Wednesday, September 04, 2013

"life and property were safer among them than they sometimes are among the "slick" fellows..."


I first, at this time, particularly noticed the habit of carrying ("packing" they called it) firearms, new to me then, but soon becoming familiar sight and it impressed me as a most useless and dangerous habit, and I have never seen any reason to change my views. Every man and boy, old and young, rich and poor, at home or abroad, in church, at court, the wedding or the funeral, from the "cradle to the grave," the double-barreled shotgun or the old fashioned brass mounted dragoon pistol, was inevitably carried by them, and it goes without saying that they all knew how to use them, and did so often without very much provocation. And yet I cannot now look back upon the practice as an unmixed evil either, for barroom brawling, fist fights and minor difficulties were pretty much unknown in those days. The treatment experienced by a bully or a bravado was "short, sharp and decisive." If he insulted a woman, "took in" a town or stole a horse he was shot off hand by some one, who thereby rendered society a service at much less expense and without the uncertainly and delay that often attend the law's delay. Of course, in the days I write of, the times were more or less out of joint; the civil law was almost a dead letter, the country was filled with the disbanded armies of the collapsed Confederacy, and many of the men returning to find homes destroyed and family ties broken, became reckless, if not lawless. But closer acquaintance with this class of men taught me that often an honest, a brave and a noble heart was beating beneath the rough exterior, and that life and property were safer among them than they sometimes are among the "slick" fellows who wear "boiled" shirt and live in the towns or cities. The frontiersman, as I saw him then, is rapidly becoming a feature the past; he is disappearing before the advance of civilization, like the Indian and the buffalo, and I often wonder in my mind whether or not his more cultivated successor possesses the good qualities of real nobility to the same extent. Soon he will be gone forever, and in the page of romance alone will be found his counterpart. He blazed out the pathway of progress; his log cabin and stick chimney are gone; but he it was who made the present possible. All honor to pioneer men and women--they were the advance guard in the march of the century.

[The Snyder Signal, Snyder, Scurry County, Texas, Friday, July 02, 1915. Magazine Section, Twenty-Ninth Year Number Three Pg. 11]

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