Texian Stomping Grounds Page: 70
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TEXIAN STOMPING GROUNDS
been tried and acquitted of his crime, but tales he had heard of
the 'rinches' made him fear that they would pay little attention
to the laws of the country if they had inclinations otherwise.
For a while he stood in thought. Then he said to his wife:
"I don't know these men. Maybe they mean no harm. But once
they catch me, if they are out to get me, I will stand no chance
of escaping. I'd better go now, while I am free."
Immediately he saddled a horse and rode away. Weeks later,
after the Rangers had gone, his family received word from him
saying he had reached safe haven in Old Mexico and for them
to sell the property and join him.
This they did, and crumbling walls now attest to the terror
of the 'rinches' that lived in the hearts of even honest men.
Gabina Ortegon, an old nurse, was with the family in 1882.
That year was terribly cold. There was ice everywhere for days
at a time. Early in the mornings Gabina would sally forth seek-
ing little sticks to start the fire in the bracero (brazier) that she
used to warm her frozen fingers and the toes of her charges.
One bitterly cold morning she had difficulty finding her
fagots; they were covered with ice. Shivering with the cold,
she at length reached the ranch house again and painstakingly
started her little fire. She put some of the frozen fagots near
the blaze so that the ice might melt from them before she put
them in the fire. As she sat there warming her fingers, she started
in surprise. Surely her eyes were playing her tricks. She rubbed
them hurriedly and looked again. It was true! Her little frozen
sticks were curling, writhing, lifting heads, crawling away l
They were frozen snakes that she had picked up under the bushes
along the creek
About the same time Antonio Guerra, a relative of the family,
found a stray horse. He rode the beast for a while, expecting
to find the owner. As time passed, he decided to sell the animal
and went to a judge of his acquaintance.
"May I sell this horse?" he asked the judge.
"Certainly," the judge replied. "Why do you ask such a
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Dobie, J. Frank (James Frank), 1888-1964. Texian Stomping Grounds, book, 1941; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc67663/m1/78/: accessed July 27, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Press.