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Published: April 25th 2013
BATTLE OF PALO DURO CANYON
This plaque is at the end f the road in state park.
DAY THREE: APRIL 24, 2013
Yesterday evening I came to roost at the Palo Duro Canyon Inn in Canyon, TX after a drive of 380.5 miles. It was a better place than I normally stay in, but motel pickings were slim in that little town. They had a mom and pop place that was being remodeled, they had a damned old Holiday Inn Express, and they had the Best Western place. It turned out to be a fine place to stay. The handicapped rooms had sit down showers. Damndest thing I ever saw in motel. The fold down seat was padded and so was the floor in the shower. Right next door to the motel was an eating place called the Thundering Buffalo. Folks in this part of the world are fond of stuffed buffalo. The eating place had a big one right in the dining room. The meal was excellent. I had the brisket with the Texas Fire sauce. It came with sides of beans, potato salad and cold slaw. The beans were particularly toothsome. Potato salad had exactly the right amount of mustard. This morning I had a fine breakfast at the Ranch House
PALO DURO CANYON
This photo was taken towards the north from a traffic pullout as the road climbs out of the canyon.
Café. I enjoy staying in a town where all of the cooks take pride in their craft. They have a nice little college in town and a good museum. I saw Old Blue’s horns in it, and a rifle belonging to Billy Dixon. The rifle was not the same one used to knock over that sassy Kiowa chief with at Adobe Walls in 1874, but it was a rifle he campaigned with as an army scout. He shot that sassy Kiowa from half a mile away. It was a legendary shot. Folks around here are still arguing about how far it was and who actually fired it. Old Blue was a legend himself. He was the bell steer that Charles Goodnight used for several years to lead his cattle up to Kansas. I guess he had to keep walking back and forth his whole life between Texas and Kansas. Today I went out to Palo Duro Canyon and then up to Tascosa and have now come to roost at the Days Inn in Dumas, Texas. The locals have most likely grown weary long since of hearing strangers passing through call their little community Dumb Ass. I will try to refrain
BOOT HILL IN TASCOSA
Go up Hwy 385 about 25 miles north of Vega, TX. Soon after you cross the Canadian River turn right into Cal Farley's Boys Ranch. Just before the road enters the grounds turn right to Boothill Cemetery. Take the dirt road up the hill to the old cemetery. There is a dog cemetery nearby.
from doing so. The cold weather last night caused the idiot light for my tire sensors to blink on. I had to go find a tire place to fix that soon as I got to town. They checked the tires for free, but did not cancel the idiot light. Those were nice fellas who worked on my tires, but they were a couple of Dumb Asses. Dumas has a Thai restaurant and a Mexican joint called El Tapatio right next to the motel. The Thai joint won, but it wasn’t a winner. There are no sidewalks in this whole Dumb Ass town. Not on either side of the road. I wonder how the blind folks can get around. Palo Duro Canyon
The canyon was the homeland for the Qahadi Comanche People. The Prairie Dog Fork of the Red River flows through it. There are plenty of trees growing in the river bottoms to provide firewood and shade. The canyon provided shelter from the worst of the cold winds. The Qahadi cherished their homeland but it caused them to have travel long distances when the need arose to lift a scalp, or steal
CAL FARLEY'S BOYS RANCH
Tascosa was once a lively little town where men acted like boys. Now it is a place where boys are learning to act like men.
a horse. In 1874 a man named Quanah Parker was their war leader, and he was greatly feared by all enemies. Quanah’s mom was a captive white girl and he was of mixed blood but the Comanche spirit surged through their veins. Comanche raids had terrorized Texas for long enough and in the spring of 1874 the army launched a campaign against them. By late summer the campaign had compressed warlike Comanche, Kiowa, and Cheyenne bands into Palo Duro Canyon. On September 28, 1874 Colonel Ranald McKenzie of the Fourth U S Cavalry found a route into the canyon that was not being watched. He launched a surprise attack at daybreak. There were few casualties suffered by either side, but the Indians were driven from their camp, 1400 horses were captured, and the entire village was destroyed. It was a devastating loss. The Indians accepted defeat and returned to the reservation. McKenzie went on to further misdeeds in Wyoming where he defeated Dull Knife’s camp in much the same way shortly after Custer’s Last stand. The battle ground in Palo Duro Canyon is not part of the State Park System and is not accessible. The plaque has been placed as close as possible to the battle site but is still about four miles off on private property that was at one time part of Charles Goodnight’s cattle empire. Old Blue, the famous bell steer, has probably often grazed over that scene of turmoil. Tascosa
Billy the Kid, that little rat, was fond of stealing horses from John Chisum on the Pecos River and driving them up the Canadian River to sell in Tascosa, Texas. The plains of northern Texas had plenty of cattle, but not enough horses. Billy would carouse in the Tascosa saloons then steal some Texas cattle and drive them back to New Mexico. Billy once sold some of those stolen Texas cattle to the manager of the ranch owned by Albert Fall. Those cattle were traced by the stock detective, Charlie Siringo. It became yet another problem that lead to the downfall of Albert Fall. Albert was the prosecutor who got the murder conviction against Billy in the death of Sheriff Brady. Billy probably got a big laugh out of that episode, but it was one of his last. Tascosa was lively little town while it lasted. In 1879 Bob Russell was the first man to go down to gun violence. He was killed by Jules Howard. The Widow Russell selected the site for the town’s cemetery on a little hill overlooking the town. Fred Leigh lies blissfully buried next to Bob in the cemetery. He was gunned down in 1880 by Cape Willingham. The next five graves are occupied by men who were killed in the same raucous gunplay on March 21, 1886. Lem Woodruff killed three of them. Several others in that peaceful little cemetery died sudden and violent deaths. The railroad finally drove Tascosa into extinction. Nowadays it is nothing but Cal Farley’s Boys Ranch.
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