Henry Wilkinson (1874-1929)
Robert Henry Wilkinson was born October 19, 1874 in the town of Hancock,
Delaware County, New York. His parents were Alfred Shotten Wilkinson born
in Hafferton, York County, England, and his mother Harriett Ann Malkinson,
born in Ulceby, Lincoln County, England. He was raised in a family of
eight children on the Ten Mile ranch north of McDermitt, Nevada, which
was homesteaded by his parents.
Bob Wilkinson married Philbma Minor on April 24, 1899 and upon her death,
he married her sister, Sara Aletha Minor, on March 20, 1905. There were
no children born to these unions.
The Little Meadow was the ranch Bob homesteaded, which is three miles
east of McDermitt, Nevada, where he raised a few hereford-durham cross
cattle but spent most of his time running mustangs on the Owyhee Desert.
He employed some good Buckaroos from McDermitt, Winnemucca, and Fort McDermitt.
Among these hands were Harry Dick, Harry Lossing, Frank Hinkie, Gardner
Shinns, Pete and Tom Pedroli and a cook
Along with his own business Bob would contract hay for Pete Nouque and
helped run Petes cattle. Whenever Bob would visit Pete hed
sample some of Petes homemade wine, made from the grapes brought
in from California by the Peraldos of Paradise Valley, Nevada. Bob
never drank a glass of wine without first adding a teaspoon of sugar.
Bob didnt leave the McDermitt area often: He did, however, enjoy
a good meal, and had a real hankerin' for gambling which brought him into
town on occasion. It was not uncommon to see up to fifteen thousand dollars
on a poker table at one time. His hobby dictated when he would go mustanging
to pad his pocket book for a wild night in McDermitt.
When the Buckaroos left for the desert they would go to Jackson Creek,
then on to Steep Trails, Rattlesnake, Twin Springs, Cannon Ball and Waloupe
gathering horses as they went, penning up at Hansen Flat then on home.
This took from ten to twelve days.
Bob knew how horses ran, and which trails they would take. There wasnt
a horse or bunch of horses that Bob didnt know where and how they
would go and when and where they would end up. Some of the good traps
for horses were Box Canyon, Chipmunk and Horse Flat.
One memorable roundup for Tom Pedroli, then a boy of fifteen, took place
at Rattlesnake. It was midnight when Tom woke up to hear Bob shouting,
Get up, the horses are getting away! Tom went about putting
on his clothes but Bob jumped on his horse in his drawers
and went after the runaways. Then Tom looked up to see a ghost coming
down the hill on a horse. He soon knew it was Bob, in his long-johns when
he said, It was just a couple of 'em."
Running mustangs was much like running cattle, in that they were rounded
up, branded and castrated. The younger ones were broke to sell as saddle
horse, and the older heavier ones went for chicken feed.
Archie Myers moved into the area about this time and convinced Bob to
sell his best horses to a sheriffs posse in Los Angeles, California.
They were driven to Winnemucca and shipped by rail to their new destination.
In 1928 two horse gatherings consisting of 400 to 500 horses each, and
were made to Winnemucca. These went to the slaughter house. On one occasion
the buyers would not take the colts so Bob turned them loose on the streets
of Winnemucca and every kid in town had a pony.
Prices for the horses ranged from three to five cents a pound on chicken
feed horses and two hundred to two hundred fifty dollars on broke horses.
Steers went for twenty-five dollars a head or three cents a pound. Many
of the steers weighed in at fifteen hundred pounds at the end of the 75-mile
drive. Bob was always good about taking care of other ranchers' livestock.
If he came upon a neighbors horse running with the mustangs hed
make an effort to return him to the owner.
When it came to roping and riding there were none better. Bob could ride
into 50 saddle horses reach out and rope the right one every time. On
one of the mustang runs above Washburn Creek, Bill Minor recalls how Bob,
in the process of roping one mustang caught two in the same loop. The
rope was dropped but both horses went over the edge of Washburn canyon
and were killed.
Pete Pedroli said, He was the best rider he had ever seen.
For a sporting event Bob Wilkinson, Jim and Tom
Minor would take turns riding each others horses. They were
all excellent riders and generally rode cranky horses.
Some other events Bob participated in were horse races and rodeos. The
races were held on a dirt road west of McDermitt. People from surrounding
areas including Indians from Fort McDermitt brought horses in for the
event. The rodeos were held in the street in front of the White Horse
Inn. Bob furnished bucking stock for McDermitt and Winnemucca rodeos and
was always the best pickup man around.
He always had a good pair of long-shanked spurs, a spade bit and a reata.
The saddle he rode came from San Francisco and was a 3 B tree, high cantle,
two-inch horn that stood straight up.
Bob died November 21, 1929. The Little Meadow Ranch is still owned and
operated by the Wilkinson Family.
Robert Henry Wilkinson was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in
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