Today in 1909, two young brothers, eight year old Louis “Gus” Abernathy and five year old Temple Abernathy started a 1,300 mile trip – on horseback, unsupervised – from Tillman County, Oklahoma to Santa Fe, New Mexico, and back.

The travels of the Abernathy Boys were national news in the early 20th century, even if those trips seem bewildering in our time.

Their dad was U.S. Marshal Jack Abernathy.

He was nicknamed “Catch ‘Em Alive Jack” because he had once helped ranchers catch and remove wolves with his bare hands.

Papa Abernathy was appointed to the job by President Theodore Roosevelt.

As a widower, the marshal let his kids live what TR called “the strenuous life.”

In fact, after they finished their trip west, they decided to mount another duo expedition to see Roosevelt himself!

Temple wrote in a memoir later that “Some folks were aghast that two boys were allowed to ride anywhere near that far alone, but our dad had confidence in us.”

That’s not to say it was easy for the boys.

Sometimes they got sick, or they ran into bad weather, or had trouble with their horses.

By the way, they were traveling without maps; they asked people along the way for directions.

And amazingly, they made it!

After about a month’s ride, they arrived in New York where they not only met former President Roosevelt, they got to march with him in a parade.

And Teddy wasn’t the only famous person the Abernathys met on their ride.

At one point they hung out with Wilbur Wright at his airplane factory in Ohio.

And in Washington, they met with the sitting president, William H. Taft, though they played that meeting down a little bit.

Bud Abernathy said later that when they hung out with Teddy Roosevelt, he got down on the floor and played with them, but “Mr. Taft didn’t do that. I think Mr. Taft is great, but you know how it is.”

Thrillist just did a feature about Envision Art Gallery in Wichita, Kansas, which it calls the first art museum that’s meant for blind artists and art lovers.

The floor is designed to help people find each piece in the gallery – and not only are there Braille and audio descriptions of the artwork, you’re allowed AND encouraged to touch the art.

Every bit of it.

Ultimate free-range kids: Two boys, 6 and 10, rode horses to New York — from Oklahoma (Washington Post)

Inside the First Art Gallery for Blind Artists and Audiences (Thrillist)

Ride along with us as a backer on Patreon

Image by Bain News Service via Wikicommons