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We were members of the Great Peace March. For eight and a half months, beginning in Los Angeles, we had walked 3,701 miles, across 17 states, to increase public awareness of the insanity of nuclear warfare. President Reagan refused to have an audience with us, understandably. His baby was Star Wars with its trillion-dollar taxpayer dollars poured down a futile drain. The program might could stop some nuclear missiles aimed at this country. Some marchers sneaked past the guards and hung their shoes on the fence surrounding the White House. Some marchers had dropped out of the
by Wynelle Catlin
e gathered before the towering majestic obelisk that was the Washington Monument in Washington D.C. on Nov. 15, 1986.
March for health or financial reasons, but many others had joined us en route. Several hundred of us had walked from the beginning. Our number had grown to 1,800 by the time we got to Washington. And a few had walked every step of the way, refusing to bus those passages where the March was refused permission to walk as a group because of safety reasons. Over 50 of us Marchers were senior citizens. There were 60 children with the March. The other marchers ranged in age between the two groups. We were from all walks of life, represented every imaginable profession, had diverse religious beliefs, and were from all the states and 11 countries. Our feet kept pace with the slow beat of a Buddhist drum as we walked silently down 16th Street. The melancholy skirl of a bagpipe followed us to a rally in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Some of us visited the nearby Vietnam Memorial where I was overwhelmed by the sadness of the loss of lives of those thousands of young people killed in that senseless war. Please see page 6
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From page 4 Before the day ended, some 20,000 friends, relatives and supporters had joined us to light candles from the Hiroshima Flame which a young man had carried all the way across the country. The candles were set afloat in the Reflecting Pool before the Washington Monument. And our final rally was held at the Lincoln Memorial. I didn’t hear many of the speakers as the merchandising department set up tables as we had at every rally across the country. I sold T-shirts as fast as I could hand one to a person and accept their money. Speakers included a senator who brought a proclamation signed by other senators. A congressman said, “handing over the power of nuclear weapons to the hands of a small number of men” was the most radical injustice ever perpetrated on this planet. Carl Sagan condemned Star Wars as a scientific absurdity. A nuclear physicist, a retired major general and Rev. Jesse Jackson were among noted speakers. Marchers who spoke included one marcher who had had to leave the march because of cancer and a 15-year-old girl who began a peace petition when she was 12. She called on Reagan and Gorbachev to listen to the children who wanted a chance to grow up and not perish in a nuclear war. The End Was Not THE END! We had reached Washington, but the effects rippled out, just as a pond ripples when a stone is thrown in. We had contacted a million or more people through personal contact, in speeches, rallies or via news media. And always with the plea to contact your elected representatives to urge them to end the nuclear threat. Six million Russians stayed home from work one day demanding an end to the arms race. A Peace March with 230 Americans and 200 Russians walked from Leningrad to Moscow. A huge rally got worldwide attention. Reagan and Gorbachev did meet and sign a treaty that ended the threat of the red button being pushed to send nuclear missiles toward the other country. Many marchers went on to participate in anti-war or peace movements in this country and abroad. I learned many things from being part of the March that can be used by groups, large or small, or nations. Tolerance and respect no matter what nationality, color, age, religion or political beliefs. Decisions made by consensus, not majority, are possible. The key is to listen to others with your heart, not with the intent of converting them to what you want, and to speak from your heart. I found that when I was truly listened to, I could go along with what was best for group good. In disagreements, people went to mediation with a trained mediator who acted as go-between until all the feelings were aired and a resolution reached. This alleviates the need for suing in a court of law, or using a gun or other weapon. Good memories for me include children who set up a lemonade and cold water stand beside the route of the March. A senior citizen on social security who donated a jar of change she’d carefully saved since she knew the March was coming through her town. She walked to our camp to bring the money. A small 5&10 store in a small town in Pennsylvania gave each marcher a small gift – a washcloth, a tube of toothpaste, etc. Farmers brought fresh produce and eggs to the March. (Once, I helped crack 12 dozen eggs for our breakfast.)
Churches, community groups (and one Indian tribe) had pot lucks for us. Feeding a group of our size was not easy. People opened up their homes to us to spend the night. Or to take baths. Also, communities and businesses sheltered us when we were wet and cold, or offered rooms, baths, swimming pools for our use. Food, clothing and money was given by those who supported our views and by those who didn’t. I remember the fairness and impartiality of the media who followed our progress across the country. The Peace March left behind a path of good will, as well as trees. Peace Trees were planted in communities we passed through. We also left a clean path. Marchers picked up tons of trash as we walked. And every campsite was cleaner when we left than when we entered. c
THE END WAS NOT THE END
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Gaddafi And The Graford Cowboy
Bobby Ray Erwin Uses His Roping Skills To Lasso A Terrorist
By Randall Scott
he named her son, Bobby Ray, for her older brother, Raymond. Many years earlier, Lera Williams Erwin lost her brother to appendicitis and she wanted to remember Raymond Williams. And so the day came on July 10, 1928, when Lera had a son, Bobby Ray Erwin.
He looked more like his father, Biddy Lafayette, with his broad shoulders and big hands readymade for the plow and axe. As time went by he came to have his mother’s coal black curly hair, dark complexion, set jawline, and handsome features. Farming and ranching was their lives with little else to do in Graford, Texas, during the Great Depression. FDR said it was over, but it lingered on for years to torture and starve the masses. Everybody in the family worked hard. Lera was a schoolteacher and Biddy a stonemason building the Palo Pinto Courthouse for the WPA. Even his sisters, Biddy Jean and Patsy, hoed weeds in the garden along with their cooking and cleaning chores. A 9-year-old Bobby had the job of milking four cows, canning it, loading the milk cans onto a wagon, and then driving the team to the railway switch station for delivery to Mineral Wells. Roosevelt’s economic disasters forced Biddy and Bobby to scratch out a little vegetable garden, sell milk and butter, raise livestock, and grow corn. And, it was their small cornfield what started it all. Government agents measured and scrutinized the little cornfield and it didn’t meet their standards. So, FDR sent his Federals knocking on Biddy’s front door. It was a hot day in August, which was why they stood on the front porch, and these federal agents sipped ice tea and talked to Biddy for a long time. After they left, Bobby would never forget his father’s words: “Those Federals are gonna make us plow under 10 rows, and that amount of corn could feed many a starv-
ing soul in this country,” Biddy said, shaking his head in disbelief. Bobby never knew why they were forced to plow under good stalks of corn. Cattle were better fare than farming and a teenage Bobby helped to build a fence around a parcel of leased land on Graford’s west side. Biddy put him on muleback to string out lengths of barbwire across the property’s full length. After a length was unrolled, measured, and cut, then Bobby would ride the mule back to the spool of barbwire, harness another strand, and repeat the process. It was hard work and about the time Bobby decided his old mule wasn’t going to make it, he looked around just in time to see a tall power poll crash to the ground. Electric power-lines curled on the ground all around him popping and hissing like angry snakes. Seems his barbwire had sawed the bottom of the pole clean through. Biddy offered to pay the power company for the damages because he knew the Federals wouldn’t pay for it. When asked, Bobby said, “Kind-a seemed like that old mule WAS pulling hard, there at the last.” Lera’s only thought was that her son was safe from harm. That summer Uncle Jess Ragel hired Bobby to round up cattle from the Brazos River bottoms. He was bringing in the last of the strays when this one particular old contrary cow hid behind a mesquite thicket. He’d been practicing his skill with a lariat rope, so he gave it try. Making a wide lasso he threw a loop over her head with exacting aim on the first throw, which caught her unawares. And, it spooked her! She jumped straight up, bellowed, and then that old cow went to bucking in a sideways spin like a rodeo bronc. Not to be outdone, Bobby grabbed a strong grip on his lariat just long enough to wrap two loops around the saddle horn. Now… he had her for sure. At about that time, his saddle cinch broke sending him over the pony’s head and right smack dab into that mesquite thicket. And, right behind him came his saddle flying over the top of that pony to slap him in the head for good measure. Only thing that survived was his cowboy hat, but everything else, even his chaps, were torn and tattered. Uncle Jess laughed at the sight of Lera pulling mesquite thorns
from Bobby’s backside. Ignoring the incident, Uncle Jess called him out to work cattle again. This time, it was for some bronco busting at his ranch just outside of Graford. Lera steadfastly refused to let Bobby go. With some begging, Biddy and Lera gave in, knowing that several boys had made good money breaking wild ponies for Uncle Jess. And besides, Bobby truly wanted some of the action. He got it when his bronc ran headlong through a fence, cut his left knee wide open from one side to the other, and put Bobby down hard. Biddy scooped him up and took him home for Lera to stitch back together. She worried about her Bobby Ray growing up strong and healthy. She wanted him strong to withstand an operation or bout of disease and survive it. Lera couldn’t forget her brother Raymond was too weak to survive his ordeal and that’s why she protected her Bobby Ray. That same year Graford High School FFA (Future Farmers Of America) awarded Bobby the blue ribbon for his prize bull, Buster. And, it was Buster’s award that prompted his attention towards the Fort Worth Fat Stock Show and Rodeo. Problem was he was broke, and that blue ribbon wouldn’t pay him squat. So, Bobby went back to work on Uncle Jess’s ranch. After school, he cut and packaged meat for Uncle Morrow in the Graford grocery store butcher shop. On weekends, Bobby did whatever odd jobs the Eubanks wanted him to do down at Graford Bank. Often times he was sent out to the Eubank ranch where he hauled hay and cleaned stalls, but it still wasn’t enough. Seventy miles was a long way to walk from Graford to Ft. Worth. But as luck would have it, a man needed help loading cattle in his trailer and it just so happened that this same man was headed for the Fat Stock Show. Like stowaways on a cruise ship, Bobby and his friends lay inside the cattle trailer with their feet propped up on soft straw enjoying their ride on a grand adventure to the big city of Ft. Worth. They’d heard all about the Ft. Worth Stock Show. How it held the first indoor rodeo back in 1918. Most of all, the country boys found it exciting to see so many people along the carnival fairway riding the Please see page 10
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After basic training, Bobby (now Pvt. 1st Class Bob Erwin), trained at the Army Air Force Electronic and High Altitude Radar Bombardment technical school in Boca Raton, Fla. Then it was overseas to Japan in the 620th Aircraft Control & Warning Squadron where Bob served two years with a promotion to staff sergeant. Even with frequent letters of correspondence, Lera was sick with worry until his return back home to Graford. At North Texas State and Texas Christian universities he furthered his education in electronic engineering and was later hired at General Dynamics, an aircraft manufacturing facility in Ft. Worth. It was at a church social in Mineral Wells that Bob met Wynell at the end of a weeklong meeting. Back in those days they simply called it a “meeting” when guest speakers were invited to preach each weekday night. Wynell Odom had a sweet but sometimes meddling old aunt, Orpha Odom, who liked to play cupid; and on this particular occasion it was very sweet of her to introduce Bob to Wynell because the two hit it off immediately. Wynell invited Bob to meet her Odom and Taylor families down in the Live Oak Community of southern Palo Pinto County and as southern girls will do, she left Bob with the men. Like John Wayne himself, Ike Taylor was a 78-year-old family patriarch and cattle rancher who had gathered his sons together for a roundup. They were huddled inside a corral when Bob walked in all spiffy in his Sunday-go-to-meetin’ clothes. Introductions were made and the Taylor boys warned Bob to step back whilst they roped a rascally young cow, because she could be dangerous. The Taylor boys made several attempts but none could land a loop over the cow’s head. They passed the rope around to each other trying over and over again, yet she proved to be a slippery heifer able to dodge the rope at every turn. Then, Bob asked to have a go at it and in response, the Taylor boys grinned at each other. Wynell’s father, J.L. Odom, jumped in and said they should give this Air Force boy a try, just to be sporting about it. Bob swung out a wide loop, raised his right arm, and with a few swings over his head the lariat rope sailed through the air, across the corral, and over the cow’s head. His exacting aim secured her around the neck in a tight loop on his first throw. Then, the Graford Cowboy tied off the other end of the rope on a nearby fence post in a perfect half-hitch slipknot. She struggled and bawled in a vain attempt to free herself while the Taylor boys dropped their collective jaws in disbelief. “I’m better on horseback,” Bob said, in an humble, yet matter-of-fact nod. With hat cocked backwards and hands on his hips, Ike Taylor studied the boy and as he moved a chaw of tobacco from one side of his mouth to the other he said, “We’ll let Bob do all the roping.” Bob and Wynell were married March 31, 1950, at her family’s ranch house. They had four children, Bobby, Randy, Laurie and Nanette, and in 1963 they moved to Weatherford to build a new house. Wynell taught 4th grade at Travis Elementary School for the WISD. Bob continued his work as an electronics radar engineer on the F-111 aircraft bomber program for GD. He was assigned to a new group, which was, at that time, a top-secret weapons delivery program that would later be known as AN/AVQ-26 Pave Tack. Like something out of Buck Rogers, a pilot could watch a TV screen to guide the weapon into the target. It seemed fantastic to believe that a camera could be mounted in the nose of a missile and guided by a handheld joystick from a cockpit display. In technical jargon, Pave Tack was an electro-optical targeting pod mounted underneath the F-111 aircraft. It used a laser and a forward-looking infrared beam to find and designate targets for laserguided bombs and other precision-guided missiles. It was a formidable weapon in the USAF arsenal and it came on-line just in time to be used in the War On Terror. Libyan leader Col. Maummar Gaddafi had terrorized Israeli, British and American airports, as well as vessels in the Mediterranean, for years. More recently, he threatened acts of terrorism on American tourists engaged in air travel throughout the region. The final straw came when Libya admitted its role in the bombing of a West Berlin disco in which two off-duty American soldiers were killed on April 5, 1986. Only 10 days later, April 15, President Ronald Reagan ordered an attack on Libyan terrorist training sights with Air Force 48th Tactical F-111F Fighter Wing of bombers. The bombing raid killed 45 Libyan soldiers and officials, and, in total, five IL-76 Libyan transports, 14 MiG Jet Fighters, two helicopters, and five ground radar stations were destroyed. The mission was a success and once again the Graford Cowboy had perfect aim. This time, with Pave Tack radar in lieu of his lariat rope, Bob, GD, and the United States Air Force, under the direction of the President, put an end to the Libyan threat of terrorism. c
From page 8 merry-go-round and Ferris wheel, playing games of chance, and eating candied apples, peanuts, and cotton candy. They toured the newly built Will Rogers Coliseum and the rows and rows of livestock barns. For meals, they made their money cleaning stalls in the show barns, and at night they slept on beds of straw inside the hay barn. The Graford Cowboy didn’t place in the bareback bronc riding competition, but it was an adventure any boy would relish for a lifetime, and Bobby took in every bit of it. He thought it best not to tell Lera about riding broncs or she’d have been worried. Later that summer, back home in Graford, Bobby picked peaches as fast as he could. He was late for his date with a high school sweetheart. One last peach hung high above his head from the top limb and he wasn’t about to get the ladder for just one peach. Time was wasting and she wouldn’t wait forever, but that one peach enticed him, teased him, and even challenged him. Climbing out over the small limb, he looked down in surprise at how far it was to the ground below when suddenly it snapped with a loud cracking sound and he fell. Bobby hit the ground awkwardly and immediately knew that he’d broken his right arm below the elbow. But, with a smile of satisfaction, he firmly held that precious last peach in his left hand and took a big bite out of it. Lera walked him down the street to the doctor’s office to have the bone set. She was still worried about her Bobby Ray’s health, but it didn’t slow him down. Bobby soon left the doctor’s office with his arm in a plaster cast, headed out to pick up his sweetheart for their date on the town. It was the fall of 1945, the war had ended, and Bobby was too young to enlist. He needed his parent’s signature to join the Army Air Corps and Biddy was reluctant to sign the release form. Predictably, Lera wouldn’t consider it. In her mind’s eye, the very thing she dreaded most was happening to her. If he left her she couldn’t take care of him. Lera could still see Raymond lying on the kitchen table bloodied by his emergency appendectomy. He was helplessly close to death, fighting for his life and she knew it was too late to help him. But she could prevent the same demise of her precious boy, Bobby Ray. The next morning, Bobby looked on their kitchen table to find his release form signed by his mother’s hand. He never knew what Biddy had said to change her mind.
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 11
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MAY 5, 1900 The Daily Index (Mineral Wells Index) is established in the "City Built on Water." MAY 10, 1811 Palo Pinto County cattleman/pioneer and Baptist preacher George Webb Slaughter is born in lawrence County Miss. In 1857 he established a ranch some 5 miles north of Palo Pinto. MAY 18, 1871 A band of some 100 Native Americans from the Fort Sill Reservation in Oklahoma attack Henry Warren's wagontrain on the road between Fort Richardson in Jacksboro and Fort Belknap near Graham. Kiowa Chiefs Satanta, Satank and Big Tree lead the raid. The wagon master and six teamsters were killed and some 40 mules taken. The Indian casualties were one dead and five wounded. The remaining warriors immediately returned to the reservation north of the Red River. MAY 27, 1871 Arriving at Fort Sill, Gen. William Tecumseh Sherman personally arrests Satanta, Satank and Big tree for their leadership roles in the Warren Wagontrain Raid in North Texas on May 18.
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fter the end of the Civil War in 1865 and during the period of Reconstruction that followed, many Texas men began returning to their homes and families along the vast frontier to resume what was left of their lives and aspirations. Settlers who had vacated the region during the war now came back to find their longhorn cattle herds had increased but were scattered. Unbranded maverick longhorns by the hundreds of thousands now roamed free for the taking. Trailing cattle to more lucrative out-of-state markets and railheads had already begun and often at the expense of the lives of those who sought great fortunes. Bad economic times in the South following the Civil War also enticed a wave of emigrants to venture west to the “land-of-beginning-again” – Texas. Many Civil War veterans also came into the region to take their chances, despite the fact that Native Americans still held tenaciously to their ancestral homelands. People who had already “Gone To Texas” sent back glowing reports to family and friends about the opportunities awaiting them as huge land grant colonies with vast holdings formed offering cheap land to those who would come. Men who could rope, brand, herd and drive cattle were in short supply. Many early cattlemen competed for these “cowboys” to work on their ranges and help drive large herds to market hundreds of miles away. Palo Pinto County has often been called “The Cradle of the Cattle Industry,” and rightfully so. Some of the most prominent names in the histo-
ry of ranching made their beginnings here in the hard scrabble hills, valleys and prairies of the Brazos River country on the western edge of Cross Timbers. Men like Charles Goodnight, Oliver Loving, John Hittson, George and C.C. Slaughter, Marcus Dalton, W.C. McAdams, the Jowell and Wilson brothers, George Bevers, Jere Hart and the Cowdens were just a few of the many men who participated in the great roundups that would forge their names in the annals of trail driving history. There were no fences, few permanent water sources, and mostly open rangelands for use by anyone who could gather, brand, herd and corral their stock and periodically trail them to distant markets. Some of the methods used for gathering and handling free-ranging cattle were developed during this period and are still used to this day. A few of these cattlemen and their families put down roots here; others moved on further west to stake their claim in the vast western reaches of the burgeoning United States. Members of the less savory elements of society including outlaws, gunmen, carpetbaggers, whiskey peddlers, wanted men and desperate women also arrived in Palo Pinto County to hone their trades. When Robert Clay Allison arrived during the fall of 1865, he, like many other Civil War veterans, had come west to escape the troubled South and the trials and tribulations of war that surely hung heavy on his shoulders. Allison was born on a farm near Waynesboro in Wayne County, Tenn., on Sept. 2, 1841, the fourth of nine children of Jeremiah Scotland and his
by Jim Dillard
ing it. After a confrontation in which the corporal broke a vase that had been given to Clay’s mother by his father, he retrieved a rifle and killed him. As with many stories relating to Clay Allison, truth was seldom based on facts that could be verified but, nonetheless, they became part of the folklore that surrounded his infamous name. Learning of the opportunity to find work and land in Texas, Clay, along with brothers John and Monroe and his sister Mary and husband Lewis Coleman, left their homes in Tennessee and ventured west. On crossing the Red River near Denison, Texas, Clay became outraged at the price ferryman Zachary Colbert attempted to charge for his services. After an altercation that left Colbert unconscious, Clay and his party rode free into the Lone Star State. They eventually traveled to Palo Pinto County and settled on Hittson Bend located on the Brazos River east of the town of Palo Pinto near Oaks Crossing. Allison soon hired on as a cowhand for Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight and may have been one of the 18 drovers with Goodnight and Loving when they undertook the first cattle drive made along the Goodnight-Loving Trail to New Mexico in 1866. During the summer of 1867, cattle herd traffic increased along the Goodnight-Loving Trail as word of lucrative markets in New Mexico and Colorado sent more and more longhorns along the route. Goodnight and Loving drove another herd southwest along the trail toward New Mexico that summer followed closely by a herd belonging to John Simpson Chisum and Please see page 13
wife Mariah R. (Brown) Allison. His father was a Presbyterian minister and also farmed and raised cattle and sheep to support his family. Clay’s father died when he was 5 years old. Even at an early age Clay was known for wild mood swings and a quick temper many thought was the result of being kicked in the head by a mule. He helped on the family farm until the age of 21 when the Civil War broke out. On Oct. 15, 1861, he enlisted in Capt. W.H. Jackson’s Artillery Battery of the Confederate States of America. Three months later on Jan. 15, 1862, he was discharged because of what was referred to as an old head injury suffered when he was a child. He was described as being “Incapable of performing the duties of a soldier because of a blow received many years ago. Emotional or physical excitement produces paroxymals of a mixed character, partially epileptic and partial maniacal.” Determined to participate in the war, he reenlisted on Sept. 22, 1862, in the 9th Tennessee Cavalry Regiment, Company F of Col. Jacob B. Biffle’s 19th Tennessee Cavalry and served as a spy (scout) under “the wizard of the saddle” General Nathan Bedford Forrest. At the end of the war he surrendered with Forrest’s men on May 4, 1865, at Gainesville, Ala., and was briefly held as a prisoner of war. Allison and the other men under Forrest’s command were paroled on May 19th and allowed to return to their homes. Clay Allison is thought to have left Tennessee for Texas after killing a corporal from the 3rd Illinois Cavalry Regiment who had arrived at the Allison farm with the intention of seiz-
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 13
From page 12 driven by his brother Pittser. Ten miles behind Chisum’s herd was another belonging to John Nathan Hittson and further back a third belonging to Marcus Dalton from Palo Pinto County. This herd was driven by none other than Clay Allison. Knowing that other herds were on the same trail and wanting to secure the best prices for their cattle, Loving and One-armed Bill Wilson left Goodnight with the herd and went ahead to tie up contracts for their beef. It was on that trip that Loving was wounded by Indians; he later died of his wounds at Ft. Sumner, N.M. After that drive Allison returned to Palo Pinto County and worked for his brother-in-law, Lewis Coleman, and Irwin W. Lacy. When Coleman and Lacy moved their cattle to a spread in Colfax County in north central New Mexico in 1870, Clay and his brother John helped drive the herd. In payment, they were given 300 head of cattle. Clay took his share and homesteaded a ranch 9 miles north of present day Springer, N.M., at the junction of the Vermejo and Canadian rivers. The Allison brothers soon became well known around Cimarron and the small gold mining town of Elizabethtown where lawlessness was the rule. Clay’s frequent rowdy and drunken escapades on Saturday nights in those communities soon gave him a reputation throughout the region as a man not to be crossed. His violent temper and mood swings made him a dangerous man. During the fall of 1870 a man by the name of Charles Kennedy was accused of killing and robbing overnight guests in an isolated cabin on Palo Fletchado Pass and was being held in the jail at Elizabethtown, located between present Eagle Nest and Red River, N.M. Clay and several other men broke the man out of jail and dragged him with a rope around his neck through the streets of the town until he was dead. The legend of this incident tells of Allison decapitating the man and carrying his head in a sack 29 miles to Cimarron and putting it on a stake in front of Lambert’s Inn. His reputation as a gun and knife fighter continued to grow with more encounters in the bars and saloons of northern New Mexico. He became close friends with Mason Bowman after being outdrawn by him during a friendly competition. Bowman taught Allison the fine art of the quick draw and later became sheriff of Colfax County. In April 1871, Allison and two other men stole 12 government mules belonging to Fort Union commander Gen. Gordon Granger. When they again attempted to steal mules during the fall of that year, the military caught them in the act and chased them from the corral. During the excitement, Clay accidently shot himself in the foot but escaped to a hideout. From there he sent his friend Davy Crockett, a nephew of the famous American frontiersman, to fetch Doctor Longfellow from Cimarron. Allison eventually healed but spent the rest of his life with a noticeable limp. In 1873 he eloped with young America Medora McCulloch, who lived with her guardians Mr. and Mrs. A.J. Young on what is now the Vermejo Ranch in northern New Mexico, and his brother John married her sister. During their marriage, Clay and his wife had two daughters, Patti Dora Allison and Clay Pearl Allison. In 1874, Chuck Colbert, nephew of the ferryman Clay had assaulted back in 1866 when he crossed the Red River into Texas, found Allison in Cimarron, N.M. He sought revenge to settle the pistol to kill Clay but was shot first by the quick-acting Allison. They buried him behind the Clifton House. One of Colbert’s friends who came looking for Allison after the killing mysteriously disappeared and was never heard from again. When asked why he had dined with a man that likely wanted to kill him, Allison replied, “Because I didn’t want to send a man to hell on an empty stomach.” On Oct. 30, 1875, during the Colfax County War, it was alleged Allison led the lynch mob that hung Cruz Vega from a telegraph pole near Cimarron for killing Methodist circuit-rider Franklin J. Tolby. Allison had joined a faction of local citizens known as the Colfax County Ring who clashed with new owners of the huge Maxwell Land Grant and a group of lawyers, politicians and businessmen known as the Santa Fe Ring. When the land grant’s new owners began forcing established landholders and squatters to vacate their properties, an all-out war ensued. Many settlers turned to Allison for help in settling the issue, which he did. The town of Cimarron became the stronghold for the group and Allison became one of the leaders in the fight. In 1887 the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the owners of the land grant forcing many settlers off their lands. Much of the disputed lands became large ranches and a portion is now the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch. The following year during December 1876, Clay and his brother John stopped at a saloon in Las Animas, Colo., where they were confronted by Constable Charles Faber who demanded they comply with the local ordinance that prohibited carrying guns in the city limits. When the Allison’s refused Faber left but returned a short time later with two deputies. As they entered the saloon they opened fire on the brothers wounding John three times at which time Clay returned fire killing Faber. Clay and his brother were arrested for manslaughter but charges were dismissed since the constable had begun the fight. John eventually recovered from his wounds. Clay Allison sold his ranch in New Mexico during 1877 to his brother John and returned to the birthplace of his wife and sister-in-law at Sedalia, Mo. From there he soon moved to Hayes City, Kan., where he became established as a cattle broker. From 1880 to 1883 Clay ranched with his brothers John and Monroe on their ranch located 12 miles northeast of Mobeetie, Texas, at the junction of the Washita River and Gageby Creek in present Hemphill County. On one wild drunken spree, witnesses told of seeing Clay Allison ride naked through the streets of Mobeetie wearing nothing but his holster and revolver. It was there that he acquired his enduring moniker “Wolf of the Washita.” In 1883 he sold his ranch near Mobeetie and moved to Pope’s Well near where the Pecos River crosses the Texas-New Mexico line 50 miles northwest of Pecos, Texas, in present Loving County. A spring located 100 miles east of the Pecos River where Allison established his headquarters was later named Allison Spring and is now usually covered by the waters of Red Bluff Reservoir. On July 3, 1887, Clay Allison was killed when a load of supplies he was hauling shifted on the wagon he was driving causing it to overturn. A wagon wheel rolled over his neck killing him instantly. He was buried the following day in the Pecos Cemetery where a large crowd gathered for his service. On Aug. 28, 1975, Clay Allison’s remains were moved to Pecos Park located just west of the Pecos Museum. His gravestone reads: “Robert C. Allison, CSA, Co F 9th Tennessee Cavalry, Sept 2 1840, July 3 1877, Gentleman, Gunfighter.” A second marker was later added at the foot of his grave that reads: “He never killed a man that did not need killing.” It was estimated that Allison had accommodated at least 20 men of such need during his lifetime. The legends that surround the life and times of Clay Allison fill volumes and have been the subject of numerous western novels, movies and historical folklore. Once when asked what he did for a living, Allison replied. “I am a shootist.” Separating truth from fiction about his life is difficult, but his name lives on. From his early days in Palo Pinto County to his untimely death at the young age of 47, his footprints left along the Brazos River and in the hard scrabble hills of Palo Pinto County remain part of our local collective history and colorful folklore. c (Sources: Handbook of Texas Online, Wikipedia, and numerous other websites.)
score for what Clay had done to his family. Colbert was reputed to have already killed seven men and wanted to add Allison’s name to his resume. He first challenged Allison to a horse race which ended in a draw. Later while dining together at the Clifton House which had been built at a stage coach stop south of Raton, N.M., along the Santa Fe Trail, Colbert attempted to draw his
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 14
Chasing Our Tales
The Furniture Business
By Sue Seibert
began to write this piece thinking about the connection to the families about whom I wrote last month. Many of my Bowden and Routh families owned furniture stores, and I believed this would be a topic that might be of interest to my readers. It has turned into much, much more.
I grew up in the furniture business in Stephenville. My father had Ficke Furniture Store from about a year after the war was over (World War II) until 1958 when we moved to Mineral Wells. We had a farm between Stephenville and Hico, and on the side of a hill facing Highway 281, he wrote in rocks “Ficke Furniture Store.” Daddy, who was a cowboy and banker, didn’t mean to be in the furniture business, I don’t think, but my grandfather, Marvin Tilden (Doc) Bowden had been in the furniture business most of his life, and I guess he sold Daddy on the idea. I have googled Bowden Furniture and have discovered a lot of Bowden stores and Bowden-style furniture all around the country. I remember that when we first moved to Mineral Wells in 1958 there was a Bowden Furniture store in Weatherford, and I believe, when Raf and I moved back here in 1980, it
was still there. It’s gone now, and I think the building is, as well. (Someone correct me on this, please!) I have even found a furniture repair store in Great Bowden in Leicestershire, England, from where some of our Bowden family came! They advertised on Facebook! In a history book about Missouri, I found the story of Richard N. Bowden who was born in Montreal, Canada, the son of Lorenzo Bowden who was born in Bradford, Yorkshire, England, 1838. In 1865 the Bowden family came to America for better prospects and settled in Brookfield, Missouri, where first Lorenzo was a carpenter and cabinet maker for three years, then opened a furniture store until 1892 when he sold it to his son Richard. Richard married Vina B. Ives, daughter of Homer D. and Mary Eastman Ives. The Bowdens were quite successful, both in business and in society, and Richard became mayor of the city of Brookfield. The Bowdens had three children, Lorenzo Ives, an aviator in World War I, Homer Ives, a graduate of Missouri University in 1916, and Mary Elizabeth. Richard was a Mason, and Vina was a member of the P.E.O. (Philanthropic Educational Organization). However, before I can talk about local, or family owned, furniture stores, I want to look at the furniture business in Texas in general. When pioneers began to come to Texas, if there were families, they mostly brought their household furnishings; and until about 1870 most furniture purchased in Texas was made by local cabinetmakers. Please see page 16
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From page 14 Censuses and other records indicate that there were about 1,000 cabinetmakers making furniture in Texas between 1839 and 1880. The first recorded Texas cabinetmaker was William P. Lang in Houston. By 1880, however, locally made furniture was being replaced at a high rate of speed by imported, factory-made furnishing. In the early years there was at least one cabinet shop in each Texas county, and most towns had several. The areas where most of the cabinet makers worked were the Piney Woods of East Texas, the Blackland Prairie south of the Red River in North Texas, and the German settlements between the Brazos and the Colorado rivers in Central Texas; and the majority of the cabinet makers in Texas were Southerners with a significant minority being of German extraction. In 1860, while only 6 percent of the state’s population were German Americans, 33 percent of the cabinetmakers were German. Early furniture makers were also trained as builders of houses, cotton gins, wagons, and coffins, and many were, indeed, undertakers. They used hand tools and foot-powered lathes and produced such things as chairs, tables, beds, wardrobes, bureaus, settees, day beds, desks, and cupboards; but little upholstered furniture was made until around 1870 when Will Howe and William Patch of Galveston began making day beds upholstered with horsehair stuffed with Spanish moss. Wood, of course, was obtained locally from pine forests or from the hardwood forests along rivers and creeks, the primary varieties being pine, cedar and walnut. Pine furniture was painted with an oilbased paint or grained to imitate the more expensive woods, and it was often finished with glossy varnish made of copal. Texas furniture copied Plain Grecian or Restoration styles, and the German cabinet makers often worked in the Biedermeier style or in the German peasant form, Brettstuhl. Mexican cabinet makers copied styles developed along the Rio
Grande valley. In the 1880s Wenzel Friedrich established a furniture factory in San Antonio where he use animal horns for a rustic style which was popular in Europe and the Far East. Nineteenth Century Texas cabinet makers were often chair makers who used a turning lathe and a draw knife to make light ladder-backed chairs with rawhide or woven corn shuck bottoms. Anderson Dorris, a Tennessean who immigrated to Lockhart, Texas, along with his son, John, made 450 hide-bottomed chairs and sold them for $1.50 each. There were at least 40 other men who, between 1850 and 1880, styled themselves chair makers on the Census. Another chair maker, Henry Journey, established a cabinet shop in Galveston in 1850. He employed 20 men. Not only did he make chairs, he made case furniture and operated a blacksmith shop, a livery stable and a lumber yard, and built wooden buildings. H.H. Ward opened a similar establishment in Austin in 1840, and by the 1860s and 1870s Texas cabinet makers were competing with importers by employing more workers and by adding animal- and steam-powered machines to their shops. William Sheppard opened a shop in Tyler. He came from Kentucky in the mid-1850s. At first he used hand tools, but by 1860 he was in partnership with J. C. Rogers and they had a horse-powered lathe and three employees who made bedsteads, wardrobes and bureaus. They also had a retail department, or furniture store. By 1870 they had moved to Mechanicsville outside Tyler, where they had a 15-horse-powered steam engine, four lathes, two boring machines, a tennoning machine, and 10 employees. They retailed $5,500 a year, but by 1880 they had gone out of business. Other leading East Texas cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Abner Stith, Henderson, 1848-52; George W. Blake, San Augustine, 1850-70; J. George Woldert, San Augustine, 1842-55; Ransom Horn, San Augustine, 1850-60; Frederick Wolz, Marshall, 1851-71; W.J. Foster, Crockett, 1860-70; Hugh Hopkins,
Huntsville, 1856-68; and Frank Creager, Huntsville, 1860-74. The HYPERLINK “http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/jjt01”Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville also manufactured furniture, using convict labor. By 1870 Paris, Texas, in Lamar County, was the cabinet-making center of Texas. Willet Babcock’s shop there used horse-powered machinery and employed 12 men and three women and made $7,990 a year making furniture that included 400 bedsteads. In 1875 Babcock set up an 18-horse-powered steam engine, and by 1880 he employed 32 in Paris, as well as owning a smaller factory in Clarksville. However, he died in 1881 and both factories closed. James W. Rodgers, also in Paris, had four employees and produced $2,600 worth of furniture in 1870. He added steam power in 1879 and had a lumber planing mill as well as a furniture factory. He died in 1891, but his business continued under the name Rodgers Wade Furniture Company and is still in business today as a manufacturing facility. Other leading Blackland Prairie cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were James B. Shanahan, Clarksville, 184457; Jasper Longe, Clarksville, 1860-83; W.T. Skinner, Carter (Denton County), 1858-62; H.P. Davis, Fairfield, 1858-62; William W. Smith, White Oak (Hopkins County), 1850-60; W.B. Crawford, Mesquite (Navarro County), 1858-62; Peter Wetsel, McKinney, 1849-70; Isaac Crouch, McKinney, 1866-71; James Foster, Mantua (Collins County), 1868-72; John H. Spading, Waxahachie, 1860-78; Moses Mock, Hillsboro, 1868-72; James R. Manning, Sulphur Springs, 1868-72; and William Anderson, Waco, 1860-82. Leading cabinetmakers in the Brazos-Colorado region, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Heinrich Umland, Bellville, 1850-69; Johann Umland, Chappell Hill, 1854-81; Helmut Conrad Kroll, Chappell Hill, 1858-60; Caspar Please see page 18
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 17
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 18
From page 16 Witteborg, Chappell Hill, 1854-66, and Brenham, 1866-77; Charles Blank, Brenham, 1858-82; Joseph Massanari, Brenham, 186872; Heinrich Harigel, La Grange, 1851-92; Frederick Buntzel, Cat Spring, 1854-72; Gottfried Buescher, Industry, 1859-76; and H. Spencer Huby, Hempstead, 1855-62. Galveston was a prosperous cabinetmaking center between 1840 and 1850, as well as a major furniture importing center where showrooms were set up with furniture from New York and sold to wealthy customers in San Antonio, Gonzales, and Austin. Leading Galveston cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Daniel Lochied, 1848-52; Helmut Conrad Kroll, 1848-58; Johann Friedrich Ahrens, 1845-70; and Ernest Beck, 1868-72. Because of the availability of imported furniture, cabinetmaking in Galveston declined in the mid-1850s. In Austin there was a small cabinet-making industry from its founding in 1839, and by 1860 there were 10 cabinet shops. By 1870 there were two large shops in Austin, still using hand tools but making $9,000 worth of furniture a year. The railroad arrived in 1871, and by 1880 there was no one in Austin who described himself as a cabinet maker. Austin’s leading cabinetmakers, and the approximate dates during which they worked, were Thomas Bostick, 1854-58; J.W. England, 1858-68; W.W. Evans, 1866-72; and Joseph Hannig, 1865-72. Hannig was the husband of HYPERLINK “http://www.tshaonline.org/ handbook/online/articles/fdi06”Susanna W. Dickinson, one of the survivors of the HYPERLINK “http://www.tshaonline.org/ handbook/online/articles/uqa01”Alamo. Aesthetically, the finest of Texas furniture was made by the German-born cabinet makers of the Hill Country. They usually employed only one person and did not use power machinery. They had been trained, for the most part, in the guild system of Europe and held master cabinetmaker’s papers. For example, HYPERLINK “http://www.tshaonline. org/handbook/online/articles/fjana”Johann Michael Jahn, who had a shop in New Braunfels from 1844 until his death in 1883, served as an apprentice in Prague and received his Tischlermeister’s (master tablemaker’s) papers in Switzerland. Franz Stautzenberger, who made furniture at Clear Spring in Guadalupe County, was employed as a cabinetmaker at the court of the Duke of Nassau before coming to Texas in 1845.The Hill Country cabinetmakers often made highly
sophisticated furniture, working largely in walnut and pine. They developed a distinct regional style, and their furniture is easily recognizable. The leading Fredericksburg cabinetmakers and the approximate dates during which they worked were Frederick Winkel, 1845-52; Friedrich Gentmann, 1860-70; Johann Adam Kunz, 1845-61; William Leilich, 1845-70; Johann Martin Loeffler, 1859-92; John Petri, 1858-62; Christof Shaeper, 184572; Jacob Schneider, 1853-72; Christian Staats, 1845-85; HYPERLINK “http://www. tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/ fta13”John Peter Tatsch, 1852-85; and Carl Wendler, 1858-62. Other leading Hill Country cabinetmakers outside of Fredericksburg, in addition to Jahn and Stautzenberger, were Eugen Ebensberger, New Braunfels, 1860-70, and Heinrich Scholl, New Braunfels, 1846-80. By 1930 there was a nationwide interest in the collection of Texas furniture. The Winedale Historical Center, San Antonio Museum Association in Fayette County, and the Pioneer Museum in Fredericksburg have excellent collections of Texas furniture making. Now back to my family’s furniture business. My father, grandfather and various great grandparents and uncles sold furniture. However, so far as I can tell, none of them made any of the furniture they sold. However, this continues the furniture business in my family. The 1938 City Directory of Brownwood, Texas, shows that M.T. Bowden and his wife, Lora, my grandparents, owned a furniture store in Brownwood. Shortly after that, however, they retired to Stephenville where my mother and father lived. Daddy had worked in the Brownwood store before moving to Stephenville to work in the bank. My grandfather’s building in downtown Brownwood is still there, although it certainly doesn’t operate as a furniture store any longer. He built it just west of the jail house where his father-in-law, RD Routh lived as the jailer until he died at age 90 in 1944. And my father’s building is still in Stephenville, and it is now used as a deli. I’m proud that my family was a part of the history of Texas furniture makers and furniture sellers, and I hope you have enjoyed reading a part of this history. c If you have more information about furniture in Texas, please email me at HYPERLINK “mailto:sue_seibert@att. net”firstname.lastname@example.org
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 19
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by Don Price
The following hunting column appeared in the Wednesday, Nov. 20, 1963, issue of the Mineral Wells Index. It has been paraphrased. A total so far of eight deer have fallen to the feathered shaft, three bucks and five does, from early reports at the official checking station at Possum Kingdom. Rifle hunting has been slow and this should be blamed on the weather. Saturday was very warm with a strong wind, hot and southerly, not good weather for an active deer movement, and Sunday was 80-degree weather. Let the weather get colder, down to 25 or 30 degrees on some still morning, and as golden rays touch the pastureland and melt away the shadows, this will be ideal deer hunting weather. Listed below is a partial number of wellknown hunters who have scored early in this 1963 deer season: A party of 12 hunters set up deer camp to quickly kill 12 deer on the Scot Hart Ranch west of Brad. Other lucky hunters reporting kills: Don Burris, 8-pointer; Andrew Carey, 7-pointer; Charles Jones, 6-pointer; Mike Teichman, 7-pointer; Dexter Nash, 6-pointer; Peggy Wright, 7-pointer; Don Eichler, 8-pointer; Bill Crossland, 8-pointer; A.-L. Kizer, 8-pointer; Charles Jarick, 8-pointer; D.R. Lewallen, 8-pointer; Dr. A.T. Koonce, Jr., 8-pointer and doe; A.T. Koonce Sr., 8-pointer and doe; R.A. Dunn, 8-pointer and doe; Dr. Gene Wood, 10-pointer and doe; Dr. Wallace McDaniel, buck and doe; Dr. Ronnie Bradley, 8-pointer and doe; Paul Jordan, one buck and Please see page 22
cattered reports are coming in from all over the county for the 1963 deer kill, with both gun and bow.
The Possum Kingdom peninsula reports the hunting with bow and arrow has been good with more than 100 archers fanning the outback this weekend.
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 21
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From page 20 doe; Lloyd Holloway, 8-pointer; Robert Spurlock, 5-pointer; Don Bailey, a doe; Don Fangman, one buck; Kenneth McMinn, one buck; Harry Cohen, one buck and doe; Mac Taylor, 6-pointer; Ed Ford, 5-pointer; Doctors (brothers) Tom and John Key, one buck each. There are five known legal methods for taking white-tailed deer. The most productive method is hunting from a ground stand or perhaps a tree stand. The other methods are walking, driving, stalking and rattling. The rattling of deer antlers is productive in South Texas; however, it is not known (in 1963) to be successful in North Central Texas. Big-antlered deer are now beginning to show here and there since the temperature has dropped. I’ve seen numerous 10-pointers, some 11-pointers and a few 12-pointers proudly brought to town. Several hunters told of one 16-pointer, a mossback, being taken in the rough country north of Santo near winding FM4. This buck could possibly make the Boone & Crockett Club, an exclusive club for record heads; to make Boone and Crockett, a white-tailed deer must score 160 typical points (in 1963), and must be measured with a steel tape in several places; tines must be one inch or longer and the rack must be cured. The antlers almost have to be massive, having a very wide inside spread, long main beams and long tines to qualify. (You don’t really need binoculars.) Perhaps one old mossback has been taken in Palo Pinto County that qualified for the record book. This head was non-typical (180 points to qualify in 1963) and was a wall-hanger in Bill Watson’s Service Station at Metcalf Gap, about 10 miles west of Palo Pinto town. I heard that the monster was killed in ‘61 or ‘62; I’m sure that in olden days many prized trophies were taken by settlers with their black powder muzzle loaders time-after-time, but this was before Boone & Crockett. Too, these settlers didn’t kill for sport while using their trusty flintlocks (muskets like Elmer Seybold and Crockett Grimes preferred to carry); heck no, they killed for survival. Rex Proctor and Bill Houghton brought three deer to town Sunday. Others were Palo Pinto County Tax Collector John R. Winters 12-pointer; Sherman McCoy, 8-pointer; A.R. Moss, 8-pointer; C.M. Weldon, 11-pointer; John Ritchie, 10-point-
er; Cotton Morris, 10-pointer; Bob Flinn, 7-pointer; Don Eichler, 8-pointer (two 8-pointers for Don this year); Tommy Visentine, 6-pointer; Cordell Cooper, 10-pointer; Johnny Bricker, 11-pointer; J.A. (Arch) Hart, 10-pointer and Robert Probes, 8-pointer. Don Kearby tells of a fight he and Harry Shuffler witnessed between two buck deer Saturday afternoon about 1 p.m. on their deer lease; Don Kearby killed one of the fighting bucks, an 8-pointer. Harry Shuffler wound up with a 5-pointer and doe. To top it all, Don bagged another 8-pointer later the same afternoon, wishing all the while for a movie camera and plenty of film when all the buck fighting was going on. Without his having proof, Don Kearby knew he’d be laughed right out of the Can-Tex office by his boss and co-workers. Robert Lane, son of Harry and Dorothy Lane, is 13 years old and lives on their family ranch in a remote area 5 miles from a paved road (on the Stephens County line). Robert is a schoolboy who looks forward to weekends when he can spend his hours out-of-doors instead of inside a school room. This 13-year-old boy is a dedicated sportsman, well-read on outdoor lore. This year Robert used a 45-pound-pull bow and cedar arrow to drop his deer, a nice buck, later dropping an 11-pointer with his rifle. The following hunting column appeared in the Dec. 5, 1963, issue of the Mineral Wells Index. It has been paraphrased. The big white-tailed deer are still being brought in and they are larger this year. Several will go 110-120 pounds field dressed; one buck from the Gordon area field dressed 174 pounds. Palo Pinto County Judge John H. Smith slipped into town with a symmetrical 14-pointer, killed Nov. 27. His father, Palo Pinto County doctor Robert Henry Smith, has filled his tags on the first day of deer season for over 30 years, while hunting on the Belding Ranch, a guest of rancher Will Belding. Other hunters scoring in this 1963 season: Tommy Visentine, 8-pointer (two bucks for Tommy this year); Mrs. Lem Peters, 9-pointer; Judge W.O. Gross, 11-pointer; Jay Horton, 10-pointer; James Barham, 6-pointer; O.G. Dow,
8-pointer; Bill Wicks, 9-pointer; Bonnie Price, 7-pointer; Hubert Clark, 8-pointer; Bob Flinn, 8-pointer (two bucks for Bob this year). Three outstanding racks came in Monday. One of them, a 13-pointer, was dropped by Tim Long of Santo, extremely heavy horned; Charles Nicks of Palo Pinto brought in an extraordinary head with 11 points; the main beams measured along the outside curve were 30 inches; and a 19 ½” inside spread. Henry McClure’s rack, non-typical, had 13 points and a 19” inside spread. Antlers were extra heavy and hard, dried velvet was still showing. By multiplying the tines times the inside spread, this head totaled 247 points, the largest so far this season. So if you get a hankering to show up at Bill Watson’s Service Station at Metcalf Gap to measure the old mossback’s rack, please don’t go to too much trouble. Both are gone, the service station and the magnificent head, perhaps a chanceof-a-lifetime Boone & Crockett scoring. c
May 2012 • NORTH TEXAS STAR STORYTELLER & RAMBLER • Page 23
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