Thursday, December 16, 2010

Letters To Myscie: A Western Love Story By Suzanne E. Smith

Part 14 of the series

Letters to Myscie is a true story. It reveals to us a “yankee’s” view of the area and the times, and the impact it had on new comers. —Suzanne E. Smith

A continuation of the letter from May 12, 1883

It was quite romantic I tell you, sleeping there on the ground in the mountains miles away from everybody with our firearms by our sides ready for use in case of need. I slept pretty sound too for I was very tired. I awoke once during the night and there the bright moon was just over our heads shining down into our faces and the stars shining so bright they did look so pretty. I lay awake for a little while thinking about-can you guess? I finally went to sleep again and dreamed about being chased by something. I could not tell what, anyway I got away all right. In the morning when we awoke and looked about us there the cabin and corral and spring was only about 3/4 of a mile away. It was quite provoking to have gone so near and not to have known it. The first thing we did was to lead the horses to water for they had none since the noon before. Then to get breakfast; pack up and start off once again. At noon we reached another spring called the "Richest Well" at the foot of wild cat mountain where we camped for dinner and that night about sun down we arrived at Mr. Cowles cabin, which is called "Antelope Springs" because there are so many Antelope and deer come there for water. We see them every day but do not shoot them because we want to catch some young ones this fall. This was Sat Apr 28th; we had started Thursday. Sunday we fixed up the cabin and rested. At this cabin we have a stove and bed so we are fixed quite comfortable. We take turns in getting the meals and Oh wouldn't you girls laugh to see me getting up a dinner and washing the dishes? We have lots of fun though and some good laughs when we think of our Easten friends could only look in on us sometimes.
Monday morning we started out again bright and early to locate these ranches. I have been telling you about in my other letters. Now I will stop, for I am afraid if I write you too much all at once of this sort of stuff, you will get tired so I will continue from here in my next. The letter I began to you Thursday I did not have a chace to finish yesterday. I sent it last night. We will not start out until tomorrow afternoon (Sunday) so I will try and find time to write again tomorrow and answer the remainder of your letter. You are getting a little ahead of me I believe but never mind for I will soon catch up-Ha? at this rate?
Your loving Joe

Socorro New Mexico
In my room Sunday 12 o'ck noon May 13th 1883

My dear dear Myscie
Will you tire of reading my long letters Myscie if I do write three days in succession? I hope you will not for I do not tire of writing, and I am not so happy as when I am writing or thinking of you unless it be when I am reading yours. Did Ed send you my picture during the past two weeks? You know you asked about some more in one of your letters written before I left town. I was intending to print them myself before I left, but I went so suddenly I did not have a chance and so Ed said he would print you some and sent to you after I had gone. Did he send you any? I think he must have printed some for I found one the one I have here on the table, in the show case when I came back and then one more printed when I went away. I was intending to write to mother to-day but I do not feel one bit in the mood so have given it up for to-day. At least I received a nice long letter from Mrs. Dr. Hamilton yesterday. If you see her Myscie please mention to her that I have received her letter and will answer it the first time I come in to the city again. I have no time this time for we shall start just after dinner today and it is dinner time now nearly. You may explain to her if you will please, how it is I am so far from any P.O. and then she will not think it strange at not hearing from me.
Why doesn't Venie answer my letter? When you see him tell him I would be pleased to hear from him when he has the time to write to me. You have sent love and inquiries from several persons in your letters. I do not remember them all but give them my kindest regards and to any one who may see fit to inquire after, we return the same.
Did your mother's cactus live? They are just beginning to blossom out in the mountains and they are just beautiful. I assure you I wish I could send you some. Myscie you must not believe all you hear or all you read about the Indians out here in this country. I know the papers are full of reports and stories of the bluddy work and Eastern people think you can not safely slip out of your house down here with out being in danger of having your "scalp" lifted but believe me Myscie 9/10ths of all this talk is "bost" from beginning to end. Many of these reports are put into the papers and set in circulation for certain objects which I will explain to you some future time. When I tell you about the "Rustlers" as class dare devils who are as bad if not worse in their way than the Indians, their business is cattle stealing. To be sure, it was right in around us here where our ranches are, that the Indians did such bluddy work about one year and a half ago, but those days are all over for this section of the country and there is little or no danger from them again. So don't worry one bit Myscie for I assure you we who are here and know all about it, do not have the slightest anxiety about the matter.
You would hardly know me Myscie, if you should see me now. I look so rough. I will have my picture taken the next time I come in and send it to you in my full ranch suit; broad brim hat; belt; six shooter; rifle; bowie knife etc. I have let my beard grow too and I look in the glass, I can hardly tell whether it is me or some stranger there. I have got my hair cut clost to my head so you see I could disguise myself pretty well. I bet in a month from now I could walk into Darlington in my full suit and there wouldn't be a single person know me. You would see them running down the street for their life thinking the "cow boys" had come to take the town. I guess I must stop now for it is time to go for dinner. This isn't much of a letter Myscie I know, but some how I don't feel in the mood of writing a bit to-day. I want to see you that is all I can think about and I've got the "blues" I guess. I sat here for half an hour before I began to write looking at your picture and thinking of you. Oh dear if I could only see you just for a little while; but this will do. Write me often dear Myscie. With a kiss from you true and loving Joe. Love to your mother and all inquiring friends.

It has been “rumored” that the photo of Nana was taken in the Smith Studio in the middle of the night. It makes a very good story, and if so would have been taken after 1886. Join us next week as the life of J.E. Smith as a “cowboy” unfolds even more. 

Pictures (from top down): Magdalena ranch; Magdalena Mountain ranch; Nana (Warm Springs Apache leader, brother-in-law to Geronimo); J.E. Smith as cowboy.

All photos ©J.E. Smith Collection

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