Saturday, January 26, 2013

Cowboy Saddle-Maker's Watch Fob

I recently acquired this delightful C. C. Jeffrey Saddle-Makers Watch Fob (above).  The thing that got me excited about buying this fob is the bucking horse (bronco) design.  When I first saw it I was reminded of the art of Charles M.  Russell -- one of my heroes -- and after doing a little research I'm convinced that Russell's art influenced the maker of the watch fob.

Compare the Jeffrey watch fob on the left to the Charlie Russell illustration on the 'Heptol Splits' advertising tray on the right.  I wonder if this could be a rare and unknown piece of Charles M. Russell advertising art?  What do you think?

About Christopher C. Jeffrey (1858-1913)

From A history of Montana by Helen Fitzgerald Sanders (Volume III; page 82 of 169; published Lewis Pub.  Co., Chicago & NY).

Christopher C. Jeffrey is the son of Robert Jeffrey who was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, and grew to young manhood in his native land.  Before leaving home in search of larger opportunities he was united in marriage to Mary Carruthers, a bonnie Scotch lass who feared not the unknown dangers of the new world.  Together they came to America.  Together they came to the United States but soon decided that they might feel more at home if still on English soil, so they shortly moved to Canada where they remained British subjects to the end of their lives.  In Canada they purchased them a small farm where they passed the remainder of their days in comparative comfort.  Mr.  Jeffrey cared for his farm in person almost until the last.  He passed away in 1892 at the good old age of seventy-six.  His wife, although the mother of ten children, outlived her husband by almost thirteen years.  In 1905 she was laid to rest at his side.  A long deserved rest was hers.  She had endured hardship and privation smilingly and reared her ten children in wholesome fear of her Scotch Presbyterian God.  For eighty years was she spared to labor for her family on this earth.  Mr.  and Mrs.  Jeffrey, with their native caution, progressed slowly, but every step of their lives was toward progress.  

Of their ten sturdy offsprings— and where can there be found better stock for the building of a new land— of these children Christopher C. Jeffrey was the second from the youngest.  He was born in New York City shortlyafter the arrival of his parents from Scotland, the date of his birth being July the eighth, _ 1858.  Scarcely was he a year of age, however, when his parents moved to Canada, their future home.  Here their son lived upon the home farm until his twenty-first year, when, desiring to set out for himself, he went to Lincoln, Nebraska.  When only thirteen years of age, his father, with the old world valuation of a good trade, had apprenticed him to a harness maker so that he did not start out in life altogether empty handed.  Through his four years' apprenticeship at Mount Forest, Canada, he had received for his labors the total sum of $160.  This to a youth of American parents would have seemed ridiculously small, but an American young man, on the other hand, would probably have started out with neither the good trade to depend upon nor the $160 of his own earnings to carry him to his journey's end.  For nearly fifteen years Mr.  Jeffrey labored at his trade in Nebraska.  In 1895, having accumulated a competence, he left Nebraska for Lewistown, Montana.  Here he opened up a large harness and saddlery house and has carried on a flourishing business ever since.  

Before leaving Nebraska he chose for his life companion Miss Hattie Cheney, the daughter of Mr.  and Mrs.  William Cheney, of Princeton, Nebraska.  They were joined in marriage at that place on the eighth day of November, 1891.  Mr.  and Mrs.  Jeffrey are now the parents of two grown children.  Bert Jeffrey, the son, is with his father in business.  He still makes his home with his parents.  His sister, Gladys Jeffrey Lefler, is the wife of Mr.  Arthur Lefler, who conducts a pool hall with a cigar business attached.  

Mr.  Christopher Jeffrey has been able to devote few years of his life to the obtaining of book knowledge, but with the shrewdness and determination inherited from his old Scotch father, he has won for himself a kind of education that schooling often fails to give.  The Presbyterian teachings of his parents cause him to still lean toward that denomination.  In this preference Mrs.  Jeffrey joins him.  Both of them are most devoted to Lewistown and Montana, believing that they are excelled by no sister town or state.  

Mr.  Jeffrey is a member of the Red Men lodge and most active in his service to the Yoemen, having filled nearly every office it was in their power to confer upon him.  Politically he votes the Democratic ticket, although he feels no personal interest in politics.  He is a great reader and keeps well informed on the questions of the day, however.  His infrequent vacations are spent in the open, fishing being his favorite sport.  His spare evenings are given over to the theater or to some musical entertainment, both he and Mrs.  Jeffrey very much enjoying these diversions and being quite musical themselves.  Montana has brought them prosperity and they, in return, give to her a loyalty that can not be exceeded by her native sons and daughters.  

Lewistown City Directories

C. C. Jeffrey advertisement in the 1912 Lewistown city directory

In the 1914 Lewistown city directory we learn -- Christopher Jeffrey died on Aug 25, 1913

I'd dearly love to learn more about Christopher C. Jeffrey and his saddles.  If anyone has any more information or one of his saddles I'd appreciate hearing from you.

- o -

"Cowpunchers were mighty particular about their rig, an' in all the camps you'd find a fashion leader. From a cowpuncher's idea, these fellers was sure good to look at, an' I tell you right now, there ain't no prettier sight for my eyes than one of those good-lookin', long-backed cowpunchers, sittin' up on a high-forked, full-stamped California saddle with a live hoss between his legs."  -- Charlie Russell

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cowboy Wisdom -- Carry your Six-Gun On An Empty Chamber

(From a vintage Ruger advertisement in my collection)

Old cowboy 'Single Action Revolvers' -- like the Colt Peacemaker used in the old West -- were carried on an empty chamber under the hammer because a powerful blow to the hammer (such as being thrown off a horse into a pile of rocks) could set of a round.  

An old cowboy tradition was to carry a rolled up $10 bill -- known as 'burying money' -- in the empty chamber.

Nowadays modern six-guns -- like the Ruger Vaquero -- have a transfer bar safety, and some folks believe there is no reason to leave an empty chamber.  I've been piled by my horse more than once -- so transfer bar or not -- hittin' hard ground is bad enough without havin' a hole in my foot too.  

The way old timers loaded their six-shooter guaranteed they'd end up on the empty chamber -- the practice was to -- load one, skip one, load four, and let your hammer down on an empty chamber. 

For modern cowboy shooting events folks figured out scoring was a bunch easier using 5-shots rather than 6-shots -- so transfer bar or not the cowboy tradition is carried on.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- Warner Baxter

Warner Baxter (1889-1951) was an American actor, best known for his role as The Cisco Kid in In Old Arizona (1929), for which he won the second Academy Award for Best Actor in the 1928–1929 Academy Awards. Warner Baxter started his movie career in silent movies. His most notable silent films are The Great Gatsby (1926) and The Awful Truth (1925). The Great Gatsby is one of many lost films of the silent era.  In total he appeared in 109 films during his career.

Warner Baxter's Santa Susana filming locations filmography:

In Old Arizona (1929) starring Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe and Dorothy Burgess (Iverson Ranch)(Mission San Fernando Rey) Fox Film Corp

The Arizona Kid (1930) starring Warner Baxter, Carole Lombard and Theodore von Eltz (Iverson Ranch) Fox Film Corp.

The Cisco Kid (1931) starring Warner Baxter, Edmund Lowe and Conchita Montenegro (Iverson Ranch) Fox

The Millerson Case (1947) starring Warner Baxter, Nancy Saunders and Clem Bevans (Iverson Ranch) Larry Darmour Prod.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Cowboy Collectibles -- Watches and Fobs

It wasn't too many years back that every cowboy kept a time piece in his vest pocket.  A few still do.  I personally never liked wearing any kind of jewelry when I'm around horses -- especially a wristwatch-- there's just too many things to get hung-up on.  

The two pocket watches in the photo above are items I still carry almost everyday.  The watch at the top is a Hamilton railroad watch -- it's my Sunday-go-to-meetin' watch.  It has a swell Edmundo Cigars fob and cigar cutter attached, and the 'horse hoof' watch key fastens it to a buttonhole on my vest or shirt.  The watch, fob and key together would fetch more than $350.00 on ebay these days.

My other 'every-day' watch is modern Crumrine pocket watch with a slick Cincinnati Horseshoe Company fob that I use everyday.  Together they would bring about $150.00 on ebay.   

Over the years I've acquired a bunch of interesting advertising watch fobs like these hunting, fishing, firearms and Equestrian related pieces in the photo above (estimated values $7.50 - $250.00 each).  

Back in the days when everybody carried a pocket watch smart merchandisers gave 'em away or sold 'em cheap because they savvied it was good business to have their name and logo hangin' in plain sight.  (fobs above range from $15.00 to $250.00+ on ebay today.)

What's A Pocket Watch

For me collecting pocket watches and advertising fobs is so natural it never occurred to me that young folks may not know what they are.  

One day -- not long ago -- my eldest grandson pointed at the wall above my desk and asked, "What are these granddad?"  He was admiring my little collection of saddle-makers and Old West fobs in the photos below.  When I told him they were watch fobs I could tell by his dazed expression he didn't know about pocket watches.  (He gets his time from an iphone.)

Satisfied with my explanation he allowed that they were "pretty cool" and I could tag them in my will for him.

I'm always pleased when I hit on something that my grandsons like, so I figured I'd add a few more "cool" old timey goodies to their inheritance.  

I've been on a quest to find some cowboy collectibles that I think will still have value a few decades from now.  The world sure is changing' and lots of things I grew up with are downright unpopular today… among them are hunting, fishing, shooting, trapping, and even rodeos.  That's why I'm searching for and purchasing fobs like the Hunter-Trader-Trapper Magazine fob in the photo above.  It's from early last century, and I'll guaran-darn-tee-ya -- you won't find any vegans or animal rights folks sportin' one.

I just purchased a nifty Savage Arms Company fob (above).  It was more'n likely a giveaway at the 1915 Panama Pacific Exposition in San Francisco.  It sure cost me a heap of dinero, but luckily I had an equally desirable 1905 Lewis and Clark Centennial Exposition watch fob advertising Monogram Cigars (photo below) that I sold for $150.00 to help bankroll my purchase.

Recently I found an interesting old magazine advertisement (below) in a 1905 Recreation Magazine offering a similar Savage Arms Company fob for just 15¢.

My luck has been running pretty good lately, and I recently found scored a second rare Savage Arms Company fob (photo below) -- this one advertised their new automatic pistol in 1917.  It more than likely sold for about 50¢ back then.

Boy how things have changed!

If you can't find a great advertising watch fob there are always coins, tokens, medallions, tie tacks and even keychains advertising your favorite American hunting and fishing merchandise.  Original (not reproduction) firearms advertising fobs can range in value from $10.00 to $1,200.00 and more, but be careful there are a ton of replica Colt and Winchester fobs out there.

Late additions include a rare Dead Shot (hunter and dog) fob, and another version of the Savage Arms Co. (Indian and rifle) fob.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Reel Cowboys of the Santa Susanas -- John Carradine

John Carradine (1906–1988) was an American actor, best known for his roles in Shakespearean theater, horror films and Westerns. He was a member of Cecil B. DeMille's stock company and later John Ford's company.  He was one of the most prolific character actors in Hollywood history.  He was married several times, had several children and was the patriarch of the Carradine family, including four of his sons and four of his grandchildren who are or were also actors.

Between 1930 and 1990 he played in more than 340 film and television titles.

His starring roles at Santa Susana filming locations include:

Grapes Of Wrath, The (1940) starring Henry Fonda, Jane Darwell, John Carradine (Iverson Ranch) 20th Century Fox

Isle of Forgotten Sins (1943) starring John Carradine, Gale Sondergaard and Sidney Toler (Corriganville) PRC

Black Parachute, The (1944) starring John Carradine, Osa Massen, Larry Parks (Iverson Ranch) Columbia

Hidden Guns (1956) starring Bruce Bennett, Richard Arlen, John Carradine (Corriganville) Republic

Billy the Kid versus Dracula (1966) starring John Carradine, Chuck Courtney and Melinda Plowman (Corriganville) Embassy Pictures

Tomb, The (1986) starring Cameron Mitchell, John Carradine and Sybil Danning (Iverson Ranch) Trans World Ent

His supporting roles at Santa Susana filming locations include:

Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) starring Eddie Cantor, Tony Martin and Roland Young - Eddie Cantor, Tony Martin and Roland Young

Stagecoach (1939) starring John Wayne, Claire Trevor and Andy Devine (Iverson Ranch) United Artists (the photo at the top courtesy of Bruce Hickey is also from Stagecoach)

Captain Fury (1939) starring Brian Aherne, Victor McLaglen and Paul Lukas (Iverson Ranch) UA

Silver Spurs (1943) starring Roy Rogers, Trigger and Smiley Burnette (Iverson Ranch) Republic

Around the World In 80 Days (1956) starring David Niven, Cantinflas and Finlay Currie (Iverson Ranch) UA

Oregon Trail, The (1959) starring Fred MacMurray, William Bishop and Nina Shipman - 20th Century-Fox

His television Roles at Santa Susana filming locations include:

"Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok" (1951) TV Series -- Episode: The Gorilla of Owl Hoot Mesa (1954)

"Playhouse 90" (1956) TV Series -- Episode: Snowshoes: A Comedy of People and Horses (1957)

"Have Gun - Will Travel" (1957) TV Series --  Episode: The Statue of San Sebastian (1958)

"Cimarron City" (1958) TV Series -- Episode: Child of Fear (1959)

"Bat Masterson" (1958) TV Series -- Episode: The Tumbleweed Wagon (1959)

"Tombstone Territory" (1957) TV Series -- Episode: The Man from Brewster (1959)

"Rifleman, The" (1958) TV Series -- Episode: The Mind Reader (1959) and  The Photographer (1959)

"Gunsmoke" (1955) TV Series -- Episode: Reed Survives (1955) and Target (1959)

"Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp, The" (1955) TV Series -- Episode: Reed Survives (1955)

"Johnny Ringo" (1959) TV Series -- Episode: The Rain Man (1959)

"Wanted: Dead or Alive" (1958) TV Series -- Episode: Tolliver Bender (1960)

"Rebel, The" (1959) TV Series -- Episode: Johnny Yuma (1959) and The Bequest (1960)

"Wagon Train" (1957) TV Series -- Episode: The Dora Gray Story (1958) and The Colter Craven Story (1960)

"Maverick" (TV Series 1957–1962) -- Episode: Red Dog (1961)

"Death Valley Days" (1952) TV Series -- Episode: Miracle at Boot Hill (1961)

"Legend of Jesse James, The" (1965) TV Series -- Episode: As Far as the Sea (1966)

"Daniel Boone" (1964) TV Series -- Episode: The Witness (1968)

"Big Valley, The" (1965) TV Series -- Episode: Town of No Exit (1969)

"Bonanza" (1959) TV Series -- Episode: Springtime (1961) and Dead Wrong (1969)

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Cowboy Wisdom -- Avoid Bees

Supposedly an old farmer once said, "A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor."  I honestly don't know it that's a true fact, but I can tell you that avoiding bees while on horseback is a good idea.

Fact is we've got a bunch of critters worth avoiding in the Santa Susana Mountains -- rattlesnakes and mountain lions are also among them, but bees top my list. 

I have lots of experience with bees -- none of it is good.

We've got at least three kinds of bees to deal with on our mountain trails… honey bees,  digger bees, and meat bees.  Actually I'm told some of them are really wasps, but if they're black and yellow folks still call 'em bees.

Honey Bees

The worst of the lot -- for my money -- is the ordinary honey bee.  Until about a dozen years back you didn't need to worry much about honey bees, but then those Africanize bees that escaped from Brazil hit California and things changed.

Three years back 19 of my pals and I were on a trail ride, and just as we came through a narrow canyon we happened on a hive of bees in a dead tree.  I can tell you that bees -- especially the africanized version -- aren't real found of noise.  Our group is a right friendly mix of males and females, and all were engaged in friendly palaver, so many of the jolly riders didn't even notice the bees.

Then all of a sudden I heard a scream!  I turned around to see what was happening.  It was quite a sight -- at least two horses and riders were on the ground, other horses were bucking, and just about every rider was swattin' bees.

About this time some words of cowboy wisdom came to mind -- if you're ever attacked by bees -- RUN!

This was no time for chivalry, and being near the lead, I spurred ol' Zinger into a gallop and we split the breeze.

I took about 20 minutes for all the riders behind me the catchup, and just about every horse and rider got stung multiple times.

My wife Joyce was pretty far behind me and she her pony each got stung more than a dozen times.

Digger Bees

Another bee worth avoiding is a wasp folks call 'digger' or 'miner' bees.  They build their nests in little shallow holes in the ground.

Livin' in rattlesnake country I've trained myself to scan the trail about 30 feet ahead of my horse.  One spring day about five years ago I noticed the ground was a darker shade of brown a few feet in front of my wife who was riding ahead of me.  Stop! I yelled, and then rode past her to see why the ground had changed color.  I was amazed.  Every few inches there was a freshly dug hole about the diameter of a pencil and each hole had a drab colored bee in it.

After identifying the cause of the dirt color change we quietly skated around the bees, and rode away.  I did a little research and learned that digger bees aren't likely to attack if you don't step on them.

You can bet I keep my eyes pealed for darker dirt on trials in the spring -- cause I sure plan to avoid steppin' on 'em.

Meat Bees

The third kind of bee in our area is another wasp that's commonly called a 'meat' bee.  I read they are called that because they are attracted to meat.  

They also like Coca Cola -- I know from personal experience -- and I've learned it's a good idea to look into your soda before drunkin'.  Especially when you know these little rascals are in the territory.

I know a group of riders that got into bunch meat bees that were dining on a dead ground squirrel.  They sure had a giant wreck before they could get clear of the vicinity.

So, a bee might be faster than a John Deere tractor, but a galloping horse can our run them is less than a quarter mile.  Better yet if you spot a bunch of bees on the trail ahead -- it's a good idea to ride around 'em.