Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Ol' Bob Routh, a story based on fact

“You ‘member Uncle Bob Routh, don’t ya?  He rode with the Texas Rangers down in Brown County durin’ the Indian troubles in the 1870s, right?” 

“Yup, he did that, and he sure had hisself an opinion on most anything you wanted to ask him ‘bout.  Even give his thoughts to the Brownwood Bulletin on more’n one occasion, and let me tell you, he was somethin’, that ole man.  He was somethin’.”



“Shoot, I ‘member when he whupped that preacherman from here to yonder. Rode his hoss right into the little Methodist Episcopal church, roped the feller, and drug him right outside in front of God and everbody.  Never did understand ‘xactly what happened there, but the rumor was that ole circuit rider had done messed with Uncle Bob’s oldest daughter, Mz. Bee.  Guess the reverend deserved the horse whippin’ he got, and that sure put the icin’ on the cake far as stories about ole Uncle Bob is concerned.” 

“Least-wise Mz. Bee married that Bowden boy what owned the furniture store.  Hope she had a happy life, but I heard she never was right after that, whatever that was.”

“Say, do you ‘member that time, back ‘bout 1875, when Dick Cheatham and Dick Smith run ‘crost that Comanche raidin’ party what kilt the whole of Bill Williams’ family whilst he was in town buyin’ supplies and what not?”

“Yup, ole Bill was one of them fellers what believed Comanches was jest misunderstood, peaceable folk with not a mean bone in their bodies.  Otherwise he’d never ‘ve left Mz. Williams and those two little mites there without some sort of protection.  Why I heard tell he didn’t even leave her with no gun!”

“That’s what I heard, and when he come home to his ranch, ‘member it was up on the Jim Ned, he found poor Mz. Williams a dyin’, one of the children dead, and the other poor little thing probably carried off by them blood-thirsty Injuns.  Never heard from her again, ‘s the way that story goed.”

“Times back then was dangerous, that’s for shore!  Times is better now.”

“Well, maybe so, but ole Bob Routh’s still a purty dangerous feller, and he’s, what, 91 or so.  Sure wouldn’t want to be held in jail there with him the jailer and Mz. Jenny cookin’ the food.  Heard she’s one terrible cook and meaner ‘n a snake on Sunday, you ask me.  But not meaner Uncle Bob!”

“Yeah, well, back to that raidin’ party o’ Comanches.  ‘member that there was the last Injun fight in Brown County, or so they say.  Took place, it did, up on Clear Creek, when Smith and Cheatham run acrost them Injuns.  Think it was right after they’d kilt Mz. Williams, but I knows for certain sure they didn’t have no children with them.”

“Yup, that fight didn’t last too long neither, and, ‘cept for one or two, all the Injuns was kilt, and Smith brought one dead Injun back into Brownwood and done set him up in the winder of Mr. Dave Hutchinson’s blacksmith shop.  They kept him there for a few days, ‘til the stink was God Almighty awful.  Then all the businessmen in town took that body out on the old Comanche Road and stuck it up in the big ole liveoak as a warnin’.”

“Oh, yeah, I ‘member what happened then.  The body finally fell outtin’ that tree down onto the ground and some of them roamin’ hogs done et it up.  Think that showed them Comanches who’s boss.  Never were no more raids after that.”

“But do you ‘member the time that old man, can’t ‘member his name, who kilt once too many times.  Shot his brother-in-law, carved a second notch on his gun.  Why, I hear tell he shot that feller in the mornin’ and went to a church picnic that afternoon.  Onliest thang was, Uncle Bob and ole Captain James found out all ‘bout it, and they shore went down to that picnic and arrested that old man.  77 he was, too, but meaner a snake.  Believe they hanged him before the next Sunday.  ‘course, Uncle Bob weren’t ‘fraid to bother church people, ‘specially after he horse whipped that preacher man.”

“Now, that Captain Jason James was a fine man, weren’t he?  Didn’t take nothing offen no body.  Not even ole Bob Routh!  Why, you know ole Captain James may ‘ave been a member of Quantrill’s Raiders. After all, his first cousin, Jesse, and Jesse’s brother, Frank, were both part of that band with the Youngers and all.”

“Yup, they surely was, but I don’t know about Captain James.  Mean as he was, he was always on the right side of the law, if you know my meanin’, and him and Uncle Bob was in some mighty scary situations, but they’s always after them Injuns or some other sorta bad guys.”

“One thing is for shore, Captain James looked ‘xactly like his cousin, Jesse.  Why they coulda been twins!  And he always carried a photograph of Jesse in his shirt pocket.  He told Uncle Bob onced he hoped he’d never have to go after Jesse, but I ‘spect he would if he hadda.”

“ ‘member the time James went down to Pecan Bayou to arrest that feller who was camped down there?  Believe that feller was a horse thief or some such, but Captain James went alone, way those Ranger always do.”

“Yup, he got down there to the Bayou, and the feller seemed all peaceable and such.  He told James he’d surely ride into town with him, and he asked James if he coulda got his coat outta his wagon.” 

“I ‘member.  James was bein’ particularly nice that day, I guess, and he didn’t cuff him or nothin’, let the feller go into the wagon, and the next thang he knowed the feller reached under the wagon seat, pull out his hand gun, and fired at James.” 

“ ‘course if was real close range, and James was hit hard, but he pulled his gun and shot back, and he kilt that sorry so-and-so.” 

“Yup, and Uncle Bob come along about then and carried James back to town.  James stayed at that roomin’ house over on Fisk what was run by Mz. Hattie Bowden, and it took him a few months afore he was back in the saddle and off rangerin’ again with Uncle Bob.”

“I think Uncle Bob took that shootin’ hard, and when his enlistment was up is when he gave up rangerin’ and went to runnin’ that general store with Mz. Jenny.”

“Well, one thing’s for shore.  Uncle Bob were one interestin’ feller.  Wish I knowed him better, but when I was a little ‘un I was plum skeert to death of him.  And I shore don’t want to get to know him from a jail cell!”

2 comments:

judie said...

Nope, I hadn't heard of Ol' Bob, but he sure was a character. I didn't know Texas had bayou's. I thought it was just cows and big rivers. (kidding)

Barbara said...

Interesting. I still have not got it into my brain that your blog has changed!

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