PRICE 10 CENTS . . . . . . . ONLY ONE LOUSY THIN DIME
PACKET THREE OF POUCH SIX
MIXED UP PACKET
ONLY NEWSPAPER IN AMERICA YOU CAN OPEN IN THE WIND
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOKPAGE 2
This time we only have a four and a half page paper as page one used up half of page five.
Packet 3 of Pouch 6
Published at Fort Oliver
Thousand Palms, California
Four Times a Year
ON THE NEWS STANDS 10¢ A COPY
But sometimes they don't have them.
ONE YEAR BY MAIL—FOUR COPIES 50¢
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!
H A R R Y O L I V E R
1888 — 1999
Editor, Humorist, Historian, Publicist,
Pioneer, Philosopher, Prospector,
You can read this paper from "stem to stern" and still find time to do a day's work.
Whiskers says it takes a lot of patience to be a dog.
Why be Difficult when with only a little more effort, you could be IMPOSSIBLE.
The tongue goes faster as the brain slows down.
Pessimism, when you get used to it, is just as agreeable as optimism.
Some things are of that nature as to make—One's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache.
The Navajo tribe of Indians collected more than $321,000 in royalties from uranium during the year 1951.
Says, Chas. J. Hansen
Strange when you come to think of it, that of all the countless folk who have lived before our time on this planet not one is known in history or in legend as having died of laughter.
This is the "CRAZY MIXED-UP EDITION." For 7 years this has been a 5 page newspaper, this time only 4½ pages, as you see page 1 took ½ of page 5. The old depot in the picture page 1 and 5 is decorated in the same mode and fashion as this mixed-up editorial office, the careless, carefree, "try and find it" way of the gay nineties.
Ah! But now we are in a new paragraph—but I have forgotten what I was going to say—"mixed up"—I said that—"Here Whiskers yu take over"—
A DOGS EDITORIAL
A dog's Life Is No Bed of Roses
"Can't you bark in italics?—Why always use capitals?—try italics—would be real talent if you could"—NOW I ASK YOU—I am a dog, my name is "Whiskers" I am a part of this paper, I have to listen to talk like the above, BUT I am writing this Editorial to let you readers in on what a dog has to put up with, living with an "Old Goat" like my Master—why the Master?—he thinks he is. He stumbles and blunders around. I have seen him with his giant-size fly swatter hit tack heads and black spots and count them as dead flys.
He lets you folks think all his gags about "Sin," "Colonel Have-a-shot" and myself are of his making—in a way they are—he locks us up in the gag room and won't let us out till we each have a gag for the next edition—that's why some are not so funny—"they are forced gags"—"tell it or stay locked up," gags—He is not as nice as he sounds in the paper, he puts a heavy rubber band around "Colonel Have-a-shots" beak when he caws too loud. He opened all the Christmas packages, some with "Sin's," the "Colonel's" and my names on them.
If some of you people want to start a screwball paper like this one we might sign a contract with you and get out of this old adobe dump. We don't want to work on a weekly or a monthly paper, four times a year is enough, but we—and I talk for the Burro and Tortoise, as well, we want to try TV. I think if you promise enough flys in the contract the horn toad would come along too. Gee wouldn't "Raffles" the Pack-Rat have fun in a TV studio.
We do, all of us, think we would be great on TV and we are fed up with talk about that old Station Wagon, you would think it was somebody. I know that more than 9 months ago the "Master," so called, and the Station Wagon went from here over the sand dunes to the Desert Magazine 8 miles and lost the radiator cap, and I know for surre they have been looking for it all these months and can't find it, they are both too old to be much good, and they don't even know how to use their noses.
So if any of you readers are interested in a crew of Desert Harlequins come and talk with me, the brain of this show, "Whiskers" the dog. Come some day when "THE MASTER" is not here—and don't what ever you do, talk to that Damn CAT.
Personally we are not very superstitious, but when we are crossing railroad tracks we know it's a bad sign to see a train coming.
Your Editor trys to master the shorter than short school of journalism, I have to make them short, some packets have 100 items. I knew it was hard but thought it was because I was dumb.
Today my "three dollar shears" found this—Horace Greeley, when asked to write a short article on a certain subject, replied, "I haven't time, but I will write you a long one."
Jake Topper is mad at all efficiency experts, but especially he's mad at that S.O.B. on the S.P. R.R. that took the cupolas off the cabooses. Jake has an idea that he will sell the S. P. R. R. for $150.00, that will keep all those freight cars that come from the east and are seeing the west for the first time—keep them from feeling the shame and disgrace of traveling with a bobtail, no dignity, no honor train-end they now suffer from.
Jake's $150.00 idea is for the S.P. to nail a phony cupola on those new MORON cabooses, they could put big letters S.P. on the sides and get the price of the nails back in advertising.
Jake says, they should make the check $150.40 as he never got paid for the two phone calls he made to Indio, to tell them only half the train went by.
Editor, not so limp
When I am busy, folks say to me, I should learn to relax as my cat does—today I have had three vertebra put back in place—and that damn limp cat is sleeping up on the roof.
My Dog Whiskers
The Best Dog I Ever Worked for
TELL TALE TAIL
You people who have sent money to "Whiskers" my dog will be sorry to hear that he is not a good poker player.
Dry Camp Blackie told Whiskers that he had a perfect poker face, played a good game, but would never win a cent playing with "Colonel Have-a-shot" my pet old Crow. Blackie told him he should be smart like "Sin" my cat, you see, Sin wags her tail all the time she is playing.
Whiskers wags his tail every time he gets a good hand, but he told Blackie with tears in his eyes that he didn't wag it. He says it just wags by itself.
Nell Murbarger tells this one
A fellow from Barstow had died and gone to his Eternal Rest. After a couple of days he struck up an acquaintance with an old codger, and he said, "Y'know, I sure like this place. I had no idea that Heaven would be so much like Barstow!"
The Old Timer looked at him dolefully. "Son," he replied, "I hate t' disillusion you, but your not in Heaven."
Up at Keeler they took Old Jack Knife Joe's knife away from him last week. The folks around the Depot were afraid he would whittle himself down to a sliver.
How To Be A Desert Rat And Like It Page 3
Life-Saving Snake Story
The gang at SNOW CREEK BAR were engaged in their usual pass-time of spreading fertilizer, telling tales of battles with snakes in which one or the other, some times the man, some times the snake, emerged victorious. Finally OLD CACTUS PETE, who had sat quietly at the end of the bar, broke in with this one.
"You been telling about snakes that killed and got killed," he said, "but did you ever hear tell of a snake that saved a man's life?" he asked. As none could recall such an incident in their life, Old Pete went on with his story. "About 40 years ago I was prospecting around Borrego, as the lost Peg Leg Smith mine was supposed to be in that vicinity. The only road, now Hwy. No 78, was a hard top, twisting and turning through the sands, crossing and recrossing the San Felipe Creek, and running from Brawley on the East to Julian on the West, and traveled mostly by cattle-men who had their stock in the Santa Rosa Range. I had a car, which, even then, was an old one, but it gave me transportation from my camp to Brawley, where I had to go for supplies.
"One day I was on just such a trip when I noticed a cloud of dust rising from the desert off to the Northeast, and thought it must be a rancher moving his cattle. But as the cloud came closer I saw that it was a herd of cattle gone loco from the heat and lack of water; it was a stampede, and they were on a rampage in search of water. I opened up with all I had, hoping the old car would hold up long enough to get us well ahead of them before they reached the road. But the leaders spied me and headed straight for the speeding car, and were less than a quarter of a mile behind us when they came to the road. Without a pause they turned to follow the car, and I was holding my own with them, when suddenly my right front tire blew out, and there I was, in the desert without a spare, and without the tools or time to put it on, even if I had one, with a stampeding herd of cattle gaining on me at the rate of 100 feet per minute. I kept the car on the road, but the rim cut into the dirt, slowing me up a lot, and I judged they were within a few hundred feet of me when I realized I had company in my dash for safety.
"Rolling along on my right was a huge hoop-snake who also felt that he was about to be crushed if he did not escape the herd, and he knew he was losing ground as well as I Well, Gentlemen, that snake solved the problem himself, and that is why I am here to tell it. Putting on a full burst of speed he pulled up a little in front of my right wheel, then suddenly straightened out in line with it, letting the rim pick up it's tail and coil its entire length around the wheel, at the same inflating itself.
"The effect was magical, for it was the same as if a new tire ha been slipped on, and the old car picked up speed until I was pulling away from them. I was encouraged still more when I saw the shining waters of a creek a short distance ahead, for there had been a flash-flood a few hours before in the hills to the Southwest, and the water was flowing toward the San Felipe. I knew that would stop the stampede, for they would stop to quench their thirst, and would then walk leisurely down the creek. I crossed to the other side, then went to a small camp that I knew about, drank up all the liquor I could find and went to sleep. When I woke up all I could find was a stack of empty whiskey bottles, the cattle had disappeared, the snake had unwound itself and gone, and my tire was O.K."
"I wonder what kind of whiskey he drank BEFORE that snake ride" remarked SNOW CREEK BERT, as Cactus Pete got into his jalopy and drove away.
—Snow Creek Bert, Snow Creek Bar, White Water, Calif.
BUZZARDS OF THRE NATIONS UNITE
at Old Fort Oliver
Eight Annual event outshines the Capistrano Swallows, Coronation of Princess Yellowstone was a highlight, as was the well planned rerouting of the Montana, Idaho, Utah, Wyoming and Canadian buzzards so's to make the Fort the first stop on trip north from Mazatlan, Mexico.
Harry Oliver who was sworn to secrecy about the three Nation part of the gathering, was told he might tell of the Princess, he says she signed his register and this is what he told:
Princess Yellowstone is an albino of great beauty, has long been the pet of the Park Rangers and has been featured in Motion Pictures, her white feathers photograph beautifully in moonlight shots of Ghost Towns. T'is also said that she has laid many an egg for radio comedians. Oliver told this reporter that he has started a rumor that several of the world's best song writers are working on a ballad—"When the Buzzards Buzz Old Fort Oliver" says, with good luch they might, some day.
—The Indio Date Palm
SUN SHINE AT OLD FORT OLIVER
This is completely unimportant, that is why it so interesting.
A Mosquito has 22 teeth
Bees taste with their knees.
The Bat is the only mammal that flies.
The Butterfly was originally called "Flutterby."
Your Editor likes people, best of all little people, last week a bus-load of Girl Scouts came to visit the Old Fort. They were like a flock of sheep with happy faces. I always tell them about the animals—old "Hopaling Pushidy" my desert tortoise is hibernating. I did some of the digging and he tunneled a few feet more, I have a mirror so placed that the little lambs could look into it and see the tortoise sleeping. I told them if they all would be very, very quiet and listen they might hear him snore. I wish to assure you readers that we will never run out of tall-tale-tellers in this desert for when I asked, most of the little rascals said they could hear the snoring.
I'd rather have an inch of dog than miles of pedigree.
My talking Crow (Colonel Have-a-shot) sits on my shoulder as I write and caws, look out, look out, LOOOOK OOOUT —
"Oh you — You x--- x--- x-- and just when I was so proud of your talk. Oh the trials of a desert Mother! I ought to disown you . . . I know you told me . . . yes . . . yet . . . and you know I told you to go to the sandbox like the cat . . . next time you say LOOK OUT you better LOOK OUT."
Dry Camp Blackie, says, he would much rather have a cat than a Television Set.
or the cat that watches its master night and day—my cat "Sin" has a strange marking of grayish brown hair above its eyes and when she shuts them this makes another pair of eyes that seem to always look at me, she is also a sure enough "South-Paw."
Calculatin' Cal got his name for always calculatin' something, and it's always something no one's got any business to calculate about. For instance he calculated that if hay was always kept on top of an adobe shack—like he keeps his—and burros were always looking up at it like his do and wanting it, it would take twenty-five thousand years for the burro to grow a neck like a giraffe to reach it—or to sprout wings and fly after it.
Cal says a hen at his shack wanted to set, so lacking hen fruit he put some Desert Tortoise eggs under her.
The hen remained faithful to her job until the tortoises were hatched. But hasn't been seen since.
A good folly is worth what you pay for it.
They tell a story about a funeral up at Johannesburg. Seldom Seen Slim while attending picked up some dirt that was thrown from the new grave, and just from force of habit examined it. He suddenly arose from his knees and commenced staking off a claim. The Minister observed this, and concluded his prayer in this manner: 'Stake me off a claim Slim, this we ask for Christ's sake—Amen."
I propose to write only true lies. (There's a difference between true lies and damn lies.)
THE ENCHANTED STATION WAGON
It was Mid-August in Death Valley. I had stopped at Stove Pipe Wells to leave some of my papers, also had sipped two mint juleps as I talked with the gracious hostess. Whiskers, my dog, lay on a bed of wet burlap in the back of my 25 year old Station Wagon. We started down the road toward Furnace Creek Camp (25 miles). The thermometer at Stove Pipe had said 129½, my old car was hot but I had lots of water. I could stop and wait till sundown but I had traveled this same road dozens of times in July and August, fact is I like it best in summer.
I stopped to look at the famed sand dunes wondering if I might possibly see some sign of life in this terrific heat. Whiskers always has to investigate when I stop the car. He raised his head to look. I was about to go on when Whiskers started to bark. I looked at him—then at where he seemed to be looking, then I too saw—the shadow of the car was disappearing — yes — slowly its shape was vanishing and heat-waves were taking its place. My first thought was that light was being reflected from some nearby Mountain and was strong enough to rub out the shadow—but on second thought I knew there could be no stronger light than the mid-day-sun of Death Valley. I watched as the last of the shadow disappeared, much as a wet spot drying from cloth in the hot sun.
I was somewhat startled at what had happened. I was glad Whiskers had barked, he saw it and he didn't have any mint juleps—then I came to a conclusion. I would start the car and leave this strange something behind, I pulled ahead a short way but no shadow followed just those damn-dancing-heat-waves. I noticed the heat-waves were in just the shape of what should be—the shadow.
Then Whiskers started to bark again and I looked up and through the heat-waves I saw an automobile coming through the sand dunes—where there was no road—and then I saw Scotty's Castle as plain as day. I looked higher and saw Beatty, Nevada, and leaning forward and looking east I saw the busy streets of Las Vegas. It was just a montage of mirages. T'was then I thought of the fun I would have showing those "Doubting Thomas'ass's" these mirages.
As I drove on looking out of the right side of the car I had a look into Owens Valley—over on the other side of great mountains—I had always had a fondness for mirages but was never so well equipped to see them. No one ever saw a mirage without looking through heat-waves but I am the first to have them "just right" at all times. Then a despairing thought came to me, would I lose my mirage screen at night-fall?
* * *
Next morning I was happy to see that my mirage screen was still with me, and I stopped and made a thorough check of my new "POWER" It was a power, I had not thought till then about my having this great advantage over other desert story tellers. I would sure give them some surprises.
I had stopped about 10 miles south of Death Valley Junction to study Shoshone. I would see it in my mirage screen then ride in and surprise them by telling what I had seen. I would see it well, and make some notes, so making myself comfortable I sat and watched, looking through the heat-waves I could see Senator Charles Brown's little town as well as if I were only a block away, this was the first time I had given all my attention to the magic of this thing.
After about 15 minutes, the heat-waves blurred and I saw for just a second only letters spelling out 5 years later. I could see a five story hotel I had never seen before. Then another blur and the letters said 10 years late. Quite a town showed on the screen. Then 15 years — and on and on — I stepped on the starter as they were dedicating a new park and raising a 15 foot statue of Charles Brown.
I didn't stop and buy a lot in Shoshone, I wanted to get home with my Aladdin's Lamp and see what was in store for Thousand Palms. I wanted to see if they would some day make a monument to my Enchanted Station Wagon—(GLORIFYING ITS 25 YEARS WITH NEVER A DENTED FENDER). I was also thinking, as I rolled along at the speed of 60 miles an hour (down hill with a tail wind) of the story of "The Wonderful One Horse Shay," and its sad, sad ending.
(Look for my next edition to see if I ever got home.)*
*In case you don't know, he got home OK.
—Pete the Printer
Your old editor climbed the hill to see "Sky-Eye" Jones, the old timer that fixed himself a telescope out of a hollow log.
He is smart and knows all about flying saucers. I asked the 90-year-old, why he didn't get married again. "Well," said Sky-Eye, "I'll tell you. There ain't but one kind of woman who'd have an old codger like me, and I'll be derned if I'm going to settle down and live with a derned fool."
THE MAIL POUCH
George's Gorge, Arizona
Dear Mr. Editor:
I thot you might like to hear about a funny thing that happened out here in this hell-for-leather mining camp the other day. You know, the place is alive with gamblers and crooks of all sorts and by golly we got pickpockets too. There was a young feller a pickpocket and a girl and she was a pickpocket too. Well sir they got married and they figgered if they had a son they would make him the champeen pick pocket of the world. Well they had a baby boy all right but doggone it the poor thing had a deformed hand. That sure made them purty sick for they knew nobody with a fist like that could ever be a good pickpocket. They sent out and got a hifalutin doctor that fixes club feet and things like that and the doctor went to work on that hand. By golly he worked and worked and after a while he got some kind of a tool and pried open the baby's fingers and there was the midwife's wrist watch. Yessir.
4 Crazy-Mixed-Up Edition
This page is dedicated to the World's Greatest Optimist--the Desert Prospector
DESERT RAT SCRAP BOOK
From the LAGUNA BEACH POST
By JOHN WELD
We're lucky to live here: I have had a communication from that old desert philosopher and tall-tale teller, Harry Oliver, of 1000 Palms, Calif., informing me the Desert Rat Liars Club will meet tomorrow in Borego Springs. It breaks my heart that I won't be there. I have a story which could win the first prize.
The story points up the healing and life-giving qualities inherent in southern California climate, and it goes like this here:
A wealthy southern Californian grew so old his restless heirs despaired of his ever dying. Finally one impatient heir, himself in his seventies, suggested taking the old man out of California. "The old buzzard'll never die here," he argued. "Let's take him to Nevada."
By painting rosy pictures of wine, women, song and gambling, the tired heirs prevailed upon the rich old man to go to Las Vegas.
Sure enough, he hadn't been there 24 hours when he up and died. Imagine the elation of the heirs as they trundled his body into a coffin and put it aboard the Union Pacific for Los Angeles! Their waiting days wer over. They woud have the old man's dough at last.
But their hopes, unlike the old man, were short-lived. As soon as the train started on the downgrade of Cajon Pass the old man revived. That's right—came back to life. Word of honor.
I tell you, this southern California is the dad-gone healthiest, most salubrious place in the world to live.
A California resident remonstrated with her Chinese houseboy for taking her linin into her bedroom without knocking.
"That's all right, Missy," he said. "Every time come, lookee through keyhole. Nothing on, no come in."
You poor city folks, better get out—we that chop our own wood and carry our own water, get mighty scared when we read head-lines like this:
Scientists have developed a complicated thought machine so sensitive it already has a stomach ulcer.
Old Bill L. Doyle of Pioneertown has quit drinking. He saw a snake and he says, "I picked up a stick of wood to hit the snake. But the snake was a stick of wood, and the stick of wood was a snake.
Makes me think of the time I watched a nearsighted snake trying to elope with a rope.
Yes sir, we had a six inch rain here at Old Fort Oliver and in August at that. A six inch rain here means the drops were six inches apart.
Rialroading is the good old days
A railroad agent in Northern California had been "bawled out" for doing things without orders from headquarters. One day his boss received the following startling telegram.:
"Grizzly-bear on platform hugging conductor. Wire instructions."
—Submitted by J. G. Castleberry, Veteran S.P. Telegraph Operator, Mecca, Calif.
Arizona's Most Quoted Paper
BREWERY GULCH GAZETTE
My Magic three dollar shears get to jumping every week when I get my copy of F. A. McKinney's paper. It's sure a gold mine of good stuff for Western Scrap Books.
52 copies a year—$2.50
DOWN IN BREWERY GULCH
By the Gulcher
Brewery Gulch Confucious say: People should so live so that when they die the preacher won't have to stand over them telling a lot of lies.
HIP HIP HOORAY
By the S. Omar Barker
I did not know her background,
But I need not have feared;
At home I found her wearing slacks—
And plainly quite well reared!
Dry Camp Blackie has just shown me how to cook beans upside down—he says, you only get the hiccups if you turn the pot up side down.
A peg-leg stove will draw better than one with 4 legs—he says.
Q. and A. Dept
Q—Was Jim Thorpe, famous world athlete all Indian?
A—The Champion's Indian blood adds up as follows:
1/2 Saux and Fox
Yes he was the Greatest of Olympic men.
Q—Do horned toads ever cross the "Algodones" (great sand dunes near Yuma)? If so, how far?
A—Yes. The distance depends on where they are going.—Editor.
For long journeys; of course, they start farther away says "Sin" the office cat.
Don't send any questions, your questions wouldn't fit my answers. Anyhow all you get for your 50c a year, is 4 copies of this paper. I could be nice and write letters to you but I COULD DO ONLY THAT, you see there are 20,000 of you folks, and this will only be fun as long as I can do it all myself. I DO NOT WANT PEOPLE TO BE VERY AGREEABLE, AS IT SAVES ME THE TROUBLE OF LIKING THEM. I don't like a couple of thousand of you that are pretty slow with your renewals—also it would save bookkeeping to always send $1.00 for 2 years, GEE HOW I HATE 50c CHECKS. In other words all the effort I can give to please you is in this 5 page paper you get for only one lousy thin dime. If you come to see me and I seem to cut you short—that won't be me—it will be my twin brother, he looks just like me but he don't always smile. He tells lies too—and make sure it's me before you give him a drink.
Most anything is different here at Old Fort Oliver, take for instance Pack Rats, most any old timer in the desert can tall you of many tricks these swapping little devils have played on them.
But my Pack Rat who lives here at the Fort is the smartest of them all, I call him "Raffles" after that great character in fiction, who stole only from the rich thieves. You see he don't steal from the poor desert prosectors. He just comes to me and tells me what the other Pack Rats have hidden away in their nests. Then I tell him what to bring me.
He has ideas, a master-mind. Yesterday he told me to get him 2 dozen clothes pins; the kind with the spring in them, he says, those darn rats over on the McRae Claim think they are mouse-traps, and, says, he can go into any of their nests while they are looking right at him and leave a clothes pin and walk out with a gold fountain pen or most anything they have.
One of the most striking differences between a cat and a lie is that a cat has only nine lives.
It was Mark Twain wh said, "If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man."
By Guy Bogart
Before preening ourselves with self-righteousness, let us look deeply into our own hearts and ask whether we have dumped half-starved kittens on the roadside or into someone's yard, whether we have allowed unwanted kittens to grow in a city jungle; whether we have moved away and left a loving pet behind; whether we have kept faith with the Cat for the pact it made when it came to our hearth as a companion. Thoughtlessness can harm the Cat as keenly as its avowed foe.
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DEATH VALLEY SCOTTY
By Dane Coolidge
Death Valley Scotty died Tuesday January 6, 1954, at the age of 81 years.
Scott was in especially good spirits and health the day before he died.
Buried on a hill near famed Castle, Old Timer, Ray Goodwin superintendant of Death Valley National Monument (an old crony of Scotty's) conducted the services. Other friends of almost 50 years, present, were F. F. Garside, (Nevada newspaper publisher), and Senator Charlie Brown.
This Editor as he writes this wonders who Scotty will look up first — Buffalo Bill, Johnson, Dad Fairbanks, Shorty Harris, Annie Oakley or some friend of the old Goldfield Days? It matters not, they will all be glad to see him.
This is a matter of controversy, upon which neither side will talk, but Scott went back to Johnson and arranged to make him his banker while he went out after the gold. No one knows what the deal was but Scotty retuned to Death Valley, got him a fine outfit of mules, and went to prospecting in the same mysterious way. He established a secret camp and traveled mostly by night, and not so very long afterwards he found a mine. The question is: did he discover it then, or when he was working unde the Gerard grubstake contract.
This is another moot subject and solely a matter of conjecture, but what we do know for a certainty is that in 1904 Scotty came into Barstow, on the railroad, with his pockets full of money. Not gold dust, but gold certificates in big amounts; and in every saloon in town he bought the drinks for the crowd. He started out with a rush to become the Worlds Greatest Spender, a Desert Midas, the Croesus of Death Valley.
Like Colonel Bill Greene when he sold Cananea, he had a weakness for ten thousand dollar bills; but instad of the plug hat and Prince Albert coat he chose to appear as the red-shirted miner. Or, to be more exact, he wore a blue flannel shirt with a red tie, khaki trousers stuffed into high boots, a long overcoat and a big black hat. After a jag, his boots and clothes were stuffed with bales of money, the change when he broke his big bills; and so often were his pockets picked that he once filled them with fishhooks, only to forget and get caught himself.
In the first twenty-four hours he spent $5000, and then Barstow became too small for him. He chartered a special train to take him to Los Angeles, breaking champagne on the cowcatcher as he started; and when he reached the great city he engaged suites in three hotels, where he slept, when at all, with his boots on. Like the miner who made a strike and ordered twenty dollars worth of ham and eggs, Scotty's idea of luxury was to get everybody drunk and throw handfuls of money into the street.
The news followed from Barstow that Scotty had struck it rich and as his orgy of spending continued even the scoffers went gold-mad. Death Valley was overrun by prospectors and near-prospectors, trying to track him to his mine; but they found it a large country, with grub and water very scarce, and came back to work on him. But, drunk or sober, Scotty kept his secret so well and after blowing $10,000 in a week in Los Angeles he went steaming back to Barstow. This desert town was the end of a division and, before he struck it rich, Scott had made it his headquarters for supplies.
Having worked at one time on the railroad he was well-acquainted with the train-crews, who found his stone house a pleasant haven of refuge. A new safety ruling had gone into effect, providing that any train-hand caught coming out of a saloon would be discharged for the good of the service. But many of these engine drivers missed their daily dram and Scotty was hospitality itself. Beneath the floor of his stone house he had buried a barrel of whisky, which could be tapped through a crack with a bicycle-pump; and when he returned from Los Angeles his castle was soon filled with men who were truly his friends.
To this select company he confided his ambition to run a special train to New York, faster than any other man had ever gone. From his cronies he learned the names of the best crews on each division and the numbers of the best engines, and they doped out a schedule that would put him into Chicago in forty-five hours—record time. They told him also the best kind of coal to be used and the best journal oil to prevent hot boxes; and they recommended further that every switch should be spiked to keep the train from jumping the track.
With this information up his sleeve, Scotty returned to Los Angeles where he announced to the reporters that he was going to New York in the fastest time ever made. He then phoned the traffic manager of the Santa Fe Railroad, enquiring the charge for a special train to Chicago, and was told it would be $5000. Scott answered that the price was all right if they would give him the right of way, but he was not going to hire a train as two millionaires had done and then be sidetracked to let the Limited pass. He wanted the right of way to Chicago, and was informed that would be $2500 more.
At this, trailed by reporters, he went to the railroad offices and announced that he wanted a train to put him in Chicago in 45 hours. The traffic manager said it could not be done. But Scotty had the figures from the railroad crews themselves, and now he went a step farther. He would make it a sporting proposition. For every minute he saved under 45 hours he would pay the railroad $100; and for every minute over that they should pah him $100, up to a limit of $10,000, all told.
The fire bricks had been burned out of the engine fire boxes and the heat had burned out the iron. They burned out another engine on the trip to Needles, but his hog-head friends made great time. They jumped the tracks in the Kansas City yards and were derricked back in nine minutes, and still the race went on. The terrific speed shook the train almost to pieces and they climbed up on the engine for safety, but they dashed into Chicago six minutes ahead of time, in 44 hours and 54 minutes.
So great was the excitement that Scotty was mobbed at the station, and the price of Santa Fe stock went up and up. If he had invested his money in stock before he started he claims it would have made him a millionaire, but all he thought of was the plaudits of the multitude. No train has ever equalled his time to Chicago, and he was shot through to New York just as fast; but with all the opportunities for promotion that were open to him Scotty decided to put on a road show.
It was a very poor show, featuring Scotty himself leading his old gray mule against a sand storm stirred up by the wind-machine. It showed him also throwing out money for newsboys and making heroic speeches, and when it finally failed Scotty was stranded in Los Angeles and returned to Death Valley to sober up. According to his figures he spent a hundred and sixty thousand dollars on this first wild bid for fame, and when it was all over he had made enough enemies to last him the rest of his life.
In the next ten years he was shot three separate times and thrown in jail eighteen times. He was followed so closely that he had to hide like an outlaw, until at last he quit town and for eleven years gave the public a chance to forget. At the end of that time, so fickle is fame, he was supposed by most people to be dead; but in recent years he has leaped into the limelight by building his Death Valley castle. Two million dollars has been spent on this structure, a Moorish palace of the utmost magnificence; but Scotty lives in a shack, outside.
On his first trip out from Barstow he was followed so closely that he could not escape his pursuers, and on the second trip he was ambushed at Wingate Pass and his brother and a packer shot. His brother sued him later for heavy damages, which were awarded by default; but Scott moved across the line into Nevada, where the California judgments cannot be collected. Every place that he went after the announcements of his strike, Scotty was approached by mysterious strangers who wanted to buy in on his mine—or to follow him to his mine; but he rebuffed them all, making an enemy every time, until the desert got too hot for him.
Shortly after he was ambushed and sued for damages, the Man of Mystery disappeared, and the story of his life from that time on reads like a motion picture scenario. In the early days he had established a hiding-place in Sheep Canyon in the Funeral Range, and for years he defied the best trailers in the West to find his camp or his mine. He traveled by night, hiring two renegade Shoshones to scout for him and spy on his enemies; and any man that followed him got the old Western notice that his company was not wanted. After that Scotty would shoot on sight.
For months, almost years, he would be lost track of completely; until suddenly he would be heard from with his pockets full of money, rolling them high in some distant city. Then the old rumor would be revived that Scotty really had a mine and the long, desperate chase would be renewed. To lose his enemies in the wastes of Death Vally became Scott's joy and pride, and to bring this about he had the finest desert outfit that has ever existed in the West.
His mules were big and strong and when his enemies took his trail he gave them a run for their money. For a month before the chase he grained his mules and hardened them up; then he took oil cans full of water and hid them, with food and grain, along the route he intended to follow. Mounted on Lookout or Edna May, and leading a horse which the mules would never leave, he started out with four pack-loads of grain and food and watched for his trailers to appear.
When he spotted them following him he took the trail to "the high points," the summits of the jagged mountains that wall in Death Valley on both sides. There he traveled fast and far over the highest ground, ending up the day at some cache of water where he camped and emptied the oil cans. About two a.m. he took the trail again, heading down into the "self-rising" ground, impregnated with niter, or out across the sands of the Devil's Playground.
When at last his pursuers found his camping place there was nothing but empty oil cans, and they were caught out a day's journey from water. After another long day over the niter flats his enemies were ready to drop, but if they still followed after him he would travel the whole length of the Valley in the night, sometimes as much as a hundred and twenty miles in twenty four hours. Then he would climb straight up some ridge and guard the trail from above until they got tired and quit. As a last resort he carried crystals of nitro-glycerine suspended in heavy olive oil and after pouring some of this at the base of a dry waterfall he would blow a hole behind him and pass on. If he came back that way he would level the fallwith another blast, and with a third shot leave it impassable. With so shifty a man to trail, the hardiest desert-men were worn out, but Scotty always kept his mules fat.
Was you Dad a Railroad Man?
if he was you should go to
Knott's Berry Farm
and ride, as he did, the
OLD CALICO NARROW GAUGE
Buena Park, California
22 Miles Southeast of Los Angeles
I was in Las Vegas in September of 1906 setting by a fire with six or seven more in the same camp, when Charlie came walking in, he spoke to nobody. 2 or 3 who knew him spoke and he only grunted. Everyone who knew him knew he was a chronic crank. He sat silent for about 15 minutes when he got up on his feet and said, "Say any of you fellows show makers?" everyone answered no, Charlie said, "All right then, I am going over under that Mesquite and fix my boots and I don't want any body coming over there tellin' me how to do it."
A careful driver approached a railroad. He stopped, looked, and listened. All he heard was the car behind him crashing into his gas-tank.
Thermal Irma just got an exciting wire from her girl friend in North Carolina where 4000 paratroopers made a mass jump: "Come quick. Weather wonderful. It's raining men!"
—Ole J. Nordland—The Date Palm, Indio
Old Captain Catnip Ashby — Desert genius with an extraordinary twist (Oliver Twist) has done it again. The Captain reasoned that as moths fly toward a light, if he crossed bugs the outcome would be moths with lights on their tails; and that therefore these lightning-bug-moths would fly around in circles, chasing their tails.
Cap looks good when I think this woodcut has been printed 330,000 times. "Some of these Old Timers just go on and on." But the cut is getting old faster than the Captain.
He did it last week, turned them loose at night, they looked like animated fireworks, natural pinwheels, or flying saucers. The Captain's cat, he calls "Nuts-in-boots" almost rung her neck watching, the only one that stayed with the fireworks was his "Ratchet Owl." You know this Owl is equipped with a ratchet, which permits easy clockwise rotation of its head, but about once an hour, the Owl releases the ratchet, making a hell of a noise, but allows its head to go clockwise again for a spell.
I am sure going to keep my cat "Sin" away from Cap's place, she may never see a flying saucer but—when it comes time to ring her neck I'll do it.
Let's not be too quick to blame the human race for everything. A great many species of animals became extinct before man ever appeared on earth.
The centipede was happy quite
Until a toad in fun
Said, "Pray, which leg goes after which?"
That worked her mind to such a pitch,
She lay distracted in a ditch,
Considering how to run.
—Mrs. Edward Craster
Then there was the sentimental gal who wore a black garter in memory of the boys who had passed on beyond.
Then there's the cluck who's so lazy he never puts off today what he can put off tomorrow.
Way Before Beer Cans
In the long ago, an old timer told me of he and a partner were heading for Goldfield, which at that time was booming. A desert storm had about obliterated the roads, and they stopped to inquire of a couple of men the way to Goldfield. One of them pondered a few moments and said, "Just follow the bottles," and following his instructions, they reached Goldfield. —F. E. Llewellyn
An ax handle wrapped with cowhide I believe would have fit and felt better in my hand than a niblick. I wish I could have lived my whole life and drank out of a gourd instead of a paper envelope.
Another guide to desert trails—this fascinating, map-packed, mystery-jammed book by John D. Mitchell, dean of Southwestern lost mines authorities. Fifty-one tales of lost and buried treasure, illustrated by maps of the supposed bonanza sites and wash drawings of story action. Pegleg's Black Nuggets, Lost Breyfogle Mine, Lost Adams Diggings, Lost Blue Bucket Gold, Lost Dutchman Mine and other less famous lost lodes.
DESERT MAGAZINE PRESS
Palm Desert, California
I picked up an old fellow over near Quartzsite, he told me he had a mine and was down into good pay dirt. I asked him how rich the gold was.
"So rich that I got's break up rock with it to get assay."
When he got out of my old station wagon he was smiling as he said, "Tough time gettin' th' rock sometimes, too."
As he took his stuff out of the back of the car I saw in a box with tobacco his mail—the sun-of-a-gun was a subscriber.
THE HAWK AND THE BUZZARD
From a book of old Negro Myths
Printed in 1888
You know de hawk and de buzzard was settin' up in a pine tree one day, so de hawk says: "How you get you' livin', Brer Buzzard?"
"Oh Ah'm makin' out pretty good, Brer Hawk. Ah waits on de salvation of de Lawd."
Hawk says, "Humph, Ah don't wait on de mercy of nobody. Ah takes mine."
"Ah bet, Ah'll live to pick yo' bones, Brer Hawk."
"Aw naw, you won't, Brere Buzzard. Watch me git my livin'."
He seen a sparrer sittin' on a dead limb of a tree and he sailed off and dived down at dat sparrer. De end of de limb was stickin' out and he run his breast rit up on de sharp point and hung dere. De sparrer flew off.
After while he got so weak he knowed his was gointer die. So de buzzard flew past just so—flyin' slow you know, and said, "Un hunh, Brer Hawk, Ah told you Ah was gointer live to pick yo' bones. Ah waits on de salvation of de Lawd."
And dat's de way it is wid some of you young colts.
—Charles C. Jones, Jr.
GOLD GULCH GUS SEZ:
Me 'n Sawmill Sam wuz talkin' t'other evening' 'bout how some folks got 't be rich, 'n other folks like him 'n me worked hard all our lives 'n still had a hard time makin' ends meet. "Well," sez Sam, "ol' Poverty Pete is th' richest feller we know, why don't we go over 'n ask him how he wuz settled down in ol' Pete's parlor, Sam puts th' question to him. "It's a long story," sez ol' Pete, 'n while I'm tellin it, we might as well save th' candle." So he blowed it out. "Well," sez Sam, "you don't need to go on. I think we understand."
—Mother Lode Magazine
Old Rip Snortin' says, he hates to grow old, "darned if age gets any true respect today unless it's bottled and imported."
Dr. Oliver Says---
Over-eating often wrecks the health of people who spend their time worrying about TB, cancer and heart disease.
CURE—Walk in the desert and count lizards and I will guarantee you will pass one hundred."
Golden Legends of a Fabulous Land
OF DEATH VALLEY
By Harold O Weight
JUST OFF THE PRESS - $1.50
72 Pages—Many Illustrations
Two-Page Map of the
Death Valley Country
By Norton Allen
Twentynine Palms, California
DO YOU THINK
THIS PAPER NUTS?
If you want a bigger dose of this
effervescent Desert Medicine,
just send $3.00 to the
DESERT CRAFTS SHOP
Palm Desert, California
For the Book
AMY &nbs;and MARY
A Whimsical Desert Digest
of Refreshing Nonsense
SAND DUNE RAILROAD
THE OLD DEPOT
PAGE 4½ Picture by C.D. Poage of the M.K.&T. 3-D EDITION
This picture sure makes that Old Chinaman so very right—
ONE PICTURE IS WORTH A THOUSAND WORDS, or did he say ten thousand?
Old Timers who lived in the days when railroads had no auto competition, and one had to leave the horse and buggy behind on long journeys will remember this typical scene. (Everyone seems eager to have something done.)
Read the account of DEATH VALLEY'S SCOTTY'S WILD
RIDE on the COYOTE SPECIAL
This rare old print was loaned me by Herb S. Hamlin, Editor "THE PONY EXPRESS" (Stories of Pioneers and Old Trails) Hamlin tells of early day Western Railroading. If you do not know his paper look at ad on page 4 then send 25c for a copy.
All text was hand-entered (no OCR scans) by Dick Oakes who did the layout, markup and graphics reproduction (all of Harry's misspellings retained). The contents remain the property of Bill Lincoln and his heirs.