We assume great grandpa was a horse thief

Ed Clark continues the story of the five Clark brothers, Tex, Joe, Jim, Ed, and Will Ed, the author of “Chips from Five Cords of Wood,” which appeared in a 1967 article in True West magazine, told this yarn about his brother Joe.

Joe told me that one time that Jim sold a note or something, and it was necessary that he sign the paper before a notary public.

The nearest notary was at Cameron or Lexington, both about the same distance away. Cameron was actually a little closer but crossing the San Gabriel and Little rivers had to be considered and caused Jim to choose going to Lexington.

Joe suggested that he take a horse and ride, but Jim said no, that it was only 19 miles straight through the woods, or 40 miles by road, so he would walk.

He arrived in Lexington to find that the notary public was seven miles farther on, so he walked on out to the farm house as directed.

Arriving there, he saw a man plowing in the field, but rather than walk over the plowed ground he yelled “Hello” in front of the house.

When a lady appeared at the door, he asked her if her husband was a notary public?

She said, “No, he is a Democrat.”

Jim said this made him so mad that he wheeled and was going to head for Cameron, but about that time an older lady came to the door and got his paper fixed up.

I was always struck by the fact that mother’s side of the family had over 5,000 relatives against the Clarks’ having five, great odds, you must admit.

Take for example, my greatgrandfather, Matthew McClanahan Cornwallis Rolston.

He had over 4,000 acres of land in the home ranch, roughly cornering at Nile, Gay Hill and Salty. He was a giant in statue, 6 feet 6 inches tall with shoulders as wide as a door.

He wore a Stetson hat with a brim almost large enough to cover the 4,000 acres.

He had nine fine sons and nine fine daughters. The old man’s eyesight began to fail, and when the nine sons brought in nine beautiful and flashy brides, hooped and bustle-skirted, great grandpa lost his eyesight entirely.

He was born in Ireland, County Galway, at Cow Crossing, west fork of the River Shannon. Some city police department lost a good man when they failed to get him on the force.

Tracing an ancestor back to Ireland is far enough. We can assume that he was a horse thief and let it go at that.

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2010-10-14 digital edition

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