A TEXAS COW BOY - Charlie Siringo - ebook


Charlie Siringo



"A Texas Cowboy" subtitled as "Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony" is one of the few books which offers a true look into the life of a real cowboy and that too written by someone who had actually lived the life. Excerpt: "While ranching on the Indian Territory line, close to Caldwell, Kansas, in the winter of '82 and '83, we boys—there being nine of us—made an iron-clad rule that whoever was heard swearing or caught picking grey backs off and throwing them on the floor without first killing them, should pay a fine of ten cents for each and every offense. The proceeds to be used for buying choice literature—something that would have a tendency to raise us above the average cow-puncher..." Charlie Siringo was an American lawman, detective and agent for the Pinkerton National Detective Agency.

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Charlie Siringo


True Story of Cowboy

Published by


- Advanced Digital Solutions & High-Quality eBook Formatting -
2017 OK Publishing
ISBN 978-80-272-2045-8

Table of Contents

Chapter I. My Boyhood Days
Chapter II. My Introduction to the Late War
Chapter III. My First Lesson in Cow Punching
Chapter IV. My Second Experience in St. Louis
Chapter V. A New Experience
Chapter VI. Adopted and Sent to School
Chapter VII. Back at Last to the Lone Star State
Chapter VIII. Learning to Rope Wild Steers
Chapter IX. Owning My First Cattle
Chapter X. A Start Up the Chisholm Trail
Chapter XI. Buys a Boat and Becomes a Sailor
Chapter XII. Back To My Favorite Occupation, That of a Wild and Woolly Cow Boy
Chapter XIII. Mother and I Meet at Last
Chapter XIV. On a Tare in Wichita, Kansas
Chapter XV. A Lonely Trip Down the Cimeron
Chapter XVI. My First Experience Roping a Buffalo
Chapter XVII. An Exciting Trip After Thieves
Chapter XVIII. Seven Weeks Among Indians
Chapter XIX. A Lonely Ride of Eleven Hundred Miles
Chapter XX. Another Start Up the Chisholm Trail
Chapter XXI. A Trip Which Terminated in the Capture of "Billy the Kid"
Chapter XXII. Billy the Kid's Capture
Chapter XXIII. A Trip to the Rio Grande on a Mule
Chapter XXIV. Waylaid by Unknown Parties
Chapter XXV. Lost on the Staked Plains
Chapter XXVI. A Trip Down the Reo Pecos
Chapter XXVII. A True Sketch of "Billy the Kid's" Life
Chapter XXVIII. Wrestling with a Dose of Small Pox on the Llano Esticado
Chapter XXIX. In Love with a Mexican Girl
Chapter XXX. A Sudden Leap from Cow Boy to Merchant


Table of Contents

My excuse for writing this book is money—and lots of it.

I suppose the above would suffice, but as time is not very precious I will continue and tell how the idea of writing a book first got into my head:

While ranching on the Indian Territory line, close to Caldwell, Kansas, in the winter of '82 and '83, we boys—there being nine of us—made an iron-clad rule that whoever was heard swearing or caught picking grey backs off and throwing them on the floor without first killing them, should pay a fine of ten cents for each and every offense. The proceeds to be used for buying choice literature—something that would have a tendency to raise us above the average cow-puncher. Just twenty-four hours after making this rule we had three dollars in the pot—or at least in my pocket, I having been appointed treasurer.

As I was going to town that night to see my Sunday girl, I proposed to the boys that, while up there, I send the money off for a years subscription to some good newspaper. The question then came up, what paper shall it be? We finally agreed to leave it to a vote—each man to write the one of his choice on a slip of paper and drop it in a hat. There being two young Texans present who could neither read nor write, we let them speak their choice after the rest of us got our votes deposited. At the word given them to cut loose they both yelled "Police Gazette", and on asking why they voted for that wicked Sheet, they both replied as though with one voice: "Cause we can read the pictures." We found, on counting the votes that the Police Gazette had won, so it was subscribed for.

With the first copy that arrived was the beginning of a continued story, entitled "Potts turning Paris inside out." Mr. Potts, the hero, was an old stove-up New York preacher, who had made a raise of several hundred thousand dollars and was over in Paris blowing it in. I became interested in the story, and envied Mr. Potts very much. I wished for a few hundred thousand so I could do likewise; I lay awake one whole night trying to study up a plan by which I could make the desired amount. But, thinks I, what can an uneducated cow puncher do now-a-days to make such a vast sum? In trying to solve the question my mind darted back a few years, when, if I had taken time by the forelock, I might have now been wallowing in wealth with the rest of the big cattle kings—or to use a more appropriate name, cattle thieves. But alas! thought I, the days of honorable cattle stealing is past, and I must turn my mind into a healthier channel.

The next morning while awaiting breakfast I happened to pick up a small scrap of paper and read: "To the young man of high aims literature offers big inducements, providing he gets into an untrodden field."

That night I lay awake again, trying to locate some "cussed" untrodden field, where, as an author, I might soar on high—to the extent of a few hundred thousand at least.

At last, just as our pet rooster, "Deacon Bates" was crowing for day, I found a field that I had never heard of any one trampling over—a "nigger" love story. So that night I launched out on my new novel, the title of which was, "A pair of two-legged coons." My heroine, Miss Patsy Washington was one shade darker than the ace of spades, while her lover, Mr. Andrew Jackson, was three colors darker than herself. My plot was laid in African Bend on the Colorado river in Southern Texas.

Everything went on nicely, until about half way through the first chapter, when Mr. Jackson was convicted and sent to Huntsville for stealing a neighbors hog; and while I was trying to find a substitute for him, old Patsy flew the track and eloped with a Yankee carpet-bagger. That was more than I could endure, so picking up the manuscript I threw it into the fire. Thus ended my first attempt at Authorship.

I then began figuring up an easier field for my inexperienced pen, and finally hit upon the idea of writing a history of my own short, but rugged life, which dear reader you have before you. But whether it will bring me in "shekels" enough to capsize Paris remains yet to be "disskivered" as the Negro says.

Chapter I. My Boyhood Days

Table of Contents

It was a bright morning, on the 7th day of February 1856, as near as I can remember, that your humble Servant came prancing into this wide and wicked world.

By glancing over the map you will find his birthplace, at the extreme southern part of the Lone Star State, on the Peninsula of Matagorda, a narrow strip of land bordered by the Gulf of Mexico on the south and Matagorda Bay on the north.

This Peninsula is from one to two miles wide and seventy five miles long. It connects the mainland at Caney and comes to a focus at Deskrows Point or "Salura Pass." About midway between the two was situated the "Dutch Settlement," and in the centre of that Settlement, which contained only a dozen houses, stood the little frame cottage that first gave me shelter.

My father who died when I was only a year old, came from the sunny clime of Italy, while my dear old mother drifted from the Boggs of good "ould" Ireland. Am I not a queer conglomerate—a sweet-scented mixture indeed!

Our nearest neighbor was a kind old soul by the name of John Williams, whose family consisted of his wife and eleven children.

In the fall of 1859 I took my first lessons in school, my teacher being a Mr. Hale from Illinois.

The school house, a little old frame building, stood off by itself, about a mile from the Settlement, and we little tow-heads, sister and I, had to hoof it up there every morning, through the grassburrs, barefooted; our little sunbrowned feet had never been incased in shoe-leather up to that time.

To avoid the grassburrs, sometimes on getting an early start we would go around by the Gulf beach which was quite a distance out of our way. In taking this route though, I would generally be late at school, for there were so many little things to detain me—such as trying to catch the shadow of a flying sea gull, or trying to lasso sand crabs on my stick horse.

Crowds of Cow Boys used to come over to the Peninsula from the mainland and sometimes have occasion to rope wild steers in my presence—hence me trying to imitate them.

I remember getting into a scrape once by taking the beach route to school; sister who was a year older than I, was walking along the water edge picking up pretty shells while I was riding along on my stick horse taking the kinks out of my rope—a piece of fishline—so as to be ready to take in the first crab that showed himself. Those crabs went in large droves and sometimes ventured quite a distance out from the Gulf, but on seeing a person would break for the water.

It was not long before I spied a large drove on ahead, pulling their freight for the water. I put spurs to my pony and dashed after them. I managed to get one old fat fellow headed off and turned towards the prairie. I threw at him several times but he would always go through the loop before I could pull it up. He finally struck a hole and disappeared.

I was determined to get him out and take another whirl at him, so dropping my horse and getting down on all fours I began digging the sand away with my hands, dog fashion.

About that time sister came up and told me to come on as I would be late at school, etc.

I think I told her to please go to Halifax, as I was going to rope that crab before I quit or "bust." At any rate she went off, leaving me digging with all my might.

Every now and then I would play dog by sticking my snoot down in the hole to smell. But I rammed it down once too often. Mr. Crab was nearer the surface than I thought for. He was laying for me. I gave a comanche yell, jumped ten feet in the air and lit out for home at a 2:40 gait. One of his claws was fastened to my upper lip while the other clamped my nose with an iron-like grip.

I met Mr. William Berge coming out to the beach after a load of wood, and he relieved me of my uncomfortable burden. He had to break the crabs claws off to get him loose.

I arrived at school just as Mr. Hale was ringing the bell after recess. He called me up and wanted to know what was the matter with my face, it was so bloody. Being a little George W., minus the hatchet, I told him the truth. Suffice to say he laid me across his knee and made me think a nest of bumble bees were having a dance in the seat of my breeches—or at least where the seat should have been. I never had a pair of pants on up to that time. Had worn nothing but a long white shirt made of a flour sack after some of the "big bugs" in Matagorda had eaten the flour out.

The fall of 1861 Mr. Hale broke up school and left for Yankeedom to join the blue coats. And from that time on I had a regular picnic, doing nothing and studying mischief. Billy Williams was my particular chum; we were constantly together doing some kind of devilment. The old women used to say we were the meanest little imps in the Settlement, and that we would be hung before we were twenty-one. Our three favorite passtimes were, riding the milk calves, coon hunting and sailing play-boats down on the bay shore.

Shortly after school broke up I wore my first pair of breeches. Uncle "Nick" and aunt "Mary," mothers' brother and sister, who lived in Galveston, sent us a trunk full of clothes and among them was a pair of white canvas breeches for me.

The first Sunday after the goods arrived mother made me scour myself all over and try my new pants on. They were large enough for two kids of my size, but mother said I could wear them that day if I would be a good boy, and that she would take a few tucks in them before the next Sunday. So after getting me fixed up she told me not to leave the yard or she would skin me alive, etc.

Of course I should have been proud of the new addition to my wardrobe and like a good little boy obeyed my mother; but I wasn't a good little boy and besides the glory of wearing white pants was insignificant compared to that of an exciting coon hunt with dogs through brush, bramble and rushes. You see I had promised Billy the evening before to go coon hunting with him that day.

I watched my chance and while mother was dressing sister in her new frock I tiptoed out of the house and skipped.

Billy was waiting for me with the four dogs and off we went for the Bay shore.

Arriving there the dogs disappeared in the tall rushes barking at every jump; we jumped right in after them, up to our waists in the mud. We had a genuine good all-day coon hunt, killing several coons and one wild cat.

We gave up the hunt about sundown, and I started for home, the glory of my new pants having departed. I was indeed a sorry looking sight, covered with mud from head to foot.

I entered the house with some fear and trembling, and well I might, for mother was "laying" for me with the old black strap. The result was I slept sound that night, but couldn't sit down without pain for a week afterwards.

Chapter II. My Introduction to the Late War

Table of Contents

It was Monday morning—a day that I despised. Need you wonder, for it was mother's wash day and I had to carry wood from the Gulf beach to keep the "pot boiling."

I tried to play off sick that morning but it would not work, for mother had noticed that I got away with two plates of mush besides three hard boiled eggs for breakfast.

Before starting out after my first load of wood, I hid the big old strap which hung by the door, for I felt it in my bones there was war in the air. I always did have a tough time of it on wash days, and I knew this Monday would bring the same old story.

At last mother got the fire started under the wash-pot which stood out in the yard and told me for about the twentieth time to go after an armful of wood. I hesitated, in hopes that she would take a notion to go herself, but when she stamped her foot and picked up a barrel stave I knew I had better be going, for when she got her Irish blood up it was dangerous to linger.

When I got out among the drift wood on the beach, I treed a cotton-tail rabbit up a hollow log, and I made up my mind to get Mr. cotton-tail out, wood or no wood.

I began digging the sand away from the log as fast as I could so as to be able to roll it down into the Gulf and drown the rabbit out.

It was a very hot day and digging the heavy sand with only my hands and a stick was slow, tiresome work. The result was I fell asleep with my head under the log and my bare legs sticking out in the hot June sun. I dreamt I died and went to a dreadful hot country and Satan was there piling hot coals on me.

Finally the sun went under a cloud, or at least I suppose it did, for the burning pain left me and I began to dream of Heaven; I thought the Lord was there sitting upon His throne of gold in the midst of scores of happy children. Calling me up to him he pointed to a large pile of fence rails down in a beautiful valley and said: "my boy you go down and carry every one of those rails up here to me before you stop."

His words landed up against my happy thoughts like a thunderbolt from a clear sky. I had been thinking of what a picnic I would have with the other children.

A walk of about one mile brought me to the pile of rails; there were more in the pile than I could count, I shouldered one of the lightest and struck out up the steep hill, thinking how I would like to be back with mother, even if I had to carry an armful of wood from the beach now and then.

When about half way up the hill I heard a terrible noise such as I had never heard before, it awakened me, and in trying to jump up I bumped my head against the log, and also filled my eyes full of sand.

When I got onto my feet and the sand out of my eyes, I discovered the whole beach, east of me, thronged with men carrying guns, and marching right towards me. The head ones were not over a hundred yards off, beating drums and blowing their horns.

It is needless to say I was scared and that I ran as fast as my legs could carry me, looking back every minute to see if they were after me. It was in this way that I ran or sprang right into the midst of Mrs. Zipprian's drove of geese, before I knew it. There were several old ganders in the drove which used to chase me every chance they got. I generally took particular pains to go around them; but this time my mind was in a different channel from what it had ever been in before, hence my not looking out for them.

As I flew past, two of the old ganders made a dive at me, but only one succeeded in catching on; he grabbed the tail of my shirt, which stuck straight out behind, in his mouth and hung on with blood in his eyes. My speed seemed to increase instead of slacken, every time the old gander would bounce up and come down, his claws would rake the skin from the calves of my legs. His death-like grip finally broke loose and I felt considerable lighter. My mind also, felt somewhat relieved.

Mother was out in the yard washing, she had picked up chips enough to boil the water; the tub was sitting upon a box and she was rubbing away with all her might, her back towards me. As I was looking over my shoulder I ran against her, knocking her, tub and all over in a pile, myself with them.

Mother got up first with her right hand in my shirt collar, I plead manfully, and tried to tell her about the scores of men, but she was too mad to listen, she dragged me to where the big black strap should have hung, I knew she couldn't find it, therefore hoped to get off with a few slaps, but alas, no she spied the mush stick and the way she gave it to me with that was a caution!

The crowd I saw proved to be Dr. Pierceson's company of rebels, who had been sent over from Matagorda to drill and be ready to fight the blue coats when they came. It was then the summer of 1862. They located their camp on the beach, about a mile from our house, and I used to march with them all day long sometimes. The captain, Dr. Pierceson, gave me an umbrella stick which I used for a gun.

That coming fall about five thousand Yankees landed at Deckrows Point on the Peninsula and marched by our ranch on their way to the rebel camp which was stationed forty miles above, at the mouth of Caney Creek.

They camped one night close to our house and filled me up with hard-tack, which was quite a treat to a fellow living on mush and milk.

They had a five or six day fight with the rebels, neither of them coming off victorious. We could hear the guns plainly from the "Settlement." Many dead men were washed ashore on the beach. My sister and I stumbled onto one poor fellow one day, shot through the heart. His clothes were gone and his wrist was marked "J. T." in India ink.

After the battle the Yankees marched back to Deckrows Point where they remained to the end of the war; the rebels still held their ground at the mouth of Caney. Every now and then a squad from each side would meet at the "Settlement" and have a skirmish. I remember once after one of those skirmishes a crowd of Yankees rounded Mr. Williams up on the prairie—Billy and I being with him—and throwing their pistols in his face told him if they ever found him so far from home again they would kill him.

Their threats didn't scare Mr. Williams the least bit, for he afterwards slipped into their camp after dark and stole eleven head of their best horses and gave them to the rebels. But on his way back from the rebel ramp, where he went to take the horses they caught him and took him aboard of a Yankee man-of-war to hang him. They had the rope around his neck ready to swing him when the General turned him loose, on account of his old age and bravery, telling him never to be caught from home again.

Fighting was going on nearly every day in sight of us; sometimes the Yankee gun boats would get into the Bay among the rebel boats, and at other times they would fight across the narrow strip of land, shooting right over the houses at one another. Many of the cannon balls dropped on the prairie; one of them at one time struck within a few feet of Mr. Williams, almost burying him in the sand as it plowed along on the ground. Poor fellow, he was afterwards killed by one, he carried one home and taking all the powder out of it, as he supposed, set it out in the yard with the hole up, and then told Billy to get him a coal of fire in the tongs. He thought it would just flash a little.

I was present, and not liking the looks of it, crept out behind the picket gate, a few yards away, and peeped between the pickets.

The whole family was looking on to see the fun, Mattie, one of the little girls, was sitting with her arms around a dog's neck, within a few feet of it.

Billy, arriving with the coal, handed it to his father who reached over and let it drop down into the hole—where he had taken out the lead screw.

It seemed to me that the coal hadn't reached the hole when the thing exploded. For a few seconds everything was enveloped in smoke; when the smoke disappeared sufficiently for me to see, the whole sky seemed to be a blaze of fire, and finally Mr. Williams emerged out of the heavy cloud of smoke hopping on one leg.

A piece of the bomb-shell had taken off part of one foot on the left leg and another piece had plowed through the calf of his right leg; part of one ear was also gone. He only lived a few days.

A piece of the shell took off one of the dog's legs without even touching Mattie, the little girl who had her arms around his neck.

Several pieces went through the house, and one piece went through the picket gate right over my head. The next day Billy and I found a large piece sticking in the wall of an old vacant house a mile from where it exploded.

During the war several ships were driven ashore on the beach by the Yankee gun boats. The folks at the "Settlement" would get all the plunder. One ship was loaded with dry goods and from that time on I wore breeches.

About a year after the war broke out the rebels gathered up all the cattle on the Peninsula and drove them to the mainland, where they were turned loose with the thousands upon thousands of wild cattle already over there. Their idea in doing so was to keep the Yankees—whom they knew would hold the lower part of the Peninsula, they having the best gunboats—from getting fresh beef to eat. There was only one cow left in the whole "Settlement" and that was our old "Browny;" mother had begged manfully for them to leave her, for she knew we children would starve to death living on mush straight.

When the war broke up everybody was happy. We cheered for joy when Mr. Joe Yeamans brought the good news from town.

Shortly after this all of the men and boys that were large enough, went over to the mainland to gather up the Peninsula cattle. On their arrival they found it a bigger job than they had figured on, for they were scattered over two or three hundred miles of country and as wild as deer.

Billy and I thought it very hard that we could not go and be Cow Boys too; but we had lots of fun all by ourselves, for we had an old mule and two or three ponies to ride, so you see we practiced riding in anticipation of the near future, when we would be large enough to be Cow Boys.

After being gone about three months the crowd came back, bringing with them several hundred head of cattle, which they had succeeded in gathering. Among them were about twenty head belonging to mother.

The crowd went right back after more. This stimulated Billy and I to become a crowd of Cow Boys all by ourselves, therefore we put in most of our time lassoing and riding wild yearlings, etc. We hardly stayed at home long enough to get our meals. Mother had to get her own wood in those days, for sister had gone to school in Galveston. Of course I always had to come home at night, therefore mother would get satisfaction out of me with the black strap or mush stick, after I was snugly settled in bed, for my waywardness and trifling habits.

In the spring of 1867, a cattle man by the name of Faldien brought his family over to the Peninsula for their health and rented part of our house to live in.

After getting his wife and babies located in their new quarters, he started back home, in Matagorda, to make preparations for spring work, he having to rig up new outfits, etc. He persuaded mother to let me go with him, and learn to run cattle. When she consented I was the happiest boy in the "Settlement," for my life long wish was about to be gratified.

Chapter III. My First Lesson in Cow Punching

Table of Contents

The next day after arriving in town, Mr. Faldien sent me out to his ranch, twenty miles, on Big Boggy. I rode out on the "grub" wagon with the colored cook. That night, after arriving at the ranch, there being several men already there, we went out wild boar hunting. We got back about midnight very tired and almost used up. Such a hunt was very different from the coon hunts Billy and I used to have at the "Settlement." Our dogs were badly gashed up by the boars, and it was a wonder some of us hadn't been served the same way.

In a few days Mr. Faldien came out to the ranch, bringing with him several men. After spending a few days gathering up the cow-ponies, which hadn't been used since the fall before, we started for Lake Austin—a place noted for wild cattle.

During the summer I was taken sick and had to go home. I was laid up for two months with typhoid fever. Every one thought I would die.

That fall, about October, mother married a man by the name of Carrier, who hailed from Yankeedom. He claimed that he owned a farm in Michigan, besides lots of other property.

He was very anxious to get back to his farm, so persuaded mother to sell out lock, stock and barrel and go with him.

She had hard work to find a buyer as money was very scarce, but finally she got Mr. George Burkheart, a merchant in Matagorda, to set his own price on things and take them.

The house and one hundred and seventy-five acres of land only brought one hundred and seventy-five dollars. The sixty head of cattle that we had succeeded in getting back from the mainland went at one dollar a head and all others that still remained on the mainland—thrown in for good measure.

At last everything for sale was disposed of and we got "Chris" Zipprian to take us to Indianola in his schooner. We bade farewell to the old homestead with tears in our eyes. I hated more than anything else to leave old "Browny" behind for she had been a friend in need as well as a friend indeed. Often when I would be hungry and afraid to go home for fear of mother and the mush stick, she would let me go up to her on the prairie calf fashion and get my milk. She was nearly as old as myself.

At Indianola we took the Steamship "Crescent City" for New Orleans. The first night out we ran into a large Brig and came very near going under. The folks on the Brig were nearly starved to death, having been drifting about for thirty days without a rudder. We took them in tow, after getting our ship in trim again, and landed them safely in Galveston.

There was a bar-room on our ship, and our new lord and master, Mr. Carrier, put in his spare time drinking whisky and gambling; I do not think he drew a sober breath from the time we left Indianola until we landed in New Orleans, by that time he had squandered every cent received for the homestead and cattle, so mother had to go down into her stocking and bring out the little pile of gold which she had saved up before the war for "hard times," as she used to say. With this money she now bought our tickets to Saint Louis. We took passage, I think, on the "Grand Republic." There was also a bar-room on this boat, and after wheedling mother out of the remainder of her funds, he drank whisky and gambled as before, so we landed in Saint Louis without a cent.

Mother had to pawn her feather mattress and pillows for a month's rent in an old delapidated frame building on one of the back streets. It contained only four rooms, two up stairs and two down; the lower rooms were occupied by the stingy old landlord and family; we lived in one of the upper rooms, while a Mr. Socks, whose wife was an invalid, occupied the other.

The next day after getting established in our new quarters, the "old man," as I called him, struck out to find a job; he found one at a dollar a day shoveling coal.

At first he brought home a dollar every night, then a half and finally a quarter. At last he got to coming home drunk without a nickel in his pocket. He finally came up missing; we didn't know what had become of him. Mother was sick in bed at the time from worrying. I went out several times hunting work but no one would even give me a word of encouragement, with the exception of an old Jew who said he was sorry for me.

A little circumstance happened, shortly after the "old man" pulled his trifling carcass for parts unknown, which made me a better boy and no doubt a better man than I should have been had it never happened.

Everything was white without, for it had been snowing for the past two days. It was about five o'clock in the evening and the cold piercing north wind was whistling through the unceiled walls of our room. Mother was sound asleep, while sister and I sat shivering over an old, broken stove, which was almost cold, there being no fuel in the house.

Sister began crying and wondered why the Lord let us suffer so? I answered that may be it was because we quit saying our prayers. Up to the time we left Texas mother used to make us kneel down by the bed-side and repeat the Lord's prayer every night before retiring. Since then she had, from worrying, lost all interest in Heavenly affairs.

"Let us say our prayers now, then, brother!" said sister drying the tears from her eyes.

We both knelt down against the old, rusty stove and commenced. About the time we had finished the door opened and in stepped Mr. Socks with a bundle under his arm. "Here children, is a loaf of bread and some butter and I will bring you up a bucket of coal in a few moments, for I suppose from the looks of the stove you are cold," said the good man, who had just returned from his day's work.

Was ever a prayer so quickly heard? We enjoyed the bread and butter, for we hadn't tasted food since the morning before.

The next day was a nice sunny one, and I struck out up town to try and get a job shoveling snow from the sidewalks.

The first place I tackled was a large stone front on Pine street. The kind lady of the establishment said she would give me twenty-five cents if I would do a good job cleaning the sidewalk in front of the house.

After an hour's hard work I finished, and, after paying me, the lady told me to call next day and she would give me a job shoveling coal down in the cellar, as I had done an extra good job on the sidewalk. This was encouraging and I put in the whole day shoveling snow, but never found any more twenty-five cent jobs; most I received for one whole hour's work was ten cents, and then the old fat fellow kicked like a bay steer, about the d——d snow being such an expense, etc.

From that time on I made a few dimes each day sawing wood or shoveling coal and therefore got along splendid.

I forgot to mention my first evening in Saint Louis. I was going home from the bakery when I noticed a large crowd gathered in front of a corner grocery; I went up to see what they were doing. Two of the boys had just gotten through fighting when I got there; the store-keeper and four or five other men were standing in the door looking on at the crowd of boys who were trying to cap another fight.

As I walked up, hands shoved clear to the bottom of my pockets, the store-keeper called out, pointing at me, "there's a country Jake that I'll bet can lick any two boys of his size in the crowd."

Of course all eyes were then turned onto me, which, no doubt, made me look sheepish. One of the men asked me where I was from; when I told him, the store-keeper exclaimed, "by gum, if he is from Texas I'll bet two to one that he can clean out any two boys of his size in the crowd."

One of the other men took him up and they made a sham bet of ten dollars, just to get me to fight. The two boys were then picked out; one was just about my size and the other considerably smaller. They never asked me if I would take a hand in the fight until everything was ready. Of course I hated to crawl out, for fear they might think I was a coward.

Everything being ready the store-keeper called out, "dive in boys!"