things are more enjoyable to Ruth and I than prowling the Trew Ranch.
Now in the family for over 60 years, the changes wrought by Mother
Nature and time continually fascinate.
Ownership history goes back almost to the end of the Red River Wars
of 1875. The ranch abstracts show where Lewis Carhart, founder of
Saint's Roost and Clarendon, sold land to Sir Alfred Rowe, an English
rancher and founder of the RO Ranch and the town of McLean.
He was also body No. 109 recovered after the Titanic sank in 1912.
Our north boundary is marked by Old Trails Ridge where Indians traveled
from the creek bottoms of Oklahoma to Tucumcari Mountain. This same
ridge was chosen to place the Rock Island Railroad in 1900 to 1902.
Even later, in 1927, the ridge was designated Route
66, one of the earliest highway crossings America. One short
stretch of land 200 yards wide displays Indian trails, an old dirt
highway, a coast-to-coast fiber-optic telephone line, the Rock Island
Railroad right-of-way, Old
Route 66 and both lanes of I-40.
A number of old homestead sites are located here and they are marked
by concrete foundations and low places in the soil. A visit to these
sites after a hard rain usually reveals bits and pieces of the past.
Repairing fences along the old Railroad and Route
66 sites has yielded a number of tourism artifacts.
A 3-inch rain two years ago left a buffalo skeleton showing in a
cutbank buried about 3 feet below the surface. It appeared to be
a yearling-past with the hump ribs just beginning to form. We removed
the bones but found no evidence of the head.
A recent visit to the head of Bobcat Canyon where we used to see
the critters each time we rode by, revealed a sinkhole 10 feet long,
5 feet wide and about 14 feet deep. It was located right on the
edge of the cap rock and could not be seen from any distance. The
bottom displayed a cow skeleton which proved to be complete with
no broken bones. Now the mystery. Did she fall into the hole or
did the soil cave in with her weight as she walked?
Occasionally we find flint scrapers and arrowheads. More likely
we find piles of flint chips where an Indian lookout watched over
his group camping below in the canyon, while sitting on the cap
rock watching for enemies or settlers.
Another mystery never solved came when we found several empty, brass
.22-caliber cartridges at an old homestead down in Southwest Canyon.
Bois de Arc post stumps mark the lines of a small frame cabin and
a crude yard gate still attached to the only yard post. The cartridge
cases were bright and exhibited a Maltese Cross inscribed on the
My gunsmith son, Mike, sent the cartridge cases to a known ammunition
expert in Colorado.
After months of research he found they had been manufactured in
a small factory in Belgium in the early days but had never been
exported out of the country.
Now, how did those cartridges make it around the world and across
Indian land to end up at a settler's shack in our canyon? Sounds
like a plot for a novel to me.
© Delbert Trew
"It's All Trew" February
17, 2008 Column