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Martin, South Dakota
About Ken Cook
Ken Cook's web site

Photo by Jeri L. Dobrowski
Used with permission


This is Page 2.

See Ken Cook's poetry, bio, and find information about his recordings on Page 1.


Ken Cook's grandfather, Frank E. Buckles, died Sunday, February 25, 2007, at age 97 in Martin, South Dakota.


   Two vintage photos of the Buckles family have been a part of our "Picture the West" photos, on February 5, 2007 and the feature's first photo, October 23, 2006.  Those photos and descriptions are also posted below:


October 23, 2006


About the photo:

South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook shared this 1935 photo of his Grandmother Buckles and some of her children.  Ken told us:

The story goes that Grandma went to town once a year for the "Old Settlers Day Celebration." Grandma and Grandpa did not own a car till approximately 1939...So they loaded up and into Merriman, Nebraska they went. It was not a long trip, because they lived one mile east of Merriman.  My mother, Betty Marie (Buckles) Cook is on the far right in the white blouse, age 4.




February 5, 2007


About the photo:

South Dakota rancher and poet Ken Cook often writes about his family, and he's particularly fortunate to often visit with his "Grandpa Buckles," (Frank E. Buckles). Ken shared this photo with us, of Grandpa Buckles and "Babe" and "Dolly" from sometime in the 1930s, east of Merriman, Nebraska.  Ken talked to Grandpa Buckles recently about the photo and told us:

Here's what I know about Babe and Dolly:

Grandpa got Babe and Dolly as colts and broke them himself. The more we talked the more it bothered him that he could not remember who he got them from, but he was fairly certain his Papa, James W. Buckles did some horse trading and got the two colts in the deal.  The picture was taken in the early 1930's east of Merriman, Nebraska.  He used Babe and Dolly for every job on the ranch, from haying and feeding to dirt work and ditching.

Grandpa says Babe was a much better horse than Dolly and when Dolly died he purchased another blood bay horse for a hundred dollars, which was a ton of money to my Grandpa in those days. Charles Bakley was at the lumber yard on the day Grandpa took his team to the scale to see what they weighed. They weighed 1500 apiece. Now keep in mind Grandpa had just purchased Dolly's replacement and Grandpa had never even harnessed them up when Charlie up and offers Grandpa five hundred dollars for the pair. Charlie was buying horses for the government and as far as Grandpa was concerned ol' Charlie was now the proud owner of two more!  Grandpa led them horses to a ranch just south of Martin, South Dakota and got his money from Charlie after delivery.  Grandpa knew Charlie's word was good.

Grandpa's story about Charlie's purchase of  the team was far more important to him than the every day work of Babe and Dolly.  One of Grandpa's favorite sayings is "if wishes were
horses...beggars would ride!"


Ken Cook has many stories about his "Grandpa Buckles," and writes about him in his poetry, including, "Grandpa," which is included on the 2007 edition of  The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Two:


This tale's about my Grandpa sittin' tall up in the saddle.
He's a tough old bird, a cattleman, dang he's hard to rattle.

I've seen him stand his ground with men who had the upper hand,
He'll prove his point, make them think, and then they'll feel their stand

Was off a bit, perhaps he's right.  The words he says are true.
The gate will close, the trucks will leave, Grandpa's gained a dime or two.

Don't get me wrong, he's family, the first to visit for a spell.
But he's constantly a thinkin' 'bout the cattle and the sale.

Money in the bank to Gramps is money layin' dead.
Buy some stock, a cow, some calves, then work to get' em fed.

Be it winter, spring, or summer, don't fret the grass will grow.
If it's short, we'll sell' em early, gotta buy back 'fore the snow.

The snows come each year to Dakota Territory.
Calves are weaned, the trucks are here, the boughten calves are all the story.

Grandpa says treat' em right, get' em on that feed real fast,
Perhaps a bale, or maybe not, gotta make that baled hay last.

The cows will need the hay 'fore the grass begins to grow.
Cows and calves, steers and feed, round and round we go.

2006, Ken Cook, from I'm Gonna Be a Cowboy
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's written permission.

Ken told us:  "During the 1980's at Buckles Ranch we sold yearlings right off the place. Grandpa Buckles and I moved thousands of steers from holding pens to the scales to be weighed over the years. Cattle buyers would nervously pace from the scale house to the door watching the cattle, the weights, and the number of head. Grandpa would always have the final word on the sale of the cattle and the price. More than once I watched him 'gain a dime or two.' No matter what time of year it was and regardless of our feed supply or grass conditions...cattle needed bought or sold according to my Grandpa."



Frank Buckles was survived by three sons and a daughter, 12 grandchildren; 31 great-grandchildren; and 17 great-great-grandchildren..

A memorial has been established for Bennett County Nursing Home, and donations may be sent to Security First Bank, Box 69, Martin, SD 57751. Read an obituary in the Rapid City Journal here.




This is Page 2.

See Ken Cook's poetry, bio, and find information about his recordings on Page 1.



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