My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
There was a corral about 100 yards from the ferry landing with no fence, just a road cut down through the river bank. We had to cut off from this corral about a boatload, or about twenty head, to get them onto that ferry. We had to run them on so fast they had no time to turn back. Then we would jump off our horse and close the gate before they had time to turn around. We had a few that refused under any circumstances to go on, so we had to rope them and drag them on.
We had a man across on the other side to hold the horses until we got across. One old buckskin mare broke back and started for the home ranch. Well, Charley Ross and I went after her. The motto among cowboys was to “bring them back some way or kill them” Well, this old buckskin just would not come back. We got her possibly five miles from the ferry, then seeing that it was useless, I shot here with my six shooter. We went back and Nick said, “Where in H--- is the mare?” I said, “We couldn’t get her back.” He asked me why I didn’t shoot her, and I said that I did. He said it was all right.
We crossed our mess wagon and saddle horses and went to Fort Buford which was about three miles from the ferry. Buford was a United States Army Post so there were lots of soldiers there. It was a lively place.
We sold a few horses to the small ranchers around Buford. The Government had what they called a canteen. It was practically a saloon. The Indians got troublesome, as an Indian likes liquor just like a cat likes cream. It was, of course, contrary to rules to sell any liquor to them so it made it bad to have them hanging around.
One evening, they boys thought of a scheme to get rid of the Indians. Indians are naturally superstitious, so the boys went to the slaughter house and got a beef bladder, filled it with fresh beef blood, and went to the canteen where the Indians were.
One boy put this bladder under his coat, and he and a cowboy got into t fake quarrel. The cowboy shot him with a blank cartridge, and he fell on the side of the bladder. It burst and blood run over the floor.
Those Indians acted like a bunch of wolves leaving the canteen. They ran like wild things looking over their shoulders as they ran. The soldiers told me later that they weren’t bothered wit Indians for a long time.
We moved our horses to Williston, which at that time was mostly all log buildings. Bruegger Brothers had a store in a small brick building where the Roche Grocery now stands. Across the street south of the I.O.O.F. Building, G.B. Metzger had a frame store where the Metzger Oil station is now. He ran the Post Office. I got acquainted with Mr. Metzger when I first got my mail there.
South of there as far as the depot, everything was built from logs. Bruegger, Metzger, Heffernan, Jim Costella, Muckle, George, Newton, William Snyder, and many other old timers who have passed on, were here.
We camped at Williston for about a month. We camped just west of town where we sold and traded quite a few horses. I got well acquainted. They were a fine bunch of men to deal with.
We spent the Fourth of July there. They had a straight race track near where the Central School is now. Newton was the race horse man. We had a race horse which beat his horse for a quarter of a mile. Newton said to Nick, “I can beat you a mil.” Nick said, “I’ll bet you anything from one to five hundred dollars that my horse can beat yours from one jump to five hundred miles.
The race was put on, and we won. We sold the horse to Jimmy Costella and Tommy Allen.
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