Following is the first installment of parts of a book my step grandfather, the late Russell Sage, wrote way back in 1973. He was an amazing man for sure. The first installment concerns an intro by a close friend. I tried to hold true to the manner in which the book was written, misspellings and all.
About the Author
Howdy, My name is Tom T Turnback. I am 90 years old. I am writing this “WHATYEMAYCALLUM” in the year 1970. I lived and grew up with RUSSELL SAGE CARTER the author of FROM PAWNEE BILL TO THE MOON. My Dad made the two races for free land into Oklahoma with Russells Dad in 1889 and again in 1893. Every time the men found land which suited them there would be a DAM SOONER already squatting on it, with two six shooters to back up his squatters rights… Eventually finding what they wanted south of Pawnee in the Cherokee Strip, Carter found a sooner who was homesick and traded a farm in Missouri for Gus Bradleys relinquishment on his illegally staked claim. As we had rode our horses hard for several days, we let them rest as we walked the six miles into Pawnee. Hoping to find someone at the SALoon, the only gathering place in town, who could help write a contract and witness the signatures. Well there was no one in the crowd that could read or write, so the men said “To hell with a contract, if a mans word aint no good his signature aint no better” So they shook hands over a glass of whiskey and called it a deal. Each man had two six shooters strapped on their hips.
I was 12 yrs. old at the time, there was no house on Carters land. So Beins as how Carter could speak the Indians language and being a half breed Chickasaw himself, he naturally was loved by the Indians, Seeing that the white squaw was heavy with child, Old Chief Sitting Bull of the Pawnees let Carter move from the covered wagons into his own deerhide Teepee, Where three nights later Russell Sage was born, My Maw help the old Indian midwife with the delivery.
I spent the next twenty years, living – working with the author, We worked as cowboys on many ranches scattered across the southwest, sleeping out in the open more nights than we ever slept in a house. Contracting to break and tame wild horses for the fabulous price of one dollar a head. And working for the famous old Indian friend and Scout Pawnee Bill.
We lived with many of the Indian tribes whenever and wherever we were near them. We learned to speak their language, I married a Pawnee, and the Kid wanted to marry a Cheyenne but never quiet got around to it.
In the book “FROM PAWNEE BILL TO THE MOON” the author who lived through this period, tells the story as he would to a bunch of cowboys drinking black coffee around a camp fire out on the bald prarie. in his own relaxed manner and narrative style.