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The E-Sylum:  Volume 11, Number 19, May 11, 2008, Article 20

THE ABERNATHY BOYS' GREAT CROSS-COUNTRY ADVENTURE

[Medals are great for commemorating interesting events
of all sorts.  This newspaper article describes one medal
and recounts the tale behind it - the cross-country
adventures of two young boys a hundred years ago.
-Editor]

The other Sunday, Harry Abernathy came up to me before
church. “Here’s a little souvenir for you,” he said,
and handed me a gold-colored commemorative coin.

The coin was from the Frederick, Okla., Chamber of Commerce.
It featured the figure of two horses with riders on the
front, and an old-timey car on the back.

 “If your eyes are good enough, look at the small line
under the horses,” Harry said. Well, the type was pretty
small, but I squinted and made out “The Abernathy Boys.”
I asked him if they were any relation or if the name was
just coincidence. “No, no relation - except that we’re
all God’s children,” Harry replied.

Harry then told the basics of the story of the Abernathy
Boys and the adventure that earned their remembrance on
a commemorative coin. I was intrigued and have fleshed
out those details a little bit with some supplemental
research.

The year was 1910, and Frederick, Okla., was still frontier
“Wild West.” Louis “Bud” Abernathy was 10, and his brother
Temple was 6. Their father was a rancher and a U.S. marshal
nicknamed “Catch-em-alive Jack,” a nickname bestowed on him
by his friend President Theodore Roosevelt after Roosevelt
saw him catch a wolf with his bare hands.

At this point, I need to mention that Jack Abernathy was a
widower. His wife - the boys’ mother - had died some time
before their adventures. I daresay if she had been alive,
there likely wouldn’t have been any commemorative coin today.

But, back to the story.

President Roosevelt was returning to New York from an overseas
vacation. The boys convinced their father to let them ride
horseback from Frederick to New York to participate in the
parade welcoming Roosevelt back.

They had already had one adventure, riding from Frederick
to Santa Fe, N.M., to visit the home of Gov. George Curry.
They had carefully planned all the details of the trip and
when they showed Jack how thorough their plan was, he
allowed them to go.

That trip took two weeks, and the boys encountered no major
problems. At one point along the way, they met several men
who escorted them for many miles to make sure they were safe.
It turned out that the men were outlaws, who later wrote
Jack to tell him that although they didn’t think much of
him, they liked the stuff his boys were made of.

Having made that trip successfully, the boys were able, with
Roosevelt’s help, to convince their father to let them ride
to New York. With Roosevelt’s publicity, the boys were given
heroes’ welcomes along the way, and well-wishers’ donations
funded the trip.

After reaching New York and riding in the parade, the boys
used some of the money that they had been given along the
way to purchase an automobile. They then shipped their horses
back to Oklahoma and drove home.

Remember, they were only 10 and 6!

[There's more to the story, so check out the complete
article!  There have been complete books (both fiction
and nonfiction) written based on the brothers' exploits.
I ordered one to share with my sons: The Abernathy Boys
by L. J. Hunt. -Editor]

To read the complete article, see:
Full Story

  Wayne Homren, Editor

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