Yoking Oxen

“Our cattle were soon driven into corral for us to yoke.

Our train crew of a wagon boss, by the name of Chatham Rennick-a big, six foot two inch man, an assistant wagon boss, twenty-six teamsters, and two extra hands, malring thirty men in all. But we had ten extra men to help us get the train started.

We went into the corral with three lasso ropes to catch our cattle and fasten them to a wagon wheel to put their yokes on, as they were so wild it was the only way we could get them yoked. We would then chain this one to a wheel till we got another and so on till each team was yoked. Then to get them hitched to a wagon tongue was another big job, but at two o’clock in the afternoon we succeeded in getting them all hitched on and started to break corral, and a lively time we had. Now the fun be­gan, not for the teamsters, but for the lookers on. It was life work for us to keep our wagons right side up. Twenty­six teams of nearly all wild cattle going in every direction -three hundred and twelve head of crazy steers pitching and bellowing and trying to get loose or get away fr:om the wagon, and teamsters working for dear life to herd them and keep from upsetting or breaking their wagons; and every. now and then a wagon upsetting, tongues breaking, and teams getting loose on the prairie.

It kept every extra man on the jump to keep the cattle moving in the right direction.

Fourteen men on horseback and twenty-six teamsters had a lively experience that afternoon and evening, and finally, at nine o’clock that night had succeeded in getting nine wagons two miles from starting point and getting the cattle loose from the wagons in a demoralized condition. Some of the teams had one or two steers loose from the yoke, and the others were dragging the yokes. Everything was in confusion.”