Hat Creek Dateline: 1878/09/02
Longhorn cattle trailed to area
by Ed Cook, Contributing Writer
Thousands of Texas Longhorn cattle have been trailed by Hat Creek this spring and summer. Most of the trail herds make an overnight camp along sage creek, often at the falls about a mile north. The cowboys with these herds enjoy the chance to stop here. Most of them have not had a chance to buy any necessities, mail a letter or send a telegram for the last 150 miles. Several big ranches have been established north of here this season.
The Bridle Bit Ranch has been built along the Cheyenne River about four miles west from the mouth of Lance Creek. The main house is constructed of round logs facing east, it has two rooms with stone fireplace on the north end and a board roof covered with dirt.
The corrals, bunkhouse and other outbuildings are also made of logs. All these buildings also have "dirt shingles."
The Union Cattle Company owns the Bridle Bit, its president is Thomas Sturgis, G.B. Goodell and W.C. Lane are also members of the company. They also own the O.S. ranch and plan to range around 50,000 cattle and will have up to 30 cowhands working for them. They are paying cowboys $40 to $50 a month.
The O.S. ranch is near the confluence of Black thunder creek and the Cheyenne River. Its six room house is built of pitch logs. Other log buildings include an office, bunkhouse, blacksmith shop, sheds and stables. Their cattle are branded OS on the right side.
"Old Bob" is foreman of the S&G ranch that has been built on a tributary of Beaver Creek near the base of the Black Hills just over the line into Dakota Territory. Sturgis and Goodell, who have an interest in the Union Cattle Company, are its owners.
Their range is in all directions but mostly in Wyoming Territory. The cattle are branded S on the shoulder an G on the hip. The ranch buildings consist of a three room log house, bunk house with a grub room attached, sheds, blacksmith shop and a large log barn.
The Cross A ranch is located on Old Woman Creek near its confluence with Lance Creek. J.H. Ford is the manager, this outfit is running about 15,000 cattle on the Cheyenne River and all its tributaries. Their cattle are branded + on the side and A on the hip.
The ranch house is built of round cottonwood logs, three large rooms in a row, fronting east, with two rough stone fireplaces on the west side.
E.R. Whitcom has located his ranch about 45 miles east of Hat Creek, Wyoming Territory, on Hat Creek in Dakota Territory (near Ardmore). The ranch ranges on Cheyenne River, Hat Creek and Horsehead Creek. His brand on the 15,000 cattle he runs is _T (bar T).
There are plenty of buffalo, elk, deer and antelope in the area, but these ranches are laying in food and supplies for the winter. The cowboys on the Wyoming ranches get their mail here at Hat Creek, a 40 mile ride for many of them.
(Information source: "Pioneering on the Cheyenne River," by Robber's Roost Historical Society.)