William Henry Ryus.

The second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties online

. (page 9 of 11)
Online LibraryWilliam Henry RyusThe second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties → online text (page 9 of 11)
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When we got to within five miles of Denver,
Mark Shearer went around to the driver and told
him to get back in the wagon, and if he stuck his
head outside that wagon sheet, he would use it for
a target. The driver was a born coward and
quietly obeyed and remained under the wagon
sheet until we were forty miles beyond Denver
when Mark told him to "come to" now and try
to be a man.

The next night after Service came to our camp,
he wanted to help stand guard over the sheep at
night with Barney Hill, my night herder. He
said he couldn't sleep nights. Barney told him
to lie down and go to sleep, that he would let no
one harm him. He went to sleep and along about
eleven o'clock, he began to yell, "There they come,
there they come, the Mexicans, etc.," and he fired
his revolver and made a general stir. We man-


aged to quiet him down. He was delirious and
only half awake. For two months Service got
along all right.

When we arrived at the North Platte River
the snow had melted so the river was running
very fast. We attempted to cross the sheep on
the ferry. 125 sheep were placed on the ferry
boat and across we started. Out 500 feet from the
landing on the east side where we went in, the
ferryman got afraid the sheep were too far for-
ward and would tip the boat, so he attempted to
push them back, and pushed some of the sheep
off in the river. All the sheep then made a rush
to follow the unfortunate ones. Barney Hill, who
was on the back end of the boat, got knocked off
and could not swim and the boys had a good
laugh at him climbing over the sheep, looking
like a drowned rat trying to get out of a molasses
barrel. Dick Stewart was a good swimmer and
so he landed back on the boat.

After this load full, the boatman would not
ferry any more sheep over and we were compelled
to swim them. We would call the goat and tell
him to go into the water. The goat would strike
for the opening on the opposite side of the river,
but goat or no goat, the sheep would not attempt
the swim unless the sun was shining. The moun-
tains rose right at the edge of the river, conse-
quently the sun only struck the river from eleven
o'clock a. m. to two o'clock p. m. and we could
only put over 150 or 200 sheep at a time. This
operation took six days to perform. Getting 4000
sheep over a river under these trying conditions


were anything but pleasant, even in those days,
when we knew no better method.

At this ferry a funny incident occurred. I had
a sorrel, blazed face mule, and while we were
crossing the sheep an old Irishman on his way
to Montana with a white pony and a blazed face
mule, the very picture of my mule, crossed the
river on the ferry. I saw the Irishman's lay-out,
but Johnnie Lynch did not see the mule. The
next morning I told Johnnie to go out to the herd
and bring my mule in. The old Irishman had
camped near us and had picketed his mule out
but did not know I had a mule so near like his.
Johnnie saw the Irishman's mule picketed out
about half way between our camp and our herd,
and he pulled up the picket and started on to
the camp with the mule. Pretty soon the angry
old Irishman came up behind Johnnie and knocked
him down for trying to steal his mule. Johnnie
ran into camp and got my carbine and started
for the Irishman. I ran after him and asked
him what he was "up to" and he told me he had
my mule coming in with it and the Irishman
had accosted him and knocked him down and took
the mule away from him. About that time the
Irishman had come "along side" me and explained
his position. He said Johnnie had stolen his mule
and that he was going to get his men and hang
him. Mark Shearer then begun an explanation
but the two Irishmen were on the "war path"
and explanations were out of order. When we
finally got them straightened out, they had no
very friendly feeling for each other, and inwardly
made up their minds to BLANKETY-BLANK


The day I crossed my two wagons across the
river, the Irishman was on the boat with his mule
packed with provisions and clothing. Johnnie
Lynch was driving one yoke of oxen. I saw the
Irishman raise his gun off of the floor and put
it to his shoulder as though he was going to
shoot. I leveled my pistol on him and told him
to drop the gun or he was a dead man. He drop-
ped the gun and I made him walk between the
wagons. Mark Shearer picked up the gun, took
the cap off of it, wet the powder in the tube and
handed it back to the old fellow and told him to
make no more attempts to kill a man. We took
one direction at the forks of the road and he
took another.

About 300 miles beyond this ferry we met the
white pony returning but we never saw any more
of the Irishman. It is very probable that he "met
his Waterloo" somewhere in the boundless plains.
We encountered a band of the Sioux and Ute
Indians, some of the same tribe that had killed
General Custer. Something like 150 or 200 came
to camp. A few of them could talk English. At
the time they came to the camp, they were in a
strange mood. It took some courage and diplo-
macy on my part to keep my men encouraged
and to appear at ease with the Red Men.

I went up to the chief and told them I had a
large drove of sheep to take to Montana, and that
I must necessarily pass through their hunting
grounds, but was willing to pay them for the
liberty I was taking. This seemed to please the
Indians and I told them we would eat before we
proceeded to business. We soon had some bacon,


bread and coffee ready which we offered to our
guests before we began to eat. After they had
the first "helping" then we all began to eat our
rations, after which we passed the corn cob pipes
and tobacco and while we talked we smoked. I
gave them two caddies of tobacco, 200 pounds of
bacon, a hundredweight of flour, several papers
of soda, several pounds of salt, and a large bucket
of coffee.

One Indian said that in order to preserve peace
and to protect us on our route ten of them would
travel with us through the wildest portion of the
country. '' T * : tf

The strange escort remained with us two days,
and when we were almost to Fort Bridger, one of
the Indians said that we would have no trouble
until after we had passed Fort Bridger and he
did not think we would encounter any perils,
even then.

When they were determined to decamp, I took
ten silver dollars out of my pocket, and gave each
one of them a silver dollar. This pleased the
Indians greatly and they shook hands with me
and departed.

When we arrived in Fort Bridger I had my
sheep driven on past the fort, and stopped to see
the commanding officer. I asked him what their
rules were for traveling through the Indian
country. He told me that a large caravan of 20C
wagons would start out in a few days and I would
have to drive the sheep on outside of the fort
where I could get good range for the sheep and
wait until the other emigrants came up. I thanked
him, but I told Mark Shearer that I believed we


could make it alright without the caravans. So on
we started. The sheep didn't have to be driven;
they drove us. By daylight those sheep were al-
ways ready to go on toward their goal. They
would pick and run ahead seldom ever stopping
until about the middle of the day. It was our
rule to stop and eat or rest when the sheep started.
Truth is stranger than fiction, and it is the truth
that we would often make thirty-five or forty
miles a day with those sheep. The herdsman
would follow the goat and the sheep followed
the goat. When the sheep were a little too in-
dustrious, the herdsman made the goat lay down,
then the sheep would lay down all around him.
Sometimes they would lay down about five or six
o'clock, then we would eat. But if they got up
and started on we went, and they seldom ever
stopped to rest until eight or nine o'clock. The
four drives averaged from seven to ten miles a
drive. In making this trip from Maxwell's ranch
in New Mexico to Virginia City, Montana, I
crossed seventeen rivers with those sheep and
arrived in Virginia City with less than 100 sheep
short. I sold a few to the Snake Indians for
from $5 to $8 each. Of course, this was in trade,
but it pleased them equally as well as if it had
been a gift.

The next band of Indians we came into after
leaving the Sioux, were the Snake Indians. They
were situated on the Snake River one hundred
miles from Virginia City. Snake River is one of
the most important tributaries of the Columbia.
Instead of making a treaty with these Indians, I
traded them sheep and a caddy of tobacco for


buffalo robes and deer skins, and they seemed as
well satisfied as if I had given them the sheep
and tobacco gratis.

About one hundred miles from where we met
the Snake Indians, we came to a toll bridge. Here
I met my worthy partner for the first time since
I had sent him on his "way rejoicing." Mr. Dillon
had told the keeper of the toll bridge that he had
seven thousand sheep on the road and they would
have to pass over his toll bridge.

The keeper of the toll bridge was on the look-
out for us because the report that Dillon had
made would swell his finances $350. Inasmuch
as the toll across the bridge was 5c per head.
When we arrived at the bridge the keeper told
me his charge would be $350. I told him I could
not pay the price, but he said Dillon would pay
the toll. I asked him what Dillon had to do
with the sheep. "Why," he said, "they are Dil-
lon's sheep." I told him they were not Dillon's
sheep, they were mine, and I showed him my bill
of sale. He said that nevertheless they were Dil-
lon's sheep. I asked him to describe Joe Dillon
to me. He did so, and did it to a "tyt." "Now,"
I said to him, "you go up on the hill and count
those sheep. They were laying down up on the
hill in a kind of a swag.

There was a Missourian there and he told the
keeper he was a sheep man, that his father was
a large Missouri stock man, and that he could
approximate the number at a glance. The way
those sheep lay together, it did not look as if
there was more than 1000 sheep. I asked him
if he thought there was over a thousand sheep



there and he said he did not think there were. The
toll keeper said that when those sheep went skip-
ping across the bridge, it "looked goldarned like
there mout be a million uv 'em, and they must
'a bin three mile long, be blasted."

"Well," I said, "of course you can count them."
"Yes," he said, "I have counted lots of sheep, and
will count them." I went up to the station and
made arrangements that if he did not succeed in
counting the sheep, I would pay him $75 in to-
bacco or sheep, but that I had no money. The
toll keeper said he would neither take sheep nor
tobacco, "but," he said, "I will take a draft on
the Virginia City Bank for $75.00." I told the
driver to drive the sheep across. "First," I said,
"you get the goat up and start him off, then
keep the sheep just as close together as you can
and hop them across in a 'whoop.' ' He did this
and it was impossible for the "counter" to count

About 300 miles from this bridge, Mr. Service
quit me. He bought a half interest in a stock of
cattle and in a toll road in that section, and I
heard no more from him until some 25 years
later, when he again leaped into the limelight.

It seems that he had made a wise purchase
because so many trains passed over his toll road.
He traded his fat cattle to the immigrants for
their poor plugs. He bought up all the poor cat-
tle he could and would fatten them and trade
them off for three or four poor, jaded animals.
The profits were enormous.

On our route from this toll bridge there was
no particular incident occurred. Virginia City


was a fine little village of about 3500 inhabi-
tants. The estimate of gold taken out of the
creeks running through Virginia City was $100,-
000,000, mostly placer diggings, but it was en-
tirely abandoned at this time.

However, at the time we were there with the
sheep, there was about thirty Chinamen prospect-
ing a lot of 200 square feet. The price set to
them by the owner was $3000. He took $200
down and $200 per week until the $3000 was paid.
The man they bought from agreed to see they
had the right to use the water in the creek. The
superintendent of the Chinamen had this man go
with them to the mayor of the city to ask the
city to protect them. The mayor then called on
the city marshall and they agreed to see that the
Chinamen were not molested from getting the
water from the creek. The stream was very small
and did not have very much water, so the owners
built a little dam and put in a tread wheel for
the purpose of raising the water, so as to have
a fall of water to wash the dirt in their sluice box.

After they had mined two weeks, twenty-five
or thirty white miners concluded that the China-
ment shouldn't work in the territory and they
went above the Chinamen on the creek about
500 yards or so, and built a large dam across the
creek with a wide opening, and put in their gate
and stopped the Chinamen from getting water.

When the Chinamen were thus shut off, they
went to the mayor with their complaint. The
mayor promised to investigate the matter, and
told them to go on prospecting on their other
lots farther down the creek for the purpose of


seeing what other property they would want to
buy, while he investigated the cause of trouble.

The mayor and the marshall knew what the
miners were up to, but said nothing then about
it. They were aware that the miners wanted to
raise the big gate and let the water all out at

There was an old building fairly close to the
dam the white miners had built, and the marshall
and two other men secreted themselves in the
old house to watch the dam. At about one
o'clock in the morning, two men went in there
with their crow-bars to raise the gate so all the
water could waste, and wash out the Chinamen's

Slipping upon the miners engaged in their work
of depredation, the marshall pulled his gun on
them, and marched them to the city lockup. The
next morning a few of the miners got together
and were going to release the miners in the lock-
up. Then the mayor ordered the fire bells rung
and sent runners out over the city calling the
people together. Among the people who came
to the "consultation" were many miners. The
marshal let the men out of the "cooler," and took
their names, then the mayor made a speech to
the citizens and got their sentiments. He asked
the citizens as a community if it would not be
better to let the Chinamen alone and let them
work tfieir property, than to drive them out and
destroy their dam. He wanted the opinion of the
people. He wanted to know how many of the
citizens were willing to let the Chinamen alone
and let them continue to operate their property.


The citizens who wanted the Chinamen let alone
were about ten to one of the miners.

The mayor now called on two or three promi-
nent speakers of the city to make a talk before
the people who told why they believed the China-
men should be left alone, then the mayor called
on a representative of the miners to tell the people
why they should want to ruin the Chinamen's
work. None of the miners would reply.

That night the Council passed an ordinance
prohibiting, under severe pains and penalties, the
willful destruction of property, and consequently
the Chinamen were left to pursue their work.
The dam proved an immense benefit to the city
and surrounding country, and other people began
mining their lots, and using the water that had
collected during the night and saving it over, sev-
eral mines were supplied with water.

I was in a hurry to settle up with Mr. Dillon
at this time and get started back to the States,
going by the way of Salt Lake City in company
with two men who were going through with an
ambulance. I remained in Salt Lake City two
weeks when the roof on the Great Mormon Tem-
ple as about three-fourths finished. At the time
I was there, the temple was about four feet above
the ground and workmen had been continuously
at work for seven years. Up to that time, I was
the only Gentile who had ever explored the under-
ground workings of the temple. I went from
Salt Lake to Denver.

I had calculated to pre-empt a hundred and
sixty acres of land in or about Denver, and stop-
ped over there for a few days. At that time I


could have taken 160 acres where the Union De-
pot now stands about the center of the city of
Denver. However, like many another boy, I took
a sudden notion to go home and see Mother first,
and before I took possession of this valuable
"dirt," I pulled out on the first coach going toward
Kansas City. Stage fare cost me nothing because
I rode with Barnum-Vickeroy & Veil.

When we got to Booneville, where I used to live
with Colonel A. G. Boone, when I drove the stage
on the Denver line, the old Colonel insisted that
I stay with him. He said he had 2,500 head of
sheep, half of which with all the increase, would
be mine, if I would stay and take care of them
five years. I told him that I had planned to
homestead a 160 acres up near Denver and that as
soon as I had had my visit with my mother I
wanted to go to Denver, and could not take up
his proposition.

At that time Colonel Boone talked a great deal
about the Indians. He told me they were being
shamefully treated; that the soldiers were making
war on them, etc., and said that it was his opinion
that if the Government would put a guard around
the white people and keep them from shooting
the Indians, there would be no more Indian

He told me that the conductors along the Long
Route between Fort Lyon and Fort Larned, were
having no end of trouble. He told me that sev-
eral tribes had asked him about me, and said they
seemed curious to know whether or not I would
ever return.

After we left Colonel Boone's place, going


toward Independence, we met several tribes, some
of whom knew me just as soon as they "got their
eyes on me," but I did not understand their lan-
guage, and their interpreter told me that they
wanted to know if I was coming back on the
route. Several spoke about Colonel Leavenworth
and Satanta and asked for news concerning the
Little White Chief, for that was the way they
loved to remember their little boy friend.

There was something like 45 or 50 Indians in
this gang, and the driver was anxious to get rid
of them, for he was not only afraid of them, be-
cause of the trouble they had been having with
the Long Route conductors, but they wanted to
be "driving on" getting nearer their destination.
I told the driver to let me manage the Indians and
we would "pull through" all right.

I told the Indians to sit down around us and
I would get some coffee for them and a very small
lunch. The conductors never had anything
hardly, and gave the Indians nothing but abuse.
I managed to get together from the conductor's
mess, a small lunch, which they ate, and I invited
them to go with us to our next stopping place,
fifteen miles distant, and eat with us properly.

On our way to the next stopping place, how-
ever, these Indians were joined by other small
bands which kept collecting. When we camped
for lunch and to let our mules go out to eat, the
Indians let their ponies graze, also. As provisions
were scarce, we had a very slim meal, but were all
good humored over it.

When the coach was ready to resume its jour-
ney, I shook hands with every one of the Indians


and told them I was going to the States and
wanted that they come to see us there. There
were eight other passengers, besides myself, on
the coach, who laughingly said that they had
crossed the plains several times and had never
witnessed such a scene between white man and
Indian, only when they traveled with me.

There were five conductors. Four conductors
were on the road all the time and one resting all
the time. In other words, while one conductor
rested one week, the other four worked until the
time came for him to rest and the other work.
We usually rested either in Kansas City or
Santa Fe.

Before leaving this chapter, I desire to tell my
readers what brought Mr. Service into the lime-
light again. About twenty-five years after he
killed the Mexican, he sold out his ranch and cat-
tle and took the money he had on hands, which
amounted to something like $43,000.00, and de-
posited it in the Denver National Bank of Den-
ver, Colorado, and went to Springer, New Mex-
ico, in the locality of where he had killed the
Mexican. He went to the sheriff and asked him
if he had ever heard of the man, Service, wanted
in that country for the murder of the rich Mexi-
can. The sheriff told him that he "guessed" that
the murder had occurred before his day, but that
he had heard of it, and it must date some thirty
years back.

Mr. Service asked the sheriff if the murderer
had ever been back there to stand trial, and
whether or not the reward that had been offered
at the time of the murder was still good? "No,"


the sheriff said, "I do not think the reward would
be any good." The sheriff went on to tell Mr.
Service that he had been told by persons who
claimed to have knowledge of the matter, that
Service had served his country well to have
killed the Mexican.

"Mr. Sheriff," said Mr. Service, "I am the man
who killed that Mexican." The sheriff looked
him over and said, "that can't be, you are too old
a man for that." Mr. Service had whiskers 12
inches long and perfectly gray. His features were
so transformed that his old partner did not recog-
nize him. Mr. Service told the sheriff that never-
theless, he was the man, and that the reward had
been offered for.

Mr. Service told the sheriff that he wanted to
"give up" and gave him $200 and asked him to
hire a good lawyer for him because he was un-
acquainted in the section, and I want you to take
out a warrant against me. I want to be legally
acquitted of crime and be a "free man once


After talking to the sheriff, he went to see his
old partner, who did not recognize him. He told
him that he had more of the worldly goods than
the ranch was worth, but would like to have a
settlement, and invoice his own belongings, as
well as the property his partner had gotten to-
gether since their separation, and said they would
strike a balance and have a settlement. The old
partner, whose name I have forgotten, said, "no,
I won't do it," he said, "you took the money from
the house when you left, and I had to pay Max-
well for his race horse." "Very true," said Mr.


Service, "you have had use of the farm these long
years, and would that compensate you for what
you have paid out?" But, he added, "the hay on
the place has brought you about $2,000 a year,
and I think it is best for us to have a settlement."
The partner would hear to no settlement being
arrived at, saying that he should have what was
there. "Well," said Service, "we will pass re-
ceipts." Each took a receipt from the other,
shook hands and bade the other good-bye. Mr.
Service was a broad-minded, liberal fellow, and
had fully intended to resume the partnership with
his partner and share and share alike in his money
earned while he was away from the ranch. "By-
the-bye, I will let you look over this small book,"
said Mr. Service as he handed his bank book
showing the balance due him at the National
Bank of Denver. "Why," said the partner, "you
have $43,000 in this book to your credit." "Yes,
sir," said Mr. Service, "had we invoiced our goods
together, half this amount would have been yours
together with other moneys I have in other
banks." That talk completed the settlement and
while the partner was completely crestfallen,
Service shaved and became a white man and free
citizen of the States.


Daugherty, a Silk and Linen Drummer, Contracts
to Build a Cellar.

At Fort Zara I met another old friend. Bill
Daugherty was there keeping the station. Noth-
ing would do him but I should stay over there a
week or so. Daugherty was a natural born Irish-
man who had "kissed the Blarney stone/' full of
wit and humor. He went to the coach and took
my "grip sack" off and took it to the house, and

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Online LibraryWilliam Henry RyusThe second William Penn; a true account of incidents that happened along the old Santa Fe trail in the sixties → online text (page 9 of 11)