1 day you wake up and all of your hero’s are gone. My Father is gone (more on a Mission he flew in a later post), my Great Grandfather is long gone. Its at these times you are thankful you stashed away write ups and articles on them that, at the time when they had been living, only went on the back burner. Below is a write up on my Great Grandfather done by a reporter by the name of Robert Ford in Oklahoma many years back. Each time I read it, the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. I thought I should of lived 100 years back. I always wanted to be like my Grandpa. Now I understand why. I hope you like the article.
Jessie James, Cole Younger, Geronimo all infamous names from American History of the’ “Old West”. To us now these are just names out of the past. We think of it as history. However, the (days of the true old West were again relived when Ivisited Peoples Electric Cooperative’s eldest member-a 97 year old true American cowboy from the days of the old west.
Jim Ingram was born in May of 1866 in Coffee County, Tennessee. When he was two years old, his family moved to Indian Territory by ox wagon. At a young age his mother died. When he was 7 his father died, and he’s been on his own ever since.
Jim Ingram still shaves himself, and he’s very few grey hairs in his entire head of black hair. He doesn’t look his 97 decades. He and Mrs. Ingram live on Route 2, Wyneewood, Oklahoma, where they’ve lived since 1919. The Ingram’s have been happily married since the Spring of 1899. They have one son, one grandson and two granddaughters. Their grandson is a Lieutenant Colonel in the Air Force.
“I worked with inventory and cattle all my life until I retired,” says Ingram. I have rode across Oklahoma when I’d never find a white man. There were not many homes and no fences.”
“Did you ever meet any of the old gun fighters and outlaws of these days?” I asked. “Oh, sure!” He answered, “I’ve seen a great deal of gun fighters while I worked cattle all over Oklahoma. I knew Jessie James quite well, but I knew Cole Younger even better. They would come to our cattle drive camps to hide out. I have slept in camp with them a lot of time. Jessie James was as calm a man as I ever saw. “He did not bother poor people, only robbed banks.”
“Well,” I said, “I guess you’ve had a good deal of interesting experiences?”
“Tell him about the time a tornado like to have got you.” said Mrs. Ingram.
“Well,” he said, “once I was riding my horse when this storm blew up
I could pull on the reins, but I had no control of my horse because we were up in the air, but I don’t know how high. It was so black I couldn’t see. Pretty soon, it set us down on the floor.
“Were you injured?” I asked. “No, we weren’t hurt.” he replied. “You know,” he explained, “I have seen wild buffalo where Oklahoma City now stands.
“I once worked issuing government beef to the Comanche and Apache Indians. The Indians would kill the cows immediately. I saw them eat the meat blood raw. When they were finished, there wouldn’t be anything left. They used it.”
“There was a time when you saw an Indian, and if the Indian did not run, you had better run.”
“Once, I had a horse race Geronimo at Ft. Sill when they had him there.”
“By granny, I won the race!” he replied.
1 time a friend and I went to an Indian dancing, but the Indians would not dance with us. I still have that snare. Quanah Parker’s daughter could speak better English than I could.”
The stories we read today, the T.V. and films we see about the “Old West” don’t tell the true story of the life of the cowboy. Spending hours in the saddle is hard work. It was hot and dusty in the summer and cold and wet in winter.
“You see men today,” said Mr. Ingram, “who say they are cow boys, but they couldn’t wear the slicker of the older real cowboys. I could tie a steer in 22 seconds, and would grab 99 throws out of 100. When we drove cows, we had a lot of mean horses, and we had to ride them without holding to the saddle horn. If you held into the horn, the other cowboys would whip your horse and make him buck. I was a true cowboy and a great one.”