The Writer's Corner
compiled by C.A. Jeffords
Lucas McCain was born in Indiana about 1845, but at early age was moved to the Oklahoma border with his mother and only sister Ruth, when his father Abraham McCain decided to try homesteading in the Cherokee Nation. Though the family was poor (one hundred dollars was big money to them), Lucas had a happy boyhood, spending much of his time camping in the Ozarks with the Indian boys and getting a thorough education in wilderness lore. Abraham McCain was burned out in the 1860 by a land thief names Jamison, and died shortly thereafter, at which time his wife returned to Indiana with her children.
When the Civil Was broke out, Lucas joined the 45th Indiana, and served at first Bull Run, Fort Donelson (where his platoon captured the 12th Virginia Cavalry), and Gettysburg. He also did special work for the Army as far west as Denver under his company commander Tom Benton. He served under General Sheridan from Yellow Tavern to Appomattox, attending a lieutenancy on the morning of Five Forks. At the end of the war, like many young veterans, he headed West again.
For the next few years Lucas did a lot of wild things: he fought
Comanches, rode with the cattle drives up the Chisholm trail, rode deputy in Kansas with bounty hunter Tom King about 1868, and was a close friend of no less than three outlaws-to-be, Tom Birch, Sam Morley and Trav Benteen. He visited Dodge City and El Paso, was in
Bismarck in 1869, and in the same year almost married silver heiress Nora Sanford in Colorado. Shortly after that he met and fell in love with Margaret Gibbs, whose father Samuel was the owner of a vast Texas ranch. He married her in August, 1869. Her sister Susan shortly after married Trav Benteen, to whom she bore a daughter, Madge. The two girls' younger brother Johnny became a bronc-rider with Colonel McBurnie's All-Star Wild West Show and Rodeo.
After his marriage Lucas obtained a ranch near Enid, Oklahoma, ninety miles from Oklahoma City, and sent for his mother, who lived with them until her death in 1874. His son Mark was born in December, 1870. He put all his money away in the local bank in 1871 (and lost it when the institution folded in the Slump of '78)/ In 1874 he had one last wild escapade when he joined his former C.O. Colonel Black, and the eccentric Don LaGar, on a cattle-rustling expedition from Mexico to the U.S. under the impression the stock was theirs by purchase. His best friend in Enid was lawyer Johnny Morgan.
Margaret, who was sick for a long time after Mark was born, died suddenly in 1875. Lucas buried her in Oklahoma City on June 5th of that year. He tried to lose himself in the work at his ranch, but when his savings were wiped out three years later, he sold the place for what he could get and took Mark with him to North Fork, New Mexico Territory in August of that year. Here in the pleasant northern country one hundred miles from Santa Fe, Lucas bought a 4100 acre ranch and settled down as a respected citizen and part-time deputy.
Micah Torrance: Although he looks older then he is, Micah Torrance was born about 1840. He was raised in a little town in North New Mexico where mines were opened up—nearly everyone who
owned a piece of land tried his hand at digging one time or another, including Micah's father who farmed a little piece on a hill within walking distance of town. In ten years, some five miles of tunnels were excavated under the community.
Micah left home in 1855 and began a long career as a lawman in Southwestern cow towns. For a while he lived in Montana Territory. Where at age twenty-two he married eighteen year old Elizabeth Cooke and bought a farm near Bannock. But Elizabeth died of the fever the next September, after a drought and a two-hundred dollar mortgage scorched the farm out from under them. At this point he returned to the Southwest, where he learned the ore in his hometown had given out and the place had gradually been deserted.
For the next few years Micah worked the lawman's trade, becoming know as 'the finest peace officer on the Border.' But in 1868 two blows fell to change that. First he met Ansel Bain, a gunfight so extraordinarily farsighted he could kill a man from a distance at which his opponent couldn't even nick him. Micah knew from that onward that Bain 'had his number' and lived in fear of him; he began to drink and to move around in an effort to keep ahead of Bain. While he was moving, he was crippled at the hands of Dan Maury whom he sent to Yuma Prison; ever since his right arm had not been the same. At this point he went 'right to the bottom' and began drinking heavily. For the next twelve years he never took less than a quart of whiskey a day. He lived in Texas from 1869-70, served briefly as sheriff of Willow Springs (not far from North Fork) and was an officer at the New Mexico Territorial Prison in 1874-6. It wasn't until 1881, when Lucas McCain befriended him that he dried out, showed his true mettle, and became the competent and respected City Marshal that North Fork knows today.
*I really enjoyed these two biographies. I found them very interesting and could relate to the different episodes which they applied to.
Do any of you know where the characters Trav Benteen or Madge or Susan? How many of you have read the book.....
The Rifleman — Trail of the Outlaw
by Cole Fannin?
You will find these characters and many more in The Rifleman — Trail of the Outlaw by Cole Fannin.
I have read it a few years ago and loved it!!!!! Cowgirl!
Do you have a story you would like to share?
Here are some other great stories. Enjoy!
around the McCain Ranch