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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.


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Moving On Chapter 4 "Westward Ho"

The New Sheriff was All Business

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


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.

Monday, January 2, 2017

Moving On - Chapter 1 - Becoming an Immigrant.


Today begins a new continued story. 

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MOVING ON - Chapter 1


Our neighbors invite us to leave the Old Country - -
It was late in the 1800s and being immigrants everything was still new to our family. We soon realized the city life wasn’t for us.
In what we still call “The old country” we had found ourselves disliked more each year after year. It wasn’t because we were bad people but because we were successful and gaining in wealth.
A lawyer for a big firm kept trying to buy all of our holdings and papa decided to sell due mostly to the attitude of our neighbors. He said these folks are not going to like it when the big firm takes over and replaces many of the local workers with people from other areas but they want us out, so be it.
Papa had decided to come to the new world as he called it and try to increase our fortune there.  He was thirty years old when he married our Ma and for the next five years she bore him a son each year. There were five of us boys but for some reason she quit bearing children after I was born.
Perhaps it was because of the neighbor’s attitude that we were a tight knit group. In our village it was well known that if you started a fight with one of us you had to fight all of us. It was because of that we were left alone and had little trouble with the neighbor’s kids.
We planned for a year before leaving and when the day arrived papa had converted all our holdings into gold and enough cash to get us by until we arrived in the new world.
Since we had money we had staterooms to travel in and ate the best food the cooks could provide. There were those who had to settle for steerage with little more space than a bunk and could only get on deck with great effort.
My older brothers spent a lot of time looking down on the deck where the poorer immigrants, especially the young females flitted about. They would slip down to the steerage deck and talk to the girls. They would get a good deal of information from them such as education, age, and more importantly if they were still a virgin.
By the time we arrived in America they knew everything about most of what they considered marriage material. The two older brothers had selected two girls to marry and the next oldest had found one he thought he wanted. She was alone and was vulnerable to the point where though he wasn’t sure he wanted her for a wife he wanted to bring her along with us.
Ma laid down some rules about keeping our hands to ourselves. My older brothers were married to two of the steerage girls by one of the almost captains.  Caleb being strongly urged by Ma, he finally agreed to marry Mercy (as my mother called her) because Ma didn’t want her to be lost in New York and taken advantage of.
They had an “I do” session by one of the crew after which Ma  said Caleb could just ignore his shipboard marriage when we were landed in America unless he decided to keep her for his wife.
Mercy told Ma that she didn't want to take up the wifely duties until she had been fully accepted as a wife by my brother Caleb. Mercy had told everyone she was eighteen years old but once we were situated in New York she confessed she was only fourteen.
Caleb decided not to take her for a wife because she was a little young and by now she was more like a sister in his eyes. He had told the Immigration officials she was his wife in order for her to enter the US.
So far the courtship of my brothers was a little strange but they were satisfied with the results.
After we arrived in America, the entire family managed to find jobs and we were living very well compared to some but papa wanted to move West for he was intrigued by the stories he kept hearing.
He was really taken by the Oklahoma land rush that was coming soon. The idea of free land was too much for him to ignore. Papa said he was going ahead to Oklahoma and would send for us when he needed us. Three months later he sent for the two oldest boys, Albert and George. These were the names they choose for themselves after we arrived here.
Papa had already changed our last name to Barkley and told us to select names that sounded English. He was determined to leave our old persona where we came from. Our accent didn’t sound exactly like Englishmen but the mixture of the north and south and all of the first year immigrants no one could be sure from whence anyone came from.
Another three months passed and papa sent for my other two brothers Phillip and Charles. This left mama, Mercy and me still in the big city. My brothers would write mama every so often and tell her about the West.
Finally when papa sent for her to come west she had made up her mind not to go. She had a job working for a man her age that had just lost his wife and he convinced Ma to get a divorce from papa and marry him. The man was very well off and liked mama very much and mama was also taken by him.
I had finished my schooling and was on my own but Mercy moved in with mama and her new finance. A year or so had passed since Phillip and Charles had moved to be with papa in what they called the west.
They had heard about something called; “mail order brides.”  They had become interested in a couple of women and were considering sending for them. Since I lived near the ladies my brothers wanted me to go and check them out.
I didn’t feel comfortable doing what they asked but finally along with Mercy we did as they wanted. After meeting the women, without revealing our intention, we had a pretty good idea about who they were.
Mercy decided to do the writing and we tried to be fair in our assessment of them. One thing for sure they were older than they pretended to be and Mercy put it best by saying if you need someone to keep you warm in the winter these women was large enough to generate a lot of heat even in the coldest weather. We went on with our negative evaluation of them and I felt sorry for them but I had my brother’s future to consider.
The brothers decided to heed our advice and broke off the correspondence with the ladies in question.
I was glad for I thought that ten years was too great a difference in their ages to be compatible. Papa sent for me and I didn’t want to leave Mercy for we were very close.
I asked her if she wanted to marry me and she said she did so we were wed by a preacher instead of a crew member. She had made some friends and two of them agreed to go with us and meet my brothers with the idea of marrying them.
By the time we headed west Mercy was with child and shortly after we arrived she brought forth a baby boy. He was the first of our eventually four children. Mercy wanted to call him Isaac.
Phillip and Charles were excited about meeting the two women and met us when we arrived.
Phillip wanted to go straight to the preacher and marrying the one he selected but Mercy insisted that the boys get to know the girls before they decided to take them for wives. She felt that getting married should be for a lifetime even though mama had divorced papa.
When papa met the two friends of Mercy he wanted to know if she knew any more like them for him.  She told him one of the girls had lost her father to disease and her mother was a fine looking woman and was available. He instantly told Mercy to have the girl send for her mother for he wanted her for a wife.
Mercy agreed to talk to the girl who said it looked to her like papa was in bad need of a woman for he had been alone for over a year. They laughed about that. The girl agreed for she said her mother needed a man about as bad as Papa needed a woman. When the mother arrived the two unmarried boys and papa all got married at the same time with a grand ceremony.
We heard mama had married the man she was working for and for some reason she was going to have another child after these several years. The man she married was very happy about having a family and that was the last we heard directly from mother. She cut the ties she had with us but from time to time Mercy would get some news from friends she had in the city.
To Be continued