Frank Bray ( Blacky) came to the Green
River Valley in 1929. He left his entire family in Georga to work
on a Wyoming ranch. Blacky quickly found work on a ranch owned by
James Mickelson. In 1932 he married Helen Webb. Helen was the
daughter of a prominant area rancher, Clarence Webb. She was born
and raised on the ranch near the old townsite of Merna, Wyoming.
At that time this area was still Uinta County and they used Daniel as their
Blacky and Helen then moved to the Winkleman place, which they ran for James Mickelson till 1945. They leased the Sikes place in 1945, then on March 10, 1950, they bought the Mervin Schidler place from Marshal and Ona Gurney which is just one mile west of Big Piney. In 1957-58 they took up a 640 acre desert land entry under the Green River Development ditch north of Big Piney near Muddy Creek.
They have two son: Frank Jr. who owns and operates Bray Trucking, and Gordon and his wife Beth who now own and operate the ranch.
After Blacky died in March of 1961, Gordon and Beth operated the ranch for Helen, then in 1976 they bought the ranch and cattle from their mother.
Gordon and Beth have 2 children, Kathy Quintard
and Gordon Jr, and 2 grandsons, Tucker and Hadley. The Brays still
run a cow, calf operation selling steer calves in the fall. They
use the F slash 5 (F/5) as the ranch brand. Blacky had recorded the
5/F but in 1946, Bill Carr, the local brand inspector, notified him of
a similar brand in Carbon County, Wyoming. The brand was changed
to F/5 and accepted by the state. Gordon Jr. uses the Lazy B Quarter
Circle G recorded for horses and cows on the left ribs. Kathy purchased
the Lazy LY from the Livestock and Sanitary board for her brand.
It is recorded on the right ribs.
The Brays have a family branding usually including Grandma, son, daughter, the grandsons and the Davis family. They rope their calves, drag them to the wood fire and usually the girls, Beth and Wilma, are the branders.
The water rights to their ranch are from North Piney Creek, with some run off from middle Piney through Millers, and run off from the 67 reservoir.
This lady is a true native of Sublette County.
She was born on a ranch in what was Uinta County at the time of her birth.
She grew up in a happy, loving and close-knit family where fun, games and
community togetherness has left her many fond memories and many interesting
stories of the pioneer people and their lives in Sublotte County.
Her early school years were spent in a little one room school house near her home. She did not ride a school bus; she rode a horse or went on a toboggan. At an early age she learned to ski and snowshoe. Her college years were spent in another state. This was the only time she lived outside of Sublette County.
My friend and yours has seen and experienced every phase of ranch life. She was her mother's helper in their home. She was also her father's helper in the fields with their livestock and ranch management. All this has stood her in good stead throughout her lifetime as a fine ranch wife, mother, friend and supportive member and leader in the agricultural, civic and cultural organizations of our county. She has been an active member of the Green River Cowbelles, having served as historian and secretary of this fine organization. She was an active and hard working member of the Community Congregational Church, and was very active in Eastern Star where she served as Worthy Matron and held other offices. She was a Charter Guardian for Jobs Daughters. She was on the Board of Directors of Sublette County Fine Arts Council, a member of the Sublette County Historical Society, Senior Citizens, and Retired Teachers Association.
In 1932 she married a fine young rancher. They lived on the Winkleman place and later on the Sikes place working for Jim Mickelson for many years. In 1950 they bought their own ranch a couple of miles west of Big Piney which has been the Bray Ranch ever since.
Now, you know this lovely friend, neighbor, mother, grandmother, great grandmother, and important resident of Sublette County is Helen Bray.
Helen was born February 25, 1910 on the Webb Ranch. Her father, Clarence Webb, served on the school board for thirty some years. Helen Webb Bray taught school in Sublette County for twenty-seven years. She and her husband, Blacky, as he was fondly known, were the parents of two fine sons. Frank owned and operated Bray Trucking Company at Big Piney. He and his wife, Shirley, have three children, Bartie, Shelly and Barbara. Shelly is married to Mark Milleg.
Gordon and his wife, Beth, have two children, Kathy and Gordon Jr. Kathy and her two boys, Tucker and Hadley, live at Big Piney. They provide entertainment and companionship for Great Grandmother. Gordon Jr is married to Paulette Perry Bray and they are now residing in Casper, Wyoming. Gordon managed the ranch for his mother after his father died. In 1976 Gordon and Beth bought the ranch.
Helen in known affectionately as "Grandma" in the Big Piney community and has set an outstanding example for all to follow.