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San Antonio to El Paso and Back in 1849

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The following quote is a description of a journey made in 1849 by legendary Texas Ranger John Salmon Ford:


"It took them fifty-five days to cover the 1160 miles form San Antonio to El Paso and back again. During that time Ford felt better mentally and physically than at any time since his wife's death. He made new friends too: Doc Sullivan, an impetuous and impish little man, always into mischief, and his constant companion Alpheus D. Neal, and Delaware Jim Shaw and several other Indian scouts, all of whom accompanied the expedition; and out at El Paso Ford met a living Texas legend, the "Great Western," a huge, powerful woman who operated a hotel and gambling house. She could whip any man, fair fight or foul, could shoot a pistol better than anyone in the region, and at black jack could out play (or out cheat) the slickest professional gambler.

The way the story went, she had fallen in love with Zachary Taylor back in Florida and had followed him to Texas. When war began, and Old Rough and Ready Taylor lead his army into Mexico, she came to El Paso and bought a hotel. One day a man fresh from the Battle of Buena Vista came running into the hotel crying that Taylor had been badly defeated. The Great Western floored the courier with a powerful blow between the eyes as she bellowed: "You damned son of a bitch, there ain't Mexicans enough in Mexico to whip old Taylor!" According to the gossipers she was still in love with the general and would let no man touch her. Which was all right, they added, because it would require some sort of mutation of man and gorilla to handle her anyway."


----- Stephen Oates, "Rip Ford's Texas," 1987

Beauty is only skin deep but Texas is to the bone.

Posted : 29th December 2019 5:37 pm