Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography Page: 60
This book is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided to The Portal to Texas History by the University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries .
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Surrounding Pierre were great wheat and grazing lands, much
subject to drought, but nonetheless attractive to the boomers
who had rushed here a few years before when the Dakota Ter-
ritory was opened up and the railroad came. The rancher's
product was sent east to Minneapolis or Chicago. The political
atmosphere was populist, the moral code simple and harsh, gun-
play was not unknown, the Indians were still not absolutely
subdued. Above it all arched enormous skies, high and cloud-
less, except when dark cyclone spouts came like whirling der-
vishes across the land. Temperatures ranged from I1 6 degrees
in the summer to 40 below in the winter, when blizzards sweep-
ing down out of Canada froze the stock in their tracks.
This was the West, and I cottoned to it. I felt immediately at
home. For hope, blessed hope, was vibrant in the air and all
men, it seemed, the poet Lowell to the contrary, were made of
the same clay. As once was remarked of a great Texan, I now
had "a piece of sunrise in my pocket."
We wasted no time, Mr. Sabin and I, in getting on with our
work. After resting for a day, we hired a French-Canadian guide,
relic of the trapping days, put our camping equipment in a
wagon, and set out for Fort George, ten miles away. The guide
helped us set up our tent and we retired by candlelight, with
coyotes appropriately howling off scene. That night Mr. Sabin
slept so soundly that I began to feel as encouraged about him
as I did about myself.
The next day not only did we inspect the fort remains, but
came to know an authentic Indian scout who had served Custer
in the Black Hills campaign of I 876. The scout's name was
Carl Ludwig von Berg. With his goatee, mustache, and flowing
hair he bore a striking resemblance, I thought, to Custer himself.
Like so many Germans of the revolutionary I840's, Berg had
skipped his country to avoid military duty. Drifting westward,
he became a buffalo hunter in the Black Hills, later a scout in
operations against Sitting Bull and the Sioux. He had married
an Indian woman. This, he told us, had made him suspect with
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Atkinson, Donald Taylor. Texas Surgeon: an Autobiography, book, 1958; New York. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth143566/m1/72/: accessed September 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting University of Texas Health Science Center Libraries.