Newland, Cliff 1964, 1968, 1971, 1973

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Cliff Newland, former cowboy on the McElroy Ranch, describes his life and activities on the ranch and relates vivid stories of ranch life and his experiences as a miner. Included are stories of native wildlife, water witching and recollections of the C. C. Slaughter family.

General Interview Information

Interviewee Name: Cliff Newland

Additional Parties Recorded: None

Date: August 23, 1964; April 29 and May 18, 1968; July 10, 15, and August 15, 1971; July 18 and 20, 1973

Location: Crane, Texas

Interviewer: Elmer Kelton, Paul Patterson

Length: 11 hours 25 minutes


Tape 1, Side 1: McElroy Ranch, History, Cliff Nwland, Personal background, Ranching jobs, Childhood, Reminiscences, Upton County, Ranches, Land, Ranches, Cowboys, Slaughter Ranch, Slaughter family.

Tape 1, Side 2: Bob Slaughter, J-Bar Ranch, Homesteading (1903-), Land disputes, McElroy Ranch (again), "Mesquite" beans, Land changes, Windmills, Cliff Newland (again), Travels, Employment, Castle Gap, Texas, Cliff Newland.

Tape 2, Side 1: Cliff Newland (continued), Tracing water sources, Home duties, Water springs, Weather, Electrical fences, Weather, Future physical trends, Wild horses, Mustangs, Stallions, Intelligence, Adventures, Herding.

Tape 2, Side 2: John Lindsey (?), Prize fighting, Gambling, Boxing, Horsehead Crossing, Texas, Physical description, Pontoon Crossing, Texas, Southwest, History, Spaniards, McElroy Ranch, Mr. McElroy, Physical description, Business practices, Harve Mayfield.

Tape 3, Side 1: Harve Mayfield (continued), Fencing.

Tape 3, Side 2: Blank

Tape 4, Side 1: Short autobiography, Cowboy life, Garden City, Texas, Leases, Cattle herd, Quality, Herd size, Stampede, Wrangling horses, Watering cattle, Pumping water with horses, Mustangs, Walking horses down, Milking cows, Wildlife: antelopes, lobos, coyotes.

Tape 4, Side 2: Shepherds, Wages and supplies, Size of flock, Watering, Bridge of wagons, Grazing, Rustlers, Horse incident, Cattle incident, Short autobiography, Driving cattle during winter, Trip to Amarillo, Lightning deaths, Land rush, Rattlesnake Ranch, Fighting fires, [This tape is difficult to understand at times].

Tape 5, Side 1: Robbery at Ranger, Robbery of T & P Railroad, Brass guns, Buried treasure at Ranger, Maximilian money, Head Spaniard gold: Castle Gap, Grave, Description of location, Markings, Outlaw treasure at Castle Gap, Bones, Location by wet rags and switch, Cedar Canyon silver treasure, Finding whiskey.

Tape 5, Side 2: Witching, Water, Gold, Oil, Description of witching stick, Finding a barrel of whiskey, Negro with a treasure map, Depth of Castle Gap, Meyers map of Maximilian money, Bob Tennon, Shelby Brooks’ land, Visiting treasure hunters, Bar S herd, Size, Watering holes, Debt incident near Grand Falls.

Tape 6, Side 1: Anecdote concerning potential violence on the ranch, Tale of discovering an old saddle which was identified with a missing soldier, Story about death of a cowboy at China Pond, Stoppage of spring water cited, Other incidents near China Pond.

Tape 6, Side 2: Speculations on climatic changes based on 19th and 20th century weather lore, Observations on the behavior of blizzards, Behavior of cattle during blizzards, Changes in constellations noted, "Electric storms" cited, Mirages discussed, "Cyclones" examined, Mother’s death mentioned, Shipping cattle to Kansas.

Tape 7, Side 1: Story involving an eight-mile walk related, Work day schedule and "hardships’ of a "trader" discussed, Childhood experiences recalled, Techniques of "four-footing" a horse described, Other tips on handling and caring for a horse, Claim that mustache helps one’s eyes (applied to humans), Attitude toward hippies and long hair expressed, Sandstorms remembered.

Tape 7, Side 2: Sandstorms (continued), Railroads’ attempts to keep sand off the tracks, Adventure of catching mustangs related, Behavior of mustangs and cattle discussed, Denial of TV’s credibility concerning mustangs, Behavior of mustangs and horses continued, Cattle shoot during the Depression examined.

Tape 8, Side 1: Slaughter’s Long S Ranch discussed, Early means of well-drilling, windmills examined, Water problems on the "C" Ranch noted, Cattle watering habits explored, Discussion of trail drives, Slaughter family reviewed, Stories of bucking horses.

Tape 8, Side 2: Ranch management, rules noted, Training methods for horses, broncos, Recollections of stampede control, Attitude toward urban environment, Anecdote on finding one’s direction on the Plains, Prairie fire discussed, Mesquite beans mentioned.

Tape 9, Side 1: Weather theory and weather lore, Alleged changes in weather, Character of blizzards, Skinning frozen cattle, Wagon yard, livery stable, Anecdote about a Chinaman, Price of wood for fuel, Anecdote about an Englishman, Mining in Arizona, Dangerous aspect o mining, Use of mules in copper and coal mines, Finding one’s way around in a mine, Government mine inspectors, Explosions in mining, Contract mining.

Tape 9, Side 2: Ranching on the Mexican border, Outlaws on the Mexican border, Problems with windmills on the ranch.

Tape 10, Side 1: Using mesquite stumps for fuel, prairie fires, Character of mustangs, Character of prairie dogs, Immigration of prairie dog colony, Description of pet prairie dog, Poisoning prairie dogs, Mesquite beans for human and animal consumption, Conditions under which mesquites are poison, Freighting to San Angelo, Horns on cattle modified by electrical storm, Effects of excessive rain, Assisting nature in the birth of a calf.

Tape 10, Side 2: Technique of leading sheep to market, Raising sheep, Character of the sheep raising camp, Camping at the old JM Ranch headquarters, Spanish gold stories, Anecdote about a cowboy’s marriage to a 15-year-old girl, Doug Barker, Texas Ranger and sheriff at Fort Stockton, Incident of Mexican flag being raised at a celebration, Frank Ingram’s ranching career.

Tape 11, Side 1: Comments on wagon cooks, Repairs on ranch recounted, Talks about livestock, Equipment described, Discusses experiences with horses, Tells about roping contests.

Tape 11, Side 2: Distances covered on horseback noted, Rides to doctor’s remembered, Compares buggies to horseback riding, Recalls fires on the ranch, Term "night horses" explained, Describes storms, Remembers specific horses.

Tape 12, Side 1: Tells about wild horses, Methods of catching horses described, Comments on food for horses, Droughts discussed, Remembers an old map, Experiences with mules told.

Tape 12, Side 2: Continues discussion about mules in mines, Coal mines and copper mines compared.

Tape 13, Side 1: Discusses entertainments on ranch, Boxing remembered, Mexican problems recalled, Tells about work as windmiller, Comments on experiences with outlaws.

Tape 13, Side 2: Blank

Range Dates: 1880s-1930s

Bulk Dates: 1880s-1930s

Access Information

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