My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
There were three of us who used to come to Williston evenings. We used to bake biscuits in the evening for breakfast. Our biscuits started to disappear at night. I told the boys one night that I was going to find out what happened to our biscuits.
I pulled my bed out away from the tent, took my six shooter to bed with me, and waited. After dark I heard an Indian coming from town singing “Bu Wee Bu Wo Bu Wee.” I waited until he took the lid off the Dutch oven, put the biscuits under his arm, and start away. Then I started shooting close to his feet. He dropped the biscuits and went over the hill and not very slow either. After that, we weren’t bothered any more.
I didn’t feel very well, so I got a bed in a room where Hedderich store is now. There was no doctor in Williston, so I was doctoring myself for some time.
One day someone shot old man Mockle through the middle. The Government doctor came down. Mr. Metzger brought him in to see me. He took me back on the train to Buford. I had a fistula so he operated on me the next morning. I was there for six weeks. My operation and hospital bills were $35.00.
This man, Mockle, like his drink. The doctor told him if he took a drink now it would kill him. The second day they missed Mockle. They found him at the canteen drunk as a hoot owl, but he didn’t die.
The doctor told me not to get on a horse for at least six weeks. He said it would be better that I stayed off them for six months. I came back to Williston. The outfit had gone east. I was short on cash. I got a room in the same place as before. There was a saloon next door.
The next morning I walked through the saloon and out of the back door. There I found a ten dollar bill. It had been swept out with the dirt. Well, I didn’t try to find the owner, as I needed it.
Then I went to Minot where I got acquainted with a butcher who wanted me to go twenty miles south of town and bring in some cattle. Regardless of the doctor’s orders, I went.
The country south of Minot had been settled before, but when I got there, there were just a few remnants of buildings left. When I got to Minot, Mick, my boss, was there looking for me. He had traded the remains of his herd at Nesson for cattle and wanted me to help take them back to the ranch in Montana. I went right on riding in spite of the doctor’s orders.
Nick had let the other men out and hired a green Dutchman to drive the wagon home. He knew nothing, but was a harmless character. If it hadn’t been for the amusement he furnished through his ignorance, the trip back surely would have been monotonous.
We got the cattle home, and I got my fistula back. I couldn’t ride very well so I got a job tending bar in a saloon in Fallon, which by now had grown until it had three saloons, a section house, and was the largest stock shipping center in the United States. It served an immense territory.
The man I worked for was an old Frenchman, who, it was claimed, had killed two men. He did a wonderful business there. Money was no object to him. There were from fifteen to one hundred cowboys there at all times. They would stay sober until shipping was over, then they would celebrate a couple of days before they went back to the round-up.
I knew practically every puncher in the country. I got along good with everybody. Of course, I didn’t hear them if they happened to call me names that weren’t nice when they were drunk, otherwise one would have had some unpleasant happenings. They would occasionally ride into the saloon and shoot glasses or bottles off the bar. I would usually take their horse by the bit and say, “Let’s get him out of here, this isn’t a barn,” or some similar remark. They took it in good humor as long as they thought you were not trying to be smart.
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