Rare Home-Spun Pioneer Account
Cattle Round-Ups & Drives—Buffalo—Outlaws
171. SMALL, Floyd B. Autobiography of a Pioneer. Being an Account of the Personal Experiences of the Author from 1867 to 1916. Seattle : F. B. Small, 1916. -106 pp., text illustrations (amateur drawings), several of the captions for the text illustrations are rubber ink stamps. 8vo, original dark blue pictorial wrappers with full-length portrait of author, stapled (as issued). Adhesive residue on lower wrap and inside upper wrap, text block separating, small section of upper blank corner of front free endpaper chipped, overall a very good copy of a very home-made production. Exceedingly rare in commerce.
First edition. Adams , Burs 361. Adams , Guns 2039: “Scarce. The author claims to have been a close neighbor of Wild Bill Hickok’s sister; yet he spells the name Hecock.” Adams , Herd 2083. Eberstadt, Modern Narratives of the Plains and the Rockies 437. Howes S560: “Adventures with buffalo, cattle and outlaws.” Soliday, Part D, 724: “A pioneer narrative with all its original flavor intact and un-‘edited.’ The author writes his reminiscences as he lived them. Here and there a word is misspelled and occasionally the grammar is somewhat hazy, but the book is obviously true.” Smith 9532.
Very little is known of the author, who seems to be documented only from the account here. He describes several buffalo hunts (including the extermination what he believed to be the last herd), horse and cattle round-ups, and other various adventures with wild animals, such as wolves and rattlesnakes. Lamenting the extermination of buffalo he comments that the few left are in the Government Reserve at Yellowstone . He records an encounter with the James gang in 1870, as well as providing information on Hickok (dismissed by Adams as inaccurate). Of special interest is “Along the Cattle Trails: Thievery from Thieves,” describing a cattle drive from the Texas Panhandle to Eastern Nebraska in 1879.
The home-made nature of this little rarity is appealing, with its achingly primitive illustrations, rubber-stamped illustration captions, and inclusion of elements such as galley notations and editorial notes printed by mistake. ($400-800)
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