THE CLAIM JUMPER AND PARSONS
From an interview with Gustav Becker in 1939
Soon after the Clantons came to the country, Edward L. Parsons took up a homestead. It was located near the ELC Ranch, north of Escudilla. Having never lived alone, he spent most of his time in town going back out to the ranch, now and then, and spending a night or two. His father was a prominent New York attorney and had sent him west.
On one of his return trips to his homestead, he found his cabin occupied by another man who refused to get off, and who told him: "You haven't been living on your place, so I've jumped it, and you can't do a thing about it, as the law says you have forfited it. But I will get off for five hundred dollars."
Parsons didn't have it and didn't know what to do. He decided to go to town and talk it over with Gus Becker. When he got to town he found Gus and told him what happened. Gus told him: "That's one of Ike Clantons tricks." "He gets one of the strange outlaws who wander into his place to jump claims like that and makes the homesteader pay off to get it back. Don't pay him!" So Parsons went back and told the outlaw just what Gus had told him to say, quoting him by name.
Ike came riding into town mad as the devil and jumped Gus about it, making this statement: "That's a dirty trick you pulled on me and you had no cause to do it, because I've never done you a dirty trick in my life, and you can't name one."
Gus thought quickly. Some time before that, someone had stolen a fine riding horse which he had admired, and which Ike had greatly admired. He had never been able to find the horse or hear of it again, but he had suspected Ike. So he looked Ike in the eye and said: "How about that saddle horse you stole from me? It was the finest horse that ever hit this country." Ike dropped his eyes, hesitated a minute, and replied: "Well, that's the only thing I ever did against you."