My Adventures in the West
by Joseph Wegley 1867 - 1946
We moved along as usual selling and trading etc. I would sell for cash, on time, or any old way. I had my trunk in the wagon. I used it for a desk to write out notes and mortgages on. I sent Nick money and notes throughout the summer. I followed the same old trail as far as Towner, then I went east to Churches Ferry.
I made a trade with a woman in Towner. I gave her a foot sore colt for three pound of butter. It was, at that time, about eight cents a pound.
I got to Rugby which was almost vacated. This was during Cleveland’s time, and most all of the towns vacated. At Rugby, there was a little grocery and butcher shop combined. One evening, I took the butcher’s daughter for a horse back ride around town. She fell off her horse and hurt herself. I thought they would lynch me. I couldn’t help it that she couldn’t ride. I got things ironed out, and I have never seen the girl since.
I got to Churches Ferry, which was a nice little town. There I met Judge Butler who is now in Williston. We were both young and had lots of fun.
A man by the name of Everson ran a livery barn. He was a nice fellow, but he was a slave to booze. A bootlegger was hanging around keeping him drunk. One evening, I organized some of the young fellows and started looking for this skunk. I had a rope in my hand. We found him in a haystack. I said, “What are you doing around here?” He said, “Looking for work.” He was Irish. I said, “Do you see this rope?” Now if you are here at daylight we will hang you.” The next morning a man coming from Devils Lake saw him five miles out on the road at daylight.
Well, I sold a lot of horses around there. Later, I moved across the country to Langdon, North Dakota. From there I went into the Walhalla country and sol out, saddle horses and all.
Then I took the train and went back to visit my folks. I had a splendid time until spring, as a cowboy was a big hit there. Of course, my folks knew my occupation.
One day, they wanted a chicken killed. I said, “let me kill it.” My brother went out with me and showed me the rooster they wanted. I pulled out my six shooter and shot his head off. It was some shot, but I have missed lots of similar shots. I told them how we used to roll a barrel down a hill and shoot into the bung hole when it came around. I always thought they questioned that statement, which of course wasn’t true.
I stayed there until spring. Then I want back to Glendive and stayed there a while, then I went out to the ranch to the same old grind.
In due time, we started to Dakota again. Well, we drifted along. We came to Buford. A wise guy was running the ferry. I wanted him to cross me in the evening as stock can always be handled better around water in the evening. He refused. I insisted, and he said, “To H--- with you. If you don’t like my style, drive around.” This meant that I should drive around Yellowstone Park. I said, “Say Mr., I don’t like your style. Neither am I driving around.” The next morning at daybreak, we jumped the herd in the river and swam them across. We never lost a horse. I took the mess wagon and the saddle horses across on the ferry, after which I said, “Now see what you lost by your sarcasm.”
We spent the Fourth of July in Williston. We went on down as usual and wound up at the same place and sold out.
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