Following the Bells

Nuggets from the Past

July 22, 2010 

"Traveling High Sierra Wilderness Trails" is a book by Johnny Jones as told to Dwight H. Barnes sometime before 1994. Johnny died in 1993 and the book was published in 1994. Johnny, known as "Jackass Johnny" in school, became known as one of the leading High Sierra guides and packers, a respected mule judge and breeder of world champion performance and racing mules. One of the stories he tells is about outlaws hiding in the high country.

"Years ago, I heard the guys talking about an outlaw who was up on the stock drive that used to be the only road into Beasore. His name was Tex. I don't know any more about him other than somebody told me he was a white man come in here from Texas. The posse couldn't catch him, so they gave up until somebody told the law to get old Tom Beasore and Tom Jones after him. It was Tom Jones that taught me to track like the Indians and I can track real well, horses, wild animals, people or what.

"Anyhow, Tom Jones and Beasore were good. So, they were hired to bring Tex in dead or alive. I don't know whether he had killed somebody or what, but he was a bad one, a really bad one, armed. Jones and Beasore were pretty smart. They tracked him to Tex Meadow -- maybe they named the meadow after him, I don't know. Those two were really cagey. They figured it all out where he would hole up, so stayed in the timber and spotted him that evening. He had a horse and a pack. They didn't charge him right away, though, because they knew he was a dead eye and vicious.

"They got back in the timber and spent the night. Next morning they hid behind some trees and just waited. The two knew he would come to a little creek for water for coffee or something for breakfast. Sure enough, just about daylight, here he comes away from the rocks where he was hiding. Both Tom Jones and Beasore had their guns on him and hollered. He didn't have his gun, just a coffee pot in his hand. He started to run, so they shot him in the leg because they didn't want to kill him.

"They brought him in wounded but alive.

"I was told about another outlaw who came into the country and was hard to catch. He was a bad one, a horse thief. The posse tracking him all over never could catch up with him. They got Tom Jones on him. Tom caught up with him, but the outlaw got away again.

"You know, this horse thief was so smart he put the shoes on his horse backwards. The posse couldn't catch him because they were tracking him the way he had come from, not the way he was going!"

Following the Bells is available at the Coarsegold Historic Museum and at Fresno Flats Museum.

The Sierra Star is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Commenting FAQs | Terms of Service