My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
I never went into his place again unarmed, but he didn’t seem to know what had happened, as he was always friendly to me.
Shipping was practically over, so I left Fallon and went to Glendive. From there I went to Minnesota to buy some cattle with the $800 I was going to bet Frenchy. I went to St. Paul and hung around the yards for two and three days, but I didn’t see anything that suited me.
One evening while sitting on a corral, a man came up – a great big Irishman – and said, “are you looking for cattle?” I said, “Yes, if you can find me the right stuff at the right price.” He said, “If you will go out home with me, I will sell you some cattle.” I asked him where he lived. He said he lived 125 miles west of St. Paul. He said, “If I can’t sell you cattle, I’ll pay your way out there and back. There are no strings to the offer.” I said, “Fair enough.”
We took the train and stayed at his place that night. The next morning he took me to a pasture and showed me some cattle. I said that I couldn’t use them. He asked me why, and I said, “They aren’t good enough.” “All right,” said he, “I have some more.” He then took me to another pasture. They were a little better but not good enough. I said, “Charlie, I can’t use them.” His name was Charley Obrion of Degraft, Minnesota. He said, “Damn you, I have some that will do.” He took me to another pasture where he had some real ones. I bought two cars. I had nine good yearling steers, six good yearling heifers, and eleven good young cows.
I shipped them to Fallon, Montana and crossed them to the north side of the river. I went to an old deserted ranch and camped. I got up a team, put up some hay, and started to winter them I was batching all alone. I stuck it out for six weeks, and then I made up my mind to go to Glendive the next day and see if I could sell the cattle. I went in and an old fellow by the name of Larson had been waiting for me to come in. He wanted to buy the cattle. I sold them to him and made $280 net. I would have gone east and gotten some more, but my fistula was bothering me.
I went to a doctor who advised me to go to Buford again. I decided to do it. It was winter now, and there was lots of snow. My friend Dominick Cavanau was running the “stage.” It was a sled with a box on it. There was no dashboard on it. The snow blew up in your face all the time. We had quite a trip.
We stopped over night where Sidney is now. It was just one log house then. We got to Buford the next day.
I went to the hospital, and the way that doctor bawled me out wasn’t slow. He said, “I have a notion to kill you this time.” He was only joking so I wasn’t scared. They operated on me again. I was there six weeks again. All I got to eat for a long time was a cracker and a cup of team. Then they started me in lightly. The Army Post here at Buford last summer had white soldiers, now it had colored soldiers. This was 1892. The post was abandoned the next year.
Well, on New Year’s Day, they had me on about half rations. In the morning, the steward came in and said, “Are you hungry?” He said, “You can eat with the officers at dinner.” I said, “You officers just make a noise when dinner is ready.”
They did, and the feed they had was immense – turkey, cranberries, and that goes with them.
When I got strong enough, I went back to Glendive on the same stage. The doctor told me if I didn’t stay off of horses until spring, they never would operate on me again. I didn’t forget it this time.
I stayed at a hotel. A man there kept my saddle horse for me.
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