Of chosen names & history

Since it is time for my non-newsletter post, I’d like to tell you all a bit about our club, the Pataha Rustlers, with a little local-area history thrown in for flavor.

Back when we started our group, there were many names bantered about, but either some other group had a claim on them, or they sounded to similar.  None were particularly satisfying.  Then, Mr. Marengo threw out the suggestion, “How about the Pataha Rustlers?” and we were born.  It was unanimous.  Everyone liked the name; it had the local element we wanted, and since most of us have side jobs in the ag/ranch industry, it just seemed to work.

What we didn’t know, was that we were not the first!

I hang out in libraries a lot, and not just because I like herding the books around.  The Doc and I are both avid readers, and on this particular day (a few days before our January meet), I was looking for some new fare.

Wandering past the biography section, I ran onto a book titled “Outlaw Tales of Washington,” by Elizabeth Gibson, and thought it looked like something the Doc would be into.  I picked it up and herded it in his direction, and sure enough, he sat down to read it.

Three days later, I heard a lively whoop and came to investigate.  The Doc was laughing and pointing to an excerpt in said book on page 101:

One of the largest gangs of cattle rustlers operated out of Dayton, in Walla Walla County, in the early 1890’s.  George Young was the ringleader of the gang.  He set up a slaughterhouse on Patit Creek just north of Dayton, and his operatives rustled cattle in Columbia, Garfield, and Asotin Counties.

I took the book from him and read further:

The thieves brought the stolen cattle to his slaughterhouse, where Young butchered them.  Once the steers were cut into steaks, no one could tell whose brand was originally on the hide.  Young then sold his meat at his retail store.

Pretty darn interesting, says I.  Especially since the slaughterhouse location on the Patit is rather near the location of our gun range.  Gibson goes on tell of the rustlers’ fall; Young was eventually captured and sent to prison, and the others involved (except for one) were also apprehended at later dates.

To think we stumbled upon this nugget of information, and had unknowingly chosen a name with such historical ties…. I guess it just goes to show that you’ll never know what you’ll find in libraries. 

Back to herdin’ books,


Published in: on February 10, 2008 at 10:12 am  Comments Off on Of chosen names & history  
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