Thursday, May 2, 2013

Question about "Message Trees"




I have a question from a reader and I thought of posting the question on the article where it was attached, but it's a bit down on the list, so I think I'll open this topic up to everyone in case someone else has better information sources to help out. If you have an answer, you can comment on this post and I will notify her via email, or she'll see it on the blog. Either way, please help if you can! I think it would be great information to share with everyone! The question is below:

"I'm doing an article about the Message Trees. There is a trail between Colorado and New Mexico, where the cattlemen drove their cattle. They left messages in the trees along the way. The dates go back to early 1900. Do you know anything about this?" --Betty J. Slade

9 comments:

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Dennis Merrell--Very Interesting. Never heard of this but there are some Cowboy Carvings in the rocks at Trinchera Colorado.

Darla Sue Dollman said...

In what way would they leave them ? I know the women would tie notes to the tumble weeds in west Texas and write their thoughts and wishes down.

Maggid said...

In Fawnskin, CA - there was a mail tree - mail & messages for the families living in that area was placed in a specific tree - for people to come gather & take to others living in the forest -

Darla Sue Dollman said...

Norman Wayne Brown--I have an article of a cowboy who penned a love letter as "Texican Bill" and put it in a bale of cotton hoping it would go to Ft Worth and be found by some young lass. But, the bale of cotton went to Manchester, England, was found, printed in newspapers in three European countries and old Bill started receiving letters and postcards galore. He never married any of them but he had a lot of fun "Jawing his yarns with them". I have scans of over 100 postcards he received. I like Margaret the best because she want Bill to meet her mother before they wed. And his turn name was Jugrutha Addison Lafoon, nicknamed "Guff". The article is pending publication and may or may not be printed.

Back then when they put letters in trees they used containers (tins) to keep them dry. Whatever was handy I think. But it had to be pre-arranged so the parties knew where to look. Was it widespread? Not so sure.

Darla Sue Dollman said...

This last message was left by: Deborah Sanders Lawrence

Betty J. Slade said...

The first I heard of it, I read it in a magazine from La Plata Electric Association, called the Colorado Country Life. They showed the trees and said it was just west of Pagosa Springs, Colorado and between Chimney Rock.. They would leave New Mexico and cross over the border into Colorado. The messages were carved in the aspen trunks. They showed pictures of dates, going back to 1900.

Thank you for looking for me. I googled the magazine, but found nothing. I also went to SUN News in Pagosa Springs, CO and tried to find out. Some of the old timers around here said I had heard about it.

Thank you.

Misha Gericke said...

I guess it would make sense that they'd do it. Can't really say more, though, since I'm not sure about message trees in the US. We have them in South Africa, though, because Sailors used to put letters on specific trees so sailors going home could pick them up and take them home. Maybe the ones along the cattle trails worked on the same basic concept?

Darla Sue Dollman said...

I'm sure it is the same concept, and my goodness this has been a great thread! It reminds me of that 70s song "Tie a Yellow Ribbon." Remember that one? "Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree if you still want me." Or messages in a bottle. It would be so amazing to find a letter in a tree that was left in the 1800s and never picked up. If you read it, would you feel like you were intruding on someone's privacy? How could you not read it, though! I'd have to know what was said, and would spend the rest of my life wondering why the person who was meant to receive the letter never picked it up. This is great material for fiction writing!

Darla Sue Dollman said...

(From Texas Trails Facebook page) Deborah Sanders Lawrence--A new subject to research!Maybe in them were the directions of the trail or good places to camp.The Indians used to make "Marker Trees" they would take a sapling and bend it down with raw hide and tie it to the ground.As it grew it would stay in that shape.It would always point to the direction of a camp ground with water or a trail to take.I know there are still a lot of theses trees in Texas.I have seen quite a few in this area.

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