A Frontier Doctor Page: 50
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A FRONTIER DOCTOR
to the hospitality of Fort Sumner and followed the Pecos
River Valley for about one hundred miles south. Two
days after leaving the post we met the first bad weather
of the trip. We had just baked a kettle of beans in a
'bean hole' full of live coals, when it began to rain. This
rain kept up for exactly four days. But for those beans
we should have had a sorry time, as the wind was high
and a fire was impossible. I have never been able to get
up much enthusiasm for baked beans since.
It finally cleared, the earth dried rapidly, and we again
hit the trail. We were not far from where Roswell is now
built, when one day, late in the afternoon, a great cloud
of dust appeared, rolling toward us from the valley.
Comanches were known to be on the war path and our
first thought was Indians. This was apparently con-
firmed when a puff of wind blew the dust aside, revealing
a band of mounted men driving a herd of horses. Indian
horse thieves of course! The way that mule team split
air for shelter was no bother to them. We landed in a
washout, one side of which we occupied as a breastwork
and being well armed and good shots decided to fight to
As the cavalcade approached, however, the Indians
vanished, as the riders were seen to be white men. You
can imagine the revulsion of feeling in the washout when
it developed that our supposed deadly enemies were John
Chisum himself and a bunch of cowboys, rounding up a
herd of cattle to drive to Arizona to fill an Indian con-
They showed us typical Texan hospitality, invited us
to camp with them, and all in all gave us a very enjoyable
evening. In Santa Fe and at Fort Sumner we heard vague
rumors of trouble in Lincoln County but in the Chisum
camp we were virtually at the seat of war. Being
strangers we knew nothing of the persons who were freely
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Hoyt, Henry Franklin. A Frontier Doctor, book, 1929; Boston, Massachusetts. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143532/m1/74/: accessed May 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.