Baca County History

by the Plainsman Herald

Orville Ewing meets Former Baca Countian in Klamath Falls Oregon, 1959


There are literally thousands of Orville Ewing references in newspapers across the country between 1938 -1971, but this one caught my attention as it references a man named Frank Cotton who apparently as a boy lived in Baca, who rode around with Ewing on a mail-delivering beat when he was a youngster in Colorado.. I am hopeful this article from the Herald and News (Klamath Falls, Oregon) ·1 Oct 1959, jogs a memory from someone. Anyone ever heard of the Cotton family in Pritchett?

By NORM CARDOZA Orville Ewing, his dog, his goats and his five donkeys have seen more of the continent than most people, though 18 miles is a pretty good day’s travel for them. Last week Ewing, who would rather be called simply “Orville, came into Klamath Falls in full travel fettle on the last leg of his junket to California where he will winter this year. He visited old friends here.

 Besides his animals, he brought the amazing vehicle that has transported him some 60.000 miles from border to border and coast to coast since he began life as a vagabond in 1938. 

It is a jerry-built concoction of a covered wagon hooked to a plow’s drawbar. It contains all the necessities of life for man and animal and myriad frugal but frill items which make a traveler’s life more comfortable. 

At front, the weird contraption carries a sign stating, pointlessly “Here Comes Orville.” Townspeople need no reminder. Chains clinking, donkeys clattering on pavement, curious youngsters noisily in the wagon’s wake, people generally know he is coming when Ewing is miles out of town And he likes that. The bigger the crowd of shutterbugs and the curious assembled when he ceremoniously pulls up to a vacant lot, the more picture postcards he sells at three for a quarter. 

From this meager means, Ewing makes an ample living-possibly fatly ample. His living expenses are negligible. Ewing’s animals, for instance, fuel up on grass and a bale or two of hay he hauls. His nanny goat converts the fat of the land into milk. Ewing’s carefree way of life placed earlier Bohemian tendencies. He once was a first class painter, says Frank Cotton, a local building contractor, who rode around with Ewing on a mail-delivering beat when he was a youngster in Colorado. 

“But the paint affected my health,” Ewing says, “and I took up pencil sketching and began to travel.” 

Cotton, 4224 Douglas Avenue knew somehow that Ewing was coming to town the day before he arrived. The pair got together for a gab session. Ewing, 71, came here from the Oregon Centennial Exposition where he was a first class attraction. He has been featured at the San Francisco and New York World Fairs, too. At his leisurely pace, he expects to beat foul weather to warmer pastures in Southern California. Last year he wintered In Florida and has spent other winters in Arizona as well.

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