The ranch in the Glass Mountains, on which we were living, was owned by mother's Uncle O. T. Word of Sonora, Texas. Father was managing the ranch for him, and also caring for stock of his own. Soon after our arrival, Father took up some school land, paying one dollar and fifty cents an acre. He purchased eight sections which we were to homestead. One was required to live on a homestead at least four months out of a year and were dubbed "squatter". Four years occupation "prove d up on it", as the old timers said and land was deeded to you. Our ranch was located ten miles: below' the Glass Mountain Ranch. A Mexican crew constructed a large dirt tank for water storage and built a small house of Soto and maguay stalks and covered it with sacahuista for a camp house until a better one could be built. The lumber had to be hauled, by wagon, over a rough road from Marathon and it was a little akin to filling a bucket with a spoon when it came to building a house under such conditions. We camped on our new ranch from time to time out didn't move until about a year later. Father continued to manage Uncle O. T.'s ranch and to improve ours. The land of our ranch was in three tracts and unfenced. One did well if he knew about where his land lay. It was not uncommon to heat an old timer say "I have so many sections of land that lie about here" and with a quick swing of the arm he would indicate the direction. At one time our taxes were paid in the wrong county and the money was never transferred to the correct county. The county officials did not always know in which county a man's property was located.
Before winter, we had one large room for sleeping and living quarters. Our kitchen was an underground room. It was wonderful. No food ever tasted better. It was very cozy. The walls were dirt, the floor packed and covered and a tent caught the elements. The tent was painted with an oil that made it hard and weather resisting.
An old Irishman, who was christened John Davenport from Davenport, Iowa joined our group. He was a carpenter by trade and was seeking a higher climate for his health. He was a gentleman and a blessing in disguise. He stretched his tent to the north of the house, while two peons stretched theirs to south.
Father often had to spend several days at the Mountain Ranch checking the stock. On one such trip we remained behind and got the scare of our lives. Mother was ill one night and retired early. Scott and I played for awhile and we too retired but not before I locked the doors. Several hours later Mother was awakened by a noise at the door. She distinctly heard the door knob turn and as she jumped out of bed she saw the two Mexicans outside the house. The moon was shining very brightly and she saw them crawl under the window and run. She could not find the gun without a light. She struck a match and found the gun and ammunition. Then she went to the window and called the Mexicans. They ran some distance away into the trees.
It is queer about dreams and why we have-them. While Mother was sitting there in a frozen position, watching for the Mexicans to come back to the house I dreamed that someone shot me. I called to Scott and told him that I was going to run tell Mother that I had been shot. I began calling Mother aloud in my sleep. She grabbed me and shook me until I was awake. Then she told me what had happened. She begged me to let her slip me out the window on the opposite side of the house and for me to crawl and try to get away. We had neighbors seven miles away, a Mr. and Mrs. Joe Parker. The Mexicans on the border fought Indian style and mother didn't dream that we would see the light of day again. They often set fire to a house and killed as exits were made. We didn't know what they wanted but we could see that they had our best horses in the pen so we felt that they planned to kill us and drive our stock across the border.
I would not consent to leaving Mother and she doubted that she could escape with Scott, since he was small and crippled too. We felt that Mr. Davenport had already been killed and was now parading the golden streets. There was nothing to do but sit staring into the night and watch the prowlers circle and re-circle the house. They came closer, then retreated. They crawled and sneaked. Each time they circled the house, we expected to see part of the wall go up in flames, but our KIND MAKER stayed their hands. Morning broke and Mr. Davenport went about his morning chores. The crawling vipers harnessed the horses and began their work. I shake yet when I recall my mother's action. She took her gun and walked out to the Mexicans and told them that she would shoot them dead if they came near the house again at night. Of course few peons spoke English and mother spoke very little Spanish but I have a suspicion that they got the idea. They gestured and " NO SABE ••••• NO SABE" but they didn't return the next night.
Mother had Mr. Davenport sleep at our house the next night. I didn't feel much safer, as he couldn't hear thunder. Father returned the third night and when he learned of the incident he fired the Mexicans and had them walk to Marathon. He followed them in and tried to have them arrested. The only excuse they gave him was that they walked in their sleep. Punishment is not left for man to deal out. A much stronger hand often reaches down to intercede. We later heard that the Mexicans tried to catch a freight train. Lewis, the meaner of the two, fell under the train and was killed.