A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families Page: 50 of 174
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Deaf Smith County
remuda, and 10 or 12 cowboys.
"Yes, we can cross her," the most experienced straw
boss said after conferring with the other two.
One wagon crossed at a time, with three cowboys on
each side, their lariats secured to the wagon then to the
saddle horn. Each remuda crossed separately so that the
horses would not mix. Finally the cowboys returned for
the bedding, which had been left off the chuck wagon to
lighten it. It looked for a time as if they would lose one
cowboy whose long bridle reins wrapped around the horse' s
forelegs and tripped him. Finally the horse regained his
footing and made it to safety.
One night while Combs was on guard with another boy, it
started thundering and lightning. The frightened animals
sniffed apprehensively then stampeded. Combs yelled to the
other boy to follow up, and he set off with his hores in a
run to get in front of the herd. The chase lasted for several
miles, but the cowboys had the herd just about settled down
by the time the other boys caught up with them.
The boss told the weary cowboys they could return to
camp, but they "rambled around for a long time" and finally
realized they were lost. Combs let Old Dodger, his
mount, "have the reins," and the faithful horse took them
safely to camp.
"I had heard stories about cattle and people freezing to
death out here on the plains, but I didn't believe it until
I was out in one of these old blizzards one time," Combs
said in recalling another time he was lost,
He had started to Amarillo for feed for the saddle horses,
driving a wagon. Big snowflakes had started falling, and by
the time he reached the Frying Pan windmill, about eight
miles out, it turned into a real blizzard. Losing his way,
Combs wandered until he came upon an old shack and
stable, He put his horses in the stable and bedded down
in the shack. Boards torn from shelves and burned in a five
gallon can kept him from freezing, although he had to move
the can often to keep it from burning the floor. The next
morning was clear, and he made his way to a ranch house.
Although they were strangers, the family gave him a hot
breakfast, and a young man accompanied him on to Amarillo.
After putting up at the wagon yard, he went to see
a doctor about his frost-bitten hands. He lost two finger
nails from the cold.
George B. Combs was born Aug. 11, 1869, in Laurrell
County, Kentucky, and came to Deaf Smith County by train
on May 20, 1894. His brother, Albert Combs, had offered
him $25 per month to work on the Combs-Worley 040
Ranch. After spending a short time there learning to be a
cowboy, he got a job with the Syndicate--the Escarbada
Division of the XIT. He worked there for three years.
In 1898 Combs was married to Sheba Ann Womble,
daughter of Pioneer J, C, Womble, at Old La Plata. Although
they moved to Canyon in 1923 to send their children
to school, Combs remained active as a rancher in
Deaf Smith County for more than 60 years. After Sheba
Womble Combs' death, he was married to Mrs. Josephine
Atkins of Canyon.
Three daughters of G. B. and Sheba Combs are living.
They are: Irene (Mrs. C. A.) Barker, Amarillo; Jannett,
(Mrs. J.M.) Hart, Gruver, Tex.; and Ruby (Mrs. C. V.) Lowe,
Amarillo. Their two sons, Arol George and Albert Clarence
Combs, are deceased. G.B. Combs died in Amarillo
in February, 1962 at the age of 92.
Front Row: E.
Mrs. Sophia Connell,
Ira Connell, George
ED F. CONNELL, 1895
Texas Rangers to Sheriff
Ed Connell may have started a trend when he came to
Deaf Smith County as a Texas Ranger and stayed to serve
three terms as sheriff. He saw the promise of the country
and eventually became a realtor and rancher.
Disclaiming any right to the title of "two-gun man," he
declared he never wore a badge a minute in his life and
always wore his gun concealed. But his boys knew he was a
crack shot with that gun. It was the boys' job to chase down
the white Leghorn fryers when the preacher or other guests
were expected for Sunday dinner. Their mother wouldconsent
to having the chicken shot only when the boys gave up
the chase. Ira Aten Connell (named for an early XIT boss)
still likes to tell how "Papa usually shot the bird's head
off the first time."
Douglas Connell, born while his parents still lived at
La Plata, remembers his Papa as an inspector who was
not too busy to take along his five-year-old son when he was
inspecting cattle on an all-day trip to Bovina. A herd of
5,000 XIT calves bawling as they milled in the Panhandle
dust are among his earliest recollections. He saw the first
car brought into Hereford and ran beside it until he was
out of breath.
Young Douglas' chest almost burst with pride when he
saw the fleet of 10 shining two-cylinder Buicks his Papa
bought to haul prospectors over the prairie after he had
gone into the immigration business. The youth was allowed
to ride up front with Harry Howard, the chauffeur. Ed
Connell rode in the back seat with George Muse.
"This is perfection, boys," he beamed." They will never
make an improvement on these cars'
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Patterson, Bessie. A history of Deaf Smith County, featuring pioneer families, book, 1964; Hereford, Tex.. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth16011/m1/50/?q=connell: accessed December 11, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Deaf Smith County Library.