arguing over who got what.

Since I was on title for one of the ranches I had to live there (at least part of the time.)  Mercy liked being out on the ranch because of the privacy we enjoyed but she also got pleasure from spending much of her time in town. When she was on our ranch it wasn't too far to visit the other brother's wives if she wanted to catch up on the latest gossip.

My next task was to find cattle for our ranches. I must say what I ended up with was a mixture of Mexican, scrub and longhorn cattle that were pretty much a poor looking bunch.

Papa had some unkind words for me about my selection even after I showed him how cheap I had gotten them for.  After a half days grumbling I told him to go himself and see what he could find. That shut him up for the time being for after one days search he came home with a sorrier looking bunch than I had found and paid more for them.

After seeing his demeanor when he returned I decided it would be best not to say anything about his poor effort and the result.

After a few months on the rich, lush, grasses the cattle began to look pretty decent and brought a good price when it came time to sell them. We acquired a lot of calves from them so we were on our way to building up our herd.

By running all the cattle together under one brand we saved a lot of money compared to what the other ranchers costs were.

After the second year a number of people had given up and we bought their terrain from them. They had found that even though the land was free it took many dollars to make the property profitable.

Mercy's and my lots in town were prime property and as the town grew they were some of the most valuable in the town.

Papa considered them to be his and wanted to sell them early on but Mercy and I balked at that notion. We felt if we waited they would be worth many times what he could sell them for at the present; and as it turned out we were right.

Papa had another idea which was to start a general store on one of the lots. Again Mercy and I objected because I knew too many people would buy on credit and never pay what they owed.

As usual Papa prevailed on that one. It turned out that things were better than we thought it would be at least for the first six or seven years. Then what we feared became to pass.

People were beginning to fall on hard times because of lack of rain and failing crops; and  Papa began to buy up properties from people who owed us money they couldn't pay. Some just packed up and left while others sold out for almost nothing. Most of the land was as worthless to Papa as it was to the people who left it but Papa said some day the rains would start again and then we would make more money than we ever dreamed of. 

Papa refused to sue for the money people owed us but when he cut off their credit they had no other choice than to sell cheap or just move on.
 
TO BE CONTINUED