His younger brothers and sisters were in shock. BEN ROBERTSON, fifteen, son of a South Texas share-cropper and with dreams of being a cowboy, started walking toward town. He climbed in a boxcar and rode three days and nights to Channing, Texas where his older brother, FRED ROBERTSON, was working on a ranch. Fred got him a job and Ben spent the rest of his life, mostly horseback.
Four years later, his younger brother, ALTON ROBERTSON, also fifteen, walked that same dusty road with the smaller kids running along behind, pulling on his sleeve and begging him to come back. But, he climbed into a boxcar, riding day and night with no food or water, and hopped off in Channing, just as Ben had done. He caught a ride with a supply wagon out to the ranch where Fred and Ben were working and they got him a job. His childhood was spent riding rough horses, rounding up cattle, branding, shipping, and sleeping on the ground. Alton and Ben learned the cowboy life the hard way, by experience.
Life on big Texas ranches in the twenty’s was hard. Long days in the saddle for weeks at a time caused many a cowboy to look toward the horizon, in the direction of some small town where occasional Saturday night dances were held. Alton and Ben made many of those rough-house dances where pretty girls were scarce and fights were common and they never turned down either, the pretty girls or the fights.
Bucking horses, runaway horses, wild horses, and lots of good horses, Alton learned the cowboy way just as many other young men had done before him. Ride those bucking horses or draw your pay and hike back to town. As time passed, he found a sweetheart, got married, lived in a one room shack without the benefit of electricity, plumbing or running water, raised a family, and served his country in the US Army.
Later in life, Alton owned a wind mill rig with Ben, broke horses, worked at the sale barn in Dalhart, Texas, purchased a tough bar in Lawton, Oklahoma from his brother-in-law, EMERY COWLEY, and eventually bought a good grass ranch in the northwest Arkansas town of Green Forest. He settled down there for the reminder of his life, running a small cow herd, helping his neighbors, and meeting the three best friends of his life, CLAY THARP, and his brothers, Claude, Clell, and Clinton.
The lives of true cowboys are colored into this account of four generations of a family that lived, enjoyed and overcame the hardships of working on the ranges of Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma. It is compiled for the appreciation of all who have been cowboys or have ancestors whose lives were enriched by cowboy life. This book opens the corral gate beckoning to the young ones who feel the calling to live in an honorable, hard-working and determined commitment to life that few find nowadays. Enjoy the hardscrabble humor, sweat and endurance of those who have preceded us in this great adventure of the American West.