feature By: Leo J. Reminger | May, 20
The next series of articles will consist of various extracts from the Frank E. Conrad Ledgers.1 This particular article will detail purchases by hide-hunting outfits for the months of June, July and August 1877. Those interested in the hide-hunting era have always been curious to know what the typical hide-hunting outfit would purchase in regard to quantity and type of foodstuffs, ammunition and clothing when they reoutfitted prior to returning to the buffalo range. Unfortunately, we don’t know the duration of time each of these outfits was resupplying for.
These entries are transcribed from the ledgers, but in most cases, they have been reformatted. In many instances, there were errors in addition in the original entries, items returned, items incorrectly charged to the wrong outfit and multiple separate purchases on the same day by the same outfit. Some entries make no sense whatsoever. The number to the left of the outfit name is the customer number assigned to each outfit by Frank E. Conrad or his clerk. I tried to only include entries where it is obvious they are equipping to return to the range, but the interesting details kind of got away from me. I have, however, omitted many single entries for food, tobacco, alcohol and clothing purchases preferring to deal with larger quantities of food and ammunition purchases.
Those interested in the hide-hunting era will certainly recognize a great many of the names listed here. While my main intent was to capture hunter purchases, you will recognize that some are Frank E. Conrad employees and even T.E. Jackson who was a competitor of Frank E. Conrad in the trade.
The items purchased are certainly interesting. The one item that I would like to specifically point out – soap – shows that maybe these hunters weren’t quite the vermin ridden, “stinkers” we have been led to believe. Somebody was buying soap – otherwise Charles Rath would never have paid the freight on five boxes of soap that totaled 300 pounds! As you can see in the purchases, soap was a commonly purchased item, contrary to what we have been led to believe over the years. S
1. “Frank Conrad Ledger,” From the Collection of the Robert E. Nail, Jr. Archives of the Old Jail Art Center, Albany, Texas
2. "Henry Herron, Pioneer and Peace Officer,” J.R. Webb, West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol XX, PP 39-44, Poe, Sophie A., “Buckboard Days,”, The Caxton Printers, Ltd. Caldwell, Idaho, 1936, PP 59-60, 63-64, 83-84
3. “T.E. Jackson,” Pablo Balentine, The Sharps Collector Report, Volume 16, Number 3, Page 21.
4. “What An Old Buffalo Hunter Saw Who Helped To Exterminate The Herds That Darkened The Plains,” As told to A.B. Macdonald by George W. Reighard, Kansas City Star, November 30, 1930. “Stacks Of Buffalo Hides, George Reighard, Last Of The Buffalo Hunters, Is Dead-Funeral Tuesday,” The Dodge City Buffalo Hunters, Earle R. Forrest, Los Angeles Corral - The Westerners - Brand Book XIII
5. “Frontier Life of Uncle Joe S. McCombs,” W.G. Webb, Albany, Texas. “On The Cattle Trail And Buffalo Range, Joe S. McCombs,” Ben O. Grant and J.R. Webb, West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol XI, PP 93-101.
6. Cook, John R., “The Border and the Buffalo,” State House Press, Austin, 1989. Colorado Springs Gazette, Colorado Springs, Colorado, August 21, 1821 Montrose Daily Press, Montrose, Colorado, October 3, 1921 https://history.army.mil/moh/civilwar_af.html#DOCKUM
7. Remiger, Leo J., “The Buffalo and The Sharps – The Story of the Mooar Brothers – ‘Hidehunters’” unpublished manuscript, Page 88
8. Baldwin, Sam, interview with Earl Vandale & Hervey Chesley, Lordsburg, New Mexico, July 11, 1941; Haley Collection, Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library, Midland, Texas.
9. Collinson, Frank, “Jim Greathouse or ‘Whiskey Jim,’” Typescript, Panhandle Plains Museum, Canyon, Texas.
10. Baldwin, Sam, interview with Earl Vandale & Hervey Chesley, Lordsburg, New Mexico, July 11, 1941; Haley Collection, Nita Stewart Haley Memorial Library, Midland, Texas.
11. Handbook of Texas Online, “TEPEE CREEK,” accessed December 18, 2018, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/rbt14.
14. Remiger, Leo J., “The Buffalo and The Sharps – The Story of the Mooar Brothers – ‘Hidehunters’” unpublished manuscript, Page 53
15. Poe, Sophie A., “Buckboard Days,” Caston Printers, Caldwell, Idaho, 1936, PP 17-85, “Henry Herron, Pioneer and Peace Officer,” J.R. Webb, West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol XX, PP 39-44, Harry Landers Scrap Book, Various newspaper clippings with no heading or dates,
16. “Frontier Life of Uncle Joe S. McCombs,” W.G. Webb, Albany, Texas “On the Cattle Trail and Buffalo Range, Joe S. McCombs,” Ben O. Grant and J.R. Webb, West Texas Historical Association Year Book, Vol XI, PP 93-101.