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the army, cattle on the range plentiful and very wild, it was mine to ride the range alone, everybody's "roustabout," to gather their scattered cattle, brand their calves and hunt their lost horses. In those days of open range and free grass, it was a custom practiced by the people to round up such cows as were easily penned, regardless of ownership in most cases, and milk them during the spring, summer and fall, branding the calves in the cow's brand. Concerning this bit of exercise, I became very proficient and much needed, for when early grass began to rise and young calves began to bawl in the spring I was called into service from "Dan to Beersheba" by war widows and other folks where there was no one on the ranch that wore a pair of pants to ride the range and run in old "Sooky" and any other cows with calves that could be penned.
Beginning in the spring of 1870, when large herds were being driven from Texas up the Chisholm Trail to Kansas and beyond, I got my best experience, joining the "roundup" for Sam and Thomas Johnson, the then largest individual trail drivers operating in Blanco, Gillespie, Llano, Burnett, Hays, Comal and Kendall Counties, with headquarter pens and branding stall at the mouth of Williamson's Creek in Blanco County and headquarters at Johnson's ranch on the Perdenales River, Johnson City, the county site of Blanco County. The roundup or range hands and range boss usually gathered, road branded and delivered a herd of from 2,500 to 3,000 head of cattle, which a trail boss and his outfit received at headquarters ranch, but sometimes we delivered them at the Seven Live Oaks on the prairie west of Austin. After a good night's rest the ranch hands, bidding their relief "So So long, we'll meet you later in Kansas," with pack and ponies, hit the back trails for another herd for the next outfit.
Usually the ranch hands and ranch boss covered the retreat with the last herd in the late summer. This being