Cowboy Poetry is in a league all its own and I especially love to hear it recited and sung. When we first moved to Seguin, Judge B. B. Schraub and his wife Estella would come by our house on their daily walks. Estella said they had been going to the Cowboy Poetry Gatherings for years and never missed a one. Estella passed away in 2008 and I know that the Judge misses her every day – and misses the things they always did together, such as the Poetry Gatherings.
My grandfather, Berlin Caldwell, was a friend of New Mexico lawman Fred Lambert, who published a book of poetry entitled Bygone Days of the Old West. A first edition copy of this book is kept under a locked glass case in the Denver Public Library and is a beautiful book, illustrated with pen and ink drawings by Lambert.
Fred Lambert told me many stories about the Wild West days in Cimarron, New Mexico and the surrounding area. He knew my maternal great-grandfather Robert Walker “Bob” Sammon and delighted me with his remembrances.
At the time of Bob Sammon’s death, he was doing some work for Thomas Benton Catron, a controversial New Mexico politician and lawyer in early New Mexico.
An aside about Fred Lambert: his father, Henri (Henry) Lambert built the St. James Hotel in Cimarron, New Mexico. This hotel has a most interesting history; we stayed there several years ago when we were in New Mexico for a family reunion – but didn’t hear or see any ghosts!
The St. James Hotel, built in 1872-80. Built by French entrepreneur Henri Lambert, a former field cook for U.S. Gen. Ulysses S. Grant and a White House chef for President Abraham Lincoln, the two-story adobe property began as Cimarron’s best saloon, built in 1872. Several men were shot and killed there, the violence evident in the 26 bullet holes in the bar’s pressed tin ceiling, now the hotel’s elegant dining room.