Autobiography of Ralph John Wesley Howard

AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF
RALPH JOHN WESLEY HOWARD

(Page 27)

 

The house was log and well made, there was a stove, some chairs, a table and room to stand up, a chair to sit on, a table to eat from. We soon had a fire going, a huge pan of steak frying and a fragrant pot of coffee on the way. A search for to make a new axel resulted in a length cut from a white ash tree on the woodpile, well seasoned. We had only an axe and a pocketknife to shape the new axel. Two days later we were on our way after cleaning up the house and leaving the borrowed wagon where we had found it. This was the only padlocked house we found along the Saskatchewan. A person in need was welcomed to use any unoccupied house if they were decent about it. A vacant house where the Snakebite Coulee joins the Saskatchewan welcomed us on arrival. This was thirty miles up the river from the Elbow.

When Stoffer and Mathews left home, they rode horse back this far and left their horses with the nearest rancher and walked the remainder of the way. They got their horses and left for home. Frank went with them to get a bundle of traps he left with the Stoffers, when he left the Elbow and started for a job on the railroad grade the year before. Stoffer and Mathews wanted us to get them some winter meat. While Frank was after the traps, he looked the country over a little and hung up three fine deer. When Frank returned, we poisoned the entrails and put out baits and were in business as usual.

The yield from the baits the first night was a red fox, a coyote and while skinning the coyote, Frank discovered and shot a badger near by. We enjoyed this camp for one week. Then another coyote hunter moved in, his name was Loomis, he was from Montana. He drove a four-horse team of light horse hitched to a Montana sheep wagon. The best wagon I ever saw was tightly covered with 18oz canvas and a 12 by 12 foot tent of the same material. It folded against the back end of the wagon when not in use. Two is company and three is a crowd. Frank and I load camp and headed up the river twenty miles to Crookshanks vacant summer camp. When we were five miles on our way, we tied a rope to a frozen meat drag and dropped bait at regular intervals. We set up our tent and tended to business.

In a few days, we had run out of tobacco, a foolish thing to do this far from a supply. The nearest store is at least 75 miles away. We happened to know that Harry Richardson had a fifty-pound bale of Hudsonís Bay leaf tobacco. He lived across the river and four miles from SnakeBite Camp. On the chance that I could deal him out of part of this supply, I saddled up and left for SnakeBite, watching the drag we had made on our way up. I hung up three coyotes and spent the night with Loomis. Went

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