Stories My Granddad Told Me Pt Two of Four.


      My grandfather's farm was about ten miles from the town of Okeene Oklahoma.  This is a town of about eighteen-hundred people.  It started as a frontier village and never quite died out.  In the 1880's there was no town law enforcement.  Rules were enforced by committees.  These committees were called vigilantes. 

     When there was an actual gunfight, as sometimes happened, it was never a stand and draw type.  It was a shoot-on-sight situation.  Two men would have an argument that led to bad blood between them and one would tell the other that the next time they met, one of the two was going to die.  Quite often, the next time one saw the other, he might be a block away.  So the guy would pull his gun and start shooting without warning.  Very often, due to the distances involved, the bystanders were in more danger than the combatants were.  Usually, if no one was killed, that satisfied the quarrel and ended the problem.  If a bystander was killed or seriously injured, the committee would handle the punishment; usually a hanging resolved things nicely. 

     Sometimes young men who fancied themselves as good with hand guns would come into town.  Often they were general troublemakers who would try and bully people around them.  But there is one thing you must remember about these frontier towns.  There were a few people from the civilized Eastern part of the country.  But for the most part, these towns were made up of Civil War veterans, ex-buffalo hunters, Indian fighters, and sometimes even an old mountain man who could no longer live in the mountains for some reason.  These men did not bully easily, nor did they scare easily.  When these young men made too much of a nuisance of themselves, stepped over the line, so to speak; the vigilantes would take the youngster out of town, dead if he put up a fight, and hang him.  He was left there to rot as a warning to the next young man who thought he was good with a hand gun.

       My grandfather said that the people had an interesting take on gamblers also, but that is a story for another time. 

mewold mewold
66-70, M
3 Responses Sep 13, 2009

Thank you, flour.<br />
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zorbas, you have a very good incite into history also.<br />
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Thank you rider810. The movies thought the real old west was too boring. They were wrong.

Delightful story and it stresses the need for all of us to relate our life's experiences to our next of kin. We all have a lived lives of some interest , no matter how mundane that they seem to us. They should be considered treasured and important contacts with the past. <br />
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As an example, we are losing countless WWII veterans daily and their stories are priceless and all add to the fabric of what and who we are as a people. This is true of all stories within any familiy.<br />
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With respect to your grandfather's story, I am most impressed with the fact that it clearly showed that his generation was of a strong resourceful people. Further it shows how off base Hollywood has been for all these years. In all western movies, especially like High Noon from the 1950s , Hollywood made a town setting of a townspeople so fearful of encroaching gunmen that they let a lone Marshal defend them. This was blatant "hog wash" , as your grandfather well knew. <br />
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The old frontier towns were indeed populated by some of the toughest people that every walked the earth. They were nothing like the spineless cowards the filmmakers would wish us to believe.<br />
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Thankyou for giving a true glimpse of the country that was your grandfather's time.

This is a wonderful story Mewold-thankyou!