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AUCTION 22

 

“He was one of the best men that ever lived, when he was treated right, but if a man didn’t want to do the right thing, or wanted a scrap, he could get it out of Buck any time”

 

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523.     [TEXAS RANGERS]. BARRY, James Buckner (“Buck”). Manuscript bill of sale signed J.B. Barry, Bazette, Navarro County, Texas, April 4, 1849, conveying for $50 a branded mule to William M. Love. Witnessed by P.C. Barry and Owen Humphrey, who signs with his mark. File note in unidentified contemporary hand in ink on verso: “Bill of Sale J.B. Barry to Wm. Love.” 1 page on unwatermarked wove paper. Folio (35 x 20 cm). Creased where formerly folded, minor edge wear, and a few small marginal tears not affecting text. Overall, fine. A rare Ranger autograph, written during the heyday of Barry’s active service as a sheriff, Indian fighter, and Texas Ranger.

     Text reads: "Bazette, Navarro County April 4 1849 Know all men by these presents that I this day bargain sell & convey unto Wm M Love one sorrel horse mule branded with a Brand [T] and by the presents do hereby bargain sell & convey unto the said Wm M Love his heirs assigns &c said sorrel mule to have & to hold for the sum of Fifty Dollars. The receipt of which is hereby acknowledged."

     Men like James Bowie and David Crockett won Texas, but Buck Barry did as much or more to tame it, while living on the very edge of the farthest frontier of Texas. Truly a legend in his own time for his supreme warrior skills, he also “served his people well even to the neglect of his private advantage” (James K. Greer, editor and biographer, in Buck Barry Texas Ranger and Frontiersman, Dallas: Southwest Press, 1932). Barry’s memoirs reveal that despite his prowess as an Indian fighter, he released those found innocent and encouraged friendship with peaceful tribes, such as the Tonkawa. Charles Goodnight, who served under him, remarked that Barry’s “coolness in engagements was remarkable” (Greer, p. 233). R.W. “Dad” Aycock told Greer: “He was one of the best men that ever lived, when he was treated right, but if a man didn’t want to do the right thing, or wanted a scrap, he could get it out of Buck any time” (Greer, p. 232). When Barry ran for state office in 1898, his neighbors warmly endorsed him, stating in part: “We believe the people of Texas owe him more than any other man now living” (Greer, p. 226). Mrs. William F. Love, wife of the buyer of the horse mule in the present manuscript, described Barry as “fearless” and remarked that while he had enemies, his friends made up a better class of citizens (Greer, p. 222). Yet he was a simple, straight-shooting, highly intelligent man. “Long after most Texans had forsaken buckskin, Barry chose to wear it” (Greer, p. 222).

     Buck Barry (1821-1906), a North Carolina native, first came to Texas in 1841 and received land near Corsicana. He soon joined the newly formed Texas rangers (in 1845) and acquired a reputation as a tireless Indian fighter who believed the Native Americans should be removed from Texas soil. After the Mexican-American War, in which he was wounded, he returned for a while to his native state before settling at Bazette. The same year as the date of this document, he was elected sheriff of Navarro County and moved to Corsicana, where he held several offices. One of the companies he raised helped in the recovery of Cynthia Ann Parker. He helped to protect the Texas frontier during the Civil War. After the war, he participated in politics briefly before retiring to his ranch at Walnut Springs. Barry had a passion for stock raising, and no doubt repeated raids on his stock during his early years on the East Bosque ignited his everlasting wrath against outlaws and thieves. In later years, he organized local chapters of the Grange and introduced legislation to protect stock and fight fence cutting.

     Witness Owen Humphrey was Barry’s neighbor, friend, and hunting companion. (Barry nearly rivaled Crockett in his hunting exploits.) The buyer of Barry’s horse mule, William M. Love, was one of the early settlers of Navarro County and eventually built the most palatial mansion in the county. According to an article in the Corsicana Daily Sun, Love resided in the Richland Creek area south of Angus and was among the top producers of sweet potatoes in Navarro County in 1860. On a more exciting note, Love was enrolled in the company of men of the Surveyors’ Fight on Battle Creek (October 8, 1838), barely missing the deadly battle when he left to fix a faulty compass. Love returned to rescue the survivors and bury the dead. He also served in the campaigns of the Red River Riflemen and the Cherokee War (1839) and Captain Chandler’s Robertson County Minutemen (1841). See Moore, Savage Frontier (Vols. II & III).

($1,500-2,500)

 

Auction 22 Abstracts

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