Kirwin Native Publishes Ancestor's Memoir
The True Life Wild West Memoir of a Bush-popping Cow Waddy
by Charley Hester
edited by Kirby Ross - to be released September 2004
A sixteen-year-old runaway from Illinois, Charley Hester (1853-1940) lit out from home in 1869, bound to make a life for himself on the great American frontier. In the winter of his life seven decades later, he dictated an account of his experiences in the Wild West of his youth. Charley Hester's memoir recounts the journeys that took him to Missouri, Texas, Indian Territory, Kansas, and Nebraska and brought him face-to-face with badman John Wesley Hardin as well as Joel Collins before Collins formed his band of stagecoach and train robbers. The young cow waddy also tells of meeting Wild Bill Hickok, observing Doc Holliday's deft card play, and witnessing the waylaying of a drunken buffalo hunter by Wyatt Earp.
In his own colorful language, Hester relates stories ranging from high jinks on the trail to a heart-stopping surprise encounter with Indians, as well as conflicts with mother nature in the form of blizzards, cyclones, quicksand, swollen rivers, bad water, prairie fires, and electrical storms. So engaging that they figured in Warner Brother's research for the classic Western movie Dodge City, Hester's adventures are the stuff of true Americana: history rendered in bolder strokes and brighter colors than the most outlandish fiction, as outrageous and outrageously entertaining as it is true.
After Charley Hester's life as a cowpoke on the Chisholm and Western Trails he eventually settled in Phillips County, Kansas, and then in Dundy County, Nebraska, where he helped his brother build a ranching empire.
[Charley Hester was the father of Eva Peugh and grandfather of Fern Elder, both former residents of Kirwin. The editor of this book, Kirby Ross, is a former Kirwin native and is his great-great grandson.]
For additional information, please visit: http://www.nebraskapress.unl.edu/bookinfo/4571.html