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Monday, October 10, 2016

RANDLE CHIMES - CHAPTER 9 - Cattle Thieves


Glad the Sheriff was on our Side
 
Chapter nine

As we approached the Barons ranch we were feeling a little nervous.

The sheriff said, “Everyone check your weapons.”  He then asked, “Who was the best shot with a rifle,” and after he selected five of the ranch hands, he instructed them on what to watch for and when to shoot if necessary.

Pecos spotted a lookout and said, “Give me a couple of minutes and then you can ride on in.”

After five minutes Pecos returned and said, He won’t be a problem.”  We rode in rather fast and took the hands by surprise.

The sheriff said, “Reach for your guns and you won’t live to regret it.  Now line up next to the fence and drop your guns into the watering trough.” 

He yelled out, “You up in the barn drop your rifle and come on down here or you will feel what it feels like to be peppered with a half dozen rifle shots.”

The guy threw his rifle out of the barn hay loft and joined the rest of the Barons hands.

The sheriff then said in a loud voice; “Baron come on out or I will burn you out.” In just a quick moment a large rough looking man came out of the house a cursing everything and everybody.

The sheriff asked one of the cowboys for a pigging string and then he tied the Baron’s hands and feet. With everything under control he waved for the riflemen to ride in. we then tied up all of Barons workmen. The sheriff slapped one of Baron’s men very hard and asked, ‘How many are out riding herd?”

The man looked at the sheriff not saying anything till the sheriff drew back his fist and the man said, ‘There are six riding herd.”

The sheriff looked at me and said, “Take what men you need and round up those six and I’ll be along in a minute. 

We rode in on the men who were supposed to be riding herd and found most of them asleep. Some of my hands laughed at them but in their defense they said they had been up all night and day.

I asked why they didn’t get any sleep and one answered we were changing brands.

Three of the six were men I went to school with and I called them aside after disarming them and they told me everything about them stealing from all the ranchers in the area. I knew the parents of these three and I hated to see them hung with the rest. I told them to get out of the country and never come back. I said if I ever saw any one of them again I would personally shoot them on sight.

They lit out and I have never seen them again although I heard one of them got shot while messing with a farmer’s wife.

About that time the sheriff showed up and asked where the rest were. I told him the story and he said he knew those boys and would have hated to hang them also.

We hung the Baron, his foreman and a couple of hard cases. The rest we took to town and they were sent to the penitentiary. 

That was quite an adventure but in the midst of what was happening my mind would bring up the image of my beloved Jenny and the hurt it would bring me was awful to bear.

The hand that was waiting for some word about Jenny was at the ranch and reported that she had arrived okay and was being treated at the clinic. The hand was sent back to wait for further word which didn’t come till a week later.

Grandpa kept me busy and ever so often would remind me that one of these days this ranch would be mine so I had better learn everything I could.

I took over several phases of running the ranch and I had a double problem. First I had to learn what had to be done and how to do it. The hands wouldn’t help me much save for Pecos. He was my right hand man.

Then the second problem was due to the fact that I was younger and less experienced that most of the hands working for my grandpa. They wouldn’t cross him for they knew it would be more trouble than they wanted to handle.

But they would give me some resistance on every order.

Pecos had watched this go on for some time without saying anything but he finally spoke up one day when all the hands were having chow. In a voice loud enough where everyone could hear he said; “There are several of these boys who don’t want to work here any longer and to be fair you need to ask them which ones have a problem following your orders. Go right to the house and get the money for the payroll so you can pay them off. I will find out which ones wish to be let go while you are gone.”

I did as Pecos said and grandpa asked what I was going to do with the pat roll money and I said watch and see.

Pecos was still asking them who wasn’t ready to follow my orders without grumbling about it. No one volunteered to be let go for jobs were hard to find. He then went down the line and asked each one if they thought I was fair and they should obey my orders and they all to a man agreed they should do what I ask.

I believe they may have been influenced by the fact grandpa was on the porch watching and listening.

After it was settled, Grandpa came down from the porch and said, “Now you all have said you will act like men and do your job. If you have a real complaint come to me and I will hear you out but as far as I know Randle hasn’t asked any of you to do anything he wouldn’t do himself.”

He went on and said, ‘Ranching is a tough dirty job and you men are some of the best and I don’t want to lose any of you.  Enough said; do your job and you will be treated fairly by Randle.”

From that point on I had no more troubles in fact the men began to favor me more than grandpa. It wasn’t because I let them get by with issues but because I gave them respect and was there when they had problems.

The sheriff sent word he wanted grandpa and me to come to town. When we got there he said, ‘The Baron’s property is going up for sale but if you want it the judge said you can have for about thirty thousand dollars cattle and all. Naturally you would have to cut the herd and return the cattle stolen from the other ranchers.”

Grandpa said that is already being done. I contacted everyone whose branded steers had been altered and told them to come and pick them up.
TO BE CONTINUED

 

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for working strongly with writing. Bless you...

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