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Sun And Saddle Leather, Including Grass Grown Trails And New Poems

Sun And Saddle Leather, Including Grass Grown Trails And New Poems. PREFACE Cowboys are the sternest critics of those who would represent the West. No hypoc-risy, no bluff, no pose can evade them. Yet cowboys have made Badger Clarks songs their own. So readily have they circu- lated that often the man who sings the song could not tell you where it started. Many of the poems have become folk songs of the West, we may say of America, for they speak of freedom and the open. Generous has been the praise given Sun and Saddle Leather, but perhaps no criticism has summed up the work so satisfactorily as the comment of the old cowman who said, You can break me if theres a dead poem in the book, I read the hull of it. Who in H- is this kid Clark, anyway I dont know how he knowed, but he knows. That is what proves Badger Clark the real poet. He knows. Beyond his wonderful - Preface presentation of the West is the quality of uni- versal appeal that makes his work real art. He has tied the West to the universe, The old cowman is not the only one who has wondered who Badger Clark was. CharIes Wharton Stork, speaking of Sun and Saddle Leather, said It has splendid Aavor and fine artistic handling as well. I should like to know more of the author, whether he was a cow-puncher or merely got inside his psychology by imagination. Badger Clark was born January I, 1883, at Albia, Iowa. His ancestors on his fathers side were of Puritan stock and ha,d called themselves Americans for seven generations. His mothers people were Pennsylvania Quak- ers. His paternal grandfather, a Vermonter, moved West in 1857 and invested heavily in a town site and manufacturing interests in southern Missouri. He was an Abolitionist and indiscreet enough to say so. The climate of southern Missouri was particularly insa- lubrious for Abolitionists at that period, and Mr. Clarks neighbors took such an ardent interest in his opinions that he, with his two A - Preface sons, slept away from home for two months because they were expecting to be the guests of honor at a tar-and-feather party and did not care to involve the women-folk of the f arnif y. As the Civil War drew on, the tar-and- feather threat was complicated with strong possibilities of hemp and this, with malaria, made the Iocation so unattractive that Mr. Clark trailed north into Iowa, arriving on free soil with his family, two wagon loads of household effects, and about one hundred and fifty dollars in money. The father of the author, after this border experience, naturalIy enIisted in the Union army, and served in the Western forces until disabled by wounds before Vicksburg. Re- turning north he entered the ministry of the Methodist church and continued therein for the rest of his active life, retiring in 191 S after an exceptionaIIy successful and honored career of fifty-one years in the pulpit. Shortly after the birth of Badger Clark the family moved to Dakota, which was then frontier territory, and the cowboy poets first . .-- . . -- . Preface taste of pioneering was at the age of six months, when his mother, in the absence of his father and elder brothers, carried him on one arm while she drove a plow team and turned enough sod to save the home from one of the sudden prairie fires of the early days. He grew up in, and with, the state of South Dakota, spending his teen years in the Black Hills at Deadwood...
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