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John Arrington

The Western Star, April 28, 1922.


From the Kingman Leader-Courier.

Frank Parmenter accompanied Dr. Callahan of Wichita to Pratt Saturday evening to meet John Arrington who was brought to Pratt that evening by a Wilmore doctor. While helping roach some of the mules at his ranch Saturday, John got hold of a wild mule and the animal bit him on the right arm, breaking the bones below the elbow in two places and otherwise injuring him. Dr. Callahn treated the arm at the Pratt hospital and brought Mr. Arrington to Kingman where he stayed all night Saturday night. On Sunday Mr. Parmenter took him on to Wichita for further treatment.

Memories of John Arrington

By Wilbur Olson

When we got to Arrington's ranch at Old Evansville, Mr. Arrington , an old man, his health broken, was sitting in the ranch house living room by a big potbellied woodstove. Uncle Charley wanted to see him about his rent on the Arrington land on Sand Creek. After they had concluded their business I asked Mr. Arrington about a job and he told me, "Kid, I'd like to give you a job for I need another hand, but I've lost the ranch and I'm just looking after it for the mortgage company and they won't let me hire anymore."

The thing that struck me most about John Arrington was his kindliness.

Before we left Uncle Charley asked him what to do with some corn in the shock that Arrington was to get a share of and Arrington told him to let me shuck it out of the shock and he would pay me for the work and get his share of the corn. I know he just did this to give me a little work. Mr. Arrington was an old Arizona cowboy before he come to this country and he showed us his old money belt he carried his money in when he cowboyed in Arizona. He said all the ranches there paid in gold.

I only saw John Arrington once after that when he came by with the men from the mortgage company and paid me for shocking the corn.

Later Uncle Charley told me Mr. Arrington told him he would of sure liked to of give me a job for he said I reminded him of Lester Alley when he first came to work for him. Lester Alley had been Arrington's foreman for a good many years. This made me feel pretty good for I knew he held Lester Alley in high regard.

Several years ago I saw a newspaper clipping in the Stockade Museum at Medicine Lodge that told of the Cattlemen's Picnic at Kingman, Kansas, in the early day. A picture of the steer ropers lined up on their horses and gave their names. Two names I recognized were John Arrington and Jim Selman. Jim Selman later became one of the largest ranchers in this area of Oklahoma. My Cousin Helen told me when she was a girl John Arrington would rope and drag calves to the fire for them when they worked cattle. She said he was a top roper.

When my Mother was a girl they lived for a time near Kingman. She told of going to the Cattlemen's Picnic and of one of their neighbors getting killed in the steer roping. I think she said his name was Duesse. In those days they roped big steers not the little ones like they do now, and it wasn't always the steer that got jerked down.

In the Comanche County History it speaks of John Arrington as a kindly man. It tells of he and his crew driving 1200 head of cattle from the ranch to Wilmore to ship. After two days drive they camped at the edge of town and the chuckwagon cook started preparing supper for the cowboys. Mr. Arrington got on his horse and rode up Main Street and invited everyone he saw out to eat at the chuckwagon. I guess nearly everyone in Wilmore ate supper that night at the Arrington chuckwagon. Maybe things like that helped to break him, but those Grand old cowmen know what hospitality was all about.

Uncle Charley once told me what really put John Arrington under was he contracted to take all a big outfits calves for five years at a certain price. The first two years the calves made some money, but the next three were bad years and the market broke as it usually does in dry years, and that caused him to lose his ranch.

I heard later that not long afterwards John Arrington fell off his horse dead in one of the pastures on the ranch he had lost to the mortgage company. It was a sad ending for a fine old cowman.

-- Wilbur Olson, written in 1991.

Aetna Items -- Jno. Arrington & brother are at the ranch this week. He is moving a family on the Evansville ranch. -- -- The Hardtner Press, Friday, January 15, 1915.

CARL DOYLE DIES -- Word was received here last week of the death of Carl Doyle, who several years ago was a resident of this county, living on the former Arrington ranch. Mr. and Mrs. Doyle moved from here to Kansas City, Mo., and were living there at the time of his death. -- The Wilmore News, January 30, 1940.

Also see:

Wilbur OLSON
Recollections of Ranches and Ranching in the Comanche County area, including memories of John Arrington.

History of Evansville, Comanche County, Kansas Former headquarters of the Arrington Ranch.

Thanks to Shirley Brier for finding, transcribing and contributing the above news article to this web site!

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