• Last modified 3792 days ago (Jan. 28, 2009)


A chance encounter

Longtime Marion rancher Rex Siebert tells the following story.

It was the spring of 1947. I was in Marion at the west end of town, walking to my Model A Ford at a street corner. A Lincoln car with a middle-aged man wearing a light-colored Stetson hat and a white shirt stopped and said, “Hey, cowboy! Could you help me out? I’m looking for Fred Batt, do you know him?”

My answer was, “Yes, I know where he lives, but I’m sure he’s not home. There is an auction out north of town at the old Rankin place, and I’ll bet that’s where you will find him.”

He extended his hand out of the car window and introduced himself.

“I’m Ab Smith from Tribune, Kansas. I have a ranch in eastern Colorado and Mr. Batt owns 160 acres right in the middle of it and I want to buy it. That’s why I’m trying to find him.”

I told him if he would follow me, I was going to the sale anyway and I would introduce Mr. Batt to him. That I did, and after I had him connected with Mr. Batt, he thanked me, and said, “If you are ever in Tribune, I’ll buy you a big steak dinner.”

I never heard anymore about Ab or whether he got the 160 acres bought, but I would bet my last dollar he did.

* * * * * * *

Rex later received a book from his wife, Vernolis, titled, “Swappin Cattle,” by Wade Choate. The old-time cattle buyer from Texas wrote about Ab Smith in his book.

Rex learned Smith was a wealthy rancher and when he wanted to buy cattle, money was not an issue. He owned large ranches in Colorado, Montana, and other states.

Last modified Jan. 28, 2009