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Author Topic: "After All These Years....."  (Read 1525 times)

Offline G21C

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"After All These Years....."
« on: August 05, 2014, 06:51:18 am »
     I think this story needs a bit of introduction, since our current social patterns, behaviors, and beliefs, aren't quite what they were many moons ago.  Roughly 130 years ago, your average individual out in these parts could read "sign".  Seemingly, somewhat of a lost art these days.  "Sign", isn't just tracks in soft mud or broken twigs, it's being able to discern something more of the individual that made them. 
     Successful lawmen and bounty hunters of the day were usually pretty adept at reading sign, as were many outlaws and "no-gooders".  That being said, one of the earmarks of discovering any century old "crime" scene is to explore the abscence of any "sign" possibly removed by perpetrators, to help conceal clues to their identities.
     Yes, I have visited a good number of 100 year old + house places and camps, and quite often, can tell you things about the individuals that resided there that most people would miss.  The more experience, the more learning, but it takes effort to indulge one's self into the clues, and discovering where they lay. 


     There is a piece of recorded history here, somewhat locally, wherein the recorded accounts miss certain details.  Recorded, is a story of (supposedly) the murder of an unknown individual by a group of outlaws.  One aftenoon a group of riders rode down the trail past a number of people from a small community (no longer existing) and made camp around the end of a nearby Mesa.  It was noted by witnesses that the riders showed signs of being on the trail for quite some time, and that their appearance was "outlaw-ish".  Sometime later, about three of the riders approached one of the homes that also served as a small supply store to purchase some provisions.  It was witnessed that a woman was among the store visitors, and described as "manly"....... wearing men's pants, accompanied by an Indian "fellow". and a white guy.  The individuals were'nt talkative at all, merely about their business, and left.  It was believed, by the witnesses, that the woman was Belle Starr. 
     Late that evening, sometime just after dark, the people of the small community heard a single rider galloping fast down the trail towards the visitors camp.  The witnesses reported that about the time the rider would have reached the camp, a large volley of shots rang out.  All remained quiet for the rest of the night, with the little community on alert.  The next morning found the riders herding a group of about 60 horses back up the trail, the way they came in, just after daybreak.  The curious people of the community, sent a couple of men to the location of the camp, to investigate the occurrence of the shots the night before.  At the camp they found the body of the lone rider, riddled with bullet holes.  His identity was never discovered, and it was unknown if he was a happless victom that merely suprised the outlaws, or if they were known to each other somehow. He was burried nearby.
       

     That is the story, and it does fit the exploits of Belle Starr, being known to steal horses from Mexico to sell in Oklahoma.  However, a slight possible mis-interpetation here.  It would seem, that the horses were gathered somewhere near the outlaws camp.  But this information was unknown to the community there.  The way the story was recorded might indicate that the outlaws merely rode in, to take delivery of horses already gathered and waiting.  So, did Belle Starr (if that's who it was) steal these horses from the Federalies in Mexico, or have an accomplice steal them in advance? ..... or simply buy them "wholesale" from a "different" horse thief?  A reminder that stakes were high. A person could get shot (or hung) quicker for stealing horses than they might for robbing a store or bank. 

continued.........................
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 06:53:06 am by G21C »

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2014, 07:36:44 am »
     Now, the Mesa in the story stands about a mile from the caprock.  (I am ommitting certain details to conceal exact locations for the privacy of the landowners)   The small valley between the two is laced with deep and steep arroyo's, canyons, making even modern day ranching difficult, as watersheds and dirt tanks are scarce.  Because of the terrain, and lack of water, the area's seldom use.........much is preserved there, that is, what hasn't been washed out.  Yet, tucked away on the backside of the mesa is a large bowl canyon. 

     You know, if it wasn't for Google Earth there would still be unknown areas.....lol.  I can only get barely within a mile of the canyon with a heavy duty 4x4 Kabota atv.  The remaining mile is up and down over very rocky and steep terrain.  I am tired as hell, carrying my supplies, by the time I get there........... and there it is........ It's a mere two miles (maybe a bit less) from the unknown grave, and completely hidden from view from most any location. 
     The bowl of the canyon is tucked tight up against the mesa, and it's huge.  The walls are very steep and encircle the bowl right down to the oulet of the arroyo.  Nearing the outlet, the steepness of the sides slacks off.  It is here in these spots that horses could climb to escape.  So, these entire areas, right up to the edge, were walled, with stacked rocks.  Much of the walls have collapsed over the years (130), but much still remains.

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2014, 09:04:08 am »
Now, if you are going to try to hide a bunch of stolen horses and stay out of sight from anyone, .... no better place than this.  But they also have to have a good water supply, and few holes exist in these steep areas.  So, what do you do?  You build a dam off to one side, that is unlikely to wash away from any large torrents that might flow down the center. 

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2014, 10:31:27 am »
     ....and then of course.... you're going to need a good shelter, or cabin of sorts.  Hidden out of plain sight, and in a defendable position, with plenty of view.  Half way up the side of the canyon, lies a very small bench perched between some larger rocks and cedars.  I had first walked within 30ft of this location without any noticable sign of what lay there.  It is virtually unseen, until you get right on top of it.

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #4 on: August 05, 2014, 11:07:36 am »
     Very much unlike any other cabin site, this one had been combed clean.  Only one very small artfact lay buried beneath the dirt as any clue of use.  It's location was a huge factor in it's preservation as additional dirt work had been done to prevent any water from running across the site,  (while the work was obvious/visible, in very recent times it had partially eroded away). 
     But, the cabin was needed for it's purpose.  If you were to be there 130 years ago, with a group of horses stolen from Mexico, you'ld have to stay put, until your buyer/accomplice arrived to relieve you of your burden.  It would be at least a two day ride to the nearest telegraph station to get word to the accomplice, and at least a week or more, before they could make the long trip. 
     Who were the men responsible for this encampment cuddled up tight in the canyon?  Well, they weren't ignorant.  They knew to how to conceal, and they knew to leave no clues behind.  Travelers back in this time, in this area, were few, and very often remembered.  Just as today we might remember the tourist that once pulled up in a beat up old Dodge, or a very nicely kept Mercedes.  Strangers to the area stood out, but there were those that blended in. 
     The hide-out was Spanish/Mexican built, which can be told by the rock work and dimensions.  The nearby small community was mostly Spanish decent.  The labor envolved might suggest a number of individuals, and on a high spot near the entrance to the bowl was the left-over remains of a Commanchero camp.  So, it would seem most likely, that a couple of Spanish/Mexicans built this encampment with the aid of a number of Commanchero's.  All of which, would be a more common sight in this area at the time period. 

     So, if it was in fact Belle Starr that made her way into this neck of the woods, it might be said that while she might have been in posession of stolen Federalie horses, she probably wasn't the one that initially stole them.  Makes one wonder, how often this camp was utilized.  It was certainly constructed to last quite some time.  But I imagine that when the railroad arrived, around 1902, bringing with it more people and subsequent land claims, that the camp lay abandoned since.


     
« Last Edit: August 05, 2014, 11:18:19 am by G21C »

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #5 on: August 05, 2014, 12:40:48 pm »
PHOTO's BELOW:

     These will demonstrate an early homestead site.
Most likely:  built by a caucasion from a city  (clues: no thought given to location. Note that the foundation is just below a natural water flow area, and the very bad rock work. This would have most likely been a dug-out type shelter)

Most likely:  lived in for a short period of time. My guestimate, 6 months to a year at most,  attributed to the limited trash left in the area.  (tin ware*, broken plates, etc)

*amount of lead found in seams of tinware can be helpful in dating a site. By the turn of the century factories reduced lead to near nothing in most commercial cans.

 

Offline gyz77

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2014, 07:08:31 pm »
Looks great Joe!!!! Makes me want to spend a few weeks out in some country like that!! 

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2014, 11:36:02 am »
Looks great Joe!!!! Makes me want to spend a few weeks out in some country like that!! 
You need to take a time out and just come out for a day. :lol:

Offline gyz77

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #8 on: August 11, 2014, 11:59:53 am »
I agree!!! Maybe when it gets a little cooler!!

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #9 on: August 11, 2014, 05:43:10 pm »
I bet it'ld give you something to talk about for some time...... :rockout:
And......of course, you can bring whatever toys you are comfortable with.   :lol:

I'm sure you'll enjoy the experience, as well as all the views.



 

Offline G21C

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Re: "After All These Years....."
« Reply #10 on: August 11, 2014, 05:45:42 pm »
sum more.....