Texas Bob Travels

Life in the Glass Mountains of Texas

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Red Blue

Father went to Marathon to try to hire a Mexican goat herder. Mr. French, general merchant, and baker for most people in this section, told him of a white man who wanted work. He was a fair complexioned boy with blue eyes rather tall and was about eighteen or nineteen years of age. He was not bad to look at. He had no clothes or bedding or any of the necessities for camping. Father advanced him the money to get what he needed. The goat camp was in Gillian canyon, which was about six miles from our ranch house. On the road to Marathon, Father let him off as he came by the camp. When he reached home he was telling us about his new find in the way of a herder. Miss Johnny Lemons, who was my governess for this school term, became very interested. We knew that at times she was very lonely and grieved over the loss of her father and brother. We hoped that she might find companionship in this young man but noticed that she rather lost interest in him as she pondered his name. She remarked to the family later that she could not help feeling that something was wrong with him or he would not have such a funny name. She could not help being suspicious of him since his case was so akin to the boy who killed her father and brother.

One day our neighbor, Mr. Easterwood, who lived six miles over the mountains from us appeared at our ranch with Red Blue. He told Mr. Easterwood that he had gotten a scare in camp and could not stay there, since he had no gun. Father finally consented to giving him a gun after he promised never to leave the flock of goats unguarded again. He told a likely story of a large panther and two kittens visiting his camp. He was a nervous boy and was supposed to be camping because of lung trouble.

A few days after this episode Father was coming from Alpine in a wagon loaded with supplies, when he found a horse standing beside the road. He recognized the horse as one belonging to our neighbor, Joe Parker. On the horse the found Red Blue's bedding tied with a leather string from the goat camp. Father brought the horse on home. During the afternoon Mother and Mrs. Parker, who was spending the day with us, discovered the goats scattered over the mountains. Goats can be seen for several miles on the mountains. They noticed small bunches scattered over several different mountains and knew something was wrong. The women spent a big part of the day getting the goats together and searching for the body of Red Blue. They just knew that he had fallen from a cliff or something.

When Father arrived at our ranch he found Mr. Parker waiting for his mail, and Mother and Mrs. Parker with a wild tale of the goat escapade. When they put their stories together they knew that Red Blue had tried to make a get away on the horse. So Mr. Parker and father went to hunt him. Mrs. Parker had just bought a car. The roads between our ranch and Alpine were passable in a car. They went back to where Father found the horse and picked up the escaper's trail. They trailed him to the Bradley ranch, which was some fifteen miles from where he got off the horse. This section of the country was flat and it was rather easy to follow tracks. It was even passable for a car, where there was no road. The boy was asleep, but they captured him and took him to Alpine where he was placed in jail. To make the matter legal the sheriff made Joe Parker a deputy. Red Blue told Father that he jumped off the horse and hid, when he saw him coming that afternoon.

There was not much of a case to be had against the boy since he had abandoned the horse he had stolen. He was held in jail because he seemed to be a suspicious character. Soon afterwards he attempted to break jail and ran over a deputy, but the sheriff was waiting for him at the foot of the stairs. It was later learned, through a letter written to him by a sister, that he was wanted in Oklahoma. The letter said, "Keep going. They have Papa and Brother in jail and they want you." No more was learned about the case, and as they did not have enough against him in that county, they let him go. Father saw him later. He had grown a sandy beard and was carrying a small Bible. He told father how sorry he was fro the trouble he had caused him. He said that he was going to read his Bible and go straight. Father said that had wished many times since that he had given him money for a shave, haircut and clothes.

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