Sunshine State of Mind
June 2011
Johnny Ringo "And you must be Doc Holliday?"
Doc Holliday "That's the rumor."
Johnny Ringo "You retired too?"
Doc Holliday "Not me. I'm in my Prime."
Johnny Ringo "Yeah, you look it."
Doc Holliday "Yes, but there's just something
about him. Something around the eyes, I don't
know, reminds me of -- me.
No, I'm sure of it, I hate him."

Other ways to get there --

As I did last month, as I do often, I look for alternate routes, to destinations often familiar to our members. This edition of the DaimlerŐs Folly is no exception. You should also realize that all my experimental routes do not necessarily bear fruit. Better me than you, right?

This month I am pleased to inform you that I have a few twists and turns that you may enjoy. I also found some interesting Texas history along the way.

Fill up your coffee cup, grab a chair and come along with me as I relate the beginning of a journey, a classic ride-about, that my friend Dave and I recently embarked upon.

Always, dark-thirty --

My buddy, Dave, has asked me several times over the past few years to accompany him on his annual migration to West Texas. Dave grew up in the area and knows it well. This year I moved everything out of the way on my schedule so that I could go with him.

Leaving in the middle of the week has it's advantages. Once you've learned to duck around commuters during rush-hour, it is amazing how little traffic you have to endure.

It seems that most of my journeys begin before dawn. This trip follows suit.

I was in Italy, Texas before sunup. There is a gas station there with a Mikey D's attached. We could fill up our body and motorcycle tanks, hopefully keeping the gas down to a minimum.
To San Saba

Without too much trouble, we were able to avoid Waco and other large metropolitan areas. We soon found ourselves riding through Goldthwaite and pointed in the direction of San Saba, on TX-16.

Winding our way past San Saba, a pretty little town that is known as the "Pecan Capital of the World," we continued on to Cherokee. Turning right on FM-501, we made a short stop at the Kuykendall Cemetery.

Motorcycle Parking

For those of you that enjoy wandering around cemeteries looking at historical headstones, I recommend this as a good place to take a little breather and stretch your legs.

FM-501 leads you to Pontotoc, a town hit so hard in 1878 by a typhoid epidemic they had to establish a second cemetery to accommodate their needs.

It is at Pontotoc that you will turn right onto SH-71, toward Fredonia, where you'll discover FM-386, a nice winding road to Mason.

Page 2

Mason Courthouse

Hoodoo War ...

This story involves the infamous John Ringo who, among others, such as ex-Texas Ranger Scott Cooley, became involved in a blood feud, spawning the Mason County War, also known as the Hoodoo War.

German settlers were the predominant inhabitants of Mason County. The backsplash on this is; the German's supported the Union during the Civil War. That alone fostered much hostility between the American born men in neighboring counties and the immigrant Germans.

In May 1875, an American man, Tim Williamson, was accused of cattle rustling, many say falsely. While the Deputy Sheriff, John Wohrle, was escorting Williamson, a mob of Germans descended upon them. When Williamson tried to make his escape, Wohrle shot his horse. The Germans shot Williamson repeatedly, until he was dead.

When Scott Cooley got word of the deed he broke down and cried, grieving the death of his best friend.

When the Mason County grand jury failed to issue any indictments for the murder of Tim Williamson, Cooley took matters into his own hands. Cooley killed Deputy Sheriff Worhle and then scalped him. One account had Cooley throwing the body into a well and then taunting the Germans with the scalp.

As you can imagine, things really began to heat up. It was at this time that Johnny Ringo's close friends, Moses Baird and George Gladden, were lured, for one reason or another, into coming to Mason. On their way an ambush party, led by Sheriff John Clark, waylaid them with guns blazing. Baird was killed and Gladden seriously wounded.

Johnny Ringo, among a group of 8 men, entered the town of Mason. Ringo and Bill Williams broke off from the others and rode up to James Cheyney's house, a man thought to be responsible for the ambush. Ringo and Williams shot Cheyney dead.
This is but a snippet of the doings during the Hoodoo war. Johnny Ringo went on to greater infamy. He was arrested, more than once, for this and that, transported from one county to the next. During one of his incarcerations, Ringo became fast friends with John Wesley Hardin, which many regard as the most notorious gunman in western history.

What I do find amusing, after all that Ringo went through and accusations leveled at him, the murder charges against him were dismissed; he was elected constable of Loyal Valley, which is in Mason County.

What happened to Scott Cooley is unclear. It is thought he passed away of natural causes or as the result of "brain fever" or possibly, lead poisoning.

On your way through Mason ...

You can rest easy when you ride into Mason. It is a very friendly, clean and peaceful town. The courthouse is beautiful, with classic Texas town-square architecture. I did not see one gunfight the entire time that Dave and I visited.

We did enjoy lunch at a very good Mexican restaurant that I am sure you would also enjoy. I thought it was one of the better Mexican road-meals I have had.



Well Buckaroo's, it is time to take Amana to the barn to get her shod and ready for the next adventure. What I have shared with you today is just the very tip of the beginning to a wonderful few days travel which lead us to the Hill Country, riding the 3's, followed by a ride around the Fort Davis loop, then on to the River Road and Big Bend. Search for pappycappy on YouTube and check out some of the video footage we shot during this trip. Until next month ...

Ride em if ya go em!

Bonus PIX

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse

Mason Courthouse