Sunday Stories: Cowhide Corral

I don't mind telling you that something seems to have been lost in the translation of this story. Perhaps if you were from the area and new the names and locations, it would make sense. As it is, I thought it was an interesting story even if I didn't quite 'get it'.

As told to Jane Pinkerton Mecomber by Tom Quinn

A 1967 Regional Library Centennial Award Winning Story

One afternoon in the early 1900’s, the ranch hands and Jake Crockferd were conversing about ranching and things in general. Somehow the subject was “the ideal windbreak”. Every man voiced his opinion and when it came to Jake Crockferd, he said, “My idea of the ideal windbreak is one made of sod. It should have wires stretched six inches apart, then cover this with flint hides, which are hides sundried. The hides should be wired down, then covered by hay to keep the animals inside the windbreak, dry from rain”. But where to get good flint hides he didn’t know.

A few days after this conversation, some of the –HL cattle were missing. The foreman didn’t know what happened to them. Somehow word got to Gordon Jewitt that Jake Crockferd had talked about a kind of windbreak using flint hides. Mr. Crockferd might have stolen the cattle for their fine flint hides. Gordon decided to find out. Gordon, Reuter, Beno, and another man decided to meet Tom Quinn on the northeast corner of Cogger Box Lake for this expedition.

When they met, Gordon had a pitchfork. The wind was really blowing so they wouldn’t be heard by the Crockferds. The min hid their horses and ran to the corral one hundred fifty feet away. Tom was to be the lookout for the men on the north side of the corral. He was to watch for Mrs. Crockferd, because if she saw them they were in trouble.

They started pitching in with the fork into the windbreak. Gordon found a 7-L hide and gave it to Tom. Mrs. Crockferd came around the corner of the house and saw them. She ran into the house and came out with a shotgun.

Tom was so surprised he fell off the corral corner and ran with his hide. Gordon found another hide and ran with the other men to get the horses. While they were running, one man fell through the wires. Gordon told him to cover up with the rushes, so he stayed there.

They had left their horses behind a hill. As they ran up over the hill they spooked the horses and they ran away. It was six miles to Rush Fowler’s and Ollie Nelson’s, so they walked to the ranch. The men got there at noon and Ollie came out to tell them they could come in. He said, “Leave your hides out there and  come on in for dinner”.

Gordon said stubbornly, “Oh no! We won’t let loose of these hides”.

Ollie answered, “If you’re afraid someone will get them, bring them in”. The men brought them in and leaned them against the kitchen wall.

The men sat down at the table and ate their dinner. After dinner they rescued the man on the roof.

Gordon got out a warrant for Cogger and Crockferd. Crockferd took the blame. He served a three-five year sentence in the penitentiary.


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