Trading Horses

The first day we made it to Flint OK. We stayed all night with Bob BENNETT. A man that used to be our neighbor when we lived at Flint. The next morning we started on east we got into Gentry Arkansas late that evening. We run onto a man that had a farm close by to Gentry. He hired us and we went home with him. We fed all the stock, milked 8 cows and got to bed about 10:00 PM. We got up at 4 o’clock AM and fed all the stock, curried the work teams and harnessed them. We milked the cows and was in the fields by daylight. We was getting 75 cents a day. One the third day about 4 o’clock in the evening I went to where my cousin was working and told him I was a quitting. He was ready to quit also. I went to the pasture and got my pony and saddled her up. I then went to the house and got our pay and we started for home. We went through Siolam Springs about midnight. We ate breakfast in Oaks and we got home about noon the next day. Home sure did look good to me. I never did want to leave home any more.

I traded my little yellow mare for a four year old horse. A nice riding horse. My brother Callie had a 100 head of horses. I had another brother Tomie NEEL that lived 2 miles the other side of Callie. I started down to Tomies house one night to stay all night. I went by Callies and I let him talk me in to notion of trading him my horse for a 2 year old colt. The old colt never had a rope on it. We roped him and I saddled him up. He never bucked but I was all evening going them 2 miles. I bet I rode 10 miles [zigzaging all over the road?] that evening trying to get to Tomie’s house. I was give out when I got there. I didn’t sleep much that night. I got up early the next morning and started back. The old colt done a little better because he was on the road back home. I knew Callie always went to Tahlequah on Saturday and this was Saturday. I was afraid that he had ridden my horse to town. I went to the barn and my horse was there. I unsaddled the old colt and turned him loose. I saddled up my horse and rode down to the house. Callie had give me 10 dollars to boot. I gave the 10 dollars to his wife [Willora Bee NEEL] The next day Callie come over and he tried to get dad to make me give my horse back to him. Dad told him that he was not have anything to do with our horse trading. Boy was Callie mad a me.

Callie raised a race horse. He called him bullet. I owned him awhile. Dad raced him 12 years. He never lost but one race. He was running a race at Park Hill and he was running Bullet against a little mare. [I guess that this is when he lost the race] Shorty SIMS he was running the race with John HATCHCOAT riding the horse. I had a little roan mare, a half sister of Bullet. Jim HANEY, Woodrow HANEY’S dad was there. He asked me if I would trade my mare. I told him No. He asked me if I would sell her. I told him No. He asked me if I would bet on her ,I said yes.  He had a good 4 year old horse we tied the reins together. I won his horse. [It appears that they bet the horses on the race and Walter won ]. Another time dad was running a race with uncle Small BACKER, a race horse man. Dad was running Bullet against a horse called George. Bullet and him was half brothers. They run the race at Spring Creek up close to the Lucky school house. I had a year old colt and uncle Small had one. One of us had been trying to buy the other to match them up, Neither one would sell. We bet them and I won his colt. The last race we ran Bullet was at Locust Grove. I had a little quarter horse that I had bought at Ft. Gibson. He was fast but Bullet could out run him. They had a little horse at Locust Grove that the town folks thought was a great runner. I rode my horse and Callie rode Bullet and we went up to Locust Grove and stayed all night. The next day we  matched them a race. We gave them a choice of which horse they want to run against their horse. They chose Bullet. They thought he was to old to run for he was 14 years old. He was as fast as he had ever been. We won about 100 dollars. That was the last race that we run him in and that was the last time I saw Bullet for Callie sold him the next day. I heard of him when he was 28 years old. Some children were riding him to school. They said he was fat and fine. I believe that he was the best horse for everything I seen besides being a race horse. He was a work horse, a good riding horse, cow horse, a good roping horse.

That was the last gambling I done. Both horses that I won died.  I never won any thing that done me any good. I think the Lord was a trying to tell me it was wrong to gamble.
In 1918 I went to the Army. I had had some good horses. I had 2 _______ bred horses. They were half brothers. I  raised one and I bought one.  I give 175 dollars for him. That was a big price for a horse then. I had a little bald faced, glass eyed stocking leqed horse. He was the prettiest horse I ever owned and the smallest. I never had to go hunt him. He never went further than he could hear me holler. He would come a running and I never had to lead him. I could turn him loose and he would follow me. I had not been in the Army very long until my mother wrote me that dad had sold him. I wrote back and told my mother to tell dad to go buy him back.

The next letter I got said that he went and bought him back. I got out of the Army in 1919. [He never got over seas during the first world war.] My mother had been sick for a number of years. She had what they call consumption. A lung trouble and she was getting worse. I had a brother in Arizona. Dad thought he would take her out there. He thought it might help her.

He sold our place and in the fall of 1919 he had a sale and sold everything. I hated to sell my horses but I would have done anything if it would help my mother. I loved my mother very much. I was 23 years old when she passed away. I never went any where without telling her where I was going and when I thought that I would be back. If I was gone during the night when I came home a light would be still burning for me. After the sale dad bought a truck and we started to Arizona. We was 3 or 4 days getting to Shaneie Oklahoma. I guess dad was discussed for he traded the truck for a span of mules, a wagon and harness. I knew he was not going to go to Arizona in a wagon. I got on the train and went back. I had 2 brothers and a sister back close to where we used to live. In a few days I heard from my folks and they were at Ft. Gibson.  I got on the train and went down to Ft. Gibson.

They use to raise nothing but Irish Potatoes down there in the Ft  Gibson bottom. They raised 2 crops a year. They had just started to dig the fall crop. Dad had traded for a big span of gray horses. One horse weighed 15 hundred pounds and the other one weighed 16 hundred pounds. He had a good wagon and harness. I got a job hauling potatoes out of the field. They was in 100 pound sacks. I hauled some to Ft Gibson to a ware house and some I loaded on box cars. One day at noon dad told me a man by the name of Joe ETHRIDGE, who was a race horse man, had 80 head of horses down there in a lot. He wanted to sell me a horse. Dad said when you come in from work this evening I will go with you down there and look at them. That evening we went down there. It was hard to pick one for they were all so much alike. I finally picked a little sorrel that was 4 years old. He was well broke and gentle. I gave $122.50 for him.  In the mean time dad went back up just 2 miles west of where we started from and bought a man out. He bought his feed, and his farming tools, his house hold furniture and his stock but not the house or land. He rented the place for the year of 1920.

When we got moved, I ordered me a new saddle, Saddle blanket, bridle and spurs. I had about 300 dollars in my rig. All boys wanted a horse back then for themselves for you hardly ever saw a car on the road. The place that we rented was called the Gid MORGAN place. It was a good big place. Dad and I sowed 50 acres of oats. We planted 10 acres of corn, 30 acres of cotton dad had a share cropper that had 25 acres of cotton.


Biography, History,

Neel, Walter Alexander. Recollections of My Life.

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