Pueblo County, Colorado
OSCAR P. MCMAINS
Contributed by Jean Griesan.
Pioneer Minister Enjoyed Life on Range - Oscar P. McMains, pioneer Methodist minister who had problems with the church hierarchy because of his liberal views on dancing, headed toward Las Animas when he left Pueblo in 1873. There he stumbled into the Bent County roundup. McMains stayed for dinner with the cowboys, reporting that they had nicely fried ham and potatoes in one skillet, stewed fruit in another, bread, with golden drip to "sop" it in and a powerful cup of coffee. "Toward sundown," McMains wrote to The Chieftain, "We camp at Dr. Tuttle's lonely stock ranch on Sand Creek. The campfires are cheerfully blazing at intervals upon the creek, and around them is a scene of beautiful activity and elegant leisure. "Some are camping, others 'hobbling,' others feeding and others lounging, when suddenly excitement kindles, wagons are mounted, corral posts scaled, the house-top occupied, and all eyes strained - a solitary horse detached from the wild herd that haunts this range, is galloping along the mile distant bluff, riderless." "Three of our cavalry men are soon mounted and off; on, on, on they go," McMains continued. "Our boys are gaining upon him. The wild horse quickens his pace. Our horses quicken their pace. A race for freedom. Wild horse. I'll hope you win." "One horseman, a dashing rider and a splendid roper, is within 60 yards of the wild horse. Just then his horse sticks his foot into a prairie dog hole, made a prairie plow of his nose, nearly breaks his leg and sends his rider headlong in the sand with the force of a pile driver. "The boys give up and return. The wild horse arches his neck, exerts his tail, blows his trumpet and seems to shout `Thanks to my speed and bottom, I am still free."' On the Sabbath afternoon they camped on Horse Creek. In the evening the parson is invited to "lecture." The captain spread several blankets upon the grassy bank, others contented themselves with nature's faded carpet. When asked by the parson to sing a familiar hymn, they all rose with uncovered heads and sang it through. Horse Creek heard for the first time a song of praise from the voices of men. Again quoting the pioneer parson, "After a brief prayer, the sermon. Close, reverent, earnest attention was given to the speaker from the beginning of his remarks to the close. "From the cloudless sky the gentle moon and stars looked down upon a group of rough, hardy pioneers." Pueblo Chieftain 11-1-1992
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