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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

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