Early Sublette County Brands Project
Beard Ranch
 
 Bob and Florence Beard
Interviewed by Stuart McKinley
Bob Beard, originally from Kansas and Florence Shaul Beard, birth place Pinedale, Wyoming, January 22, 1942.

Florence:    My parents are Lawrence and Vivian Shaul.  In about 1954 they bought the Richardson place up on Horse Creek and were there until probably 1968.  Bob   Beard, my husband, came in 1960 and went to work for my dad.
Bob:  You're doing all right.  Keep talking.
Q.   You've got to tell about how you got here because that's when you got your first job.
Bob:  I came to Sublette County in - must have been in the last part of April of 1960.  I went to work for Harv Stone.  I went to work for Lawrence Shaul;  from Lawrence Shaul I went back to work for Harv Stone;  then I hauled ties and built fence as a contractor;  then I went to work for George Franz;  then I went back to work for Lawrence Shaul;  then I went to work for Millers.  In between times I worked for Buss Fear.  Who else did I work for?  When did I start brand inspecting?  In 1984 or 85?
Florence:  You cowboyed on the Green River Drift for 15 years.
Bob:  Yeah.
Florence:  The brands on the different places.  Do you want that?
Q.   Yeah.  You may as well, Florence.
Florence:  Do you want that in order?  On the Richardson place they had the N Bar 4 brand.
Q.  Was that the brand that came with the Richardson place, or was it one that your father had?
Florence:  No.  It came with the Richardson place.
Q.  Do you know who had the place before Richardson?
Bob:  There are several places there.  Fritz Coyt had part of it.  Frank Wilhelm had part of it.
Florence:  And Minnie Bollinger knows the history of that place.  You could...
Q.  Do you know what the Wilhelm brand was?
Florence:  No, I don't, but I wouldn't be surprised but what she might.
Bob:  Yeah, I'll bet she does.
Florence:  My dad's brand when he went on the N Bar 4 Ranch--his brand was the Quarter Circle Diamond Dot.
Q.  And was that another ranch he had in the county?
Bob:  It was from down on the Sweetwater.
Florence:  We moved here from Green River, and I'm sure that it came from my mother's parents and family.
Q.  And that was the original brand then.
Florence:  Yes.
Bob:  Well, they called it the old Johnson place, but I'm not sure that it was the brand that you know.  You see your granddad's brand was different.  Let's see, it was the Crescent J.
Florence:  Yeah, that's right.
Q.  And that was your granddad?
Florence:  Yes, my mom's parents.
Q.  And that was Johnson?
Bob:  And what was his name?
Florence:  Frank
Bob:  Johnson?
Florence:  Frank Johnson
Q.  Where was his place at?  Was it on Sweetwater, too?
Florence:  Well, they grew up like up on Cottonwood and in this area and in the Big Piney area and then they went to Green River for several years.
Q.  And then came back.
Florence:  Yeah.
Q.  And was that one he had up on Cottonwood?  Or one he had at Green River, or do you know?
Florence:  This is one he had at Green River.  And they were right on the Green River.  The Quarter Circle Diamond Dot that Dad had he has given that to Mike  and Mike Beard has that now.  It was from my mother's (Vivian Johnson Shaul) parents.
Q.  From her parents.  And did they get that from anyone else or is that one that they recorded themselves?  You don't know?
Florence:  No.
Q.  How far back yearwise does that go?
Bob:  They homesteaded up here about 19--.
Florence:  Yeah, but I don't know if they had that brand.
Q.  That's all right, but what year did they homestead up here?
Bob:  It must have been about 1915.
Q.  Where was that?  On Cottonwood?
Bob:  North Cottonwood.
Q.  Do you know wherebouts?
Florence:  My mom was born at Halfway, Wyoming.
Mike Beard:  Part of their homestead is part of Ronnie Ball's now.
Florence:  In that area.  The we were married in 1962, and before that Bob went to work for George Franz pm the Hanson place.
Q.  When did George buy the place then?
Bob:  1942.
Q.  And when did you go to work for him?
Bob:  1962.
Q.  What was George's brand?
Bob:  George branded S Lazy T on the right ribs.
Florence:  That was where we got our brand.
Bob:  That's where we got the turtle brand, from his second wife, Shirla.
Q.  And she was George Franz's second wife...and that was the Turtle Brand.  That doesn't have any association with the Turtle Ranch that Mildred Miller has?
Bob:  That originated from Tobe Huston and then Millers bought it from Hustons and as far as I know Dick and Shirla.  Dick told me that they got it from Mildred and we got it from Shirla after Dick died.  Dick was her first husband.
Florence:  And Dick and Shirla worked for George for several years.
Bob:  George told me that they way Tobe used to be able to tell the age of his cattle is that he'd turn the head one way--turn it straight up or to the side and then down, and to the left so he could tell the age of his cows.  But then the state wouldn't let him do that no more after they...
Florence:  started registering the brands.  You had to have them a certain way.
Bob:  Bousman has got the same brand only theirs is on the left side and theirs has got a tail.
Florence:  And the call it the Bug (wrong), don't they, rather than Turtle?
Bob:  Yeah.
Q.  Which Bousman?
Bob:  Floyd.
Mike:  He calls it the Spider (correct).  It ain't got a head on it like that and the legs are curly.  George had that one he sold to Railey (SP), didn't he?
Bob:  Yeah, George had several different brands.  He had an AE Brand and I don't know where that came from and he had another that's in the brand book.  It's still recorded under the Franz sisters.  It was like the old Bar Y but it was a 3 Bar Y, I think.
Q.  What was George's sisters' names?
Bob:  That would have been his daughters.  What was their names?
Florence:  Maxine, Marla and Marge.  Maxine and Marge live in California and Marla the last we knew was in Laramie.
Q.  Now we were talking about who had the early water rights on Beaver on the Franz place.
Bob:  I know the Turtle has the first water rights but I don't know if it territorial or not and then the Elders (Minnie's folks) had the 2nd water rights on South Beaver.  Everyone else above there been fighting for water and that was the last one down the creek.  We was always out of water.  So your upper rights are better than your earlier rights.
Q.  This place that you've got now.  What place wat it, at least as far back as we can go.  What ranch was it originally and what relationship does this have to the Swanda Ranch?  You say this goes back to two different ranches?
Bob:  Yes, this does back to the Fremont in 1903 and Swanda's goes back to Sargents.
Q.  Sargents or Pfisterer?
Bob:  Sargents.  1901 I believe his water rights are.  Pfisterer had the whole place the first I knew of it.
Q.  Both places were together then.  Gene Pfisterer?
Bob:  Jake and Gene.
Q.  And what year?
Bob:  This was in the early 50's or late 40's, the two places together.  Old Travelute owned both places twice.  I think he bought it from Pfisterer and then he sold it and then he bought it back from another guy.  I don't remember what his name is.  And I don't remember what that guy's name was that Butch had this side leased from.  He bought it from Travelute.  And then Swanda bought his from...Richardson was in there somewhere on the west side of the highway.  I think that's where Swanda...
Q.  Austin's father?
Bob:  No, Jack Richardson from Pinedale.  I think he was in thee and I think that's who Swanda bought it from.
Q.  Travelute then would have sold it to Richardson?
Bob:  I think so.  I can't remember how that all came about.  And then Looney got this from...I can't remember that guy's name.  (Note:  I checked with John Mackey and the owner from California was George Dexter.)  But Butch Bain had had this side leased for about three years.
Q.  This wasn't out of the settlement of the estate with the one relative (Dexter) that Travelute had in California, was it?
Bob:  It could have been.
Q.  I know when he started to divide it up.
Bob:  The reason Butch said he never did buy it from this guy was that he never could get a clear title to it.  And then some way or another Looney got a clear title to it.
Bob:  Travelute kept 40 acres right east of the Prairie Creek campground and Mike and Kathie Looney have that now.  And Looney bought this and what little piece of it that we have now is from Looney.
Q.  Do you irrigate off the water that comes off the Green River?
Bob:  Yeah, our ditch comes out of the Green.
Q.  Now, up on the south side of Horse Creek over here where part of the ranch is at.  Do you recall when that McDonald Ditch was surveyed in?
Bob:  I've never had nothing to do with that ditch so I don't know, but I think it's sometime in the 30's.
Q.  What's the water rights on your place?
Bob:  1903, and they're out of the Fremont Ditch.
Q.  OK, and that was the original homestead by Fremont.
Bob:  At that time Prairie Creek was part of the Green River but now Prairie Creek is no longer part of the Green River.  All the headgates have been moved up above the head of Prairie Creek.  And I couldn't tell you when that McDonald Ditch was in.
Q.  That's not important, just that we know it irrigated all that on the south side of Horse Creek.  Where do you place the brand on your animals?
Bob:  Right ribs on the cows;  right shoulder on the horses.
Q.  What is your earmark?
Bob:  A little silver tag in the right ear.
Q.  Do you have a wattle or a dewlap?
Bob:  Nope.
Q.  And how long did you say you'd had the brand?
Bob:  Since about 1964 or maybe '63.
Q.  And you said you got that from George Franz's second wife, Shirla Pearson.  And you say it goes back to the Turtle but you're not sure how old it is?
Bob:  Yeah, I'm sure it goes clear back to Tobe Huston.
Q.  In the early 1900's or late 1800's/
Bob:  Right around the turn of the century.
Q.  And you probably don't know when it was first registured.
Bob:  I'll bet Mildred could tell you.
Q.  Where did you get your branding irons?
Bob:  We got ours from Shirla.  I think Dick probably made 'em.  He was a very handy fella.
Q.  Has it been a good brand to have?
Bob:  Yeah.  You can see it long ways away.  It parts the hair good.
Q.  You'd probably keep the brand in the family.
Bob:  Yup, probably.
Q.  Does Lisa have a brand?
Bob:  Nope.  School teachers don't need brands.
Q.  You probably don't know why the brand was designed or chosen--maybe because they called it the Turtle Ranch?
Bob:  I know Bob and Mildred Miller had that Turtle before they ever owned the Scott place.
Q.  Yeah.
Bob:  I think they  bought the Scott place about the time George bought the Hanson place, about 1942 or '43.
Q.  The 2nd World War then.  And the brand is active now?
Bob:  Yeah.  I know that first cat that Bob Miller said he had, I think it was a TD 17 International, he said that cat cost him more than he give for the Scott place.  That's hard to believe.
Q.  He got a bargain, didn't he.
Bob:  He got a bargain.  I don't know whether it was a bargain on the Scott place or on the cat.
Q.  Do you always brand in the spring?
Bob:  Yup.
Q.  May?
Bob:  Yup.
Florence:  Mothers' Day usually, if he can manage.
Q.  That way he doesn't have to take you out to lunch.
Florence:  I take him out to dinner.
Q.  Basically it's always around Mothers' Day?  Why do you have it Mothers' Day?  Why don't you have it a week earlier or a week later?
Bob:  Well, I like to get them calves branded when they're not too big.
Florence:  The heck with mother.
Bob:  Well, you got to celebrate it some way.  The cows is mothers, too, ain't they?
Q.  Who helps with the branding generally?  I'm sure it varies year to year.  Probably some come back year to year and you probably help them.  Basically who helps you?
Bob:  Me and Mike mainly, and the neighbors.  Charlie McAlister, Garley Swain and his two boys, Larry Miller, and Billy Goede.  That's it.
Q.  Lopez doesn't help you?
Bob:  Nope.  Well, Mike (son-in-law) and Lisa come when they can get here.
Q.  And then you help these others when they're ready to brand then.  How about describing a typical day.  Not a wet, muddy day, but a bright sunshiny day.
Bob:  I like to get it over quick, so it takes about two hours at the most, 2 and 1/2.
Florence:  Before I can get dinner ready, they're done branding.
Q.  And they're waiting on the cook then.
Florence:  Yes.
Bob:  I like to get it over early, get 'em in and get 'em out.  I suppose we probably start gathering them about 7:30 or 8 o'clock and we're generally done by 10:00 or 10:30.  Florence, she cooks, and Lisa, if she's over here, she vaccinates;  Mike ropes;  and I do whatever nobody else does, like dehorning, tagging, castrate.
Q.  And all the others stand around and drink beer and watch.
Bob and Florence:  Well, they brand and wrestle.
Q.  And I suppose the procedure has been the same every year;  it doesn't change much.
Bob:  No, it doesn't change much.
Q.  Well, we've discussed the brand and have the history on that.  Do you have any good branding stories that you want to tell--that you can tell?  Yours and others.
Bob:  Well, we don't very often have mishaps with ours.  I want it to go like clockwork.
Q.  You had a big chuckle a big ago, so I'm sure you recalled at least one.
Bob:  Well, there's been a lot of wrecks, I can tell you that.
Florence:  Maybe he was thinking of Miller's brandings;  they were so big so many times.
Bob:  Tell was one real bad wreck up there one time.  Old Wells Beck, he always roped up there and he always tied hard and fast, and he got the rope under his horse's tail, and that horse just cleaned the corral.  I mean he wiped her out.
Q.  Wasn't anybody left, huh?
Bob:  Well, not too many.  They was all running away.  And after that I never did see him tie hard and fast, not in the corral anyway.  One time up there at Jameses, up in that Webb Draw, we branded into the dark.  It would rain us out about every 30 minutes.  We had 'em in the corral, didn't turn 'em out, because we was way into the dark getting that one done.
Florence:  When you started working for Dad, tell him about that.
Bob:  When I first started going to Millers' branding, we used to have breakfast at the Scott place at 1 o'clock and we'd ride from the Scott place up to the sections horseback.
Florence:  Dark as the dickens.
Q.  When it's so dark like that, could you see the sparks coming off the rocks whent he horseshoes would hit?
Bob:  Well, if there was somebody in front of you.  We used to go up there and gather them cattle out of that branding section and brand 'em there and we'd always be done by... we'd always brand 700 or 800 and be done by 11:00 and turn around and ride home.
Q.  Long day.
Bob:  Well, yeah, it wasn't any longer than the rest of them.  But we always...I think the most Millers ever branded when I was there was...it was over 1000 but it wasn't 1100 head.
Q.  In one day.  Florence said something about her father's branding.  What can you tell us about that?
Bob:  He always branded about 3 times a year.  He branded first in--well, he always branded the 22nd of May because that was when he could turn out on the BLM.  It always went real smooth.  There was never really any flaws in that.  It went real smooth.  Then he branded again right around the first of July.  Then he'd brand again around the first of October.
Q.  His calving was strung out that far, huh?
Bob:  Oh, yeah.  Nobody ever took their bulls out until October.  Some of them never took 'em out.  In fact, George Franz never took his bulls out.  He calved year round.  But he always had good cattle, but he'd hold 'em over forever.
Q.  Always sold yearlings or older, huh?
Bob:  Well, yeah.  Sometimes he sold a lot of 2-year-olds, too.  He'd keep anything he gathered after he shipped, why they was 2's.  He had all different ages of cattle.  But they wasn't quite as particular in them days as they are now.  Now, they don't want no variation in size.  They want them the same size and within 25 pounds of each other if you can get them that way, which is very difficult at times.  In 30 years this ranching business has changed 100% from what it used to be.
Q.  Now when you were on the Flying V what brand did they use?
Bob:  Well, that was Millers' outfit and they branded with the 67 and the Y and the Double Dishpan.  The Double Dishpan went on the right side.  Right hip.
Q.  And that wasn't just for the Flying V.  That was for the whole ranch, right?
Bob:  Yup.  All of Millers.
Florence:  Who had the Flying V?  I know that's the name of the ranch but do you know any history on it?
Q.  Do you know who had it before the Millers?
Bob:  No.  A lot of the older people call it the old Angus place, but I don't know nothing about it.
Q.  We can get that from Mildred Miller.  A book on the Daniel area mentions that Angus.  Now part of that was called the Clodius place?
Bob:  The Clodius has only got a section, see, and the highway goes through the middle of it.  Now I think there's less than a section that Millers lease.  I know that.  They hay 47 acres of what Clodiuses had.
Q.  You don't remember what brand that they might have had?
Bob:  I don't remember Clodius having any cattle.  They might have had a brand.
Q.  They have any sheep then?
Bob:  I don't think so.  All I can remember old Fred Clodius having is a hardware store in Pinedale.
Q.  Was that a piece they bought or was it an old homestead?
Bob:  It's a homestead;  I know that.
Q.  Did the Clodiuses homestead it then?
Bob:  Yup.
Q.  So at one time they must have had some livestock so maybe it's in some of the old brand books or when this was Uinta County, it might be down in the courthouse.
Bob:  Could be.
Q.  Since you do brand inspecting, do you know if there's been any rustling problems with any particular brands?
Bob.  No, not to where they change them over to make 'em...I don't think that's a ...
Q.  That's not the problem.
Bob:  That's not the problem.