Pioneer Goodman and Fenton Families
The old man walked down the dusty prairie trail. The grama grass and prickly pear cactus were just greening up after the long, cold winter. Old Soc was a tall man with a long, gray beard, and hair to match. He carried a shotgun in his hand and a tow sack filled with grub in the other one. He was headed for his claim, nine miles north of Ravanna, Kansas. Soc and his wife, Mary, had proven up on the land under the Homestead Act of 1862, many years earlier. He still thought of the claim as his, even though he had given legal title to his son John after his wife Mary died. As he walked, his mind wandered back to his early life, and how he had been named Socrates Eurockledon Goodman when he was born in 1825 in Hart County, Kentucky. Soc was named after the great philosopher of ancient Greece, probably at the suggestion of William Richardson, a celebrated teacher of Latin, Greek and Hebrew, who was related to the Goodman family by marriage, and was also a resident of Hart Co. KY. He noticed how different the prairie looked from the hills of Kentucky. He loved the wide open spaces though and was not sorry he had moved west after the Civil War.
Soc remembered the day he had married his wife, Mary, just before the war. She was a widow with two little girls. Mary’s youngest daughter was Sarah Huston (Houston), and her older daughter was Sarah Sidebottom. Mary had been born in Hart County, too. Her maiden name was Reynolds, and they had lived near each other in Hart County as they were growing up. Her parents, Edward and Celia Reynolds, and Soc’s parents, Anselm and Nancy Goodman, and several other Reynolds and Goodman families were members of the Christ Church (Baptist) at Green River, and had been founding members at the new Boiling Springs Baptist Church at Spring Creek, near Munfordville, Hart Co., KY. These families had known each other since before the Revolution in Bedford Co., Virginia, where Matthias Reynolds and Martha Goodman were married by the Rev. John Goodman in 1788.
In 1850, Celia Reynolds and her widowed daughter Mary Huston were living in Knoxville, IL, just a few houses away from George Goodman, who was Soc’s uncle, a son of Amos Goodman and his 2nd wife, Mourning Jones. George Goodman was a tailor. George’s wife was named Mary, and their children were: Rosaltha, Emmett, Angeline, John and George. Right next door to George Goodman’s family was that of Stiring Pond, his wife Louisa, and their children: Mariah, Thiaren, Edwin, and Volutio. A Mariah Pond was to later marry Zalamon Fenton, and their daughter, Estella, married John Anslem Goodman, son of Soc and Mary, but it is uncertain if this was the same Mariah Pond.
Soc’s father, Anselm, was also in Knox Co., listed as Anson Goodman, and was a merchant. His wife Nancy and their children William, Harriet and Cyrus were with them. However, Soc was not. He probably stayed in KY, with his grandfather or an uncle, when his father’s family moved to IL. George Goodman and his family returned to Hart Co. between 1850 and 1860.
Mary Reynolds (Huston) was supposedly half Indian, of the Shawnee tribe, but that fact did not bother him at all, so they were married. Other descendants of Mary's parents, Edward and Celia Reynolds, deny any Indian ancestry or link.The Reynolds family was English, and the Fuqua family was French Huguenot. Mary was a few years older than Soc, although exactly how many is a mystery. She claimed to be 27 in the census 1850, and was living in Knoxville, Knox Co., IL with her mother, Celia Reynolds, daughter Sarah Huston, and younger brother Eli Loren Goodman, before she married Soc. Yet, Mary claimed to be 40 in the census of 1860, right after she married Soc.
Soc and Mary had five children. Nancy D. Goodman’ s husband and issue are unknown. She may have died young. Cephes A. Goodman’s wife and children are unknown. He may have died young. Harriet Goodman married a man named Burnett and they had two children, Golda and Jack, who were childless. Cyrus Jeptha Goodman went hunting in Colorado, and they never saw him again. He may have found a wife in Colorado, as there is now an extensive Goodman family in Denver, that dates to about the same time. That left John Anslem, their youngest son, to carry on the Goodman name.
According to tradition, the Goodman family were of the Catholic faith until they settled in Kansas. However, some members were also known to be Baptists in Hart Co., so the Catholic faith may have been gradually abandoned starting from the mid-1700s. They lived so far away from a church that they drifted away from the faith and never returned to the Church. The Catholicism was probably a legacy of Epharilla Thorpe Goodman, wife of John Goodman b. abt 1752 in VA. Epharilla was of Irish origin, and claimed to have been born on board the ship of that same name that brought her parents to America.
John was born in 1860, in Knox County IL. One year later, the Civil War started. At age 36, Soc joined as a private in Division 31 of the IL Infantry. He fought in many of the famous battles, and marched from Atlanta to the sea under Capt. Wolcott, Co. D., of the 31st Illinois, with Gen. Sherman. He was discharged June 13, 1865 at Albany, NY (per pension application, July, 1890, #884392, Cet. 664687). On his discharge papers, it states that he was an instructor of telegraphic with the War Department. He was glad he could go home again. About 1878, Soc and Mary loaded up a covered wagon and joined a train going west. They settled first in Pratt Co., KS, and in 1886, they moved to Finney Co., KS. They settled on a homestead near the Chisholm trail.
This trail was named after Jesse Chisholm, the first man to bring a herd of long horned cattle from Texas to the railroad that ended at Dodge City. Dodge City was one of the wildest trail towns in Kansas then. It has been estimated that in 1871 alone, 2,000,000 head of Texas long horn cattle had come up that trail to Dodge. Soc closed his eyes and he could almost see those herds; they were a mile wide coming up the trail. The dust almost hid the sun at times. He was awakened from his daydream when the small boy walking beside him shook his arm. "We are almost there Grandpa, I can see the old sod house." he said.
Soc glanced down at his grandson, Roy, who just loved to go with him to stay a few days at his old sod house. Roy was a sturdy boy with gray eyes and brown hair, he was a quiet lad, very sensitive for a boy. He had been very quiet while they were walking because, he knew his grandpa was thinking of the days gone by and would tell him about them later. He loved to hear the stories his grandpa told about the Civil War.
The old man noticed the door was wide open, that worried him a little, nobody seemed to be around, however, so they walked on in. It was almost dark so they couldn't see the rattlesnake buzzing in the corner; the dirt floor was the color of the snake and it was hard to see. Roy wanted to kill the snake right then. His grandpa said it was too dark and they didn't have a light, so they would leave it alone until morning. He knew the snake was too cold to move around much until then. Soc and Roy shook out the blankets on the bunk to make sure no snakes were sleeping in them and settled down to sleep until morning. Soc was up with the sun and killed the snake, just as he thought; that rattlesnake hadn't moved during the night.
As the old man looked around, he noticed someone had been using the old house to live in. He had heard there were claim jumpers about, so he told Roy to keep a sharp lookout while he rustled up some flapjacks for breakfast. They were through eating when Roy saw two riders coming up the trail. His grandpa picked up the shotgun and went to stand beside him at the door. The men rode up to the house and stopped. They seemed surprised to see the old man and boy. Soc let them get a good look at his shotgun and said, "This is my house and this is my land, and unless you boys want to hear this shotgun roar, you both better get on down the trail," The oldest of the men said," We thought this was an abandoned claim. Since that isn't the case we will, move on." They touched their spurs to the horses, and were soon out of sight. They never were seen around those parts again.
Down the trail at the John Goodman ranch, Zalamon Fenton sat under the tall cottonwood tree in the yard. He was glad "Old Soc" was gone for awhile. Now, maybe he could get some peace and quiet. They both lived with their children, John and Estella; and it seemed like they were always getting into fights about the civil War. They had fought in many of the same battles, although they never knew each other at that time.
Zalamon was John's father-in-law and he was a crusty old gentleman. He was the father of sixteen children, besides Estella. Zalamon was born in Buffalo, New York, in 1826. He and his first wife had four sons and two daughters. One of the daughters died as a baby. His first wife died and left him with five children to raise. Zalamon was lucky when he met Mariah Pond in 1865, daughter of Stiring Pond of NY and his wife, Louisa, of VT. Mariah was 27, having been born in 1838 in Ohio, and her family were neighbors of George and Mary Goodman in Knoxville, IL in 1850. A year later, she said she would marry him, and be a mother to his little ones. She was twelve years younger than he was, and she was a pretty woman. Mariah aged before her time, taking care of his five, and bearing eleven more babies of her own, starting with Carrie in 1867. Estella was the ninth of her children, born in 1875, in McHenry County, Illinois, just south of Knox County. In the 1880 census, Zalamon and Mariah Fenton were in Centropolis, KS, with eight of his seventeen children. There, Mariah listed her age as 34, when she was in fact 42.
The Fentons didn't meet the Goodman family until they joined the wagon train going to Kansas. The children soon all became friends however. The two Goodman boys, John and Cyrus Jeptha, often came over to the wagon at night after the camping chores were done.
While he sat and talked with her brothers, John held little Estella on his lap, she was still a baby then. The other boys would try to get him interested in the young girls. John would always shake his head and say ,"I’ll wait until Estella grows up, and marry her." That is Just what he did. He was thirty-three years old before she turned eighteen, and they were married in 1893, in Garfield County, Kansas. When her family and friends teased her about marrying an old man, Estella always answered, "I would rather be an old man's sweetheart than a young man's slave." She was half right anyway, John treated her like a sweetheart, but she had to work hard too.
Note: The above oral account of how John and Estella met is unlikely, given the currently known facts. John & Estella probably did not meet until long after the Goodman’s arrived in KS. The Fentons were already in KS many years before the Goodmans left IL.
In 1887, Ravanna, Kansas was a prosperous town in Garfield County. That was the year of the voting for the county seat. The east side of the county wanted the town of Eminence to be county seat, and the west side was in favor of Ravanna for that honor. By the time elections were held, feelings ran so high that Bat Masterson and twenty of his deputies were sent from Dodge City to keep peace. There wasn't any bloodshed during the elections, and Ravanna was voted the county seat. Later, after an investigation, the courts decided there had been vote fraud, and that Eminence had the rightful title to the county seat. Despite that, Ravanna would not give up the county records. By then they had built a nice stone court house for the county business. The men of Eminence sent a light rig pulled by two fast ponies to Ravanna late one evening to steal the records. Two men were in that rig, and John Goodman was one of those men. They seized the county records, and took them back to Eminence, followed by a hail of bullets. Neither of the men were hit, however. In the end ,neither town was a county seat after all, because Garfield County was found to be too small to legally be a county seat, and it was taken into Finney County. Soon, Ravanna and Eminence were just ghost towns, remembered in the Kansas History books as two of the towns involved in the many small wars fought over county seats in the early days of statehood.
As John waited for Estella to grow up, he built up a herd of cattle by picking up all of the baby calves he could find along the Chisholm trail. These calves were abandoned by the cowboys as too much trouble to fool with, and were left to die. John had a couple of milk cows, and he fed the little calves milk until they were able to eat grass. All of the cattle on his ranch were descended from these milk cows and the long horn calves he picked up.
After they were married, John and Estella picked up old bleached buffalo bones that were left scattered all over the prairie. These bones were left by the buffalo hunters that killed buffalo for meat to feed the many railroad workers hired to lay track for the first railroad across our country. This is how Wild Bill Cody got his name, "Buffalo Bill". He killed more buffalo than any of the other hunters. The bones were shipped east to be ground up and used as fertilizer. John and Estella sold enough to get money to pay the filing fee on a homestead of their own.
This homestead joined the one Old Soc was proving up. It didn't cost much to build a house. That first winter, the young couple lived in a dugout left by an earlier homesteader who had given up. In the spring, John built a large sod house. It was hard to cut the thick sod of the prairie into strips. After he had enough cut, John laid them up just like bricks. The only trees on his claim were slim cottonwoods down by the creek. These were cut to make a pole roof for the house. Sod was then piled on top to make it shed rain, almost all of it anyway. After a rainy period, all the soddies would have grass and flowers growing on top of the roof! John even put in a wood floor. Most sod shanties did not have wood floors, but Estella wanted a floor. She was tired of the dirt floor in her parent's soddy. John just couldn't say, "No" to his new wife. In fact, he never did have the heart to deny her anything in his power to give her. He always told her, "All right, you have things your way now, and I'll have my way when I am alone."
Later, the walls were white washed and strips of white muslin were fastened up to the ceiling, to keep the dirt and bugs from falling down on them. They raised seven children in that sod house. It was warm in winter and cool in the hot summers. Many homesteaders lived in dugouts and sod houses, until they had proved up on their claims. Then they tried to build a frame house. The older Goodman children were in their teens when John finally built his frame house.
Roy Eugene was born in the sod house on October 21,1897. He was John and Estella's third child. Mary and Robert (nicknamed Bob) were the oldest; and after Roy came Francis and Warren. When they thought they were too old to have any more babies, Estella surprised everyone with a set of twins, a boy, Emmet, dark and short, and a girl, Esther, light and with red curly hair. It was not long after the twins were born that Mariah Fenton died of a stroke at the age of sixty-five. After his wife died, Zalamon came to spend all of the rest of his life with the Goodman family. He died a few years later. Old Soc Goodman lived for many years. He was over eighty when he died, in about 1910. He was buried beside his wife, Mary Ellen. They were buried out on the prairie, north of Cimmeron, on the wide, lonesome, open prairie that he loved, just north of the schoolhouse, in old ghost town of Eminence, Kansas. Sometime afterward, their son Warren covered their graves with cement, so they would not be washed away.
The children had many chores to do around the ranch, one of these was to hitch up the horses to a wagon and go out on the prairie and pick up dried cow chips to burn in the cookstove and to heat the rest of the house in the cold winter time, water was pumped by a tall windmill in the yard. The cattle drank from the big stock tank close to the windmill, and water was carried to the house in buckets for the family’s use. In summer the children jumped in the tank by the windmill to get cool and wash the dust and dirt off before going to bed. In winter they used a wash tub near the warm cook stove in the kitchen to bathe in.
For pets they had the usual dogs and cats. Roy had a big black dog once. This dog was always so happy to see him, that he would jump up on him and tear his clothes. His mother told Roy to hit the dog when it jumped up on him the next time, and maybe the dog would learn not to do it anymore. It happened that the next time his dog jumped up on him, Roy had a stick in his hand and he hit the dog behind his head so hard it fell down dead at Roy's feet. Roy was a quiet, sensitive and tenderhearted little boy, so he had a funeral for his dog and he nearly cried his eyes out for the next few days. He always had funerals for all the little birds he found dead, he sang his favorite song, "Jesus Loves Me This I Know". After his dog died, Roy wouldn't let his mother take a nap because he was afraid she would die too. Every time she closed her eyes, Roy would pull her eyes open and say, "Mom, open your eyes. You look like you are dead." If she didn't open her eyes right away he would start to cry.
Roy’s favorite pets were a pair of young eagles his dad had brought home one day. Of course, since the family were (supposedly) Irish, they named the eagles Pat and Mike. The children had to catch lots of rats and mice for the eagles to eat. They also liked snakes cut up in small pieces. The eagles were roped to the clothes line so they could learn to fly. It was a funny sight to see them fly around and around the line. It wasn't so funny when they got big and began to peck and fight everyone who came near. When they pecked Estella every time she hung up the clothes, she told John he had to get rid of them. One morning he tied the eagles legs together and hung them over his saddle horn, and rode off far away from the ranch. Then he turned them loose, to fly free as nature intended them to. Always after when Roy saw an eagle soaring on the wind, he wondered if it was Pat or Mike flying so high in the sky.
Roy spent all of his childhood on that ranch. He learned at an early age how to ride broncos and rope calves for branding. The boys had contests to see who could ride the meanest bronco or bulldog the biggest steer. One year a terrible blizzard struck the plains, and the cattle drifted with the wind until they came to the fences, then they piled up and many of them died. John and the boys rode around the range all the next day trying to save as many of the cattle as they could. They had to knock the ice off of their noses so the cattle could breath. Then they skinned the dead ones and drove the rest of the cattle closer to the ranch house. These would have to be fed extra feed or they too would die before spring.
John decided to build a sled and hitch the horses up to it and take the cowhides to Garden City, the nearest railroad, and sell them hoping to get enough money to buy some cotton cake for the cattle. The roads were so full of drifted snow that a wagon couldn't get through for several days. By that time it would be too late for the hungry cattle. John built his sled in the shed beside the barn, since it was warmer there. Roy kept telling his dad that he was building the sled too big and it wouldn't go through the door, but his dad just kept on hammering. After the sled was done, sure enough, it wouldn't go through the shed door. John never said a word, he just took a sledge hammer and knocked the whole end out of the shed, like that was the way he planned it all the time. They piled the hides on the sled and took off across the prairie, dodging the biggest drifts as they went. When they got to Garden City, it seemed like all the other ranchers had the same idea.
The price of hides was low and all the cotton cake had been sold, except a box car full belonging to a big rancher. The other small ranchers had broken into the box car and were loading their sleds with cotton cake John decided he might as well get some too. It was a matter of life or death to his cattle. The other ranchers were crowded so close to the box car, John couldn't even get close. He told Roy to hold the team and he began unloading a sled belonging to another man. As soon as this man would turn to go get another sack, John took a sack from his sled and put it on his own sled. Soon the man saw him and then there was such a fight. While Roy was watching the fight, the team ran off. As he looked back, he saw the man and his dad rolling around in the snow kicking and hitting each other over cotton cake that didn't even belong to either one of them! When Roy got the team turned around and under control, he drove up close to the fighting men. John jumped on the sled and they went home with a sled load of enough cotton cake to feed the rest of their cattle until the snow melted.
It was many years before they had as many cattle as before the blizzard. To make extra money, Estella raised chickens and sold eggs and butter in town. She also raised big capons to sell at Christmas time. The children had to help her dress them. Roy said for the rest of his life he imagined he could smell chicken feathers when he ate chicken. He never ate much chicken.
The twins, Emmet and Esther, were always getting into trouble. One time they crawled up the ladder and were on the platform near the top of the windmill. It was lucky the wind never changed until Roy climbed up and got them down, or it would have knocked them off and killed them. Esther tried to do everything Emmet did, one day she hurt her knee pretty bad as she was thrown off of a calf she was trying to ride. The knee was a long time healing and when her parents took her to the doctor he discovered Esther had cancer of the bone. She loved to dance and after the doctor removed her leg she said, "You can't keep a Goodman down and I'll dance again, just wait and see. She did learn to dance on her new wooden leg, but two years later the doctors had to remove more of the same leg, trying to arrest the spread of the cancer. It was too late, however, and the tall, red-headed, fun loving twin of Emmet died at the age of eighteen.
Roy worked for a neighbor a few days, and in exchange for his work the neighbor gave him two little pigs. When he took the Pigs home to the ranch, all of his brothers made fun of him and asked him if he was going to be a pig farmer. When he sold his pigs he bought an old saddle tree. He tanned some steer hides and made a cover for the saddle. He then braided thin strips of the leather to make reins. When he was finished, he had a nice new saddle and bridle. As all ranchers did, John had many saddle horses, and the boys could ride any of them they wanted to, but Roy wanted a horse of his own. He had been breaking a little filly all summer, and he was hoping his dad would give it to him on his birthday. Before he could ask his dad if he could have the filly, Roy looked out of the barn door and saw his brother, Bob, riding her toward town. To add insult to injury he had even put Roy's saddle on her, the saddle he had worked on so bard and long on all summer. When Roy objected, his parents said he should share with his older brother. It was because of incidents like that, Roy got the notion he was, "The Black Sheep of The Family." He held this belief all of his life, and often referred to himself as the black sheep when he was older. He felt his parents favored Bob, because he was the oldest, more than they did him. They probably never even knew Roy felt this way.
After his dad gave the filly to Bob, Roy and a friend ran away from home. They got as far as Colorado when their money ran out and they were hungry. It was hard for grown men to get a job in those days, let alone a couple of half grown boys. The only job they could get was a job setting off dynamite. It was a dangerous job, the other boy was too afraid to do it. Roy said he would try to do it. He always was an adventuresome boy and wasn't afraid of anything. The men lowered Roy down the side of a mountain on a rope, he had to go into a tunnel to set off the dynamite, then they pulled him up as fast as they could, before the blast went off. Roy could almost feel that dynamite blowing him to kingdom come! He was glad when the job was done. The two boys went home after that, to wait until they were a little older to go seek their fortunes.
One of the many funny stories Roy told about his dad, was the time John decided it was time that he had one of the new Model T Fords. He carefully built a new shed to keep it in, then he rode to Garden City to pick up his new car. One of the boys went with him to lead his horse back. It did not worry John a bit that he had never driven a car before, all he had to do was keep it on the road, wasn't it? John did just fine driving home, he was the only driver on the road. When he drove into the shed he was going much too fast, and he had forgotten how the man had told him to stop the car. When he came out the other side of the shed, John was pulling back on the steering wheel and shouting, Whoa you son of a b—whoa! He learned the hard way that a car did not stop when he hollered "Whoa" like a horse did. The boys laughed all the while they were fixing the shed and every time any of them told the story later.
John Goodman was a tall slim man and he wore a handle bar mustache all his adult life. In middle age he sold the ranch and bought a lot in Garden City. He built an adobe house and covered it with stucco to live out his retirement. He got a good price for the ranch and he thought he and Estella could live the rest of their lives on the money.
In 1929 the bank closed down, as many of them did that year, and John lost most of his money. He was a quiet man most of the time. When he lost his temper he would curse everyone, including Jesus Christ and all of his bald-headed Disciples. When he found out the bank was closed, he used all the curse words he could think of, then he decided he would take his shotgun and go down to the bank and make someone give him his money back. The boys talked him out of that idea. They told him the money wasn't in the bank and besides, he would just wind up in jail if he made trouble. After that John had to work at odd jobs around town to make enough money for him and Estella to live on.
Franklin Roosevelt was elected president in 1933, and John got some of his money back and he and his wife received an old age pension to live on. John had a stroke when he was over eighty and was completely paralyzed. He showed the same courage that Esther had and learned to walk all over again. He proved again that it is hard to keep a Goodman down. He lived several years more before he died, at age ninety-one.
Estella was a shorter person than her husband and a little heavier too. She was a strong willed woman and most of the time John let her have her own way, it was easier that way. She lived on in the small adobe house in Garden City for many years. When she developed arthritis that was so painful she had to use a wheelchair to get around, she sold the house and spent the rest of her life in a nursing home. When the nurses gave her medicine for the pain, she would refuse to take too much so she would stay alert. They soon found out, as John had so many years ago, they might as well let her have her own way. Estella made a beautiful crazy patchwork quilt before she passed away in 1964 at the age of eighty-nine years. She had many grandchildren, great-grand children and several great-great-grand children.
Roy sold everything he owned and enlisted in the army during the first World War. While he was on the train going to the camp, word came that the war was over. When he got back home, many of the ranch families were sick with the flu. Some of them were dying with it. Roy and some of the other young men rode all over the range checking on the isolated families. Sometimes they had to bury the dead ones and take care of the ones too sick to care for themselves. It was a sad experience for a tender-hearted young man like Roy, but he never shirked a job that had to be done, no matter how distasteful it was.
After the flu epidemic was over, Roy and his best friend, Phil Meyers, left and rode freight trains all over the west. They had many adventures riding the rails as hoboes. One time the railroad "Bulls", men hired by the railroad to keep hoboes from riding in the empty boxcars, caught them and hit them over their heads and took the money out of their pockets. When they woke up in jail they were brought before the Judge for vagrancy, that is the charge if a person has no money or a job. The Judge sentenced them to work on the county road gang for two weeks. After that they un-stitched the end of the waistband on their pants and folded up a twenty dollar bill lengthwise and put it in the slot and then stitched it up again. Then if they were caught, they had money to show the Judge and prove they were not vagrants. Another trick they used was to put a hard bar of soap in their socks, they kept the socks in their pockets and when other hobos started a fight, they swung the sock around their heads a few times and let the bar of soap hit the bullies on their heads. That took all of the fight out of them. Roy and Phil worked at odd jobs to get money to live on. Sometimes they took in a rodeo to pick up a few dollars. Roy told the following two stories of his adventures.
"One time at a rodeo in Cody, Wyoming," Roy began, "I had paid my entry fee, I could not find a cowboy that would loan me a horse to compete in the calf roping contest. I looked around and found a farm boy riding a horse with collar marks where he had been worked in harness. The horse was saddled with an old saddle, the horn was even sticking out of the padding where the stitching was loose. I asked the boy if he would loan me his horse to ride in the calf roping event. I told him I would give him a share of my winnings if I did win. He was tickled pink to think his old horse would be ridden in the rodeo." "Okay," he said." but be sure you take your spurs off, because he will sure buck if he is spurred." Roy continued," When I rode that
old horse up to the chute, one of the cowboys made fun of him and asked. "Are you really going to try to rope a calf with that old plow horse?" "I sure made him eat his words later," Roy said, "because I got lucky for once, and my calf was a little slow, and I got my rope on him and tied him up in record time. When I gave the tow headed farm boy his share of the winnings, I really believe he was more pleased because his horse was a winner than he was over the money."
"Another time," Roy went on, "I drew a big ugly, long horned steer to bulldog. He sure looked like a mean one to me, but I didn't want to forfeit my entry fee so I thought I would give him a try. I jumped off of my horse and grabbed that steer by his horns and twisted his neck with all of the strength I had. I guess I didn't know my own strength, because the next thing, I was aware of was the clown singing, "Nearer My God To Thee." I had broken that poor steer's neck! I sure hated it too. Later, I heard the Humane Society was after me, so I went to my hotel room and changed to some other clothing so they wouldn't recognize me. Then I went back to the rodeo."
Roy was footloose and fancy free that summer as he and his buddy bummed all over the western part of this country. He worked at many different jobs. He wanted to learn to do everything. He could do almost any job he tried to do, and this fact helped him get a job when many other men couldn't. He did not know that when he got back to Ravanna, Kansas, he would meet a school teacher from Topeka, Kansas that would change his life style in more ways than one. The next chapters will go in detail about the family of this school teacher and how she came to teach school in Ravanna.