All the news that's fit to print.

In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Crop Maybe Not So Good This Year Says "Injun Robert"; March 22 Revisited

Injun Robert's pre-dawn fire used for the "Sunrise Wind" ceremony.
“Injun Robert,” also known to local palefaces as Robert McBride, took up the challenge and performed the smoke ceremony as prescribed in last week’s Roscoe Hard Times.  If you’ll recall, I described there Injun George’s former practice of building a fire at dawn on March 22 every year, noting the direction of the smoke, and then predicting the success of the coming year’s crop.  

The results for Injun Robert were not as auspicious as might be hoped for since the wind was out of the southwest, which according to Indian tradition presages an inferior crop. 

If that prediction  had come last year when at this time the country was already suffering from sandstorms and wildfires, I’d have been more comfortable with it than this year when we’ve had more rain than normal for the first three months.

In addition, I’ve been bothered by the use of March 22 for leap year.  This is an issue that also worried Injun George, and he wrote about it in more than one article.  Once, he even went so far as to ask Injun John if the Plains Indians of the 1880s would have been aware of leap year and Injun John naturally answered, “probably not.”

Most likely the Indians had their own methods for determining the day of the spring equinox and then performed their smoke ritual the day after.  If that’s the case, then the ceremony should be on March 22 on most regular years but on March 21 on leap year, since in both cases those are the days after the coming of the spring equinox.

In fact, more research into the ceremony provides some corroborating evidence that backs up the assumption.  An AP article entitled “’Sunrise Wind’ is Good Omen for Farmers,” published several years ago, gives more detailed information on the ceremony than Injun George probably knew about. 

According to the article, the “Sunrise Wind” ceremony was known in the Comanche language as Taba’na Yuan’e and was performed on the first day following spring’s start. 

Also, according to the article, if the wind comes from the east or northeast, there will be plenty.  If it blows from the north or the northwest, conditions will be average.  A west or southwest wind doesn’t bode well, and a south wind is just plain bad news.

This additional information about the ritual suggests then that performing it on March 22 in a leap year is a day too late.  It should have been done on March 21.  Just for the record, the wind at dawn on March 21, i.e., last Wednesday morning, was out of the northwest—predicting an average crop. 

And that’s the prediction I’m going with—but we’ll have to wait until fall to find out for sure.

Roscoe High School, built in 1904.

That was a question I was asked by four or five different people this week.  Judging from what they told me, there is a plan afoot to put a marker somewhere in the new building noting the year that Roscoe High School was established, and they were seeking confirmation from me about the correct year.

My honest answer to all of them was that I am not sure, but since they wanted me to put a date on it, I responded with 1904 because that was the year the first high school building was built in Roscoe.

But it wasn’t the first school that Roscoe had.  Several sources indicate that Roscoe had a school in the 1890s.  Maurine Whorton Redway’s novel, Out of the Whirlwind, which is set in early day Roscoe—or Vista, as it was called then—describes the building of a small wooden school building, which had a single teacher. 

Also, Stanley Cleckler has several essays written by students who were assigned to compile histories of Roscoe.  Most were written in 1928 and 1936, when the students could still talk to people who were around when Roscoe was first being established and settled. 

The essays that have a date for the first school in Roscoe put it at either 1891 or 1892, the latter year appearing more often than the former, and all agree that it was a small, unpainted wooden building, which was also the site for church services of all denominations.  The first teacher was a Mr. C. S. Knott, also known as Professor Knott.

These and other sources also agree that Roscoe’s first brick school was built in 1904, and early day post cards of the new building identified it as Roscoe High School, although it also apparently housed the grade school as well. 

My guess is that it was labeled Roscoe High School to indicate that it was more than just a grammar school, as the majority of schools were in those early days.   If there were any graduating high school classes before the new building, I have no record of it.

So, unless someone comes up with more definitive information than I’m aware of now, the exact date cannot be given with any degree of certainty—but if 1904 is not correct, at least it’s close.



The City of Roscoe is currently holding its annual Spring Clean-Up from 9:00am to 7:00pm daily through this Saturday, March 31, with city employees on hand to direct and assist in trash disposal.   

Dumpsters are available at the Roscoe recycling center at Business US 84 just north of the railroad tracks, and separate areas are designated for tree limbs, brush, and metal objects.  There is also a place for tires. 

For more information, contact City Hall during business hours at 325-766-3871.


The Roscoe Plowboys finished first in Saturday’s Double Mountain Relays in Rotan, amassing 145 points to second-place Roby’s 103, while the Plowgirls came in second with 99 points to Roby’s 100.  Other high schools in the meet were Rotan, Loraine, Westbrook, and Trent.

For the boys, Jesus Leanos won first place in two events, the 1600-meter and 3200-meter runs.  Dillon Freeman was first in the 300-meter hurdles, Devon Freeman was first in the pole vault, and the 400-meter relay team (Dillon Freeman, Eduardo Gallegos, Landon Jones, Jose Rangel) also came in first.

For the girls, Jacinda Morales won the 400-meter and 800-meter races and was a member of the winning 1600-meter relay team (Jacinda Morales, Katie McIntire, Whitney Williams, Olivia Rovig).  The Plowgirls also won the 400-meter and 800-meter relays (Katie McIntire, Whitney Williams, Olivia Rovig,  Mireya Sanchez). 

The Plowboys’ and Plowgirls’ next meet is at Colorado City tomorrow afternoon starting at 3:45pm.



Last Thursday, Roscoe got .06” of precipitation.  Ever since, it’s been springlike weather with sunny or partly cloudy skies, high temperatures in the eighties, and lows in the upper fifties.  The forecast is for more of the same with a 20% chance of precipitation for the next couple of days. 

The old mesquite trees have finally decided to bud out, so it really seems that we’ve had our last freeze and that winter is a thing of the past.  I’m not the only one who’s been working to get a garden ready for the coming year.


† C. W. HEAD

Graveside services for C. W. Head, 87, were held on Saturday, March 24 at Sweetwater Cemetery.  He died on Thursday, March 22 at the Sweetwater Health Care Center.

Born on August 23, 1924, in Henderson County, he attended school in Athens and married Jo Ann Boone on July 28, 1967, in Sweetwater.  They lived in Roscoe for many years before moving to Sweetwater.  He worked as a heavy equipment operator for Lone Star Industries and helped build the facility.

Survivors include his wife, Jo Ann Head of Sweetwater; daughters, Doris Harvey of Abilene, Sherene Templet of Roby, Celia Rasberry of Roby, Shanna Zelner of Seminole, and Kelly Espinoza of Abilene; sons Winfred Head of Granbury, Teddy Head of Victoria, and Kenny Head of Mt. View, California; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. 

He was preceded in death by a son, Clinton Head, in 2007; a daughter, Kimberly Jo Head Davis in 2010; four brothers, and one sister. 

Online condolences may be made at


No comments:

Post a Comment

Blog Archive