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Tuesday, September 15. 2015
Three weeks before, we, Tommy Walker, Norman Shelter and I, had returned from the Lake Guerro area, in Mexico, where we had enjoyed a truly fabulous white wing dove hunt! With their twenty gauge, Browning Superposed, shotguns, Tommy and Norman had shot over two thousand birds and since their shoulders had sufficiently healed, we were now after some south Texas mourning doves. Back then I was using my favorite, a twenty gauge, pump.
Before sun up, ten miles northwest of Hondo, Texas, we had just pulled up and parked our Suburban in the shade of a big oak tree, next to a cut, milo field. Soon, within fifteen minutes, the doves would come piling into the field and the three of us would be in ambush positions behind a fencerow.
Right on time, here came the mourners, hundreds of them, and choosing our shots, we limited out in less than thirty minutes! Fast action, hot shooting and when it is that good, it always seems to end too soon! To clean the birds, we moved into the shade next to the truck and as we were breasting them, Tommy looked out over the field and exclaimed, "I'll be durn, look at that cat in the middle of the field. It's a wonder that with all of our shooting we didn't rain some shot down on it." We guessed the light beige, cat was about three hundred yards away and sitting on its haunches, but it was too far away for us to tell anything else about it.
Jumping up from my cleaning chores, I hurried to the truck and fumbling through my "possibles bag" came up with a small pair of binoculars. Zeroing in on the cat, to my surprise, this was not a house cat but a cougar! Just like a house cat, the cougar was sitting on its haunches, bathing itself, apparently oblivious to our presence. The country around us was a mixture of cultivation and real thick stuff, but we were surprised by the cougar’s presence and wisely made no move toward it.
We re-estimated the distance from the cougar to us and figured that it was up to four hundred yards away. We finished cleaning the birds, drove off and the cougar was still sitting in the middle of the field, bathing itself.
Two weeks later, Tommy, who had a ranch in Devine, twenty-one miles from Hondo, heard from the Game Warden that a cougar had been trapped, tranquilized and moved to a less "people intensive" area, meaning the Big Bend country, or, other points west!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Thursday, September 10. 2015
Sometime back on my blog I posted stories about my great grandfather’s, Brinson Bryan and Shaw Wallace. No reminiscence of my youth would be complete without a mention of my grandmother, Linnie Ross (Sanders) Wallace.
My first memories of my grandmother Wallace, Linnie Ross Sanders Wallace, were of her singing to me and telling me the story of the following song, author unknown:
“Backward turn backward o time in thy flight,
Make me a child again, just for tonight.
The tears on my pillow, thy loving watch keep’
Rock me to sleep Mother, rock me to sleep”.
Her mother, Susan Collins Sanders, died in 1877 and at the time Linnie was 11 years old.
Linnie’s Father, Levi L. Sanders, spent 3½ years fighting with the 6th Texas Cavalry during our Civil War. Being born in 1866, she was a “Civil War Baby Boomer”. She was a Texan and a “Rebel’s Daughter” and taught me the First verse of Bonnie Blue Flag”. It was first the Regimental song of the 8th Texas Cavalry, Terry’s Rangers, and later the anthem of the Southern States.
“Bonnie Blue Flag”, by Harry McCarthy
“We are a band of brothers and native to the soil,
Fighting for our liberty, with treasure, blood and toil.
And when our rights were threatened, the cry rose near and far,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.
For southern rights hurrah,
Hurrah for the Bonnie Blue Flag that bears a single star.”
She also made sure that I knew what “Decoration Day”, now known as our Memorial Day, was and how it started. Before the end of the Civil War, during the spring, Southern ladies began placing red, white and blue “bunting” on the graves of the Confederate dead. This practice spread all over the South and also to the North and in 1868, May 5, was officially designated Memorial Day.
Our family legends say that during the latter part of our Civil War, some type of significant event occurred between her dad, Levi Sanders and Sul Ross, the Brigade Commander of the Texas Cavalry Brigade and future Governor of the State of Texas. This event caused Levi to say that he would name his next child after him and Sul replied that he would pay that child’s way through college. Legend doesn’t say what the event was, but my grandmother, Linnie Ross Sanders, born in 1866, was named Linnie Ross, and she told me the story and that Sul Ross paid her way through college at Baylor, located ,then, at Independence, Texas.
Another very interesting story that she told me several times, and was recently verified by another of her grandson’s, George Pyland, my cousin, was that when she was 5 years old, of her seeing Cynthia Ann Parker. In 1836, Cynthia Ann was captured by Comanche’s, lived as an Indian for 24 years until she was re-captured in 1860, by Sul Ross, who, at the time, was leading a company of Texas Rangers. Cynthia Ann’s Brother, Issac Parker, was a neighbor in Van Zandt County, Texas, of Levi Sanders, Lennie Ross’ Dad and she tells of seeing Cynthia Ann several times and how she scared her. Cynthia Ann Parker died of a broken heart in 1871
Linnie taught school in East Texas for several years before marrying Dr. Harmon Elliott Wallace, my maternal Grandfather. After the turn of the 20th century, Linnie and Harmon moved to west Texas where he practiced medicine for over 10, years, then moved his practice to Regan, Texas. They had 8 children, 7 surviving to adulthood, including my mother, Ruth Wallace Bryan.
She was a fine Christian lady, a good Grandmother to me and a credit to our State!
Saturday, September 5. 2015
Two hundred and thirty-five years ago, July 4, 1776, our country proclaimed its freedom from England and I thought it fitting to relate another family story about my 5G Grandfather, William Murrill and his slave, Tony and an action they were involved in during our Revolutionary War.
This event was passed down through the family and recorded in the diary of my 3G Uncle, James Buckner “Buck” Barry, and later copyrighted and published as “Buck Barry, Texas Ranger And Frontiersman”. I have used family history and this book as my references.
William and Tony had participated in the capture of three Tory, (Colonials who supported the British), soldiers who had been guilty of killing two Whig troops, (North Carolina Militia), namely Franks and Blackshear. The Tories had killed the two just before peace was made, were then captured, court-martialed and sentenced to hang. Some of the Militia soldiers thought it wrong to hang them after peace was declared, so an express was sent to Gen. Nathaniel Green, commander of the district. His reply was to hang them if they could not get a Whig girl to marry them under the gallows!
Two of the three captured Tories were engaged to Whig girls and just before the hanging, the two girls stepped out and saved their betrothed’s necks. The third Tory couldn’t get a Whig girl to marry him, and as the story is told, was hanged on the same gallows that his two friends were married under.
The two Tories, married under the gallows, happened to live on a farm adjoining Buck Barry’s father’s farm and Buck reports that, on occasion, when he was young, he saw these two lucky men.
Times were tough back then, when you had to fight your neighbors and your own countrymen!
Posted by Jon Bryan in Ancestry at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
Tuesday, September 1. 2015
In the late 1990’s, the town of Millersview, Texas consisted of a one pump, gas station/feed store, a Post Office and a WW II memorial. Millersview is in the part of west Texas known as “The Big Country”. It’s on Farm/Market Road 765, in Concho County, 55 miles west of Goldthwaite and 40 miles east of San Angelo and the closest town, Eden, is 20 miles away.
Back then, 3 miles outside of Millersview, I was on a 2,000 acre, quail/deer lease with plenty of mesquite and prickly pear cactus. Lease rules were positively no shooting of turkeys and a minimum of 10 points on a buck. There was a nice camp house with running water and indoor facilities and the place was loaded with game, including big deer and “mucho” quail.
Having just signed up on a the new hunting lease near Millersview, the opening of dove season found me standing by myself, in the shade of a mesquite tree, the sun on my right and a 1/2 acre stock tank to my front. The banks of the tank were sandy/gravelly, just right for doves to use.
Arriving at the tank around 4:00 PM, too early for the birds to water, I sat real still and watched the songbirds and, of all things, the deer, eight or ten doe came into the water. There was a lot of shooting that I guessed was about a mile away on a bordering ranch and I was hoping that the birds would come into the tank that I was guarding.
One hour later, here came the doves! Beginning with a trickle, I knocked down the first two and they both fell just in front of me, right on the tank damn,. Picking my shots, being careful not to splash one into the water, the doves kept falling and I stopped for a minute and counted up. Eleven birds, then I counted my empty shells, eleven shots. Counting the empty shells was easy, because we always picked up the fired hulls for 1, reloading and 2, because the cows would try to eat them.
Thinking back, I had never having gone straight on a limit of doves, I had run over a hundred and fifty straight on clay birds in trap and downed twenty straight Mearns quail, but not the diving, twisting and turning doves.
Here came number twelve, right at me, and easy head on shot. Covering the bird, for some reason, I raised my head and missed! The dove veered to the right and pow, my second shot dropped it right into the tank. Chunking rocks and cow chips at the bird, the waves brought it to the bank and then it was in my bag.
Twelve for thirteen is still not bad and the new lease got only got better.
Posted by Jon Bryan in Hunting at 08:05 | Comments (0) | Trackbacks (0)
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