The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947 Page: 521
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place, it stands witness again to that remarkable vitality, zest
for life, capacity for adventure, and adaptability to, yet pre-
vailing mastery of, environment, that kept the pioneering and
civilizing force of old England dominant throughout the world.
Godfrey Sikes, now basking in the Arizona sunshine at a
mature eighty-three, grew up in an English village "in an
atmosphere of placid abstraction from mundane affairs." Yet
the village was one of artisans, and Sikes developed a remark-
able mechanical facility which was to stand him in good stead
on the frontiers of the Southwest. Still there was ample time
for reading, and out of pages of adventure-Marryat, Living-
stone, Captain Cook and others-Mayne Reid's "highly improb-
able plot," "The Headless Horseman," sent Godfrey Sikes this
In this tale of the prairies of Texas by Reid, read in the
murky winter of England's Midlands, Sikes learned that "the
streams of the region are of crystal purity-their waters tinted
only by the reflection of the sapphire skies. Its sun, moon and
stars are scarcely ever concealed behind a cloud. The demon
of disease has not found his way into this salubrious spot; no
epidemic can dwell within its borders. Despite these advan-
tages, civilized man has not yet made it his home." No wonder
young Sikes decided that Texas was the place for him. He
was detained for a while by the necessity of work in the East
but eventually got a ticket that left him along the line of the
Texas and Pacific soon after it was built.
Passing through one village that may have been Sweetwater,
he stopped in front of a secondhand store displaying a barrel
full of rusty, secondhand six-shooters. The owner of the joint
offered him a couple if he could make the others work. With
a screw driver and a bottle of oil, Sikes put them all in shape,
while an interested group of onlookers marvelled at his skill
and the sorry trade he had made. When he was done, the
owner told the proud and happy Sikes to pick his two. Then
an old frontiersman, sitting near, said:
"Young man, you have got a mighty fine pair of guns there,
and I'll tell you what to do with 'em. You take and beat this
old junk-dealer over the head with one of them and make him
eat the other."
Eventually Sikes went up the cattle trail where he learned
the code of the trail boss: "Look out for the cow's feet and the
horse's backs, and let the waddless' and the cook look out for
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 50, July 1946 - April, 1947, periodical, 1947; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101117/m1/632/: accessed January 22, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.