Harriet Standifer Cluck

Daughter of James Stuart Standifer and Caroline Randall Standifer.
She was born April 14, 1846 in Cherokee, AL and died March 2, 1938 in Williamson Co., TX
She married George Washington Cluck June 25, 1863 in Williamson Co., TX.  He was born
December 18, 1839 in Missouri and died August 23, 1920 in Williamson Co., TX.


From: The Chisholm Trail and Other Routes
San Antonio, Tex.; Printed for Frontier Times, Bandera, Tex. By the Naylor Col, 1936.
Page 157-162


          There lives at this good day in the city of Waco, a frail little lady, that has passed her four score and ten years and four months, to whom belongs the honor of being the first white woman that went “up the old Chisholm Trail.”  In 1871, Geo. W. Cluck collected a herd of a thousand steers to take to Abilene, Kansas.  Capt. D. H. Snyder of the same county had a similar herd and these two herds traveled near each other for protection and mutual help.

          When the herds were ready Mrs. Geo. W. Cluck (nee Harriet Standifer) announced her intention of going along to Kansas.  At that time she had replenished the earth with three children: Allie Annie, aged 7; Emmet, aged 5; and Minnie, aged 2 years.  An old hack was provided; all the bed clothes, camping outfit, were packed into the carry-all, two sturdy Texas ponies were broken to harness, and in addition to the usual equipment, Mrs. Cluck demanded her shot-gun and her spy glass.

          From Round Rock, the herds wended their way by Georgetown, Salado, through Bosque, on through old Buchanan, and on to the Red River at Red River Station.  Here they found the Red River on one of its rampages at flood stage.  It was well known that the herd could swim the swollen stream, but there was no record where a woman with three small children could safely cross such a stream.  But pioneer grit of a little woman came to the front and solved the paramount problem.  Mrs. Cluck told her husband to take care of the hack and she would manage the rest.  Cottonwood logs were strapped to the sides of the hack to make it float and the ponies swam and piloted the vehicle across the raging torrent and landed on the north bank of the Red River in the Indian Territory.          

          When the problem was to get the children across, Mrs. Cluck mounted behind her husband on his trust cow pony; three experienced riders of the cowboys each took a child in his arms or behind him and across the old Red River the tough mustang ponies carried their living load safely to the land of poor Lo.  There was no turning back for the pioneer women and men of Texas.

          Then came the unknown land of the Indians and all its problems and dangers.  Mrs. Cluck scented trouble and she kept her ever-ready spyglass scanning the landscape for the lurking redskin or the still more dangerous cattle thieves and robbers.  The day came when she saw through her faithful spyglass a long way off some suspicious horsemen riding single file like Indians.  Warning was sent by a swift horseman to the Snyder herd and the two herds were hastily thrown together and the sixteen cowboys got ready their shotguns, rifles, and six-shooters.  Some of the Texas cowboys with the two herds were unused to this phase of the trail, and the younger ones were nervous and were somewhat white under the gills.  Mrs. Cluck was helping load the shotguns as the cattle rustlers were approaching and she suddenly called out.  “If any of you boys are afraid to fight, come here and drive the hack and give me your gun and horse.”  The timid ones could not stand the ignominy of having a woman take their place in the fight, so they stood their ground.

          The leader of the rustlers rode up and George Cluck met him in a parley.  The leader wanted a tribute or part of the cattle and it was a hold-up, pure and simple; but George Cluck told him in terse language that he would get nothing, and if he wanted a fight to crack his whip.  “I have sixteen as good fighters under me as ever crossed the Red River and they are crack shots.  When you get ready, open the ball, but us Texans will dance in the first set.”  The robber leader consulted with some of his men and they soon vanished.

          The Indians gave no trouble about fights, but they would purloin anything, and they always wanted “wohaw” (beef), and they were always “heap hungry.”  It was easy to placate them with an old cow or yearling that was tender-footed.  When this was given them, the quickness with which they could have it killed, cut into quarters and sections was amazing.  And then the true Indian goumant had his choice morsels.  The squaws ripped open the entrails, dumped the contents on the ground, grabbed the leathery stomach in their arms, mounted their ponies, and went galloping away to their camp, ready for the favorite feats.  They told the cowboys that they (the cowboys) did not know what was good about a beef.

          Across the Canadian, Cimarron, and Arkansas rivers and to Wichita, and then up the trail marked by Tim Hersey in the spring of 1867, to the town of Abilene, the land of Joe McCoy and Mrs. Lou Gore.  Here the cattle were sold and then all was ready for the return trip, but the might stork took charge of the situation and announced that he would give orders after this and would be herd boss of the Clucks.  The Clucks settled near Abilene, and on the old Chisholm Trail on October 17, 1871, the earth was replenished with another Cluck in the person of Euel Cluck, now living at South Bosque, McLennan County.

          The Clucks spent a hard winter in Kansas; cold weather, lawsuits, the absence of Texas people, and the longing for people of the Running Brushy.

          In the spring of 1872, the Clucks returned to Texas, and bought their home at the present Cedar Park.  The old stage route from Austin to Lampasas passed their home, and here a stage stand was erected and maintained to keep the horses that pulled the old Concord stage up and down the overland roads.  In the home of the Clucks, the post office of Running Brushy was established and Mrs. Harriet Cluck was made postmistress.  From the Cluck ranch some of the stone that went into the capitol building were born; here was dispensed the hospitality of the Texas pioneers; here the old rifle that Capt. Standifer, Harriet Cluck’s father, brought from Alabama was kept about the rifle bracket above the door; here was, and is the old fiddle that was brought from La Clede (the early name of St. Louis), and to this day the old fiddle sometimes can be made to complain of the derelictions of “Cotton’Eyed Joe”; here the Indians of ancient days kept their camp fires; here the modern Lo often came to pilfer, and here still lives two of the Cluck boys.  The old house is still a going concern; here issued the bold springs of water that gave the name to the stream that gently flows on the Round Rock with a perpetual current that finds its way into the Brazos and on into the sea.  The waters from the Cluck spring mingle with the waters of the Gulf, as the pioneer blood of the Clucks and Standifers mingle in the blood of Texans of the Centennial year.

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