Early Sublette County Brands Project
Joe Chrisman

This is a personal history written for Mary Fear by Joe Chrisman in 1984.  Joe died on August 17, 1989, just short of his 73rd birthday.  We regret that Joe could not be with us to celebrate this project.  He was a real cowboy.

Hi, Mary,
  I don't know what you need or want so I'll try and tell it like it was as short as I can.
   I was born the 3rd of five children at the ranch where the John Chrismans live.  The day was Sept. 14, 1916.  Parents were Chester F. Chrisman, and Edna Black McClain.  Grandparents were Bill Chrisman of Green River and Joe Black of Missouri and points west.  Both parents were born in Wyoming.  Grandfather Black had a small ranch west of Big Piney which is now part of the Miller outfit.  He was active in politics in a small way.  He was a County Commissioner when Lincoln and Sublette were all in Uinta County.  He also served in the state legislature.
   We moved to North Piney where the old Mason Post Office was.  All that is still there is the old house.
   It was at the old Charlie Ott place where I started to school.  We had the whole sum of four students - two sisters, May Ott and myself.  During that time we had four teachers that lived with the family.  Only two of the teachers married and stayed in the area. Mrs. J.F. Michelson was the first.  He maiden name was Stuart.  Capitola Auss was my first and only teacher at Mason.  She later married Doctor Looney and was Mrs. Clifton Fear when she passed away.
   I was going on eight years old when we moved from North Piney to Hams Fork on the old home place of the Jim Chrisman family.
   We had a family school there but later moved it to Opal.  It was at Opal that I first went to a public school.  Later we moved to Kemmerer and it was there I dropped out in my junior year.
    I started working on ranches in the Opal area.  They were summer jobs mostly for Chester V. Chrisman, a cousin of Dad's.
   After I dropped out of school I went to Pinedale where my mother and little brother were living.  I started on ranches there.
   In a span of seven years I worked at a lot of places.  I stacked for Mrs. Kelly and worked at the Sommers place when Carl and Martha Hittle were there.  I wrangled horses for Rex Wardell on the Green River and packed horses for Stan Decker at the Green River Lakes.  I worked for Wm Todd.  I went to Idaho and Oregon where I chopped hay and topped beets.  Didn't like that but the pay wasn't bad for those times.  Came back and worked some for the Chrismans on Hams Fork.  Came back to Piney and worked for Art Homer.  I was at the Gene Noble place when Mrs. Noble and her brother, Joe Pence, passed away.  I worked for young Joe who was the heir until the army got me.
   I left Pinedale in November of 1941.  Was sent to the 3rd Armoured Division and was with them when we shipped overseas.  Spent a winter in England with the rain and nightcrawlers.  Went to Omaha Beach in Normandy in July, got hit outside Stalburg, Germany Sept 18, 1944 and shipped home from England.  Was sent to De Witte General.  It was there I received my medical discharge.
   I came back to Big Piney and went to work for Buss Fear.  I worked 13 summers for the Big Piney Roundup Association and was with it until they split it up.  Worked for Fear Ranches, Inc., for 37 winters.  In 1983 I kind of went on my own as a contract cowboy.  I like it but I never find enough to do to make ends meet.
   During this period I was Past Commander of the Piney and LaBarge Post.  They later split and I don't know if either post still has a charter.  Ross Meeks, Buss Fear, Edward Carr, Jr. Fear, Bob O'Neil and myself started the Sublette County Roping Club.  Anyway, we were the first officers.  I was a member for 20 years.  I rodeoed some (never too good) and played a little at showing horses at the County Fair.
   I was past 50 years old when I was married my first time.  It was a short marriage.  I married my present wife Jan. 30, 1978.  We were married in the V.F.W. in Pinedale.  I'm still a V.F.W. member.  Velma and I live in Marbleton where we are trying to make us a home.  That's all.