1 day you wake up and all 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 glad you stashed away write ups and posts on them that, at the time when they were living, just 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. I always believed I should of lived 100 years ago. I always wanted to be like my Grandpa. Now I understand why. I hope you like the report.
Jessie James, Cole Younger, Geronimo all infamous names from American History of this’ “Old West”. To us today these are only names from the past. We think of it as history. But the (days of the authentic 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 gray hairs in his entire head of black hair. He does not look his 97 years. He and Mrs. Ingram reside on Route 2, Wyneewood, Oklahoma, where they have lived since 1919.
“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 those old gun fighters and outlaws of these days?” I asked. He answered, “I’ve seen a lot of gun fighters while I worked all over Oklahoma. I knew Jessie James quite well, but I understood Cole Younger better. They would come to our cattle drive camps to hide out. I’ve slept in camp with them a lot of time. Jessie James was as peaceful a man as I ever saw. “He didn’t bother poor people, only robbed banks”
“Well,” I said, “I guess you have had a good deal of interesting experiences?”
said Mrs. Ingram.
“Well,” he explained, “after I was riding my horse when this storm blew up
A tornado picked me and my horse up in the air. I could pull on the reins, but I had no control of my horse since 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 ground.
“Were you injured?” I asked. “No, we were not hurt.” he replied. “You know,” he explained, “I’ve seen wild buffalo where Oklahoma City now stands. I roped buffalo and killed them for meat.”
“I worked issuing government beef to the Comanche and Apache Indians. The Indians would kill the cows immediately. I saw them eat the meat. When they were completed, there would not be anything left. They used it all.”
“There was a time when you saw an Indian, and if the Indian didn’t run, you should run.”
“Once, I had a horse race Palm Bay Opossum Removal at Ft. Sill when they had him there.”
“Who won?” I asked.
“From granny, I won the race!” he replied.
One time a friend and I went to an Indian dancing, but the Indians would not dance with us. Quanah Parker’s daughter pinned an Indian blanket around me so they would dance with me. I still have that snare.
The stories we read today, the T.V. and films we see about the “Old West” do not tell the real story of the life of the cowboy. It was hot and dusty in the summer and cold and wet in the winter.
“You see men now,” said Mr. Ingram, “who say that they are cow boys, but they could not wear the slicker of the older real cowboys. I could tie a steer in 22 seconds, and would grab 99 throws from 100. When we drove cattle, we had a good deal 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 real cowboy and a good one.”