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In the Heart of the Blackland Divide

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Captain McBurnett's Trip to West Texas

Unbroken Texas prairie.
(Capt. E. B. McBurnett's account of his trip from Eastland is from the December 9, 1938, issue of The Roscoe Times and originally the January 29, 1909, issue)

In 1880 I was living at Eastland City, which was then the terminus of the T. & P. railroad.  I wanted to find a home in the west, and an opportunity was offered me to see the country and at the same time make a little money by hauling a load of oats from Eastland for a contractor to a grading crew which he was working on the T. & P. grade at that time about at the Colorado river.

On October 27, 1880, in company with a boy of fourteen years of age, I left Eastland for the west, following the T. & P. right of way out by where Abilene, Sweetwater, and Roscoe now are to where Colorado [City] now stands.  There I unloaded my wagons.

Hearing that there was plenty of turkey in that country, I decided to go out on a turkey hunt.  We had one sharp knife and one shotgun that had fallen from the wagon, and the stock had been broken by the wheel running over it and one hammer had been knocked off.  However, we wired the gun up and fixed it so one barrel would shoot and pulled out after some turkeys.  Going south from the present site of Colorado City, we ran across a bunch of antelope, and I killed one of them and struck camp on the north side of Champion creek above Seven Wells.  We did not have any water that night for ourselves, so next morning at daybreak we started down the creek and at sunrise came to Seven Wells, which to me were a great and grand curiosity.

Here were seven wells as round as auger holes, with water running out one of them, all in solid rock, ranging in depth from about seven to fifteen feet.  One of them seemed to be very deep, practically bottomless.  In the sand rock near the wells are perhaps a hundred buffalo tracks just as plain today as when they were made.  West of these buffalo tracks was a rock that had several names and dates on it; one date cut in the rock was 1830.

These wells were on what was called the “Centerline Trail,” traveled by California gold seekers who went from Mississippi, Alabama, and other southern states to California in search of gold.  These wells were a favorite camping site for the weary traveler, and Big Spring was the next place where plenty of water could be had.

Two hundred yards down the creek on the northwest side I saw a rock clear of loose sand, and on this rock were four tracks, moccasin tracks, made by a person making long strides and traveling from the southwest to the northeast.

You that have never been to Seven Wells should go and see these curiosities for you will be well paid for your trouble.

This was on November 1, 1880, and I want to say that on this day I saw and heard more turkeys than I had ever heard before in my life, and I arranged everything for a turkey hunt that night.  At “flying up time” I was ready with my little friend to assist me.  For the first hour or two the turkeys were easy to get, but they soon got wild and I asked the boy to stay back until I could kill them; this he did for a while but he finally came running to me badly frightened, having seen something, he said.  That night we got twenty-nine turkeys, and the next night we got ten and the boy was again badly scared.  That night while I was lighting a lamp the boy came running to me and said, “Here is that thing now, going between us and the creek.”  I turned my head to see what it was.  I could distinguish the bulk of something about twenty feet away but did not pay much attention to it.

The next morning I went out early to get our horses and saw three very large panthers going to a bluff near where we had camped the night before, so we made up our minds to leave for home.  We started out in a southeast direction, and it was not long before we were lost, as the day was cloudy and there were no roads.  We were lost all that day and the next night.  The following morning the wind was cool, so I decided it was from the north and took what I believed to be the northeast course in hopes of coming back to the road we traveled in coming out.  I was right in my calculations and we struck the old “Centerline Trail” near where Roscoe is now located.  We struck camp and then took dinner.

Right then I made up my mind that if there was anything in the looks of a country, this was the place for me, and here I would like to make my home.

I went back to Eastland City and disposed of my turkeys, 39 in all, at 75 cents apiece for the hens and $1 for the gobblers for Thanksgiving, thus making my trip a profitable one.  I had fully made up my mind to come west, and I reached Nolan County again on April 12, 1881, and settled the place on which I now live.  My place was the second one improved in this part of the country, the first one being settled by Houston Patterson, and our farms joined.

My house was built of lumber from the first carload shipped to Sweetwater, and I paid for it partly by hauling buffalo bones.  The house was one of the first plank houses in Nolan County; there were probably a few others built out of lumber before this—lumber hauled by ox wagon from Round Rock in Williamson County, which at that time was the nearest railroad.

In 1881, when I settled, there were several log houses in the county made of cedar logs but none of any kind in the Roscoe divide.

The buffalo disappeared from this country between 1875 and 1880, but there was one killed by Frank Malone and Tom Poston, two campers, in July 1881 in what is now Seales pasture at Walker Springs.  So far as I have been able to learn, this was the last buffalo killed in Nolan County.



Faith Boren scores two of her 18 points last night against Ira.
The Roscoe Plowgirls continued their winning ways this past week, beating Westbrook 53-29 on Friday evening and Ira 47-30 last night.

The Plowgirls jumped out to a 9-3 first quarter lead over Westbrook and never looked back.  The halftime score was 24-13.  Faith Boren was high scorer with 18 points, followed by Carolina Perez with 13 and Eva Aguayo with 10.

Then last night the Plowgirls finished strong against Ira.  The Lady Bulldogs actually took the lead late in the third quarter 24-23, but the Plowgirls came roaring back by retaking the lead 29-26 at the end of the quarter and then outscoring the Lady Bulldogs 18-4 in the fourth quarter to win by the final score of 47-30.

Faith Boren was once again the high scorer for the Plowgirls with 18 points, while Stina Tomlin had 7 and Carolina Perez 6.  The Plowgirls are now 6-2 in district play.  Their next opponent will be the district leading Highland Lady Hornets at Highland on Friday.



Brant Burnet takes a shot under the basket.
The Roscoe Plowboys won one and lost one this week, beating Westbrook  62-47 in Westbrook on Friday  and losing to Ira 64-22 last night in Plowboy Gymnasium.  The victory over the Wildcats was the Plowboys’ first district win of the season.

In that game, the score was tied at the end of the first quarter, but the Plowboys took the lead in the second quarter and held it for the rest of the game.  The halftime score was 32-23.  Jesus Leanos led the Plowboys with 31 points, while Dillon Freeman had 14 and Kevin Lavalais 7.

The district-leading Ira Bulldogs were another story, however, as they easily defeated the Plowboys last night in Roscoe.  The Bulldogs led 21-6 at the end of one and 36-18 at the half.  Jesus Leanos once again was high scorer for the Plowboys, this time with 9, followed by Cutter Davila with 6 and Dillon Freeman with 5.

Next up for the Plowboys are the Highland Hornets at Highland on Friday.



Sunday's sunset.
It was an interesting week for weather in and around Roscoe.  Last Wednesday and Thursday were warm and breezy with temperatures climbing into the upper seventies both days, but then a cool front blew through on Friday, when the high got up only to 53°F. 

Saturday was somewhat warmer, but then Sunday turned out to be one of those perfect winter days that reminds you that it will be spring again before long.  There was only a slight breeze, and the afternoon temperature was 77°.  I took advantage of the beautiful weather to open the windows and doors and let the house air completely out.  At the Stripes station, the Roscoe Girl Scouts were outside selling girl scout cookies and doing what appeared to be a brisk business.

I opened the doors and windows again on Monday as it warmed up to 79°, and the nice weather continued until yesterday around noon, when Mother Nature did an about face and a cold front blew in, coming directly out of the west instead of the north or northwest.  It came with high winds with gusts up to 45 mph, coloring the sky reddish with the first dusty weather of the year.  It also sent the temperature plummeting down to 34° last night with wind chills down into the lower twenties.

There was no rain this past week and none is in the forecast.  In fact, there has been a fire weather warning for the area since Sunday.  The high temperature today will be only in the fifties with a low in the low thirties tonight, but Thursday and Friday should see slightly warmer weather with weekend highs in the sixties and lows in the upper thirties. 



John Settle Bostick, Sr., 82, passed away on Saturday, January 26, at his home in Roscoe.  Services will be held at 10:00am this morning at First Baptist Church in Roscoe followed by interment at the Round Mountain Cemetery in Fisher County.

Mr. Bostick was born in Rotan on January 2, 1931, and was a graduate of Rotan High School.  He married Geneva Watkins on June 20, 1948.  He worked for B. J. Hughes Co. in Odessa for 31 years before moving to Roscoe in 1990.  A member of the First Baptist Church, he was a farmer and rancher and went to all the area cattle sales every week.

He is survived by his daughter, Dianna Heady and husband Richard of Roscoe; son, Mack Bostick and wife Martha of College Station; sister-in-law, Minnie Rose of Sweetwater; niece, Marla Andrews of Sweetwater; nephew, Marty Rose of New Braunfels; seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.

He was preceded in death by his wife, Geneva; son, John Bostick, Jr.; grandson, Jasen Bostick; granddaughter, Colby Duckett Bostick; sister, Jimmie McCright; and parents, John T. and Tennie Sally Bostick.

Pallbearers are his grandchildren: Tony Heady, J.T. Bostick, Ricky Heady, Jennifer Bostick, Kyle Bostick, Cody Bostick, Mackenzie Bostick, and Dustin Heady.

Honorary pallbearers are Derryl Overby, Billy Joe McCombs, Bubba Cleveland, James Ratliff, Tony Ham, and Truett Bruns. 


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