A Page Out of the Book Cliffs
Page 22 - Ink Harris - Part 11
by AJ Rogers
Aug 09, 2018 | 350 views | 0 0 comments | 9 9 recommendations | email to a friend | print
If you’ve been reading these columns the past several weeks you’ve gotten to know Ink Harris fairly well. You’ve learned he’s a hard-working man who always had several irons in the fire at the same time. He struggled to keep things afloat and bread on the table for his family. You’ve also heard from his own pen that he is fed up with a lot of stockmen coming into his neck of the woods and grazing the range he considers his own. We’re pretty sure that he has been doing more than just complaining about the problem. He has alluded to the fact that he has taken the fight to those he calls Aliens, or Transients, but he never writes any of the details. Ink Harris has been trying to make a decent living for a lot of years, but there has been a lot of dog-eat-dog going on. Everyone needs a break now and then and a change of scenery. In this next letter Ink is writing to his old friend and employer, Harry Ballard, once again. But this time the postmark is from new country.

To: Mr. H.G. Ballard - Falmouth England

From: 1663 67th Ave - Oakland, California

December 11th, 1922

Dear Old Friend,

Your letter of Nov. 12th received and was very glad to here frome you once more. The last letter I received you were going to change your address, so I did not answer and have bin waiting to here frome you again. Well I guess you will be surprised to know I have came to California but I think it is just for the winter. I sold out in Utah last spring and came here the 1st of October. I expect to spend the winter here and send the children to school. We like it very much as far as we have got. It looks awful nice to see the grass and flowers growing at Christmas times. The hills are as green now as it is on the mountain in Utah in June. It has bin raining for a week and frome the looks of it to day it mite rain another week, but we have had beautiful weather since we came here. Ballard and Sylvia are going to school and getting along very nisely.

Ballard is the wildest boy you ever saw, he is,nt vishess or anything like that but just on the go and into something all the time. It keeps the hole family buisey all the time keeping tabs on him. Oakland is a very nice city of about 200,000 people and lays just across the Golden Gate bay from San Francisco. We go across the bay almost every Sunday and go out to Golden Gate Park and the Cliff House Beaches. It is very nice over there when the weather is fine. I left my car at Green River so we don’t get around as much as I wood like to.

We have another girl in the family 4 months old and I was afraid to try an automobile trip across the Seara Nevada Mountains so late in the season. I don’t know what I will do yet. I want to look Nevada over and see what kind of a country it is. I believe there is some good cow country up in there if I can find it. There is no use to think about trying to run on our range in Utah. The sheep has got that to the point where it was either sell out or go broke in Grand County. So I let go. There was another killing or two last fall over the range and I saw in the paper where Turners outfit are all arested and bound over to the district court. I havent herd any of the perticulars of the case so cant tell you much about it. I am going back to Green River in the spring as I havent got a full settlement for my out fit yet. I got $55.00 per head for every thing with a brand on and throwd in the ranch and I reserved all of my horses, about 20 head. Have still got old Rodney, he was big fat when I left home last fall. I had J. McPherson take him and four more of my old pets up to his ranch on Florence Creek to take care of while I was away.

Well Harry, we still got proabition but I think there is just as much whiskey in the US as there ever was of the kind. Every body has a still of their own now and you can buy it almost anywhere but it is awful stuff. I don’t drink very much of it but I often wish I could have a good shot of the old Black and White we used to drink years ago.

I sure wood like to take a cruse with you in your boat. Don’t know what kind of saylor I wood be but you know I am a fellow that’s ready to try any thing once. I have always wanted to get out on the Ocean, I am going to try to take a little trip on the water before I leave here if I can. Well Harry I should like very much to see you and Bruce come over for a visit. I am sure you both wood injoy it. I bet you wood find a great change in conditions. It is,nt like the old free life we use to lead years ago. If I was 20 years younger I wood go to South America. I believe that is going to be the comming stock country.

Ink ended the letter with some political thoughts on the new President, then added Christmas wishes for all of the Ballard family before signing off. Next week we back up a little and hear from one of those “transient” sheep men, who was trying hard, but also having a tough time making a living in the land of the Book Cliffs.

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