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121 West Main, Harper, KS 67058

Rosalea’s Big Seven Ohhh!

Donate and help restore Rosalea’s Hotel!

Contributions may be sent to: Rosalea's Hotel Restoration Fund, 121 West Main, Harper, KS  67058

1883 & 1968 Rosalea's Patterson House Hotel

Were you a traveling hippie in the 1970s?  Perhaps you stayed at the famous Rosalea's Hotel in Harper, KS.  Now you can help restore it as an historic prairie icon of the 70s!    Goal:  100,000 at $10 each and it is preserved for future generations!

A   T R U E   S T O R Y


Harry C. Grover, 1885 – 1969
& daughter, Thelma G. Carey

Here’s a little background on my dad. He was born on Christmas Day in 1885. When he was two years old, he fell downstairs and broke his back. It didn’t get any attention, so he was a hunchback the rest of his days. He had only a third-grade education but became a bookkeeper. He had a beautiful hand-writing. I guess you could call him a self-made man.

In 1903 I went to work for Joe A. on a farm in a northern county of Kansas. Joe had a bunch of cattle and a mean white-faced bull named Pete. Previous to my going to work they had dehorned the bull on account of his being so mean to the horses and the other cattle, but that didn’t take the meanness away from him. He had every horse on the farm scared of him, so
he was boss of the pasture. I owned an Indian spotted pony, and she whipped him once, so I thought Pete had found his master, but I found out later I was wrong.

One morning a few months later Joe hitched up his buggy and said he was taking his wife to see the doctor across the Blue River eight miles distant. He told me to take my pony and ride out into the east pasture and bring in a cow and her new calf. I started out through the night pasture, through the gate to the east pasture, and found the cattle on the east side of the creek.
As I rode past them the bull was pawing the ground, but I thought nothing about it as I didn’t figure he would charge the pony, but just as I got by him, he charged, and when he got close enough, the pony kicked with both hind feet, but the bull ran in under her and turned her over, and I was on the underside. She tried to get up several times, but Pete kept throwing her back on me—I don’t know how many times that lasted but at least several times.

Then the pony seemed to realize that she would have to roll over to get free from him. She started to turn over, and the saddle horn struck me near the heart. I was lying on sandy ground, and I drew down my left shoulder so that the saddle horn slipped up and struck my collar bone and broke it. The pony got to her feet, and I did the same at the same time. The pony then took out through a brush patch, and the bull brushed me aside as he took out after her and followed her about 20 to 30 feet before stopping. I figured he would turn and come back after me, so I tried to climb a tree nearby.

I tried to reach a branch with my left hand but found I couldn’t use my left arm, so I started for the fence, and the bull started for me, but I beat him and got over on the other side in a hurry. I looked around for the pony and saw her over by the dividing fence. I started over to her, keeping the fence between myself and the bull, and when the pony saw me coming she
started whinnying for me. I got through the fence and on her back, and we went back to the house, getting there just as Joe was ready to start for town. I told him what had happened and he laughed and said, “You’d better get something that has more speed than that pony of yours.” I told him she could outrun his mare anywhere. He said, “Well, you just ride her and follow me in to see the doctor.” So I did, but hurting every step the pony took. The doctor said he couldn’t find anything much wrong, so he gave me some salve to rub on my shoulder. I told him I knew I was hurt, but he didn’t agree. However a few weeks later I saw him and had him feel my collar-bone, and he said, “Well, I was wrong that time—you did have a broken collar-bone.”

Pete, the bull got worse, and I carried my long-barreled 22-pistol with me when I had to go through the pasture, and every time the bull would show up, I’d shoot him. That wouldn’t hurt him much but would stop him. That went on for some little time until Joe finally decided to sell the bull to the butcher. The butcher offered him $20 and said he would be out on a certain day to get him. On that day Joe said, “Let’s saddle up and go out and bring Pete in so it will be handier for him to get him.” I said, “All right, but I’m going to stay my distance from that bull.” He laughed and said, “O.K., coward. I’m not afraid as long as I’m on my black mare.”

We rode through the night pasture, and when we got down to the gate and opened it, there was the bunch of cattle right where they were when the bull took after me. I rode out to the side and told Joe to drive Pete through the gate, and I’d go ahead and be ready to close the gate. He just laughed and called me a coward again, but I didn’t mind—I wanted to see the fun, which I knew would come. He got the bull as far as the creek, a few yards from the edge, and there Pete balked. Joe sat on his mare and kept cracking his whip, trying to urge the bull on, but suddenly the bull turned and started for him. He wheeled the mare and started whipping her. She tried to run, but Pete caught up with her in a hurry, butted her and would lift her rear end every jump she made. Joe’s hat fell off, and he was scared half to death.

After they had gone on in this way awhile, the bull skidded to a stop, and Joe came up to where I was. I’d dismounted and was lying on the ground kicking up my heels and laughing my head off. Joe rode up and said, “What are you laughing at, you fool? That wasn’t funny.” I told him that was the funniest show I’d ever seen and asked him what he was going to do now. He said, “That bull’s going to die before sundown.” So we rode to the house, and got there just as the butcher came. When we explained what had happened the man said, “Well, I don’t think I’d better try to take him to town to butcher if he’s that mean,” and I told him that was a wise decision, that the bull would probably wreck every team and buggy or wagon he met on the way to town. So Joe said he’d go to one of the neighbors and see if he could get a couple of men to come and help butcher the bull. The neighbor and his son said they’d come later in the evening after they’d finished their day’s work.

The neighbors were Jim and his son who got there about dusk. Jim had a double-barreled shot gun, and the son had a revolver. Joe had a squirrel rifle. We hitched up to the wagon, came to the gate, and there they turned the team and wagon over to me, saying they would go up the hill and over to where they could hear Pete fussing over the east fence with the neighbor’s
bull, and when I heard a shot to drive through the gate and come over to meet them. After a while, I heard a shot, and drove through the gate, up the hill, but just as I got on top, here came the bull, and he charged the team. I whipped them up and got away from him.

Then the men came up and I asked them what was the matter. They said that they’d shot him with the shot gun, but he got up and ran, so we all got in the wagon and followed the herd. Right on the precipice of another hill, the bull started to charge the team, and Joe shot at him, but it wasn’t a good shot, and he fell and rolled against the wagon. I had to whip the team up to get out of the way, and the bull rolled head over heels down the side of the hill. Jim with his shot gun ready went down the hill right after him. He no more than got to the bottom than the bull got up, and Jim came back up faster than he went down. I called to him and asked what was wrong, and he stammered, I just happened to remember that I snapped that shell at a
hawk yesterday, and it failed to fire, so I ran up the hill to save my life.”

By this time Pete was getting tired, so he and the other cattle headed for the southwest corner of the pasture to bed down for the night. Joe walked within ten feet of the bull, shot, and missed his shot entirely. Then when the bull lay down again, Jim said, “Load that gun and let me have it,” and walked up and killed the bull. We skinned him right there and cut him into quarters
to that he could be loaded into the wagon.

The next day Joe peddled it out to his neighbors, selling around $11 worth of meat, but when the neighbors found out it was bull-meat, they threw it to the dogs and got pretty mad about it. We found 22 bullet holes through the hide but only one had gone into the flesh, the balance just through the hide. Joe sold the hide for around $11 as the buyer didn’t unwrap it and see the holes in it. So he got about the same by selling the meat and the hide as he would have got from the butcher, and we cut up and dried two salt barrels full of meat. Often I would go up into the hay loft where it was stored when I came in from the field and take my pocket knife and cut me off a chunk of the dried beef to eat—it was real good, or else I was always hungry, and thought it was good.

The end of a true story —
Harry C. Grove

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