E. K. FAWCETT, WHO SETTLED AT MOUTH OF DOLAN CREEK
IN 1883, RECALLS EXPERIENCES
By Ima Jo Fleetwood
Fifty-four years ago E.
K. Fawcett arrived at the mouth of Dolan Creek and saw for the first
time the land that later became his ranch; where he built his home,
and where he enlarged his flocks of sheep until he became one of the
most prominent ranchmen in Val Verde County.
Tuesday Mr. Fawcett recalled that 54 years
ago he and a group of young men under George W. Ames arrived at Dolan
Creek and spent the night in a cave. They had driven 3,000 sheep from
Yorktown to the new range, and found, on their arrival, that sheep men
in this section were regarded as "little better than pelon dogs."
They continued to live in the cave, which
they called "centipede cave" because of the great number of
centipedes that infested it, until they built a house from logs of sycamore
trees growing along the creek banks.
Mr. Fawcett, who is 72 years
of age, was a boy of 18 when he first saw the Dolan Creek country, and
recalled Tuesday that during the time he has ranched in that section,
many changes have occurred, both in the sheep raising industry and in
the country itself.
He recalled that sheep were sheared by
hand and wool shipped to Corpus Christi in those early days. Fifteen
cents a pound was an unusually good price for wool, Mr. Fawcett remembers,
and much of the wool sold for less. flocks were sheared twoce a
"There were only a few rances then,"
Mr. Fawcett said. "The town itself was made up of farmers
who worked along the irrigation ditch to supply the army camp stationed
above the springs and the fort at Brackettville. John Glynn
had a ranch about 13 miles out and there was a ranch west of Devil's
River called Castle Canyon Ranch. H. A. McKee, for whom the
siding was later named, also operated a small ranch. Pat Thompson
was the biggest operator at that time with large flocks between Eagle
Pass and Spofford."
Interested in Boy Scouts
During the 54 years Mr. Fawcett has
ranched on the dolan, however, he has had much wider interests than
ranching alone. One of the civic interests nearest his heart
is his activities with Boy Scouts. Early this year the Silver
Beaver award, conferred for outstanding work among Scouts, was awarede
Mr. Fawcett, and beautiful Camp Fawcett, near Barksdale, was named for
him in appreciation for his consistent work for Scouts.
This eager interest in Boy Scout work led him
to attend the National Jamboree in Washington, D. C. this year.
"There was so much to it," Mr.
Fawcett confessed Tuesday, "that it's hard to say what was the
most interesting part of the Jamboree. All those boys were
certainly a great sight to see. And they were all fine looking
boys, pretty uniform in size, more than 2,600 of them. And
that's a lot of boys. They made a fine sight, singing together
and repeating the Sout oath together.
"It was amazing how they fed all
those boys. I was shown how they went about the job, and
everything was just as sanitary as it could be. I heard no
complaints from the boys about what they had to eat, so I gathered they
were well pleased,"
Mr. Fawcett was accompanied by Mrs. Fawcett
and by Orville Finegan on his trip to Washington. The party made
the trip overland.
Visit Six Capitols
"We were in 12 states
and visited six capitols besides the national Capitol. The
most wonderful of the buildings was the capitol in Baton Rouge, La. The
other buildings were all right, but that one is a marvel. Huey
Long is buried on the capitol grounds. His burial place doesn't
look like a grave but like a park. It is marked only by a
"In the Aloabama Capitol," Mr.
Fawcett recalled, "They have the same benches and desks they had
before the Civil War and are proud of them.
"We traveled 4,383 miles on our trip
and used 328 gallons of gasoline. On our way back home we
visited Shenandoah Park in Virginia, and saw a lot of other interesting
"But, of course, all those boys together
at the same time was a sight to see," he concluded.
Source: Photocopy contributed by Ruth Ratliff. Marked N. Tues,,
7-27-37 and Val Verde County Library. Transcribed to softcopy by
Susan D. Chambless, October 9, 2000.