Richard Bussell
Canadian, Texas
To L. F. Sheffy
December 27, 1929

BUFFALO HUNTING

I hunted in Kansas 1867-74 and when buffalo quit coming North we went to Texas after them and cleaned them up in 1877. I sold about the first hides that were sold. Sold them to Loganstein, an honest Jew who came to be one of the biggest dealers in the country. I sold him four car loads and he shipped them to Fort Leavenworth. When we first went out the Indians were so bad that we went back to Fort Hays. They killed two of our men. In 1875 the buffalo did not come farther north then the Canadian. I killed 800 on the Canadian town in 1875. In November I got 200 on the Quitaque one of the best little streams in this country. I had 8000 hides on Sweetwater Creek at one time. The Govt did not try to keep us from hunting, but they would not let us hunt in the Indian Territory.

There were 25 outfits and about 6 in each outfit but we camped as close together as we could.

BUFFALO OUTFIT

This outfit consisted of two Spencer carbines with eight cartridges in the magazines. These were used for protection against the Indians.

Two belts of cartridges which we tied around the horn of the saddle (we stayed close to our horses in those days). Reloading outfits (powder - patch paper - lead - wads - lubricator swedge to pack with - charger of powder - primer and bullet molds. We had big ovens to melt the lead in. We bought lead and powder in large quantities 4000 to 5000 pounds. We shot shells about fifty times. Knives - three skining knives and two rippers (the ripper was a straight blade and the skinner curved backward). Grindstone - a prod stick which had a nail driven in one end and filed sharp and the end sharpened. This stick was about three feet long. The nail was stuck in the flesh of the animal and the other end in the ground to hold it up for skinning. There were always two skinners together.

BUFFALO CAMPS

One of the main camps was at Adobe Walls - started 1874. Billy Dixon had one on Dixon Creek. Fort Griffin was another Fort Elliott another. The Teppe Buffalo Supply Store another. There were no buffalo camps on the plains. It was too bleak and too far from water. There were a great many killed within 6 or 8 miles of the cap rock and the watering places.

MEDICINE LODGE TREATY (1873)

This treaty was signed by about 150 buffalo hunters and about 5000 Indians. General Harkey had about 1000 soldiers. A day or two before the treaty was signed he said to the buffalo hunters who he had rounded up. You will see one of the greatest sights you have ever seen. The Indians will come 5000 strong and whatever you do keep you hand on your guns. They will try to get them, but do not let them have them. They are the most treacherous people in the world. When they did come they came racing up yelling to the top of their voices and the dust was flying.

All of the buffalo hunters signed the treaty agreeing not to hunt buffalo south of the Arkansas, but it did no good. The hunters paid no attention to the treaty. This treaty may be in Fort Riley or in Washington. It was signed in 1873, I think.

FORT ELLIOTT

Established 1875. Lumber hauled from Dodge. About 150 wagon loads of lumber. Kept coming in for two days. Hauled with ox and mule teams.

Town organized 1879. First court held May 1880. Judge Lewis sent out from Henrietta. August 1880 Judge Carroll sent out from Gainesville. January 1881 Judge Potter sent from Gainesville. August 1881 was when Judge Willis came.

Freight trains crossed Canadian at mouth of Boggy Creek about 13 miles down the river from Canadian.

The Fort was located at Mobeetie on account of good water and abundance of wood. Talked about locating it on Cantonement Creek. It took 400 cords of wood per year to supply the Fort. Wood was plentiful on Canadian then, there were five companies of soldiers located there (100 soldiers in a company). They scouted out after Indians once in awhile, but it always took them two or three days to get ready to follow a bunch of Indians. The Fort had its own Bakery. Mark Huselby was the cook. Mesquite grass was abundant. The Fort was abandoned about 1890 or 1891 and sold in 1893.

FIRST CATTLE TO PANHANDLE

A Dr. Snow wanted to start a ranch and came to Fort Griffin where he called for 25 soldiers to scout through the country with him. Got me to go along. I knew the country up to Duck Creek but not from there on. We took a North of West course. It was rainy. We saw the horses that McKenzie killed. The first cattle to come were Goodnights. Then Wiley and Caugens with a herd of Chisum cattle located on Tongue River. These cattle came from Pecos. Bill Hall came next from Colorado and located between the peaks and Tongue River. Baker and Werren just North of the peaks. George Causey took a bunch of cattle into the Yellow House 1877.

THIEVES

I was 84 November 18, 19--. People say after the buffalo and Indians came the ranchers. Well there would not have been any ranchers if it had not been for the buffalo hunters. We killed out the buffalo and prepared the way for the ranchers. I hunted buffalo from 1874 - 77 in the Panhandle. I signed the Medicine Lodge Treaty 1873 with 500 others. After 1879 we got careless about our guns. Before that time we always kept our guns close by. In 1879 we went to the store at Tepee and left our guns. Then men coming from the east and driving about 100 horses came up, lined us up against the wall and took what we had and what was in the store. Then they crossed the river where a party was camped with seven fine span mules, killed one who tried to resist took the mules and other things they wanted. Went to Mr. Blanco and took what they wanted there. Made one man pull off a new pair of boots. They had been to Fort Sill and stolen the horses and were on their way back. They were old hunters.

LOBOES

Jim Caulfield was a lobo hunter around the Adobe Walls. They would take poison. I killed 6 and 7 in a pile on the Quitaque. I ran a saloon for L. B. Collins at Amarillo 1889-90.

WINDMILLS - WIND

The first windmill I ever saw in this country was at the Turkey Track Ranch in 1892 or 93. It was a 16 foot mill just out a few miles from Abode Walls. People had a terrible time keeping the windmills up in those days. The wind blew more than it does now and it got colder then too. Sometimes a windmill would hardly stay up over night. Star and the Eclipse were the most commonly used. The Eclipse was the best mill ever made.