A Texas Cowboy: or, Fifteen Years on the Hurricane Deck of a Spanish Pony (Penguin Classics)
Charles A. Siringo
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After a nomadic childhood, Charles Siringo signed on as a teenage cowboy for the noted Texas cattle king, Shanghai Pierce, and began a life that embraced all the hard work, excitement, and adventure readers today associate with the cowboy era. He "rid the Chisholm trail," driving 2,500 heads of cattle from Austin to Kansas; knew Tascosa—now a historic monument—when it was home to raucous saloons, red light districts, and a fair share of violence; and led a posse of cowboys in pursuit of Billy the Kid and his gang.
First published in 1885, Siringo's chronicle of his life as a itchy-footed boy, cowhand, range detective, and adventurer was one the first classics about the Old West and helped to romanticize the West and its myth of the American cowboy. Will Rogers declared, "That was the Cowboy's Bible when I was growing up."
cause me to have a spell of the blues, until another hove in sight—soon to disappear again. Finally about three o’clock my courage and what few sparks of hopes that still remained, wilted, for, an empty stomach and sitting up so late had given me a terrible headache, which was almost past endurance. I was sitting on the edge of the sidewalk, with my face buried in both hands, crying, when someone touched me on the shoulder. I was scared at first for I thought it was a “peeler;”1 but my fears
had a pony of his own, started on their forty mile journey. When within five miles of Elliott’s ferry on the Colorado river, which was fifteen miles from Grimes’ old gray gave out entirely, so that poor Collier had to hoof it to the ferry where he secured another horse. Now kind reader you no doubt think that a shabby trick. If so, all I can say is “such is life in the far west.” Now that I was owner of a ship I concluded it policy to have a partner for company if nothing more, so I persuaded a
getting away from dah, kase dat Billy-goat was shooten wid a gun and two six-pistols all bofe at de same time.” The “Kid” and Tom O’Phalliard were the only ones who came out of this scrape unhurt. Mr. McSween, owner of the burned building was among the killed. He had nine bullets in his body. Late that fall when the war had ended, “Kid” and the remainder of his little gang stole a bunch of horses from the Seven River warriors, whom they had just got through fighting with and drove them across
town of San Elizario, which is situated in the centre of the garden spot of the whole Rio Grande valley. The next morning I crossed the river into Old Mexico and took a three day’s hunt through the mountains in search of a herd which had come from the north, and had crossed the river at San Elizario about a week before. I found it, but was unacquainted with any of the brands that the cattle wore. The herd had been stolen though, I think, from the way the men acted. I finally landed in El Paso
neighboring ranchmen might run short of hands, and knowing of you being out of employment will send after you. Your wages will be all the way from $15.00 up to $40.00 per month, according to latitude. The further north or northwest you are the higher your wages will be—although on the northern ranges your expenses are more than they would be further south, on account of requiring warmer clothing and bedding during the long and severe winters. After you have mastered the cow business