The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960 Page: 354
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
for the murder of one of the Smith gang, is a tale which would
furnish some Western TV writer with a most appealing plot.
There are times when Twenty-four Years a Cowboy becomes
sheerly ridiculous. One night the Smith gang went to a fandango:
Matamoros was in full blast. Streets were lighted bright, men around
the gambling tables, troubles would arise and sometimes knives were
used. .... Jim got a girl in a corner talking to her, and Frank noticed
them (the Mexicans) watching his brother. Frank said, "Look out Jim,
I see them watching and pointing at you. There is going to be fun."
Jim said, "There is." ... All at once the greasers gave a whistle and
told the women to get out, and then blockaded the door, and after Jim
and Frank used up the contents of about six revolvers, there were
twenty-one Mexicans down. As they cleared the front door they went a
back way, and got their horses and made their escape.
This is merely one of countless escapades described in a free and
After 1865, Will Hale and his father went in for cattle ranching
in Cameron County. (There was a "Hale and Parker Co." ranch
near Brownsville in the 1870's.) Vast herds of wild unbranded
Longhorns roamed this area as a result of the neglect associated
with war and abandoned ranches. All hands turned out and went
to branding everything in sight. "We had a great herd," Will
wrote. "Father gave me a brand and when fall came I had over
one thousand head." Later when Will threw in with Frank and
Jim Smith, they gathered a herd in typical Border fashion. Mex-
ican thieves came over the river to steal cattle and kill the owners.
Frank, Lewis, Jim, and Will heard of one big herd moving south
-"us boys had a talk and said that was a picnic for us. So we
prepared to go into the cattle business on a large scale. We cap-
tured the herd and killed all the Mexicans." Then Will adds
typically, "So you see we have gone into the cattle business on a
large scale, investing nothing but powder and lead, and of course
we lost a little sleep."
When Will Hale left Texas, he eventually landed in Lincoln
County, New Mexico, and after taking part in several cattle drives
became involved in the chase after William Bonney. Hale claims
to have been a member of Deputy Sheriff William H. Hudgen's
posse which searched diligently for Billy the Kid. After the killing
of the outlaw, an L. W. Hale sent what he claimed was the index
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 63, July 1959 - April, 1960, periodical, 1960; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101186/m1/430/: accessed April 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.