Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990 Page: 11
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1 Photos courtesy
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and since the West was then unfenced,
cattle ran at large and everybody's were
mixed up. Four and five year old unbranded
bulls and cows couldn't be identified.
Captain James estimated that he should
have about five hundred head born during
the war from his herd, and they set out to
brand that number. When they had
branded five hundred, he stopped the boys
from branding any more. One of the sons
related many years later that if James had
not shown that honesty and fairness, the
boys would have branded about eight
hundred or so.
James and Susie must have done well for
that time since in their later years they
gave each of their twelve children $1,000
in gold, a magnificent sum in those days.
James sent several herds of cattle up the
trail and had a sizable hog operation in
northwestern Comanche County along
Jimmy's Creek, supposedly named for him.
James was an original stockholder of the
Comanche National Bank which still
serves the area.
According to family stories, there were
friendly Indians living along Mountain
Creek when the Cunninghams settled
there. A group of Indians came to the
house asking Susie for food. She agreed but
warned them to stay out of her kitchen
while she went to fetch the food.
One of the braves unwisely wandered
into the kitchen to which she responded by
felling him with a mighty blow to the head
with her skillet. The remaining braves
promptly carried him out while apologizing
for his stupidity.
Many contemporary accounts of that
period bear witness to the charity and
generosity of the Cunninghams who upon
killing a beef every two or three weeks sent
someone to all the neighbors inviting them
to come and take all they wanted.
Despite the frontier hardships, the
Cunninghams made progress economically.
When the Civil War ended and the
men returned home to ranching, the
country was full of unbranded cattle. For
four years the calves had not been branded
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 8, Number 4, Fall 1990, periodical, Autumn 1990; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45429/m1/11/: accessed January 17, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.