Journal from Gip Akin

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A few years ago I reconnected with family that had journals and diaries that my Great Great Grandfather and Akin family had left. Here is the accounts of the Lobo Cleanup by Gip Akin.

a. Gip Akin 





Gip Akin


            The wind had been blowing from the west for two days and all night a regular March sandstorm. Sometime in the early hours of the third day it suddenly calmed. That meant an early breakfast for the lobo hunters. After a storm there was certain to be lobo signs scattered around their dening place.

            “Gip, you’d better ride down to Lobo Hill early and look for signs,” my brother Mit, said after breakfast, “Be carefull and keep out of sight and watch for fresh tracts.”

            So as soon as I had finished eating I saddled up old Tob, a long coupled red-roan that nobody knew how far he could run, and hit for a long ridge down in the breaks of the Colorado River in the southern Borden county, Texas. The ridge had been known to wolf hunters as Lobo Hill for a number of years, on account of the habits of the wiley lobo using the caves and rock ledges for their spring dens. One of the wisest and shrewdest of all wild animals, that was one habit that they were not wise in the use of the same locality year after year for bringing their pups into being. This particular location was isolated from the surrounding country by setting out in a wide valley. It was bare of timber except for one lone cedar that grew on the eastern end above a sheer cliff. Along the mile-long sides of the plateu was many places where sandstone ledges had slipped from the top and piled up against the wall, leaving a long slit or cave in behind where the lobos could find a convenient habitant for their maternity inclinations.

            After the wind of three days, this morning was so quite and clear that it seemed unreal. I had only about ten miles to ride to where the lone cedar came into site. Nearing the ridge I began to watch every cow path and all loose sandy places for tracks. Most of the paths were swept clean by the wind, but in some sheltered places there was loose soil where any living animal would leave tracks if it came that way.

            I rode slowly and kept my eyes open for any signs or maybe a mother lobo might appear in the distance, especially, if she were preparing a den in the vicinity. Climbing the steep side of the ridge, I made my way along the crest where  I could see for miles in every directions. Nearing the western end, I was almost thrown from the saddle from the sudden jump of old Tob. He snorted and shied off. I whirled and looked in the direction he indicated and saw the grey streak of an enormous lobo just as it dropped out of sight over the cliff. I had no time to jerk out my Winchester, but I rode close to the edge with the intension of taking a shot at the fleeing lobo as she ran across the lowland at the bottom of the cliff. To my surprise she was nowhere in sight and had utterly disappeared. For fear of alarming her to the extent of causing her to vacate, I rode quietly away – with many backward glances, but I never saw her again.

            I hastened home and told my brother what had happened. On the way near the foot of the ridge, I crossed a cow path that was literally full of lobo tracks, going and coming from the ridge, a half mile away I found the fresh carcass of a calf that had been killed the night before. The ground around the calf was torn to shreds with hundreds of big lobo tracks. There could be no doubt but that there was a den under the rock slide. “Well we better get busy,” Mit said when I told my news. “If they get too suspicious they’ll move their pups away before we can get them.”

            We threw our camp equipment together and drove down to within a mile of the ridge and made camp. That night we heard the creepy, hair-raising sound of lobos howling. There was several of them. They were very uneasy, disturbed, restless from some fright they had, whether I was the cause or not, there was little sleep for that night. At daybreak the next morning we had finished out breakfast and was ready to take action. We rode to the eastern end of the long ridge and ascended at the same place that I had used the day before.

            On top, we used the utmost caution, riding slowly with our Winchesters in our hands. Mit was in the lead, eyes and ears alert. He was one of the finest shots in the country. As we neared the spot where I had caught a glimpse of the lobo, I told him about it again. He dismounted and handed me the bridle reins.

            Cautiously he crept along on foot with his Winchester in readiness. Suddenly, without a sound, a big lobo sprang away from under a small bush and dashed for the cliff edge. Mit’s  Winchester flashed to his shoulder and he fired. The bullet struck the lobo at the back of her head, killing her instantly. We went to her and saw that her teats were full of milk. They even showed her pups had recently had their morning’s feast.

            “Well, that’s luck – to start with,” Mit said, grinning happily. “There’s twenty dollars and maybe a hundred more in the den.”

            The big cattle ranches paid us twenty dollars for all grown lobos killed and ten dollars for each pup. Even if it was only a few hours old. The lobo has from five to ten pups each spring, at that price we were receiving, it was pretty evident that Mit’s statement about there being another hundred dollars in the den was not in the least exaggerated.

            We tied our horses to a small bush and climbed down the rock slide to where it had struck the ground at the foot of the cliff. At the west end there was an opening three feet high and two feet wide where slid leaned against the cliff. The entrance was loose sand blown in from hundreds of sandstorms, It was scared with enumerable lobo tracks.

            “Gip, you go back to the wagon and get a quart of kerosene and a gunny sack,” Mit said, as he raised up from looking into the cave. “Cut a pole ten or twelve feet long and hurry back.”

            I lost no time, and was back within half an hour.

            “I believe there’s another old lobo in there.” Mit said as I came up with the bottle of oil and sack. “I heard noise that was too loud for little fellows. We’ll have to be careful or we’ll get chawed up!”

            I could feel the hair raising on the back of my neck. A kind of chilly, creeping feeling went up my spine, and a lump formed in my throat that I couldn’t swallow. I wondered what we were going to do. But Mit didn’t keep me wondering long. He wrapped the gunny sack around the end of the stick and wired it there with a piece of  baling wire. He struck a match and ignited the sack.

            “Here, you take the pole and follow right behind me with the light held in front so I can see to shoot.” Mit told me, thrusting the pole into my shaky hands.

            He dropped to his knees and crawled into the cave. I followed with the pole shoved ahead of him. In a few moments the burning kerosene became almost unbearable. But I had to cough and keep coming to keep the torch ahead if Mit.

            “Shhh, there it is!” Mit whispered hoarsely.

            I jabbed at my eyes to clear them from the tears from the odor of the burning rags. Peering over his shoulders I say the grey form of a enormous lobo. It glanced at the light and looked away. Jerking its head to one side it moved backward. Then when it looked back again, it suddenly decided that the best move would be forward toward the cave’s entrance! There was not enough room for it to pass us on its way out, but it started anyway. I gulped and tried to cry a warning to Mit, but my throat was dry and no sound came.

            “Here’s hell!” Mit said, cocking his gun. “if I miss —”  Suddenly the terrific roar of the shot in the cave filled my ears with ringing, almost bursting the eardrums. I don’t know just how long it was before I heard Mits voice again. It could not have been more than a few seconds, but it seemed that a long time passed before he said, “I got ’im!”

        Pushing the burning torch near the lobo’s nose, I saw a bullet hole directly between its eyes. A dark puddle of blood was forming in the loose sand of the cave bottom. I suddenly felt weak, sick at my stomach. I wanted to get out of there. I needed fresh air!

            Mit tied a piece of the bailing wire that held the sack to the pole to a forefoot of the lobo, and began to back out, dragging the big lobo along. I helped and in a few moments we had it outside. I don’t think I have ever saw the sun shine so bright before or since!

            After breathing the fresh air for a few minutes, Mit said: “this cave’s full of little fellows. I saw a dozen in a pile against the wall. I’ll go in and catch them and hand them out to you. You can knock them in the head and throw them down the hill.”

            That arrangement suited me fine!

            The sandstone slide had broken into many pieces, leaving cracks between that gave a glimpse of inside the cave. I crawled upon the jumble of broken rocks to reach down and take the lobo pups as Mit handed them up. He handed out a fat little fellow with pretty blue eyes and the softest fur I ever saw. I hated to dash its brains out against the rocks. But it was worth ten dollars dead! He handed our four more then called out, “Look out! They’re scattering. There come one through that crack.”

            I knelt down and caught a glimpse of a furry little fellow just below me. I dropped down and ran my arm full-length down and closed my fingers in the downy fur of its back. I pulled it out.

            “Wooow!” I yelled, casting the squirming little animal away. “Uhhhu”!

“What’s the matter?” Mit yelled out. “Did you let it get away?”

            “Uh-say, it was a s-kunk!”

            His laughing voice is in my ears today, and he’s been dead many years now. It furnished him with many a laugh in the telling of how my voice sounded when I discovered that what I had caught was not what I thought it would be!

            As Ripley would say: “Believe it or not” we got thirteen little furry lobo pups out of that cave. With the two old ones at twenty bucks each and thirteen babies at ten each, it proved to be a profitable one day’s haul. That was only the first den of more than twenty that spring – back yonder in the yesteryears of 1895.   [**March** 1895, see pg. 1]


            Gip Akin

            Box 1387

            Albuquerque, New Mexico

                        About 1800 words


            This is Enos  Akins boys. Mit is my grandfather. [**The story above was transcribed from a faded original copy by Gip Akin by Mit‘s granddaughter, Norma Vick Akin [Mrs. A.T. Austin] . The copy was from Gip’s  daughter Lovella Akin Moore to Norma. Norma sent this [9/18/2003] to Jim Smith of Benton, Ar. who is coordinating compiling the Martin Guest Family tree. I have retranscribed this from an email that I received from Jim Smith 9/27/2003. This will be added to the “Samuel & Margaret Ray Cunningham Family” history file. Mit & Gip’s mother, Mary Agnes “Ag” Cunningham, was a granddaughter of Samual & Margaret. Enos Thomas Akin was the son of Mary Guest and Edward Akin. Harold Dean Davis 11/1/2003 ***]



            Reference: “Samuel & Margaret Ray Cunningham Family”, compiled 1999 by Harold Dean Davis –

            Mit Akin                     12/27/1875 Texas        12/23/1936      Mountianair, New Mexico

            Ida Elizabeth Mitchell 4/23/1877       m. 1/11/1899   10/15/1955 Mountainair, N. M.


            Gip Akin                     1/25/1880 Valley Mills, Bosque Co., Tx. 11/9/1950 N.M.

            Nancy Ola Coffee       3/7/1886 Coleman City, Tx. m. 12/21/1902  3/21/1963 both are                                            buried in the Sunset Memorial Gardens, Albuquerque, N.M.

                        Notes for Gip AKIN:

            I am writing this as Daddy [Gip Akin] told it to me. Lovella Akin Moore]


            Gip Akin was born Jan. 25th, 1880 at Valley Mills, Texas. He was a twin– his twin brother died at age of [nine] 9 days.

            He married Nancy Ola Coffee — Dec. 21st 1902 — came to Howard Co., Texas 1890. Lived there for 35 years, worked on a ranch, Slaughter Ranch, was a horse wrangler — he was 17 years old. Took care of 150 head of horses. Lived with the wagon it was home. Started out in the spring about the first of April — worked until Christmas. Ranch covered 5 counties. The year 1897 branded 18,000 calves. Stamped Lazy S on both sides –ear marked figure 7 under bit in each ear. Worked for Slaughter 3 years.

            Then went to work for Barts Ranch 200,000 acres. Headquarters where the city of Lamesa is now. [worked there for 2 years.]

            Then took up 4 sections of homestead land. Post office called Chicago got the mail two times a week from Big Springs. Built the house on what was called the home section, a little one room house facing South. Part of this land is in the city of  Lamesa now. Sold it to Uncle Mit for his interest in Grandpa’s place [Enos Thomas Akin]. Then went to live 16 miles north of Big Springs.

            First Census was taken 1900, there was 19 in Dawson County [Texas] — Daddy [Gip Akin] was one and a friend [Hardy Morgan, he stayed there].

            Daddy met Mama about 1892 when she was just a little girl. They married in 1902 and Daddy filed on new land. Bought timber enough for a two room house. Uncle Mit helped Daddy build the house and bought them furniture for it as a wedding present.

            Later moved to New Mexico come to Estancia Valley east of Albuquerque. Ran a Creamer at Estancia. Then homesteaded at the foot of San Pedro mountain. Moved to Albuquerque just about the time I was born July 2, 1924.

            Daddy was converted about 1913 [I had 1813 in the book]. Baptized in Uncle Mit’s tank at Five Mile, Texas, later became a Baptist preacher. Was one of the first Ordained Baptist Ministers in Estancia Valley. Was a powerful preacher many was converted under his ministry and he married many in this area. This was before I was born. He was not preaching when I knew him.

            Uncle Mit homesteaded near Roswell, N.M. later moved to Mountainair [N.M.] — leased school land, farmed Pinto Beans [dry land].

            Daddy [Gip Akin] and Uncle Mit was in Range Wars in Texas and they really had to fight because the Big Ranchers didn’t want them [the nesters or homesteaders]. Kill and burn down places, also burn down windmills. It was a hard time and lots of killings. Daddy and Uncle Mit were called “The Night Riders”.

            Jim Simpson [Aunt Laura’s son] lived with Aunt Ida and Unkle Mit for some time. Jim went to the Penitentiary for killing a man over water rights. But some say it really started over this fellow beating an animal [a horse I believe]. Jim raised Registered Herefords. He was later pardoned.

                        [Typed 8/23/1997 hdd –for the Cunningham book]


P.S. 11/1/2003: Gip Akin wrote short stories for Old West magazines in his later years– one was “THE SEA OF GRASS” which was later made into a movie starring Spencer Tracy & Katherine Hepburn.    


[HDD/hdd 11/1/2003



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