4 COOL DESERT SUMMER PACKET
This Page is Dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist -- The Desert Prospector
Harry Oliver's DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
A Cousin Jack
For a number of years I was working at the Shattuck mine in Bisbee Arizona. Among the old timers working there was an old Englishman from the tin mines of Cornwalls, [sic] commonly known around there as the "Cousin Jack." We called him "Silver" because of his snow-white hair. Because of his years wih the company and his advancing years, he was given a light job. He traveled around through the various drifts watching for air line leaks, and his sole equipment was a pipe wrench, that he carried, stuffed down in one of his boot legs.
At noon time during lunch, boys coming down to eat in the drifts while stopes aired out of smoke from noon time blasting, various subjects came up; mostly, talk of daily accomplishments. One was telling of his previous work. He and his pal had on one occasion mucked clean a twenty-five ton drift, and had trammed it at least a distance of a half mile, and had done this in one 8 hour shift. About this time old Silver came along and stood listening to the stories. He cocked one eye at the wrench in his boot, and said smilingly, "Ah, I'll tell ye, it's great to be a mechanic. But let me tell you what I done one time in England, when I was a lad like you fellows. I mucked forty-two cars off the rough, in two feet and a half of water, with a square point shovel mind ye, and trammed it a mile and a half and dumped it down the gob." The boys began to laugh, in as much as that would be a month's work, but Silver cut in, "Ye needn't laugh, that was before lunch mind ye. After lunch I sat up me machine, drilled a 22 hole round six fit deep and shot going off shift."
—Thanks to Chas. C. Bailey
A well-dressed gunman walked into the Tonopah Club and said politely, "Now ladies and gentlemen, all those in favor of leaving this place alive kindly hold up their hands." The bartender socked him in the head with a loaded crockery spittoon. Velvet Rose a dance-hall girl said, to the bartender — "quick dump some water on him so's he can look nice and be polite when he comes to, remember this is a high-class place."
Desert's most quoted Newspaper
Darn near miss 'em
A big buck Indian had just ordered a ham sandwich at a drugstore and was peering between the slices of bread whn he turned and said to the waiter: "Ugh, you slice'em ham?" The waiter replied: "Yes, I sliced the ham."
"Ugh," grunted the Indian. "You darn near miss 'em."
Guide's got'ta tell 'em
"These rock formations," explained the guide, "were piled up here by the glaciers."
"But where are the glaciers?" asked a curious old lady.
"They've gone back, Madam, to get more rocks," said the guide.
Felix Palmsburg heard a knock on his door one day and bought five hundred dollars worth of gold mining stock. He thought it was his opportunity — but it was the agent's.
Only a fool argues with a skunk, a mule, or a cook.
NOTES IN THE SUN
Few people realize it, but Indians are becoming of greater importance in the affairs of the Indian Department. Superintendents of three big Arizona reservations are Indians: THomas H. Dodge, Navajo, superintendent of the San Carlos Apache Agency, San Carlos; John O. Crow, Cherokee, superintendent of the Fort Apache Agency, Whiteriver; and Harry L. Stevens, Apach, [sic] superintendent of the Papago Agency, Sells.
For Tales and Trails of the Desert West Read the NEW
Published Every Other Month
Lost Mines, Ghost Towns, Humor, Geology, Gems, Minerals, History, Folklore, WIldlife of the Desert West
Edited by Harold and Lucile Weight
29 Palms, California
One Year—$1.50 Single Copy 30c
Just an Old Friend
Your Editor has been asked many times why he is such a booster for "Bull Durham" tobacco. First it's the desert's best smoke — but second is the memory of the many times I have emptied a bag of "Bull" into my steaming-leaking, Model-A-Ford radiator — thereby getting home.
The Town half-wit, says, the stranger-fellow he changed the tire for last week should be back soon and is going to give him a good job DEHORNING HYDRAULIC RAMS.
SHADES OF THE OLD WEST
The national archery champion, believe it or not, is a resident of Tempe, Arizona, and the best five archers in the country are Arizonans. The noise you hear is the two-gun desperados at Boothill Cemetary, Tombstone, turning over quietly in their graves.
"Once Upon a Time and a Half"
Grave diggers in Memphis, Tennessee, have been unionized. Signed up with the CIO Canners and Packers.
All good union men should plan to die on Thursday or Friday to give their brothers a shot at some of that "Time and a Half."
BOURBON SPRING By CAPT. R.A. GIBSON
This actually happened at Silver Lake, Cal., in 1906. Mr. Hargreaves, ex mule skinner of the Mormon Church, Salt Lake, came into Silver Lake during the spring of the above year and had the blacksmith sharpen up three or four Iron Rods (about ¼") bending the other end to form a good hand grip.
When I asked him what he was going to do, the old man said he was going to the "Devil's Playground" to search for 2 wagons he had lost there in the '80s. This is his story:
He was freighting from San Berdoo to Salt Lake for the Church and since the old road crossed the Playground (just East of the present Junction of the T&T Ry and the San Pedro, Los Angeles & Salt Lake Ry) it was always necessary to drop at least one wagon on the Daggett side of the playground and take one to the Hard Pan road on the north side, doubling back for the other. On this trip he had two wagons and a trailer with hay and water, so dropped one wagon and the trailer just inside the Mesquite and managed to get across the Playground before the Sandstorm got too bad. He was marooned there two full days without water or food for the animals, and when he returned, he could find no trace of road or wagons. He returned to Daggett with his animals after taking them to Soda Lake for water.
He said the wagon contained 4 bbls. of Bourbon Whiskey and 20 kegs of Iron Nails together with some other articles which he could not remember. Many times in after years he stopped for a day or two and searched everywhere for some trace of his lost outfit, however, no trace was found and inquiry from time to time failed to show that the wagons were ever found.
He left Silverlake a few days later and proceeded to the Playground to start his search.
I went down to see the old man a couple times and found him prodding each and every sand dune with his sharpened rods. He had set up rock piles on the North side and also on the South and in these he had put rods with white banners so that he might keep a general line between them in his search.
One day, on my second and last trip down, I asked the old fellow what would if he found the wagons, his reply being: "Boy if I find those wagons my fortune will be made. I figure that the whiskey will be about half evaporated and that what remains will be just like cream. So, with at least 2 good barrels of 300 proof whiskey at about $1.00 per swig, I won't have to work any more."
5 weeks to get a divorce.
6 months to get a hunting licence.
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
KNOTT'S BERRY PLACE
BUENA PARK, CALIF.
22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles
T. R. GOODWIN Tells a Story of Death Valley's Most Colorful Indian
Edith Murphy had spent most of her fifty-five years among the Indians and was sent down to Furnace Creek by Carson to run the trading post and ride herd on the Indians there.
The winter she spent there was a great success and the entire village looked on her as sort of a fairy godmother, and took her acid criticisms and corrections all in good part for there was always sweets for the kids, thread, needles and cloth for the squaws and cigarettes for the bucks. Old Johnny was her pet and she fed him candy all winter long.
At Easter time she was ordered to Oklahoma and the entire Village gathered to see her off. Old Johnny stood in the background apparently entirely unconcerned. When all the farewells had been said, Johnny still remained mute.
"Johnny," she called, "Are you not going to say Good Bye after all the good things I have given you this winter?"
Stirred from apparent lethargy he replied, "Lots of White Women," and shuffled off.
Superintendent, Death Valley National Monument
More Gold From Beatty The Town 90 Miles From No Where
Well, Stevie, just read your story about Beatty, "90 miles from no where" an Oasis on the Nevada desert.
It sure was interesting. One thing we old timers did not like too well, was you mentioning the population of Beatty, being one hundred. Now Stevie, we boast about 350 souls, besides 65 kids and kidlets, also cats and dogs. My, my, I never did see so many cats and dogs, pidgeons, [sic] all sorts of birds and also turtles, we have right around 16 of them under our Hotel, they have hibernated for the winter, you see, my Old Man and I own the "Beatty Hotel" that you mentioned. But after reading your article on Beatty, I am thinking of giving it a new name, either the Ghost Hotel or Robbers Roost. I think Robbers Roost would be better as we have had so many exciting times in this old Hotel.
You only mentioned a few of the things that have happened here. I will tell you one thing that happened just a little while before you got here. I went out to the "Hot Springs" (you mention) to take one of those "mineral baths" I went into the little Bar that they have there and met an old gentleman who asked me if I knew of any Ranches near here for sale, as he said that he wanted one for his son. I told him yes, there were several for sale around Beatty, and he told me that he was going to stay in Beatty, for the night and he wanted to know where there was a good place to stay. Naturally I told him about my Hotel. He went around visiting the liquor emporiums till about 4 o'clock in the morning. Then from 5 till 6 o'clock, he robbed 6 one arm bandits. 6 o'clock on the dot, he walked up stairs to his room. I was awake at the time. He walked so funny up he steps, I got up and peeked out to see what was the matter, never did I see such a sight, he was a short little old man, and his leather coat was so full of something besides his self you would have thought he had a big Bustle all around, and his pants were so tight across his hind end, it looked like they surely would burst open, he went to his room O.K. and put his hat on a chair, crawled in bed with all his clothes on, including his shoes, he slept for about one hour, then sailed out. The "Law" came around to see if I knew about this little old man, and then I told them how he went up the stairs, the "Law" said that must be the fellow who robbed the one arm bandit, sure enough they sent word to the surrounding towns and the law caught him near Tecopa. I understand he got from one to 14 yeaars, so it don't pay for a person to do too much robbing around these here parts. Take us as a whole around Beatty, we have a lot of compassion and love for our fellows [sic] men. Those that we really feel they should be helped, we pass the hat, and sometimes we pass the hat to get enough gas for their old cars to get them out of town, as we don't like to harbor "that kind."
About 1905 an old timer of Beatty started a lumber yard in Ryolite while the town boomed, he boomed too, but Beatty is his home now, as Beatty has such a wonderful climate. He and his family are neighbors of mine, we have quite a conflab together talking over old times, history of Beatty and surrounding country is sure something to talk about, and I don't mean maybe. There was the 22 mule team freight, 2 teams more than the oiginal 20 mule teams of the Pacific Borax had. [sic]
I contend that Beatty is rich in history as well as Tonopah and Goldfield, gold, silver, lead, tungsten and fluorspar are just a few of the minerals around Beatty. There has been thousands of dollars in gold taken out of here, and still there are millions left for the yourner generations to dig out. One of our gold miners took out their first shipment in aeroplanes. Now what do you know about that? Beatty is the heart of the Bull Frog, that used to be on the back of the old checks the banks issued in those days. Take Nevada as a whole, she is a wonderful, rich state, and I am proud to live here.
Now when in Beaty visit our new Gaming Resort an ELEVEN MILLION dollar joint known as the Sands, it is located in the Beatty south side extension project, 114 miles south of Beatty's main business district. Near Beatty's suburb, known as Las Vegas, Nevada.
Arizona's Peg Leg By WALT MASON
Old Gomer, of Yuma town, was never known to wear a frown, or for man's pity beg, although he stumps along his way, and does his work from day to day, upon a wooden leg. And every time he does out doors he meets some peevish guy who roars about his evil luck; some fretful gent with leg of flesh who, when vicissitudes enmesh, proceeds to run amuck. Strong men with legs of flesh and bone just stand around the streets and groan, while Gomer pegs along and puts up hay the long hours through, and sounds his joyous whoopsydo, and makes his life a song. Old Gomer never sits and broods or seeks the hermit's solitudes to fill the air with with sighs; there's no despondency in him! He brags about that brasswood limb as though it were a prize. Sometimes I'm full of woe and grief, convinced the world brings no relief until a man is dead; and as I wail that things are wrong I see old Gomer hop along and then I soak my head. I've noticed that the men who growl, the ones who storm around and howl o'er fate's unwise decrees, are mostly Fortune's special pets; and then the man who never frets is one with red elm knees.
BILL NYE'S STORY of BIG STEVE
You think, no doubt, William, that I am happy, but I cannot say that I am. I will tell you my little reminiscence if you don't mind, and you can judge for yourself."
These were the words of Big Steve, as we sat together one evening, watching the dealer slide the cards out of his little tin phonograph album, while the crowd bought chips of the banker and corded them up on the green table.
"You look on me as a great man to inaugurate a funeral, and wish that you had a miscellaneous cemetary yourself to look back on; but greatness always has its drawbacks. We cannot be great unless we pay the price. What we call genius is after all only industry and perseverance.
"When my father undertook to clean me out, in our own St. Lawrence County home, I filled his coat-tails with bird-shot and fled. Father afterwards said that he could have overlooked it so far as the coat was concerned, but he didn't want it shot to pieces while he had it on.
"Then I went to Kansas City and shot a colored man. That was a good many years ago, and you could kill a colored man then as you can a Chinaman now, with impunity, or any other weapon youcan get your hands onto. Still the colored man had friends and I had to go further West. I went to Nevada then, and lived under a cloud, and a 'nom de plume,' as you fellers say.
I really didn't want to thin out the population of Nevada, but I had to protect myself. They say that after a feller has killed his man, he has a thirst for blood and can't stop, but that ain't so. You 'justifiable-homicide' a man and get clear, and then you have to look out for friends of the late lamented. You see them everywhere. If your stomach gets out of order you see the air full of vengeance, and you drink too much and that don't help it. Then you kill a man on suspicion that he is follering you up, and after that you shoot in an extemporaneous way, that makes life in your neighborhood a little uncertain.
"That's the way it was with me. I've got where I don't sleep good any more, and the fun of life has kind of pinched out, as we say in the mines. It's a big thing to run a school-meeting or an election, but it hardly pays me for the free spectacular show I see when I'm trying to sleep. You know if you've ever killed a man—"
"No, I never killed one right out," I said apologetically. "I shot one once, but he gained seventy-five pounds in less than six months."
"Well, if you ever had, you'd notice that he always says or does something that you can remember him by. He either says, 'Oh, I am shot'! or 'You've killed me'! or something like that, in a reproachful way, that you can wake up in the night and hear most any time. If you shot him dead, and he don't say a word, he will fall hard on the ground, with a groan that will never stop. I can shut my eyes and hear one now. After you've done it, you always wish they'd showed a little more fight. You could forgive 'em if they'd cuss you, and holler, and have some style about 'em, but they won't. They just reel, and fall, and groan. Do you know I can't eat a meal unless my back is agin' the wall. I asked Wild Bill once how he could stand it to turn his back on the crowd and eat a big dinner. He said he generally got drunk just before dinner, and that helped him out.
"So you see, William, that if a man is a great scholar, he is generally dyspeptic; if he's a big preacher, they tie a scandal to his coat-tail, and if he's an eminent murderer, he has insomnia and loss of appetite. I almost wish sometimes that I had remained in obscurity. Its a big thing to be a public man, with your name in the papers and everybody aftaid to collect a bill of you, for fear you'll let the glad sunshite into their thorax; but when you can't eat nor sleep, and you're liable to wake up with your bosom full of buckshot, or your neck pulled out like a turkey-gobbler's, and your tongue hanging out of your mouth in a ludicrous manner, and your overshoes failing to touch the ground by about ten feet, you begin to look back on your childhood and widh you could again be put there, sleepy and sinless, hungry and happy."
SELLING FABLES AND MIRAGES
THE CALICO PRINT SAYS:
Holding firmly to the belief that Harry Oliver is the only first line American humorist in the grand tradition to develop since Will Rogers, we're happy to find the best of his Desert Rat Scrap Book material the Borrego chronicles from the now scarce Desert Rough Cuts, together with information about Harry, in permanent form in The Old Mirage Salesman.
The book was compiled by Harry's daughters, Amy and Mary, and it attempts to convince us that Harry is now a ghost haunting Old Fort Oliver. Leave it to Harry to write and print his own obituary. But Harry is a very live ghost, and his humor will last a long, long time.
Because he is more than a clown, more than a smooth-quipping radio comedian, many of the stories and bits in The Old Mirage Salesman pack a lasting wallop with their laughs. Try this one: "Old Captain Catnip Ashby says he's fed up with radios. Says he listened to a preacher last Sunday who was talking like he thought God was 150 miles away." Or his famous line: "The wildflowers at Fort Oliver were so thick this spring you could hardly see the discarded beer cans."
The Old Mirage Salesman is a book that many people will consider an enduring classic of real Western humor.
Send $3 to Desert Magazine Book Shop, Palm Desert, California, or Calico Print, Twentynine Palms — for your copy. Nine cents extra if you live in California
LET'S TALK OF GRAVES, OF WORMS, AND EPITATHS "Wild Bill" Shakespeare
[image: 5 tombs, the fourth holding a watering can, the others with stones marked:
I, II, III, OUR HUSBAND]
Men here's a bit of logic sent to me by W.S. Hughes from Ojai, Calif.
The Mormon Church is frequently ridiculed becdause it originally encouraged polygamy before Salt Lake City was first founded.
As a matter of fact, under the conditions then existing, Polygamy was a very sensible system of marriage compared to the Monogamy of the early New England Settlers. The Plymouth and Boston colonists usually married a succession of three or four wives, the first ones dying from over work, one after the other, leaving their children to be brought up by the fourth with the help of the older ones from the first family. The fourth wife, having their heko frequently outlived her husband, she breing often fifteen or more years younger.
The Mormon's [sic] married three or so wives simultaneously and each one, when ill or temporalily laid up after child birth, was looked after by the other two. They all frequently lived to be over ninety. There was always so much work to be done that they had no time for jealously or rivalry, and were often very fond of each other. There was an unlimited surplus of unmarried women in New England and Europe, anxiously waiting to be converted by the Mormon Missionariesss. The men worked hard and the food was plentiful; no surplus men were leftover as in the older polygamous countries and the surplus male created no problems,as he did in the Mohammedan [sic] world.
Of course, this was a temporary situation, and the Church of the Latter Day Saints would probably have had to abandon polygamy when facing the problems of a stable population, even without the pressure of the Federal government; but in 1847 polygamy in Salt Lake City was by no means as absurd as it is, or might be now.
Technical Training of Youth
Today I note my Grand-Kids put a nickel in the machine, kick it — then kick it again — hoping it's a faulty and a generous machine.
In his later years a lady called upon Mark Twain to express her enthusiasm for his work. She wanted to kiss his hand. He accepted it with perfect dignity and seriousness. "How God must love you!" said the lady. "I hope so," said Mark Twain gently. After she had gone, he observed as gently and without a smile, "I guess she hasn't heard of our strained relations."
Real Gone Cowboy
"Pulling his trusty shootin' arn, the young cow-poke sent his injured hoss to the happy huntin' grounds," so went the story.
In Oakland, Calif., however, Edward Sandner, 15, concluded his 1935 hot-rod had come to the end of the trail.
On the side of a nearby hill, the youth sent five .22 rifle bullets into the old car, smashed the windows, tore out the upholstery and touched a match to the remains.
"Deef" Dan has had the same barber for 20 years and has never told him he was deaf, Dan's the meanest guy in town, Lem says.
THIS IS PACKET 4 OF POUCH 5
This is the 5th Anniversary of this publication, which means there's been 20 copies copies come off the press. The first packet was printed April 4, 1946, and here it is April 4, 1953, just 7 years to get to be 5 years old. "So what." You get 4 copies for your 50c.
Shades of Aladin's Lamp! Russ Nicoll gives the Date Industry something new. It's not new for Fuss to do this as he has pioneered in every phase of Date marketing.
The new item is "Date Crunchie Fudge" and Russ says his wife Katy turned out 1200 pounds of samples in her kitchen before they got the mix that they wanted, it is now made at the shop and outselling everything else.
Russ gives his wife Katy full credit for the discovery of the Magic Date Candy.
One pound one dollar postpaid
Lenwood, Barstow, California
ONE YEAR $2.00 SINGLE COPY 25 ¢
Grubstaker: The late Scotty Allen
THE PONY EXPRESS
Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails
Herb S. Hamlin, Editor
Address All Mail to
THE PONY EXPRESS
795 Sutter Street
San Francisco 9, Calif.
Published Monthly at Placerville,
California, Formerly Hangtown
Ol' Rip Snortin' is going to make big business out of being a "TOWN DRUNK," with the help of Jake Topper and his Model T. He's going to syndicate his genius and skill as a staggerin' reelin' example of what not to be.
It all stems from his reading Horace Mitchells yarn in the "Press," Kittery, Maine.
Kittery has for some time been without a Town Drunk. We hope a candidate will come forward quickly. Every town needs a thoroughtly filthy, staggering old rum hound. Without one, children cannot be show what to grow up not to be like.
Ol, Rip Snortin, wants to do his bit, hopes, with Jake's safe driving to be the TOWN DRUNK for Indio, Coachella, Desert Hot Springs and maybe Palm Springs on weekdays.
Propaganda Is all Against the Burro The burro is always blamed, but the real reason the Ram fell over the cliff is he didn't see the ewe turn.
—Says Calico Print
WOE'S OF A PUBLISHER
This may be the last time I have this paper printed by the Desert Magazine Press, at Palm Desert. It is all owing to Randall Henderson. You see I was looking over the chases for a final check of this edition (reading backwards like you do type), when Randall turned the key locking the chases, tightening it up for the press. The the phone rang in the office, Randall left — was gone over two hours — I yelled and bawled but of no avail — you can't make much noise when your whiskers are locked into 200 lbs. of lead.
From Desert Rat Scrap Book
THE BEST STORIES OF 50 OLD TIMERS
Shortened to Shorter Than SHort and Packed into 36 Pages
Send 25c to Harry at Old Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, California
Better say Joke Book or he will send two and a half Desert Rat Scrap Books"Gee" This Is Me!
Only One World Famous
11 Miles South of Indio on Highway 99
or Please Mail Your Order
1-lb. Dates and Desert Confections..$1.85
1-lb. NEW "Date Crunchie" Fudge..... 1.85
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