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“First a Cow Man and Then an Extinguisher of Bad Men”

20. [CLARK, O. S.]. Clay Allison of the Washita, First a Cow Man and Then an Extinguisher of Bad Men: Recollections of Colorado, New Mexico, and the Texas Panhandle. Reminiscences of a ’79er. [Attica, Indiana, 1922]. [3]-135 [1 blank] pp. (complete), 2 original photographs tipped in at front (as issued), text illustrations (mostly photographic, but including a map). 8vo, original brown printed wrappers. A few short, clean tears to edges of fragile wraps, otherwise fine copy, signed by author.

     Second edition, best edition, revised and enlarged (first edition, Attica, 1920, 38 pp.). Adams, Guns 430. Adams, One-Fifty 29 (describing the 1920 edition as “exceedingly rare”): “[The second] edition published in 1922 with the same title, contains 135 pages due to much added material by other authors. This latter edition has an introduction and a map not in the 1920 edition. This edition, too, has become scarce and is the only one known to many bibliophiles.” Dykes, Kid 83:  “Very rare.” Dykes, Rare Western Outlaw Books, p. 29n. Graff 740. Howes C445. Littell 174. Rader 832n. Vandale 33n (citing the 1920 edition). Wynar 322.

     The author was a young man punching cows in New Mexico in the 1880s when he first met Clay Allison. He claims to have consulted “Seringo” extensively in compiling the present work and gives an account of John “Chizum.”  Allison (1840-87), gunfighter, cowboy, and rancher, was a heavy drinker and lunged though life embroiled in a series of brawls, shooting sprees, and other varieties of violence. He fought in the Confederate Army and moved to the Brazos River country in Texas after the war. Allison signed on as a cowhand with Oliver Loving and Charles Goodnight and probably was among the eighteen herders on the 1866 drive that blazed the Goodnight-Loving Trail. In 1867-1869 Allison rode for M. L. Dalton and was trail boss for the partnership of G. Coleman and Irvin W. Lacy. In 1870 Allison drove a herd to the Coleman-Lacy Ranch in New Mexico for a payment of 300 cattle, with which he started his own ranch near Cimarron. In 1878 he sold his New Mexico ranch and became a cattle broker in Hays City, Kansas. By 1880 Allison had settled on Gageby Creek, near its junction with the Washita River, in Hemphill County, Texas, where he registered an ACE brand for his cattle. Marriage in 1881 slowed him down a little from his reputation as the “Wolf of the Washita,” although he kept his legend alive by occasional antics. See Handbook of Texas Online: Robert Clay Allison.

     McLoughlin (Wild and Woolly:  An Encyclopedia of the Old West, pp. 13-14) characterizes Allison as “ranch owner, alcoholic, and a neurotic psychopath of the worst order, whose least objectionable habit was to strip himself naked, thunder up and down the street on his white horse, and then invite the dumbfounded residents into the nearest saloon for a drink.  That’s the sunny side of the man.” ($600-1,200)

Auction 19 Short Title List | Auction 19 Prices Realized

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