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My Grandfather was a Rancher
Randle Chimes - - Preface
Randle Chimes a name you should remember but probably won’t,
for while he was outstanding in many of his ways but he was what you might
call; “A bland man”.
He could impress for a moment but then his exploits quickly
faded from memory. With that being said he is my hero and I retain his exploits
for historical reasons and the fact he was my grandfather.
While today it is considered to be acceptable, in those days
it was a shame to be a bastard child and sadly that became my lot.
My mother, Martha was raised on a huge ranch totally owned
by her father. Her mother Ella was his wife who fit the bill as what a
rancher’s wife ought to be. With a little help she managed everything that
pertained to the main house plus outside of the cleaning, washing,
cooking.She also had to oversee the
food management for all the ranch hands. They had their own cook but all the
gardening and canning was her responsibility. Her cellar alone was as large as
a good size barn.
The smoke house had room for thirty or so hogs at a time.
When rendering the lard from the pork fat it took ten hirelings from the local
poor area to fill all the lard stands. This was the way it was in grandpa’s
RANDLE CHIMES - - Chapter one
Though it was hard to understand in an age where women had a
child about every other year my grandma Ella only had two children. One was a
boy and the other a girl.
From an early age the children were taught how to earn their
keep on a ranch. The boy, my uncle never took to being a ranch hand and early
on became a rounder.
We frame the meaning within the structure where rounder
meant; a slob who drank and caroused his time away. On the way home from a
night of boozing he fell from his horse and broke his neck. It is said grandpa was so nonplussed at what happened
he ordered a hole to be dug where he lay, put a blanket around the body lowered
Uncle into the hole and just covered him with dirt.
No one said anything good or bad about uncle and he was
My mother was getting long in the tooth according to the
standard marrying age being twenty one. My grandpa sent her to live with his
sister in town. A short time later she was getting popular at the dances and
other social events. As it turned out part of her popularity was in the nature
of being what some call loose morals.
Being a fruitful woman she became pregnant with yours truly.
When her aunt discovered that she was pregnant she wanted to send her back to
the ranch but grandpa wasn’t having any part of it.
He sent her away to a place where permissive girls go to
have their babies and it was there I got my start in life. Since my ma had been taught to do many chores
on the farm she was well prepared to work as a domestic in one of the large
houses where the rich people lived.
Grand pa paid her expenses for a year after I was born
basically because of me but after that he said my ma would have to “root hog or
die” as far as he was concerned.
She got a job in a fancy house where she did most of the
dirty work. The servants had to be more sophisticated in order to work above
the scullery so that meant she was stuck down below. We lived in a one room
rental and Ma had met an older woman who had no place to stay so Ma let her
move in with us. The old woman took care of me and we all lived on the meager
fare ma provided. This arrangement worked out well for all concerned except the
woman had to sleep on the floor on a pallet.
My ma worked long hours so the woman we took in did most of
the raising of me for the first five years. The woman got sick and was sent to a state
sanitarium where she finally died but while the woman was with us she taught me
how to read and write some.
Since my ma did the cleaning up after the kitchen help which
included the floors and such she was able to salvage the leftover food so we
ate very well most of the time. I got
sick a time or two from food that had gone bad but for the most part everything
Ma met up with a man named George, who was called a Pinkerton
man. He was a detective and a man of high standards.
He married my ma when I
was five and bought us a nice house to live in. George accepted me as his son and took me many
places with him when he was on a case. He
felt a man with a child would be less noticeable than a man alone.
I was fascinated by the fact he carried two guns and how
fast he could draw one of them out of its holster. We went shooting often and I
became an expert shot at targets at an early age. He explained that shooting at
a target was different than shooting at a person and how to handle each issue.
George and my ma never had any more children though it
wasn’t from the lack of trying. Something I can attest to. I observed them enjoying each other on many
occasions since they seldom shut their door. To me at my young age I thought
what they were doing was a waste of time but they were older than me and knew
more than I did.
My name was Chimes like my grandfather but I didn’t have a
first name or at least I didn’t know it if I did. My mother started calling me Sonny Boy as far
back as I can remember. C’mere, Sonny
Boy she would say and without questioning I would react.
A problem arose when I enrolled in school. They considered
Sonny Boy to be a nickname and insisted I give them my real name. Being young
and intimidated I said the only name I could think of which my grandfather’s
name, Randle. From that time on I was known by the name Randle Chimes. It took
my ma a while to get used to the name Randle for she never called her Pa
anything except Pa.
For the next five years George treated me as his own, and I
grew to love him. Here he was a tough,
no nonsense kind of guy who was gentle and kind to me and my ma.
Then there were two changes in my life which changed the
direction where I was headed. First George was taken from being local and was sent
out on the road. The result being he wasn’t at home with us near as much as he
had been. When he was at home he didn’t have as much time to spend with us as
He talked about quitting but he loved his job with Pinkerton
and couldn’t bring himself to leave them.
The second thing that came up was my grandfather sent for me
to come to the ranch during the summer break from school. My mother was all for
it because she hoped her father would finally forgive her and reconcile with
George wasn’t too happy about it but gave in after a man
came to see him. The man introduced himself as a Pinkerton man like George was.
They had a long conversation after which George agreed to allow me to go stay with my
The Pinkerton man said he had been hired by my grandpa to
check on me every so often and report to him. He knew George had been a good
father to me and that he had taught me how to defend myself. He had taught me
to box and wrestle both cleanly and dirty. He said dirty fighting can save your
life when trying to fight cleanly can get you killed.
With all this information in hand my Grandpa thought it was
time for me to come West and find out something about my families past.