Frank Mitchell

The most prominent landmark on the JA is Mitchell Peak.   On the south end of the horse pasture, it overlooks the canyon country down to the Prairie Dog Fork and the plains pastures to the east.    Mitchell Peak was named for Frank Mitchell.

Mitchell showed up at the JA in May, 1878.   J. Evetts Haley describes him as "a smooth-faced boy of quick retort, reckless as a locoed horse, and as energetic as a sand-storm."   When Haley wrote his book on Goodnight, Mitchell was in his seventies and "still knowws the capacity of horses and men; he can tell what a cow will think and do before she knows herself; and his stocky frame is still driven by seemingly boundless energy."

In 1879, Goodnight left the ranch in Mitchell's control when he went to Pueblo to clear up his business there.   He wrote Mitchell instructions concerning what needed to be done.   Upon returning, he found that none of it was done.   Mitchell told him he had received the letter, but noone at the ranch could read the letter.    Goodnight got him to get the letter and studied it a long time, "and finally swore: 'Damn it, if I could think of what it was I wanted to say, I could read it.'"

In 1880, Goodnight bought six mules from Dodge City, Kansas, and they showed up missing at the ranch.   Goodnight told Mitchell to trail them.   Mitchell headed out and followed them for nearly two hundred miles where he caught up with them on the Cimarron.

Mitchell is known for roping a black bear on the ranch.   He drug him into camp and another cowboy roped the bear's heels and they stretched him out between the horses.   Mitchell then branded the bear and they turned him loose.   The bear ran up the draw, past a dugout that served as a kitchen and mess-hall.   The door was open and the bear went in for shelter.    Mrs. Devier and her husband were doing the cooking and she was at the stove washing the dishes with her baby in a nearby crib.   When she saw the bear, she grabbed the baby and pitched it out the window, fainted and fell into the woodboy behind the stove.   The bear went through the kitchen, over the mess-hall table and out a window.   Mitchell was so well liked that he wasn't fired, but he received a major rimmin' out.


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