The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969 Page: 480
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
hopes someday the watercolor sketches will turn up. This would be
the perfect award and reward for Miss Friend's labors.
Texas State Library DORMAN H. WINFREY
Cow Dust and Saddle Leather. By Ben W. Kemp with J. C. Dykes.
Norman (University of Oklahoma Press), 1968. Pp. xviii+3oo.
Illustrations, appendixes, index. $6.95.
This biography of Ben Kemp, written by his son Benny, is clearly
a labor of love. Benny was closely associated with his father, not only
during childhood, but in many of the incidents described in the book.
Action, often violent, and industry characterize the book throughout.
The rigorous discipline of a stepfather caused Ben to leave home
when only fourteen, and a rugged body and determination enabled
him to make his way. He seems to have been a sort of jack-of-all
trades, and good at most of them. Until almost twenty-one years of
age, Ben worked at odd jobs in and near Llano County.
At this time he started to New Mexico. He went by way of Fort
Davis to El Paso. A chance meeting with Ranger Captain George W.
Baylor brought about Ben's enlistment, and thus began an interest-
ing series of experiences. A statement that on one occasion Baylor
led a ranger squad into a saloon and ordered drinks all around raised
a question in the mind of the reviewer. A careful study of Baylor
convinced him that Baylor never drank whiskey. Ben's account of
his activities shows that, in pursuit of criminals, they often entered
New Mexico, and that on one occasion Ben and a companion went
as far as Springerville, Arizona. Baylor's Ranger Company A was dis-
banded in the spring of 1885, and Ben returned to Llano County.
He and a younger brother collected a small herd of cattle and
drove them to the Big Bend, where an unsuccessful effort was made
to establish a ranch. In 1889 Ben married Josephine Cox and took
her to Big Bend where he had left his small herd. His son Benny
was born there. Unsatisfactory conditions caused Ben to give up the
idea of a ranch and to return to Llano County. Finally, the family
moved to New Mexico, and Ben located a homestead on Beaver Creek,
not far from Reserve. It became the center about which the family
moved for several years.
Several winters were spent in Fairview and Chloride, New Mexico,
in order to place the children in school. Ben bought a saloon to en-
able him to keep the children in school. In all of his activities, aside
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 72, July 1968 - April, 1969, periodical, 1969; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117146/m1/314/: accessed November 12, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.