The History of Two Ponies
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Ponie2.gif (1972 bytes) "TWO PONIES" ponie2.gif (1972 bytes)

At one point in my life I was very interested in woodworking. While making wooden things and selling them at craft fairs, I needed a logo to mark my wares. Because it was available I settled on a horse head. When I stamped the symbol on the bottom of the wooden objects I usually put it on both sides of my name. At about that same time a famous racehorse named Ruffian had to be killed after breaking its legs - and so I called my symbol, Ruffian-II.
Many years later while competing in black powder shooting contests, I again needed a symbol - of Indian origin - because I was usually dressed as a mountain man. Two horses then turned into "Two Ponies" and has been my symbol for the past ten years.


"The Life and Times Of Two Ponies"

1817-1876

I was born on a frigid February morning in the Kansas territories. It was the 10th day of the month, in the year of 1817. Not much was going on in those days except trying to find enough to eat and keeping your topknot on. My mom and pappy had two other children, both boys and we lived in a small lean-to my pappy had put up between two cottonwood trees on the north bank of the Wakarusa river. This river ran about twenty feet wide normally, but swelled to a raging torrent in the spring when the thaw came. For several weeks each year we were not sure whether it would reach our shelter or not.

While growing up in this forsaken area we worked from dawn to dusk and beyond to make ends meet. There were no churches, schools or even neighbors for that matter. We saw some Indians from time to time, but after giving them a little tobacco or some potatoes they would usually leave us alone, knowing what a hard time we were having too.

I was six years old when my mother died. She was a good woman and her sudden death was a terrible shock to all of us. We worked at it after that but never seemed to ever get to together again. At age thirteen I left that place and drifted south into Texas. Because I was an accomplished horseman by that time I was able to get as job, breaking horses for the army. It wasnít long after that when I started working the trail drives from Texas to the railheads in Kansas. This was again a part of the Kansas territory I had never seen before, so it was all new to me too. Ft. Hays, Wichita, Dodge City, Abilene, Ellsworth were all wild places in those days. A feller had to watch his poke real close or any one of a hoard of folks would have it away from you. This was especially easy after a dry, thirsty, drover had a few quick drinks when he first hit town.

It was pretty easy to find my way from these cattle towns into the mountains of the west, and I spent many years living, trapping, and loving the high country of the Rockies. I went to all the Green River rendezvous and shared a campsite with many a voyager and trapper. A lot of that time was spent with the Ute Indians of western Colorado and eastern Utah. They were friendly people and welcomed whites to their ways. After the beaver and trapping ran out I drifted on into the Yellowstone country and often worked for the army long enough to get another stake and then go back into the mountains.

I guess I worked on about every fort and stockade that the army ever built in the western Montana and Wyoming areas. I also hunted buffalo and wild game to supply the blue coats during the 1850ís and 1860ís. This was a pretty good job for a guy who knew the area like I did. The greenhorns had trouble with this but it was because they did not know the game and their habits. To figure out where the animals would be was natural for me, and then the killing was easy.

It was in the 1870ís that I finally started scouting for the army. They thought I was valuable to them not only because I knew every trail for hundreds of miles but because I could speak most of three Indian tongues and could sign talk to any Indian that ever lived. I was pretty proud of that and even though I just picked it up along the way it was a good skill that the army paid me well for. We would ride out in front of the column and scout the area looking for sign and keeping the group on the right path, we also looked for the campsites and would shoot game and food as it presented itself.

I clearly remember the last day of my life. The month was June, the day was the 25th, and the year was í76. It was blistering hot as the Montana column wound its way through the foothills. "Old Iron Butt" had kept us in our saddles for thirty-six hours in the last two days. Most of us would sleep in the saddle. We had just passed down into the rolling sagebrush that the Lakota called the greasy grass, when the bugle brought us out of our slumber. The column started to gallop full blast down to the river below. Before we ever got near the water, the old man wheeled us around and headed for a higher bluff on the side of the hill. We dismounted and were immediately swarmed by thousands of Indians. Sioux, Cheyenne, Blackfeet, Arapaho and Nez Perce, all whooping and yelling, and all had war paint on their almost naked bodies. Their horses were decorated from nose to tail and their eyes seemed to smoke with rage. Just after I dismounted I glanced over to see the general get shot in the left temple and go down. Soon after that I must have got mine, because I donít remember anything else after that.

And thatís the way it was:

"Riding Down the Little Big Horn with General Custer."

                                                                                        "Two Ponies"