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Working Ranch - March 2018

looking backBY BERT ENTWISTLE “We Pointed Them North…” A 1939 epic book that chronicled the cowboy adventures of Teddy Blue Abbott Continued on page 153 MONTANA HISTORICAL SOCIETY She tracked him down and found him living with his wife, Mary, on a ranch outside of Lewistown, Montana. Smith wrote that, “Today he is seventy-eight years old, tough as whipcord, diamond clear as to memory, and boiling with energy.” The timing was fortunate for both of them. Abbot had been trying to write a book of his own adventures without much success. After spending time with him, she set aside her own novel and offered to help write his story. The result: We Pointed Them North: Recollections of a Cowpuncher, published in 1939, is considered one of the most respected histories ever written of the cattle drive period. Born in Norfolk County, England, in 1860, Teddy’s father packed up the family and moved to America in 1871. Abbott’s father, J.B., took up ranching and farming just outside Lincoln, Nebraska. Soon after he settled the family in, J.B. made the long trip to Texas to put together a herd of longhorns. “I was the poorest, sickliest little kid you ever saw,” wrote Abbott. “All eyes, no fl esh on me whatsoever.” He was taken along with the hopes that the fresh air and time spent in the saddle would toughen him up. Abbott told Smith that the days of hard work on that fi rst drive, “made a cowboy out of me. Nothing could have changed me after that.” That fi rst herd of longhorns got J.B. started in the cattle business and provided the perfect playground for a n the summer of 1937, Helena Huntington Smith, a writer and lover of the old West, was searching for some authentic background material for her novel about the cowboys and cattle drives of the 1870s and 1880s. Fortunately, for generations of Western history enthusiasts, her search led to an old-time cowboy and cattle rancher by the name of Edward Charles “Teddy Blue” Abbott. Self-described as, “…the poorest, sickliest little kid you ever saw. All eyes, no fl esh on me whatsoever”, Teddy Blue Abbott, believed to be a tender 18 in this photograph of unknown (to WR) origin, related that the days of hard work on that fi rst cattle drive out of Texas, “made a cowboy out of me. Nothing could have changed me after that”. I 154 I WORKING RANCH I MARCH 2018


Working Ranch - March 2018
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