The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959 Page: 337
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Horace M. Hall's Letters from Gillespie County
It is not strange, then, that Hod should want to "leave the full
family nest" (as he later urged his sons to do) when he had fin-
ished school. He had two younger brothers, Will and Clarence,
and a sister, Sylvia. In company with a home-town friend, Will
Denman, Hod went to Abilene, Kansas, to try his fortune. In
Abilene, the terminus of the most important cattle trails from
Texas, there would be little difficulty in hiring out as "hands"
and being conducted to the range lands. The boys arrived in
Abilene on November i, 1871, and within a few days got jobs
with Sam Johnson, "a big cattle dealer" from Blanco County,
The outfit was returning, evidently, by the Texas Road, also
known as the East Shawnee Trail. Twenty days later, after passing
through the rough cow town of Baxter Springs (Horace was
strangely silent about the character of life there), the party was
at Fort Gibson, Indian Territory, waiting its turn to be ferried
across the Arkansas River. The youth was greatly impressed by
the beauty of the country and had become "the hero" of the
camp by pursuing and shooting a deer. After this thrill, he wrote
that he was "never going back home to live." His spirit of inde-
pendence is emphasized by the lapse of five months before he
wrote his next letter from Johnson's Ranch, Blanco County,
Texas, on April 25, 1872. Well settled in his life as a ranch hand
by then, he mentioned the forthcoming spring drives, delighted
in the beauty of Texas, and boasted that he had never been with-
out "money, freinds 8c credit" since he left home.
In the following July he penned a few lines from Austin on
his return from a short drive to Georgetown, near Austin. He
hoped to spend the next Fourth of July at home on what was to
be a "flying visit" and wrote that Will Denman expected to re-
turn to Illinois in the fall to study medicine. Possibly Hod's sub-
sequent resolve to study medicine was prompted by Will's deci-
sion. Later that month he tried to dissuade his Aunt Martha from
*In notes dictated late in life to his son, Jesse M. Hall, Dr. Hall explained:
"Left home, Charleston, Illinois, with Will Denman. Will had ten or fifteen dollars,
I had ten dollars. We bribed the conductor to let us ride. On the train we had a
dispatch that Chicago was on fire. We got off at Abilene, Kansas. I got acquainted
with Wild Bill [Hickok], Marshall of Abilene. Johnson had fourteen spring
wagons. ... Will and I got a dollar a day and board for driving his mules."
(Skeleton notes freely transcribed.)
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 62, July 1958 - April, 1959, periodical, 1959; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101173/m1/402/: accessed June 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.