On the inside page of Ross Santee’s Cowboy, the dedication reads, “For Shorty Caraway—Top Hand.” What do you know about the author or Shorty?
Derek W. Hodges
Wickford, Essex, United Kingdom
Ross Santee was born on August 16, 1889, in Thornburg, Iowa. He attended the Chicago Art Institute, then lived as a struggling artist in New York City. In 1915, he moved to Globe, Arizona, where he worked as a cowhand and horse wrangler. His pen and ink drawings and watercolors of Gila County and its cowboys eventually drew him back to the Chicago Art Institute in 1919. Two years later, his work began appearing in Century Magazine and Colliers. He eventually wrote and illustrated nearly a dozen books, including Cowboy, Apacheland and Lost Pony Tracks. Beginning in 1936, his work was featured regularly in Arizona Highways magazine. One of his most important projects was supervising Arizona Guide, a W.P.A. “Writer’s Project” volume. He died in Globe on June 28, 1965.
Santee referred to Shorty as a “Top Hand,” so he was probably a Gila County cowboy acquaintance.