There was a woman named Harriet Standifer Cluck. She was the daughter of Stuart Standifer and Caroline Randall Standifer. She was born April 14, 1846 in Cherokee, Alabama and died March 2, 1938 in Williamson Co., Texas. She married George Washington Cluck June 25, 1863 in Williamson Co., Texas. He was born December 18, 1839 in Missouri and died August 23, 1920 in Williamson Co., Texas.
In 1871, George W. Cluck had a herd of a thousand steers. They planned to drive to Abilene, Kansas. Capt. D. H. Snyder had another herd. They drove these two herds near each other for protection and mutual help. Cattle were not very valuable in Texas because there were plenty of them, but there was a large market for them in the North and Midwest, where cattle was scarce and beef was in demand. There was not a good way of getting them there because the railroads in Texas had not been built. So the only way to get the cattle from Texas was by a long cattle drive from Texas to Kansas, where they could be sold and placed on a train and shipped.
When the herds were ready, Harriet Standifer Cluck stated with determination that she was going on the cattle drive. She had given birth to three children: Allie Annie, aged 7; Emmet, aged 5; and Minnie, aged 2 years. A hack was rounded up for her to ride in. Supplies were packed into the carry-all. Two sturdy horses were selected, and in addition to the usual equipment, Mrs. Cluck made sure she took her shot-gun and her telescope.
The herds were driven to the Red River to cross it. They found the Red River was at flood stage. The herd could swim the swollen stream, but they did not know how a woman with three small children could safely cross the river. Mrs. Cluck told her husband to take care of the hack, and she would manage the rest. Cottonwood logs were strapped to the sides of the hack to make it float and the horses swam and guided the wagon across the raging torrent. So the hack reached the north bank of the Red River in the Native American territory.
Then the problem was to get the children across. Mrs. Cluck mounted behind her husband on his trusted horse. Three experienced cowboys, each took a child in his arms or in front of him in the saddle. The horse and they crossed the river. The tough mustangs carried the men and children safely across.
Then there was another problem. They were in Native American territory, with all its problems and dangers. Mrs. Cluck was afraid and she kept her ever-ready spyglass ready, scanning the landscape for lurking Native Americans, or the still more dangerous, cattle thieves and robbers. One day she saw, through her telescope, a long way off some suspicious horsemen riding single file like Native Americans. The Clucks sent a swift horseman to the Snyder cowboys to warn them, and the two herds were hastily thrown together for protection. These attackers were rustlers, not Native Americans. The sixteen cowboys got ready their shotguns, rifles, and six-shooters. Some of the Texas cowboys with the two herds were unused to fighting with guns. They were trail men, cowboys, not soldiers. Some of the younger ones were nervous and afraid. Mrs. Cluck was helping load the shotguns as the cattle rustlers were approaching, and she suddenly called out. “If any of you boys are afraid to fight, come here and drive the hack and give me your gun and horse.” The timid ones could not stand the embarrassment of having a woman take their place in the fight, so they stood their ground.
The leader of the rustlers rode up, and George Cluck rode out, with trepidation, to meet him to see what the Rustler had to say. The cowboys all watched with guns, ready to attack. It was a holdup, but George Cluck told him in terse language that he would get nothing, and if he wanted a fight to get ready. “I have sixteen good fighters with me and they are crack shots. The rustler leader consulted with some of his men and they road off. They did not try to spook the herd or start shooting as might have been.
The Native Americans did not attack. But they wanted to get some beef, and they were always hungry. To avoid an attack, the cowboys would give them an old cow or yearling that could not travel on the trail easily. When this was given to them, they quickly killed it, cut it into quarters and sections. The female Native Americans ripped open the entrails, dumped the contents on the ground, grabbed the leathery stomach in their arms, mounted their ponies, and went galloping away to their camp, ready to enjoy their favorite treat. They told the cowboys that they did not know the best part of the beef.
The cowboys drove the cattle across the Canadian, Cimarron, and Arkansas rivers and to Wichita, Kansas, and then up the trail marked by Tim Hersey in the spring of 1867, to the town of Abilene, Kansas. Here the cattle were sold for a large profit. After that, they were ready for the return trip.
Another problem arose. Mrs. Cluck discovered on the trail drive that she was pregnant. By the time they got to Kansas, she was not able to travel back. The Clucks settled near Abilene, Kansas and, on October 17, 1871, she gave birth to a son, Euel Cluck. By the time the child was born, the winter weather was too cold to travel back.
The Clucks spent a hard winter in Kansas with cold weather. In the spring of 1872, the Clucks returned to Texas, and bought property where Cedar Park is now. A stage route from Austin to Lampasas passed their home. A corral was built to keep horses that pulled the Concord stage on the overland roads. A post office was established on the Cluck property and Mrs. Harriet Cluck was appointed as the postmistress. Some of the stone that was used to build the state capitol building came from the Cluck Ranch.
It took toughness and grit for the men and women during the pioneer days because of all the hardships of daily life and few amenities.