Visions, memories and tales from Texas’ past

By contributing writer Jerry Williams
In 2008 real estate agent Jerry Williams traveled to Buffalo Springs in southern Clay County to view a property that was for sale. He found a clear water spring ankle deep and four feet wide. The trees beside it had wide canopies and kept the water cool.
The powerful scene brought up images of ghosts of the past in the 19th century. John Anderson, an elder friend of Williams, grew up in Buffalo Springs and told him that the spring has never stopped flowing.
Williams remembered a story about Charlie Norris in the 1906 issue of Scribner’s Magazine. Charlie found 200 buffalo watering there in the spring of 1886. Charlie was there to deliver a small herd of horses in Buffalo Springs. He rode in among the herd of buffalo. He said, “Back home in Coldwater (In the Panhandle of Texas) they rarely saw buffalo anymore.”
Two days later the herd showed up at his outfit’s camp next to a small lake. Charlie said, “They drank very heavily and played about like calves.” A few years later Charlie learned that someone killed four buffalo at Buffalo Springs in 1889, “They were the very last individuals that I have knowledge of.”
Williams supposed the lake was likely the one built by the army in 1867, perhaps the first Army Engineering project in the State of Texas. He took photos of what was left of the dam built by the soldiers. They could not maintain enough water in their lake for them and their horses so they moved back to Fort Richardson in Jacksboro.
The story caused Williams to reflect from his experience raising buffalo. He remembered when the stock tank went dry his two buffalo each drank five to 10 gallons of water a day that he hauled bucket by bucket to the corral. Imagine the 200 buffalo visiting the small lake at Buffalo Springs that could have drunk up to 2,000 gallons of water on each visit. To read more pick up the April 2014 issue of North Texas Farm & Ranch.

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