Scrap Book


Old Timers' Tales of Gold
Bewitched Sands of the Pecos


This paper is not entered as 2nd class mail. It's a first class newspaper.
Scrap Book
  Packet Three of Pouch Two
Smallest newspaper in the world and the only 5 paged one.
Published at Fort Oliver
1000 Palms, California
Four Times a Year

But sometimes they don't have them.
Darned if I am going to the trouble of mailing it for nothing.
10 Years .....................  $5.00
100 Years .....................$50.00
    (Something  to  think  about)

Published by
Fort Commander, Publisher, Distributor, Lamp Lighter, Editor, Artist, Gardener, Janitor, Owner

Not a one of these names or places is COINCIDENTAL. THIS IS IT!

Pictures are by the author, many of them are woodcuts.

I did all but the spelling. Most of this material, pictures and writing is copyrighted — and branded.


Dear Mr. Oliver,

You are certainly welcome to reprint "Hell in Texas." If you want to extract any anecdotes or the like at any time for which I am responsible, feel free to do so. I am glad to meet your Desert Rat Scrap Book and send you a dollar for a two year's subscription.

Yours very truly,   J.FRANK DOBIE


(Some folks would call this an editorial)

J. Frank Dobie of Texas, whose name shows up in two other places in the packet, is the author of some fine books on the southwest. "Coronado's Children" is loaded with tales of Lost Mines and Buried Treasures. It is my number one choice of the ten best books on the southwest; number two would be "The Journey of the Flame" by Fierro Blanco, (about little known Baja California). Then back to Dobie for number three, "Apache Gold and Yaqui Silver." These three books are chuck full of legends, traditions, tall tales, and the lore of our southwest. (Your library should have them). And all desert rats should read them.

And this answers some of your letters as to what to read.

Your Editor is not saying what the next packet is to be. We had a Wind packet, Burro packet, the Mojave packet, and the Along the Border packet. —The wind packet had the best burro stuff, the Mojave packet a lot of Death Valley; this Along the Border packet has —?— from now on I am just going to grab the best stuff I can, and give the packet a number. Nevada, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Mexico, and the Californias, all mixed.

On the cover you will see that this paper sells for 10¢ in every state but Montana; I am mad at Montana. I lived in Montana in 1909, crossed from Missoula to Kalispell by 4 horse stage, when they were selling all our buffalo to Canada. I reprinted for them (in packet No. 3) the greatest dog story ever; it was Charles M. Russell's "Dog Eater." That great western artist from Montana was also tops as a humorist. I am mad and I have a map of the U.S. in front of me, and to find a state that I have fewer subscribers in I have to go east as far as New Jersey.

So if you live in Montana, send 15¢ for your trial copy.

The Editor

By the time this packet hits the water holes they will have machines to do a better and faster job of everything that people have to do in this world, except think and get the best part of a woman in an argument.

Your Editor finds that now days to be successful the world expects you to make money too.

Anyway, Truman learnt me something. When I got my quarterly dun from the income tax office, I just vetoed it and sent it back.


The cover. It's from the Gold Gulch Gazette, a little paper I printed at the San Diego Fair in 1935 . . . it too was a part of my 21-acre "Rip Roarin'st Mining Camp since '49." Remember?

 Truth is such a precious article, let us all economize in its use.

The Pack Rat's Nest

Your old editor sits at a desk, a grand old desk that you wouldn't expect to find in this old adobe fort. — When Lucille Montgomery of Mecca loaned it to me she told me there was an old superstition that if one works at the desk they are sure to become wealthy. Just one of those pleasant little bits of talk I remembered because I liked it — About three months ago strange things began to happen. I would put something away in one of the two long rows of pigeon holes and find it in a drawer two days later. Then one day I looked in a pigeon hole for my unpaid bills and darned if I didn't find them in with the paid bills. If I could only teach that PACK RAT to stamp them paid I, too, might become wealthy.

Say you that's reading this, I bet we can blame that Pack Rat for misplacing your letter. I meant to answer it. —Ed.


You Texas folks are not going to like this. The largest County in the U.S. is San Bernadino, California, with 20,131 square miles, two and aone half times the size of the State of Massachusetts. Next, Coconino County, Arizona, with 18,753 square miles — Nye, Nevada, 19,064 — Elko, Nevada, 17,181 — Mohave, Arizona, 13,404.

Rancher Sights Pronghorns ...

TOMBSTONE — While riding range west of here Mike Bakarich surprised two pronghorn deer. When Ed Schieffelin made his silver strike last century the entire San Pedro valley was well populated with antelope which furnished the main fare for Apaches. The last herd seen in theis vicinity, it is said, was in the fall of 1903 and the pronghorns have been considered extinct in this area for many years. Mike thinks pronghorns are like Tombstone — "Too tough to die." —Desert Magazine


a Desert Rat, "How far would you say it was to Quartzite?"

"Well," calculated the Desert Rat, "It's 24,992 miles the direction you're going; 'bout 27 if you turn 'round."


Bed is a bundle of paradoxes: We go to it with reluctance, yet we quit it with regret. We make up our minds every night to leave it early, but we make up our bodies every morning to keep it late. —Colton


This packet of the Desert Rat Scrap Book comes from the new presses of the Desert Magazine at Palm Desert, just over on the other side of the dunes from Fort Oliver. Randall Henderson, editor of Desert, and veteran newspaper publisher, says this is the first time in 35 years of publishing experience he ever turned out a 5-page newspaper.

Packet 3 Pouch 2     Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK     Page 3

In the Sunshine of the Pecos    BEWITCHED SAND

From J. Frank Dobie's CORONADO'S CHILDREN, by permission.

"My grandfather live in Pecos down there to be more tha a hundred years old," said Jose Vaca. "When I was young before he die, I hear him say many things, but I was not careful then to listen. He knew Indians that lived here in this Pecos peblo and he bought a piece of land from one of them. After he pay for the land, and the Indian was leaving to go far away, the Indian he say: 'You have here now more wealth than is in the world elsewhere.'

"'How?' ask my grandfather. 'Show me.'

"Then the Indian take him and a burro to where was some sand in the creek. They put some sand in sacks and bring it on the burro, and they get twenty-five dollars worth of gold out of that one load of sand.

"That night the Indian disappear, and the next day my grandfather he go with two burros and load both with the sand. He bring it up, and from it he do not get one thing. Nothing, I tell you. That old Indian is gone, but he has his eyes on the sand. Maybe he was a brujo (a wizard). Maybe the sand was embrujada (bewitched). I do not know. I know when the Indian is gone the gold is all gone too."


  I cannot say how the truth may be;
  I say the tale as 'twas told to me.

An onion is a food that builds you up physically and drags you down socially.

"The most difficult character in comedy is that of the fool, and he must be no simpleton that plays the part."   —CERVANTES

"If I owe Smith ten dollars, and God forgives me, that doesn't pay Smith.   —R.G. INGERSOLL

"Lew Lewis of Indian Wells says a fellow gets tireder working two hours at something he doesn't like than he does working fourteen at something he does like.

Desert Tortoise Pulls In Its Neck

Lily de la Cerda of Guatamala while here at Fort Oliver told a story about her sister, Graciela, who had a baby tortoise which she kept for a pet. One day it died. Graciela placed the dead tortoise in a little box and buried it.

A few days later while lamenting the loss of her little pet, she met it coming up the pathway to her home.

Over The Hill

Writing of the old stage drivers in his "As I Remember Them," C.C. Goodwin, the kindly Nevada newspaperman, said: "As it is, the old race have all passed away, as did that driver in Sacramento who, when dying, whispered: "It's a down grade and I can't reach the brake."

May the Great Mystery make sunrise in your heart. —Sioux. By Thomas P.Brown.   —The Western Pacific Reporter


Judgin' from some radio programs, it's a lot more important to sell soap than to use it. —Foxtail in Prairie Partner

The fellow who makes the same mistake over and over doesn't keep his eyes open. There are thousands of other mistakes close at hand which he could make. —Foxtail in Prairie Partner

The American people spend more for government than for food. They get more bellyaches out of it, too. —Wisconsin Horticulture

The Newspaperman and the Paperhanger

In the forward of Bennett Cerf's new book of humor, (he says, If you know a good story, publish it from time to time.")

So I am reprinting this yarn from Packet one pouch one. —Ed.

Nogales, Ariz— A few months ago old man West died here at Nogales. His two sons, Ted West, a newspaperman, and Bill West, a paper-hanger, received $250 from the small estate. Bill, the paper-hanger, deposited his in the savings bank, where it still remains. Ted, the newspaperman, had always had a great yen for tequila in fancy bottles, and expended his heritage in the purchase of a grand array of the fanciest he could find. He had just finished drinking these, and has sold the strange, fantastic, empty bottles to a tourist for $360.


"A FORD WILL LIVE three years here in the desert — a dog three times the years of a Ford — a horse three times the age of the dog — a man three times the age of the horse — and a burro lives three times the age of the man."

It was Sandy Walker a'talkin' to the regular bunch of counter-sitters at the Busy Bee store. Even Col. Kashin didn't stop him after that three times eighty-one, all was too busy a'figurin' I guess, and on he went.

"You never see'd a dead burro none o'you, ain't any of you going to live long enough to know how long they live either?"

"An' you what's prospectin' with Fords is outa' luck, you won't find fold. Why they cut roads an' railroads into mountains an' thru deserts an' across all kinds o'land for years an' never hit gold on roads, you gotta get out with burros an' find it."

"I been out here in the desert twenty-six years, six years huntin' gold an' twenty years huntin' for my burros. I didn't find my mine while I was huntin' gold either, I found it while I was a'huntin' them dad-burned run-a-ways."

"Them Ford ridin' prospectors wasn't sayin' nothin' jest a'lookin' at each other like sheep. Did yo uever [sic] think what us desert rats owes to burros?" he asks. "What about those water holes? Every last one of 'em coverin' fifteen hundred miles from here clear up to the Snake River is known to us because a burro found it."

"You don't have to hunt Fords," says Jake Topper.

"Suppose that's mighty consolin'," snorts Sandy as he steps outside, then all of a sudden the air gets blue. It's Sandy lettin' out the longest, finest string of cuss words we've heard in these parts. I come a'runnin' to see what was wrong. It was a'plenty. His burros got loose an' was hittin' off for the horizon as tight as they could go.

"Come," says I to Sandy, "get in the Ford, we'll round 'em up."

As we chugged along on three cylinders the old flivver hotter'n a cowboy's pistol on Fourth of July, homeward bound after hours of high class cussin' an' wranglin, I was admittin' to Sandy that burros rate prize number one for enlargin' desert cuss word vocabularies.

"Stop," yells Sandy lookin' across the wash we're ridin' down. "That's likely lookin' rock yonder," and that DEAR POSTERITY is when we staked out our claims on the now famous Burroford Mine. From My Book Desert Rough Cuts


I have a friend who is recognized as a philosopher and has written a number of books. In his latest effort we find the following:

"A driver on a Mexican stage was asked about the people who live in the villages on the mountainside. He said: "There is a narrow road up the mountain. Some of those people live and die without ever seeing a city. Many of them never read a newspaper.' And then after a thoughtful pause he sighed and concluded: 'They are very happy.'"

I asked Dry Camp Blackie if he was a Folk Lorist, and he said — Nope, I'm a Poor Folkest.

Screwbean Benny

If you don't know what a screwbean is, you won't see as how I've named Benny right. A screwbean is the bean of the desert mesquite an' its shaped like a corkscrew so's it can twist itself into the sand an' get to grow.

Benny is already growed an' lives down in the windiest part of the narrows. He lost sixteen hats the first year he was there. Then he finds he can screw them hats on, usin' the wrinkles in his forehead to hold'em an' take'em off with a big pipe wrench stickin' out of his 'dobe wall.

It's so damned windy at Benny's place he's had a pack of trouble. 'Course you can have trouble without wind, like I had once when I put up two windmills which was one too many for the amount of wind we had over in my corner. Benny's trouble was contrary-wise to mine. He had to anchor his windmill against the long barn to keep it from blowin' away. He's awful near-sighted, Benny is. I think it come from lookin' so much at things close around him, checkin' up all the time to make sure the wind ain't took them.

Just after that ornery blow-storm last Friday night Slim Law comes back from with the news that he's out to make an arrest. Benny comes along soom after and doesn't notice how Slim's polished up hs deputy sheriff's badge. Ever since the big storm Benny's been feeling too low to notice much of anythin, 'cause the wind finally took his windmill — barn an' all.

Meetin' Slim Law cheered him up a bit an' he got confidential and told how it happened.

Accordin' to his story, when she started to blow he was takin' a siesta in his 'dobe house an' he wakes up dreamin' he's been yanked out of bed by a howlin' coyote an' finds himself blowed onto the floor and the wind a'hollerin' like it's crazy and a'cuttin' a ninety-mile gale through the window.

He goes out to see what's doin' an' the wind helps him along so fast he has to hang onto a rock. He can't go back an he daren't go ahead, so he just hangs onto that rock while the wind proceeds to unscrew his hat and thin out his whiskers.

Benny's windmill got twirlin' so fast it was a'shriekin' like a factory whistle, an' the first thing Benny knows, up she goes, barn an' all, like she was a big paper kite.

There was no arugin' [sic] with that wind, but Benny gave it a lot of cussin'. It took the windmill clean out of sight an' kept Benny wrapped onto the rock so's he couldn't move if he wanted to.

Benny hangs on about an hour. Then the wind whips around sudden an' changes to the east and he's blowed clean back to the house again. Then he hears a familiar whir an' darned if he don't see that windmill an' the barn, passin' over the house headed west.

Benny's mad. He grabs his gun an' shoots four rounds of buckshot out the west window, tryin' to cripple the windmill, but he couldn't stop the darn thing.

Durin' all of this story Slim's been look' glummer an' glummer at Benny, an' now the whole thing don't seem to set right with him.

"Benny," Slim says, severe, an' stoppin' the polishin' of his badge kinda regretful-like. "I'm afraid youre [sic] the man I'm lookin' for."

"Your barn an' windmill's all cracked up east of here. It never got blowed back. It might interest you to know that I'm lookin' for an hombre that shot at the airmail Friday. That shooting' was done at the narrows an' the plane was headed west."

"Meanin'?" says Ben.

"That you're the hombre," finishes Slim.

"Wal, 'spose I did shoot at the plane," snaps Benny. "The durn thing has no right asoundin' like my windmill. I'll take it up with the government. It warn't no fault of mine."

"You better lay low," says Slim, "and put in a mail-order for eyeglasses, 'cause the next time you take to shootin' at a plane, I'll have to take you to the hoosegow."

"What was the idea of shootin', anyway?" says I, as soon as Slim Law clears out.

"To bring down that jug of hard stuff tied under the rafters of the barn," says Benny.

"Oh," says I, seein' daylight. "That's different."

Somehow, right then, I had a nice warm feelin' for Benny. I guess I was just sorry for him. 'For I knew it, I heard myself sayin', "Things is allus slack on Monday. 'Spose I lockup up the store an' you an' me investigate east of here. Be a shame to waste a perfectly good windmill . . ." From my book Desert Rough Cuts, A Haywire History of The Borego Desert, printed back in the days when we spelt Borego with one (R).

Dry Camp Blackie

Dry Camp Blackie says, desert animals are undependable in hot weather — complained today that the pack rat he had taught to bring him kindling every morning, brings twice as much in hot weather as in the cold weather months and wants many more crackers in payment.

He is worried about his ant proof bread box. Says the horned toad he has on watch under the bread box complains that it doesn't get enough ants to eat.

Blackie says the two badgers he has trained for prospecting are over-doing it and have dug up his garden three times just keeping in practice.

Says his burros alarm clock attachment is two hours ahead of daylight savings time. So his troublesome days start early.

This Newspaper   DOCTORS CRY FOR IT

More than 200 per cent of the doctors endorse this newspaper — NO CIGARETTE CAN TOP THAT.

Blackie (galluped) to the doctor. His signed statement was, "I read it, cut it in two, sent it to two other M.D.'s, and they both O.K.'d the half they first had, swapped halves and O.K.'ed it again, then sent it back to me.

After 27 catgut stitches it folds O.K. and I am sure will be O.K. and should live to a ripe old age.

Fort Oliver has one bedroom with path.


One burro, the ugliest little desert canary they could lasso, is heading for the New York orphanage via TWA air express this week, compliments of Constable John "Red Ryder" Joslin of Red Mountain and Jess Kell.

The project started when Joslin met a group of youngsters from the orphanage at a party given by western screen star Monte Montana and other celebrities. Red met the boys and before he had finished talking with them, they had secured his promise to ship a real live burro back to the home.

So last week, Joslyn and Kell made the trip to the Slate Range, roped a half dozen and selected the beauty of the lot for shipment. —Randsburg Times

Page 4   Packet 3 -- Along the Border Packet   This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector

Harry Oliver's

Along the Border

At a desert crossroad at Patagonia, Arizona, there is a road sign which reads, "Take care which rut you use. You'll be in it for the next twenty miles."


Two buzzards were lazily winging over the Arizona desert when Howard Hughes' jet-propelled plane suddenly went hurtling by, its exhausts belchig flame and smoke. The buzzards silently watched it disappera into the Western sky, and then one of them found his voice. "Holy carrion," he said. "Was that bird in a hurry!" "Listen, Lucius," opined the other, "you'd be in a hurry too if your tail was on fire." —Bennett Cerf


Up near Flagstaff, two eagles battling over the body of a young goat, atop a powerline pole, caused a short circuit and shut off the power from several small communities. The charred bodies of the eagles and the goat were found at the foot of the pole in a tangle of wire, insulators and burned crossarms. Seems to me that deserves more than mere mention — it has "epic" proportions. —Don's Digest, Brewery Gulch Gazette, Bisbee, Arizona

Hunting Cactus with Your Toes

Along the western deserty coast of Baja California is a place where cactus collectors take off their shoes to hunt for cactus. A small type looks just like the pebbles that cover the ground but sure don't feel like them to tender feet.

Ted Hutchison, Desert Plant Wizard of Rancho Mirage says, "You can find about three of rour of them to the square foot." Editor's Note— I knew Ted was a square sort of fellow, but I did not know he had square feet.

The department of education in Mexico wants the children in that country to look to the old Aztec god, Quelzacoati, for their presents each Christmas, rather than Santa Claus.

Western Books


Americans no longer are "Gringos" in Mexico, not even to the Indians, Octavio Spindola, Mexican Ambassador to Chile, said. The word "Gringo" never was specifically applied to Amereicans, but was a term for any foreigner.


Back in the early California Rancho days when the squeak of the Careta (Mexican two-wheel cart) got too loud, a man on foot would dash up and pour tallow on the wooden axle. This was how the gringos came to call the Mexicans "Greasers." I got this from a book just off the press LEE SHIPPEY'S It's and Old California Custom

A Mexican Story From "MY L. A." By Matt Weinstock
New York Current Books Inc.   $3.00 at your Bookseller

Miguel was a grizzled old fellow of sixtyfive. He was charged with drunkenness. When he pleaded guilty, the jusge asked: "Have you ever been in here before?"

"Si, Senor," said Miguel. "Don't you remember, it was two years ago? You asked me in what year Columbus deiscovered America."

"I remember," said the judge. "You were boracho then too, weren't you? You couldn't answer the question."

"No, I could not answer then, but—" with the pride that knowledge brings— "today I know 1492!"

The sobriety test was good enough for the judge, who recommended leniency.

How To Get Along In Mexico

Is just one of the many interesting bits of information contained in

  Sonora Sketchbook

(Illustrated by the author)

Chapters have such titles as:

The Love Life of the Jumping Bean

The Social Aspects of Carrying Water

The Illiterate Book Seller


The Begger Who Smelled Like Violets

$5.00 at your Book Store


His desert sketch book is temporarily on the shelf because he was seduced by a blond widow who died over 150 years ago.

Feliciana Arballa went on the Anza Expedition riding horseback from Central Sinaloa to San Francisco. Hilton's new beek "Feliciana" is the account of Anza's Expedition through her eyes.


A 'dobe house is fireproof, if built right, and one story high; earthquake proof, dust proof, sound proof, heat and cold proof, rat and termit proof, oh, and yes, bullet proof and almost proof against bad design, due to the thickness of its walls and damned if they don't take on more character with age.

I like that paragraph, it's from packet one pouch one — I like to live in a dobe house and I like to see people build a good dobe job, — saw one you should see — The Palm Desert Adobe on Highway 74 one block off 101 [sic] in Palm Desert. It shouldn't be called a motel, but it has ten units with solid adobe walls, individual fireplaces, view, lots of sun, not a motel but an opportunity to live like the Don's. [sic]

Mr. and Mrs. Vernon P. Peck Jr. have sure done a good dobe job, it's a real Desert stopping place. (Not a screwball cardboard row of boxes you would call Modern.)

So You Are a Hermit

You may have some kin folks that don't understand. So here is some ammunition. Let them read the words of some of our greatest thinkers

I love to be alone, I never found the companion that was so companionable as solitude. —THOREAU

Looking around on the noisy inanity of the world, — words with little meaning, actions with little worth, — one loves to reflect on the great Empire of Silence, higher than all stars; deeper than the Kingdom of Death! It alone is great; all else is small. —CARLYLE

The longer I live the more my mind dwells upon the beauty and the wonder of the world. I hardly know which feeling leads, wonderment or admiration. —JOHN BURROUGHS

Climb the mountains and get their good tidings. Nature's peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop away from you like the leaves of autumn. —JOHN MUIR

Happiness in this world, when it comes, comes incidentally. Make it the object of pursuit, and it leads us a wild-goose chase, and is never attained. Follow some other object, and very possibly we may find that we have caught happiness without dreaming of it; but likely enough it is gone the moment we say to ourselves, "Here it is!" like the chest of gold that treasure-seekers find. —NATHANIEL HAWTHORNE

It is easy in the world to live after the world's opinions; it is easy in solitude to live after our own; but the Great Man is he who in the midst of the crowd keeps with perfect sweetness the independence of solitude. —EMERSON

No matter what the geologists says, [sic] gold is where you find it.

Swank Palm Springs Paper Says

The trouble with this country is that the Indian didn't have strict enough immigration laws.

Sign on little stand way out Highway 99:   1000 palms - 100 palms, 29 palms - 9 palms, 7 palms - 4 palms. You Are Now in NO PALMS, CALIFORNIA

Originality is simply a pair of fresh eyes.

Old Fort Oliver Open to Public

The Fort Commander has made arrangements for the desert season to exhibit the collection of Vernon Peck (well known collector of music boxes of the Gay 90's firearms from the Civil War period and miscellaneous western relics) combined with Oliver's desert collection the public should enjoy this Desert Rat Museum and Circus and anything can happen.

Harry Has Given An Appetizer

To Really Know Our Desert Read

Edited by Randall Henderson

For 11 Years the Desert Dwellers Bible

Send 25¢ for sample copy - - - PALM DESERT, CALIF.


[image: sheet music with lyrics]
Oh, the Devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained;
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being shut in a prison pen;
So he asked the Lord if He had any sand
Left over from making this great land.

The Lord He said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's away down south on the Rio Grande,
And, to tell you the truth, the stuff is so poor
I doubt if 'twill do for hell any more."
The Devil went down and looked over the truck,
And he said if it came as a gift he was stuck,
For when he'd examined it carefully and well
He decided the place was too dry for a hell.

But the Lord just to get the stuff off His hands
He promised the Devil He'd water the land,
For he had some old water that was of no use,
A regular bog hole that stunk like the deuce.
So the grant it was made and the deed it was given;
The Lord He returned to His place up in heaven.
The Devil soon saw he had everything needed
To make up a hell and so he proceeded.

He scattered tarantulas over the roads,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sands with millions of ants
So the man that sits down must wear soles on his pants.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steer,
And added an inch to the jack rabbit's ear;
He put water puppies (1) in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks he put rattlesnakes.

He hung thorns and brambles on all of the trees,
He mixed up the dust with jiggers and fleas;
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The heat in the summer's a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
And all who remained in that climate soon bore
Cuts, bites, stings, and scratches, and blisters galore.

He quickened the buck of the bronco steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede;
The wild boar roams in the black chaparral
It's a hell of a place that we've got for a hell.
He planted red pepper beside of the brooks;
The Mexicans use them in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Greaser and then you will shout,
"I've hell on the inside as well as the out!  

From "Hell in Texas," by George E. Hastings, Southwestern Lore, Publications of the Texas Folk-Lore Society, edited by J.Frank Dobie.

This song is attributed to John R. Steele of the United States Signal Corps, "stationed at Brownsville in early frontier days."

(1) The word that went here was a corrupt form of ajalote — Texax-Mexican [sic] for that wondrous and hideous form of aquatic salamander, so common in the tanks and troughs of West Texas, known as water-dog or water-puppy. —G.H.

Two Stories of Old Fort Oliver

By Ben Bean

Back in 1788 as the story goes, soon after the Paula [sic] Branch Mission was completed, some sturdy Franciscan fathers arrived at Mil Palmeas and started a small branch mission. According to the old story the 13 arches that had been built crumbled from earthquake shock and discouraged the builders who left in a severe sandstorm to return to mission San Luis El Rey.

As near as historians can determine, it was in 1858, the heighth [sic] of Butterfield stage days, that Enrico Oliveras with the help of his two brothers built the Wells Fargo stage station in between the ruined arches.

A year later the stage road was changed and Enrico, discouraged, went back to Mexico.

In 1874, when the railroad came to Mil Palmeas, the old ruins were again roofed and an addition added, and was used by Frederick William Oliver, a railroad surveyor, as his headquarters, and received its name, Fort Oliver.


Fort Oliver, as it is called today, is said by some old timers to have been build years ago by a showman, Harry Oliver, also known in Mexico as Enrico Oliveras.

An expert and an authority on early Californian architecture who has collected and surrounded the old Fort with true western relics.

He is the same Harry Oliver who spent years as an expert on Western Art and research for the motion pictures of Hollywood, having been the Art Director on the pictures, "Viva Villa," "Will Rogers Pictures" also designer of western exposition shows at Fort Worth, Dallas and San Diego, author of 50 desert stories.

He is a leader in treks in search of lost mines and buried treasures such as the Peg Leg, Lost Gun Sight, and Lost Dutchman mines.

You may have seen him at Rodeo and Western shows in his old rickety 1928 Ford Station Wagon.

Whiskers, his famous dog, and he will be selling his well known publication, "The Desert Rat Scrap Book."

Editor's Note — Ben Bean has made one slight overstatement in his two stories of the old Fort — it's about the dog. I don't always have "Whiskers," my dog, with me.

The "Screaming Sands" of "Smuggler's Charybdis"

The Algodones, fascinating sand dunes 20 miles west of Yuma, Arizona, lie one half in the United States and one half in Mexico, 75 miles long and from 18 to 24 miles wide. This sea of sand dunes (some two hundred feet high) is free of as much as a blade of grass but for one oval-shaped island one half mlong [sic] straddling the border. This is— "Smuggler's Charbydis."

A flowing spring, its water quickly blotted up by the sand dunes; desert growth as one would find 20 miles east or west; the free whie sand sloping to the gorund on all sides — no explanation of this permanent wind eddy (it is an outward — instead of an inward eddy) that screams the screams of a woman in a whirlpool has come to the Editor these many years. — The smugglers camp here miles away from road or trail, watering their burros — knowing the screaming of the ravishing woman means their fresh tracks are erased from the desert sands.

From the unpublished book by the Editor, THE LEGENDS OF MOTHER DESERT, with 100 paintings in color by the great Desert Painters of today.

Look nice in Arizona Highways wouldn't they?

LEGEND: A lie that has attained the dignity of age.

Pack Rats, Desert Tortoises, Horned Toads and Chuckawallas have a time taking care of a baby chick away out on the desert in this kid's book — a well told story with many fine pictures.

By Rita Kissin
Pictures by Sari

$2.00 at you bookseller or Reynal & Hitchcock, Inc., 8 West 40th St., New York, N.Y.

Special offer to Libraries in the West

I have a few complete sets of this magazine, that is the first 7 packets and will let you have the back packets at the same price as the new. Send $1.50 for 3 years, and the first year and ¾'s will be sent you. (Libraries only.)

Packets 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7 can be had by anyone at 10¢.

ONE YEAR $2.00         SINGLE COPY 25 ¢
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen



Our Aim and Object — To rescue for America the old Pioneer Spirit by relating true stories of famous Frontier Trails.

Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to
500 Virginia Ave.
San Mateo, California
Published Monthly at Placerville, Calif.
Formerly Hangtown
WANTED: — by elderly man, experienced irrigator, permanent Desert Caretaker position, with modest dwelling on nearby tract with water, on installment or life-tenure plan. Excellent references. E.B. Hill, 387 La Cadena Dr., Riverside, Calif.

We Ship 'Round the World

Just Send us YOUR GIFT LIST and . . . WE DO THE REST

Dates fro mAmerica's Desert Oasis [sic]
Coachella Valley, California


Readers Digest found Russ Nicoll. You Write to him, THERMAL, CALIF.


Everyone is Southern California knows of or has been to Knotts Ghost Town.

It's for you folks way off in the other corners of our country that I describe it. — It's a composite of Old West Ghost Towns; unlike a museum, it works. You get right in to it; relics, yes, but no hands off signs. Camera clubs, student artists and writers find the old West all around them. It's a school to them that's lots of fun.

Old timers relive their pioneer days here in the sun while swapping lies. Paul Bunyan's face would surely be red were he to visit Mrs. Knott's kitchen and know that sixteen thousand biscuits had been baked there many a day in four hours. These facts are known to many but I am about to tell some facts about this Ghost Town that not even the Knotts know.

The Transplanted Ghosts at Knott's

I had worked putting this paper to bed all the night before and was on my way back to the desert after sleeping the day through. There was a light fog — my old station wagon creaked with the weight of the 15,000 copies I was taking to the desert to mail to you readers. — it was about 2 A.M. — I wished I had not talked so long to "I.W. Harper" — I said to myself, (one gets to talking to one's self when you mix your nights and days all up like I had) "if I pull in to Knotts place maybe I can sell about 1,000 or maybe 1,500 copies to Ray Hetherington's book shop, taking some weight off those weak old springs."

The half-moon was coming up through the light fog as I pulled in to the empty parking place. The old Ghost Town looked spooky, I thought. As I stopped my car a cordial voice said, "Hello, Mr. Oliver." I had not seen him as I turned in, but he stood not over three feet from my car, his white whiskers not quite as white as his smiling white teeth — I had never seen him before but I liked something about him, his smile — Stepping out of the station wagon, I asked him jokingly, "How are all the Ghosts tonight?" "Most of them are pretty happy," he answered. "In fact they're having a great time over in the Music Hall, but we will go meet them after a while." Then he went on to say, "You know, Mr. Oliver, I read your Desert Rat Scrap Book, and I kind'a knew you would like the folks that run this place after midnight. They're nice people and they like Mr. Knott and are so happy he keeps bringin' in the old stuff they knew so well when they were on the day shift. We all help him find it."

"Come," he said, "I'll help you meet the folks; I'm going to call you Harry Oliver like we are talking to them. It's better publicity for you; you see these Ghosts, as you call them, can sell a lot of your papers by suggestion." "How," I asked. "Well, I could wait and let you hear them at the dawn meeting, but I tell you they sure work together, they want this town to be just like towns were back in their day shift days, so each night they dedided what to tell Mr. Knott to think of next. After the vote they go one by one to Mr. Knott's house and each whisper in his ear as he sleeps, just how and what they want. Mr. Knott doesn't know where the ideas come from, but this town grows just as the finest group of Frontier Ghosts ever to come together have planned it."

"You see we have two kinds of Ghosts here. To be a real upper-class, top-flight Ghost, you must have parts of your day shift belongings on display in this museum of memories. As an example, you will see Lola Montez dancing with Wild Bill Hickock. Lola is a real ghost. The fourth music box as you come in to the Music Room on the left was hers. She found her bustle in the Old Store and the Book Storee has three books that were hers.

"To Wild Bill Hitchcock, we voted a pass, because he is such a fine fellow. He was introduced after Paul von Klieben painted his picture for Mr. Knott. Three times we have whispered in Mr. Knott's ear where to get Wild Bill's guns, but I guess they cost too much. I used to be Chief of that fire-fighting apparatus." He pointed into the old Fire Barn we were passing. "One reason I know you so well, Harry, is that we have some of your belongings here, the Indian stone and Olla you sold Mr. Knott and that big gold nuggett. If you were to have a fatal accident on your way home, we would send you a rider with two flying horses and an invitation to come here and stay."

"Harry, you are in for it, here comes Kate. She is the only one here that doesn't like Mr. Knott. Maybe you can help her." My bearded friend tipped his hat to a tall redheaded lady in green. "Kate, this is Harry Oliver, who is very friendly with desert buzzards and is not afraid of sidewinders. He may be with us soon. Tell him your story; maybe he can help you."

"I know you, Harry," she said, "you play with Ghosts. You planted all those peg-legs in the desert to give the rock hounds some hope of finding old Smith's lost mine. Some of the day shift people did not like it, but I can't see why. The fish and game commission plant fish for the fishermen. Why shouldn't you help the Sunday prospectors?"

"I want to tell you my story, Harry. Fifty years ago I lived in Pasadena. I loved horses, and as a wedding gift my husband made me a present of the first rubber-tired buggy that ever rolled up Colorado Boulevard. I loved that red wheeled buggy. I think if you would tell Mr. Knott that of all the Ghosts here I am the only one he has hurt, he might change and help me. Nine years ago he and four men picked up my buggy and set it over a yourn eucalyptus tree. Year after year the tree has grown. It will break my lovely red-wheeled buggy into a thousand pieces, like the wonderful one horse shay, on Friday the 13th of May 1949. Tell him, Harry, ask him to please save it."

As I was promising her I would try, and she was explaining to me that Mr. Knott knew I was kind'a in touch with the little man who pulled the ice box light, and he would understand that it would be possible for me to talk to Ghosts and know about her and her treasured red-wheeled buggy, my white-bearded friend returned. "Harry," he said, "an old printer that owned the old time Washington Press over in the Western Book Store wants to tell you where some fine old type is buried. He says it has some odd old type faces that you haven't got and it's just what you want for your paper."

I looked at him in his 49er shirt. "Gosh," I said, "I bet someone here knows the desert and could tell me where the Lost Peg Leg Mine is." He shook his head saying, "It's not for you to find; you are not to get rich, Harry." "Come, we'll find out about that old type." As we walked toward the book shop, Kate said to me, "Dawn is coming and we must go soon, but I will be listening when you ask Mr. Knott to save my buggy." The old printer said it would take some time to tell me how to find the old type, and to come back some other night. Then he faded right into the old print shop. I looked around. Everyone was gone; the sky was getting light and I was sleepy.

Editor's Note — To prove this is the truth, just look at your 1949 calendar. May the 13th is on Friday.


A Great Collection of Relics. A Faithful Reproduction of a Composite Old West Ghost Town.
Open Daily, 12 noon to 9 p.m. Come and have FUN and a GOOD DINNER


22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles

Howdy Pardner!   Come to

where the old West is Young again.

For information on rates and transportation see your Travel Agent or write for a copy of Howdy Podner Booklet to

Chamber of Commerce


The All Year Spot of the Desert



PLAY — In the Sun - - In the Water and Under the Wind
250 Feet Below Sea Level
Salton Sea — A beautiful inland body of salt water — area 306 square miles, 25 0feet [sic] below sea level. Its salt content is twice that of the ocean — Its surface is the fastest motor boat course in the world.
Swimming and Boating
Desert and Seashore Homesites

9½ Miles East of Meca, [sic] California

THE WELLS FARGO HISTORY ROOM, located in the bank's building at 30 Montgomery St., contains relics of pony express and covered wagon days; an original Hangtown stagecoach; early western franks and postmarks, firearms, pictures and documents.
Open to visitors 10 to 3 daily
10 to 12 Saturdays


San Francisco


[image: burros at chain-link fence]
Work on construction of 245 miles of fence on the border between Douglas, Arizona and Agua Prieta, Sonora, Mexico, is expected to start soon. Ranchers have asked the seven to eight foot barricade to stop border crossings by stray animals.


The rocking chair is an original American invention dating back to about 1765.

Man is the only animal that can be skinned more than once. —Edwina Root

Won't be long now till we'll have somebody besides the Weather Bureau to blame if we're short of mousture. We'll cuss out the rainmakers' union.

A Fort Worth newspaper printed a personal ad that read, "If John Blank, who deserted his wife and baby twenty-one years ago, will return, said baby will knock hell out of him."


CALEXICO — Through service on the newly completed Mexico City-Mexicali railroad is expected to start soon. Railway and federal officials predict the new transportation facilities will make Calexico the biggest and most important port of entry on the Mexican border within five years. Mexican officials say Mexicali's population, now estimated at 65,000, will double within the same period. The road, finished January 5 with the closing of the 220 mile Punta Penasco-Caborca link, offers through connections with Los Angeles. —Desert Magazine


Bats have been used to send messages across the border. Like homing pigeons, bats will return to the cave from whence taken. Smugglers liberate them after contraband is delivered.

JUAREZ, Mexico — Prevention of cruelty to vegetables was the big news story here today. After much discussion the authorities proved that the Mexican Jumping Bean has a nervous system, and doesn't like being placed on hot plates — sunshine jumping was said to be O.K.

Lower California is the least known portion of the world, even in the U.S., its only land boundary. Yet it is the home of one of the largest copper mines in the world, also the pearls from the bay of La Paz (taken out in the 17th century) are among the Crown Jewels of Spain. (Wonder who is wearing them now.)

Over 3,000 different herbs and plants for therapeutic use were grown in Montezuma's Mexican botanical gardens years before the discovery of America.

It's a fact, that the Mexican national coat of arms was originated before Columbus discovered America.

All text was lovingly hand-entered (no OCR scans) by RIC CARTER who stakes a claim to the copyright for the layout and markup, but not to the contents, which remain the property of the heirs and estate of Harry Oliver, wherever they may be. Hopefully all the original typos were preserved and not too many new ones were introduced, but y'know how it goes...
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