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E. K. Fawcett Recalls Experiences

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Chambless, Sanderson, Simmons

 

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.

Many Changes

     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 year.
     "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 flat slab.
     "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 sights.
     "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.

 

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Last modified:Sunday, 09-Nov-2003 16:28:36 MST