Early Sublette County Brands Project
George Nichols and Helen Webb Bray
Interviewer - Maicille Carr
 

Maicille: George could you give us some background information about your family, your birthplace, your parents--where they grew up, and where you went to school.  And anything else you can think of.

George: Well my parents--Dad was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut, and he came here when he was two and one half years old.

Maicille: Do you remember what year that was?

George: 1882, Dad was born.

Maicille: And he came here in 1884, then?

George: In December, and Mother was born in Evanston, Wyoming, and she came here up to Piney.  She worked for her sister, Mae, who was married Rollie Mills.   And Mother came up to visit her and then went to work in Daniel for Mrs. Bosey in the hotel.  The Bosey Inn, I guess they called it.

Helen: You mean Bowlsby.

George: No B-o-s-e-y, at Daniel.

Maicille: What was your mother's name?

George: Hopkins, Kathleen, and her and Dad were married on New year's Day, 1911.

Maicille: And then when were you born?  And where?

George: About a half mile out of Big Piney on my Granddad and Grandmother Nichols' ranch right close to where Guios are.  In fact Guios now own that land.  I was born in 1912, March 25.

Maicille: Let me get something straight.  Your grandmother and granddad lived here?

George: They came here in 1884.

Maicille: And they moved here and your dad was born here?

George: No, Dad was born in Bridgeport, Connecticut and then came here.

Maicille: And they settled out there where you were born.  Where did you go to school, and when?

George: My school was kind of catch-as-catch-can.  I started in Big Ptney in 1918.  Then they closed the school for the flu epidemic that fall and then I came back down after Christmas at the first of the year and then partly at the ranch and partly at Big Piney and one year in Alhambra, California.  That was the only full year I had.  Well, one other full year of school I got in grade school and high school was all in Big Piney.

Maicille: Helen, Let's have you tell the same thing about yourself.

Helen: My mother and dad moved here in 1908 from Colorado and I was born on the ranch February 25, l910.  I had a twin brother that was born dead two hours after I was born.

Maicille: Can you locate the ranch for us?

Helen: The ranch is up Horsecreek, and it is owned by Koch now.  And it is about halfway between Daniel and Merna.  It is still known as the Webb Ranch.

Maicille: When did you go to school and where?

Helen: I went to school like George, different places.  I started school in a school away from the ranch and then I went to California with my grandmother for one year.  Then my mother moved to Ogden, Utah for us to go to school for several different years.  I came back and went to high school at Bronx, or it was really on our ranch.

Maicille: Can you remember some of your high school classmates?  Would there be anybody we knew?

Helen: Alice and Helen Pape, Mamie Pape (Uearson), Warren kids (of the Warren Bridge family).

Maicille: So there were quite a few.

Helen: Yes, that was at Bronx.

Maicille: The next questions are about the ranch and your ranching background.  George, how long did your grandparents ranch, or did your parents ranch?

George: Oh yah.

Maicille: Okay, let's start-with your grandparents who ranched and then tell us about your parents who ranched and where the ranches were and so forth.

George: Well, my granddad had the ranch which is part of the Guio Ranch now and Granddad when they first came here grubbed a good part of this Grandma Budd field by hand, according to John Budd.  Granddad had what they called miners' consumption.  He was a copper turner and that was one of the reasons he came here, I suspect.  You see my Great Uncle Wait Nichols was here and he met them, and they had the ranch and they kept the ranch until around 1914, 1 think.

Maicille: Did they homestead it?

George:  They homesteaded it, and they took care of Frank, an old man named Frank Crew  who died of cancer.  Granddad and Grandmother took care of him in his last days, and he willed some land out here and also on Cottonwood to them.  And my granddad gave that on Cottonwood to my dad.  That was a ranch on the Cottonwood, and Grandmother started a store that was called the J. B. Nichols Country Store which was the beginning of Burney's Store, and it was sold, Frank . . .

Maicille: Was it located in the same place?

George: It was located out there to begin with and then she moved it into town which was the old, the front of the old drug store that burned down here many years back.  And she sold it to Frank Fear for Clifton.. Clifton had worked for a storekeeper, so Frank Fear bought it for him . . .

Maicille: Then he changed his mind.

George: Well, he ran it about a year, and then he sold the inventory to Mr. Burney and Mr. Burney ran his store in there, too, until he could get his store built.

Maicille: The one you just showed us the picture of?

George: Uh huh, Maicille, if you have one of these old calendars that the Catholic
Church put out, it had a picture of a wagon, a trail wagon with a short tongue in it.
A few years back young Pete Fear told me that that was one of the wagons
Grandmother sold them when she sold the store, her freight wagons.

Maicille: Helen, how did the Webb Ranch start?  Was it a homestead?

Helen: No, my Dad and Granddad came from Colorado and bought it from Thelma Budd and Andrews.  When they bought the ranch, the people that were neighbors to the Andrews and the Andrews didn't get along, so there was a devil's lane.  They wouldn't have their fences together.  They had this devi1's lane between the two ranches, because they didn't get along.

Maicille: They each had their own fence?

Helen: They each had their own fence, and they bought it in 1908.

Maicille: That's interesting.  Some of the questions will be a little bit different than on this interview form, because you are not on the ranch now.  Let's go to the second question.  What animals did they run?

George: Well, they ran cattle, course what horses they needed.

Maicille: Helen, was that the same with your family?

Helen: Uh huh.

Maicille: Did you ever have sheep?

Helen: No.

Maicille: I can't find very many people who have had sheep.

Helen: Well, sheep was kind of a . . .

George: dirty word . . .

Helen: No, no.

Maicille: And yet they were important to those people who went through that terrible blizzard and lost all their cattle.  The sheep survived.

George: On this place outhere of ours, there's a graveyard.  My grandparents have three children who are buried there.

Maicille: Are your grandparents buried there?

George: No. Three of my dad's brothers are buried there.

Maicille: And that's that little cemetery in the Guio field.  It is fenced and we've been going to . . .

George: The Angus baby is buried there and Thelma Vickrey's Aunt and Frank Crew and a man by the name of Calhoun, according to Jimmy Jensen who told me.

Maicille: Have you ever been over to the cemetery?

George: Oh yah, I've been, but the markers are gone.  The only marker you can find is the Angus baby.  The fence broke down, and the cattle tromped over it.  I've often wanted to go out and probe and see if I can find some markers but I do have the dates of the Nichols children that were buried.  When they died they were just all babies.

Maicille: Well, Sandy was telling us.  We were just talking about that little cemetery the other day and she said that it is fenced.

George: Yah, it is.  You see I was on the cemetery board when we fenced it.

Maicille: We were looking for it the day we had gone out and over to Mervin's old place out north of the Bray ranch.  And when we were out there that day, we looked for that fence, but we couldn't find it.

Okay, Helen, I think I was going to ask you--but I think we've already answered the question about how you came to have the ranch.  Okay, why don't you tell us about the brands that they used on the two ranches.  We'll start with you, George.

George: Well, Granddad used a YD.

Maicille: Tell us about the other one though that we talked about earlier.

George: The WN.  That was Dad's brand and he used that originally, I suppose.  However, he never, as I said there were-only two of our animals with that brand and one of those was mine.

Maicille: And what were they?

George: WN horse that my granddad gave me, when the horse and I both were a year old.  And then a cow that Frank Sall gave to my folks for a wedding present had a WN on it.  And all our other stock had YD which Granddad originated, I'm sure.

Maicille: Do you know if there was any particular reason for him choosing the brand he chose?

George: No, I've never been able to connect it with anything.  I never heard Dad say.

Maicille: Sometimes it's kind of fun to see if you can trace them, the origin.

George: I'm fairly certain that Granddad originated that brand.

Maicille: And Helen, how about your family brand?

Helen: My dad's brand for the cattle was a Pick and they were branded on the hip and on the ribs.

Maicille: When you say the hip and the ribs, was it either/or?

Helen: Both.

Maicille: They had two brands?

Helen: No. They had the Pick on the ribs and on the hip.

Maicille: Okay, so they were actually branded twice.

Helen: And the horse brand was an XH with the X and the H joined like that (drawing it) and it was on the shoulder of the horses.

Maicille: Do you remember whether it was left or right side?

Helen: Both of them were left.  And I'm sure that my dad drew them and sent in the brand to the Brand Commission.

Maicille: None of the three brands that we've tallked about are still being used,
is that right? that you know of?

George: Uh, that YD I'm pretty sure is still on record.  The last I knew of it, young Billy Budd had it.  I tried to get it for Spencer and Mrs. Budd had it, Leta Budd, for milk cows.  It simmered down.  Elmer Nutting bought it from Dad.  I don't know how Mrs. Budd got it, but then she gave it, I guess, to young Billy.  I asked Old Bill about it when I wanted to get it for Spencer and Bill said that little Bill, young Bill, had it recorded in his name.  Now whether he has any stock with it on, I don't know.  I rather doubt if he does, but he still, course that's been twenty years ago or so that I asked him but it may not be recorded now.  However I would not be surprised but what he's kept it.

Maicille: Now we're not going to get a chance to talk to Spencer, I don't think, because we're going to run out of time. . .

George: But it wasn't Spencer . . .

Maicille: Does Spencer have a brand?

George: Yah.

Maicille: That he uses on horses, right?

George: No. He had it for a 4-H or some project.  He had a cow and a calf and he used the brand on them and had it recorded.

Maicille: Do you remember what it was?

George: Yah.  It was an SN connected, but he and I worked it out and remarkably enough we sent it in and they accepted it and recorded it, but he didn't keep it.

Maicille: So they don't have horses?

George: They have horses but they haven't branded them.  Spencer had two up until a year or so ago when one died.

Maicille: Okay, so that is interesting to find there are some horses that do not have their owner's brand on them.  They probably have someone's brand on them.  They have a document to show, but not their own brand.

George: I don't know.  I think that old Morgan from Buss Fear --- well, there's two of them.  I think they got Nick's from Buss.  But anyhow they have two.  Nick and Will each have a saddle horse.

Maicille: T think I am going to have to get a pencil here.  Well, let's back up.  Do you know of any other brands that were used on those two particular ranches?  George, we'll start with you.

George: No, I don't.

Maicille: How about you, Helen?

Helen: I don't know if--James's did not use the Pick but I don't know what they
used.

Maicille: And as far as you know, the Pick is no longer used.  From what streams did they irrigate?  It would have been . . .

George: Well, Granddad irrigated out of North Piney, but Dad irrigated out of Little Cottonwood and South Cottonwood, both.

Maicille: I don't know whether this is a particularly important question, the last one here is who are your neighbors and what were their brands?  What we are trying to do is to locate all the ranches along a stream.  You've talked about your neighbors.

Helen: I don't know about Dan, Maicille, but Austin Richardson was our nearest neighbor and his brand is C Bar N.

George: Same as Jimmy Mickelson's?  C Bar N?

Helen: Jimmy Mickelson's got it now.

George: Was it put on the same way?

Maicille: Do you know how he got it?

Helen: No.

Maicille: You don't know.  Now we are going to start part four and the question is "What were the brands and how did you say it and would you write it and where were they on the animals?" And, George, I'll start with yours.  Would you draw it, and would you write its name.  I'm getting lessons on how to read brands.

George: I don't know how you would write the brand.  The other brand was YD.

Maicille: And you called that YD connected?

George: Yeah.  It was YD Bar, Dad's.  Bar YD was how we read it.

Maicille: That's the way the Brand book had it.  You read it from the top and from left to right.  And then this one was just ...And do you know how they put that brand on?  Did they have a stamp?  Or did they use use . . .

George: We had a stamp for this, but I never saw the WN put on so I think Dad just put that on with a running iron.

Maicille: So let's put that this was a stamp brand and this was a running brand.  Now a month ago I couldn't have even talked like this.  Okay, and Helen, yours was . . .

Helen: A Pick.

Maicille: I'm going to let you draw that one.  And that was obviously a stamp.

Helen: With the iron.

Maicille: Do you know if there are any of those irons left around?

Helen: No, I don't.  I expect my brother might have some.  Do you want the horse brand?

Maicille: We want everything you can remember.

Helen: The horse brand was XH.

Maicille: And did they say H X connected?

Helen: Just X H.

Maicille: And the Pick was on the left shoulder?

Helen: No, on the left ribs and left hip.

George: There's some others, but I can't think of them right now.

Maicille: Now, Helen, we talked about the C Bar N. Draw that one for me.

Helen: Maybe I better check on that.

Maicille: Now, this was Richardson's brand?  Austins?

George: Later Jimmy Jensen used the X Bar.

Helen: Austin might have drawn it differently.

George: Scheidler had the HL . Tom O'Neil had that Seven H L and they said
there was a conflict there, so that's why.

Maicille: Scheidler never could record it.

George: I did not, but I can't remember.  But I'll tell you where you can find it--in an old Big Piney Examiner.

Helen: I remember now, what Austin's was--N Bar 4, instead of C Bar N.

George: That WN of Dad's was on the left side on the horses on the shoulder and
on the ribs of the cows.  The YD was on the right.

Helen: Most brands were on the left.

Maicille: Holly tells me that left side brands are very valuable because they are mostly all taken.  People cannot find another left side brand.

George: Do you know why the left side was chosen for the brand?  Most of the ropers were right-handed and roped the calf by the right foot, right hind foot.  You throw them and the left side is up.  With the YD brand you had to turn the calf over, unless you had a left-handed roper.

Maicille: Now the YD was on the right side?

George: Right thigh for both cows and horses.

Maicille: I like it when we talk slow on these tapes because they are a lot easier to type.  Okay, and then the WN was on the left side.

George: On the left shoulder of horses and)left side of cows.

Maicille: One of the questions is "Where did you get the brand?" We have talked about that.  Do you know the origin of yours, Helen?

Helen: I think my Dad probably sent it in.

Maicille: You think he thought of it and registered it.  Helen: And the XH, too.  So they probably originated in this valley.  And so it was probably first registered in 1910.  Where did you get your branding iron and I don't know that that applies?

Helen: I know where Dad got his--from Tony Subic.

George: My dad did too.  Or later, I don't know whether Tony was here for the oringinal one.  I don't know where Granddad got his.  Probably somebody that worked for him.

Helen: They did a lot of running of brands, to.  Just a straight iron.

George: They used wagon rods a lot.  Do you know what a wagon rod is?

Maicille: Well, not really.

George: Well, it's a rod that goes through when they put the end-gate in, drop it in.  It went through a slot and it had a ring on the end so you could put something in and thread it through the other side, and it held the sides of the wagon together.  And they used that ring on the end as a running iron for branding.

Maicille: They were actually using a ring but they ran it like a pen?

George: Well, I wouldn't say it was like a ring but it was a loop that they made in the end of that rod, and they would draw the brand with it.

Maicille: Did you ever watch them use that kind of branding iron?

George: Oh, yes.

Maicille: Could you put a whole brand on the animal before the iron cooled off?

George: Well, it depended on the brand.

Helen: They had two or three irons.

Maicille: They had two or three irons, then?

George: It depended on the brand, how long it took.

Maicille: Some of the brands are really long and complicated.

George: Oh, yes.  There were some brands that covered about all--they called them the map of the United States, that Churndash Brand, it covered the whole side of a cow.  That was Olsons.  I don't know whether Merrill Rees uses that Churndash or not.

Maicille: I don't know either.  Jonita interviewed him the other night, but he said he could do a better interview so he wouldn't let her use the information she got. 5o we are going to have to do that one again.  And Pete Olsen talked about the Churndash, too.

One of the questions on the questionaire is "Has the brand been good?" And I don't know whether that is a good question for us today.  Some of the answers I have been getting are that they are good if they are easy to read, or if they don't grow hair over them, or if they are big.

Helen: They were simpler years ago than they are now.

George: I think that is one reason your dad used that Pick brand on the side because it doesn't hair over and in the winter you could read that brand.  And another thing in a herd of cattle if you were riding through, the hip brand is a lot easier to see than a side brand if it's high enough.

Maicille: Holly said she has trouble with shoulder brands.

George: Oh, I imagine because you have the motion of the animal and they are down, too.

Helen: Well, people did not use to brand on the shoulder, very much that is, that I remember.

Maicille: Usually there were rib brands.

George: Well, there were quite a few shoulder brands, horse brands, not cow brands.  I never knew of a shoulder for a cow brand, but a good share of the horses were shoulder brands.

Maicille: Okay, we have a couple of questions that probably don't apply.  Is there a plan to keep the brand in the family?  Probably not.  Why was the brand designed or chosen or purchased?  We are not sure but probably because . . . The WN was an initial.  Then my next question "If the brand is inactive, why do you keep the brand?" So I would like to change that question.  "Do you know anybody who has an inactive brand?"

George: If Billy doesn't have any cattle, but I am not sure that he keeps it registered.  They would have to . . . Thelma might know or she could find out, anyhow.

Maicille: And he was what, again?

George: The YD.

Maicille: One of the things we are trying to establish in our research is why people keep brands and not use them.

George: Well, Paul Scherbel has one.  And I think it's still registered.  But he did have a cow or two when the kids were little.

Maicille: And that may be why he had it.  See, my dad had milk cows, but we never did have a brand that I am aware of.  He just bought them from somebody and had a bill of sale.  According to Holly, a bill of sale is as good as a brand unless the cow happens to get back in the herd where it belonged originally, and then you have a problem.
Okay, let's go to the branding now.  George, I'll start with you.  What can you remember about the brandings in the early days that you went to.

George: All of the neighbors within four or five miles participated.  The first person I can remember on the Bentley place was George Bentley-.  The old man Booker, Fred Dreier, Frank Johnson, that would have been George's dad, Harry Snell Johnson.

Maicille: Is Frank Johnson the Johnsons who lived on Middle Piney?

George: No, they lived on Cottonwood.  Frank Johnson was Snell Johnson's son.  Do you remember Tuffy Johnson?

Maicille: Uh huh.

George: His dad and Frank Johnson were brothers.  Fleming, Jim Fleming, George
Wilson at one time, Ludwig Lindback.

Maicille: That's quite a few.  And then your family would go and help them brand
when it was their turn.  And that was pretty much the pattern.

George: Oh, it was all over.  This was in the thirties, there were bout five or six that all went together to brand.

Maicille: Did your dad and granddad live on Cottonwood about the same time?

George: Yah.  We were up there before and after.  I went to school with your Aunt Alice.  Dad and your dad, Hinckles and Jess Stull.  He married Blanche Daniels.  He is Cliff Daniels' uncle.  And they all went together and built a schoolhouse on Charley Budd's land and then later moved over to the Winkleman place.  And I think that old building where Evylene taught was probably that old schoolhouse that was moved up to the ranch.

Helen: It was the old bunkhouse or chicken house.

George: I imagine it was moved up there but it is gone many years.  We only went one year.  Mrs. Murdock's niece taught there that summer and then the Hinckles left and your folks left so there was the Hereford girls and Margaret and I and we had Mrs. Lynn.  Mrs. Lynn moved down there with three girls.  And we boarded the Gill girls and the Johnson girls went to school.

Maicille: We are digressing a little bit but George was telling me yesterday
about the Winkleman house and that the door.  The Winkleman house was his family home and that there was a door . . .

George: Well, Helen remembers it.  It was a door with a frosted glass.

Helen: Well, it wasn't in the kitchen.  It was in the living room.  So people
didn't use it very much.

George: As long as I remember, we didn't use it.  It was an outside door.  And as far as I know it was there when Tatro was there.  It is still in good shape.

Maicille: That's a good side story.  But let's get back to the branding.  Can you remember--could you describe a typical branding day?  What happened from early morning until late at night?

George: Wel I . . .

Maicille: Where were the cattle?  Were they out on the range?

George: Mostly they were in the field.  But everybody came on saddle horses and they rounded the cattle up.

Maicille: But they were pretty well separated by owners already?

George: Well, you would go to each owner's place.  It was . . .

Maicille: It wasn't like a roundup?  That was earlier.

George: No. They just branded whai calves there were.  They cut out if there was any dry stuff or steers, they were left out.  And it was left that you just had cows and calves.  And if you belonged to the Roundup Association, a lot of your cattle were branded on the range as that was part of the cowboy job when they ran wagons.

Maicille: How did people decide whether or not they wanted to belong to the Roundup Association?

George: Well, if they ran the cattle out on the range, and on the forest, they almost had to belong to the Roundup Association.

Maicille: But not everyone did run their cattle on the forest?

George: No, Dad didn't because we didn't have that many cattle and we had enough range where we were.  Well, we use some of what they call BLM or now State land that wasn't fenced to turn our cattle out, but we herded them ourselves and kept track of them.

Maicille: So it was a matter of whether you need the Forest range land?

George: That's right, if you needed a Forest permit.  And then a range permit as well.

Maicille: We did find an early Forest permit for 1909.

George: Well, you know, it is ironic, the Forest Service had to fight the ranchers to get them to use the forest to begin with.  And then later on there was a fight to get permits on the forest.  But originally in this country, back when my granddad first came here, and when the early settlers came here, they didn't feed cattle.  They ran them out on the desert in the winter.

Maicille: How many people do you think would be around for this typical branding?
Let's say your place.

George: Oh, I'd say there were probably eight to ten men.  And then the women and
children.  The women would come and bring food and help.

Maicille: And how long would the branding take?  Was it an all day job?  Or did they stop and eat and then go back and brand?

George: Well, on the smaller ranches it would probably take three or four hours, actual branding.  But by the time they rounded up, probably six hours.

Maicille: So then the afternoon would be free to eat and visit?

George: That's right.

Maicille: Can you think of any things that they did together other than eat and visit?  Did they have dances?  But they were probably too tired.

George: Not in connection with the branding.  However, they had dances every winter, probably once a month at someone's house but not in connection with the branding.

Maicille: Probably when they all got together there were about thirty or forty people.  Would they eat outside?

George: No, indoors.  They had...

Maicille: Was it buffet or did they sit down to the table?

Helen: Just sat down to the table, with a tablecloth.

Maicille: And everybody tried to make branding dinner really special because
you only did it once a year.   Can you remember about branding at your place, Helen?

Helen: Yes.  Very similar to that George told.  They gathered the cattle about the field and all the neighbors came.  And my mother always cooked the whole dinner.  And the neighbors just came.  Everybody came--women and children, too.  And the ones that were big enough to ride horses held up the herd, because they roped, they didn't have chutes.  They roped and drug them to the fire where they were branded.  And it took all day at our house.  Our neighbors were Richardsons, Cloytes, Thompsons, Wilhelms, and I can't remember the rest of them.

Matcille - George, Helen

George: Maicille, I can remember when I was on the ranch and I'm sure it was more so when Granddad and Grandmother came here.  You didn't run down if you needed somebody to help build a bridge or build a barn, or whatever you need, you didn't hire someone.  You went to the neighbors and got your neighbors to help and it was a good way.  And it's too bad.  I get perturbed at people, and Helen is one of them I get mad at because I go over there and do something for her and she wants to pay me for it.  And my theory is that if you help the other person when you need help they will help you.

Maicille: And it worked pretty well.

George: Well, it worked real well.

Helen: Yes, even building fences and everything.

George: It was a good way.  And you think back and you say, well those people
really had guts and those people really had it tough.  And they didn't think that way.  And we wouldn't either if we hadn't had the things we have today.  You accepted the things and they were just as a matter of course.

Maicille: And they probably had a lot better friendships.

George: Oh, I'm sure they had better relationships in the communities than we have today.  I heard it pretty aptly said, "We are so busy making money so we can buy the things we can't afford, we haven't time to use them."

Maicille: That is pretty apt.  What was the children's part in the branding?  Did they just have a good time that day?

Helen: Uh huh.

Maicille: That was just a good time for them to get together and play.  And then can you remember how they grew up into the branding work itself?  Just one day they went and were helping throw calves or did it until they got tired?

George: Well, the boys I think went at it earlier.  Back then as soon as a kid could walk, he began to ride a horse.  And they helped.  There were a lot of young kids that were better cowboys than the ones that claim to be cowboys today, because they had to.  I can remember Jimmy Mickelson just raised cane with Polly and Gordon Mickelson out there and they weren't hardly big enough to set on a horse.

Helen: Another thing, too.  I can remember when I was small, girls were not allowed to be around the campfire and the branding fire.  The boys were but the girls weren't.  They had to hold the herd and be away from the fire.

Maicille: Can you remember what a typical menu for the day might have been-probably something like Thanksgiving.

Helen: My mother always fixed especially roast beef, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, salad.  And we always had homemade ice cream.

Maicille: Always had ice cream?

Helen: Always, for branding.

George: Ours was very similar except for the ice cream.  If it was in the summer,
Cottonwood did not produce enough ice to put up ice, so we depended upon snow or ice to make ice cream.  We had lots of ice cream but it had to be when we had snow or ice on the creeks.

Helen: We had nice ice that we put'up-ice in the wintertime and had it for later on.

Maicille: Helen, why don't we talk about branding at the Winkleman place?  How has it changed from when you were a kid?

Helen: Very little change.

Maicille: Now, you were to get the dinner and who came to the brandings then?

Helen: All of the neighbors.  Jimmy Mickelson alwyas brought a crew of men, not too many of the women.  There weren't too many women who lived at Cottonwood.  But Jimmy would bring all of his men.  Dinners were the same.  I don't remember making ice cream all of the time.  But about the same otherwise.

Maicille: You tried to make it special and it was a lot of work to get it ready?

Helen: And there weren't so many children because it was more on the school days, during the week rather than on the weekend.

Maicille: Now, when you lived at Cottonwood, did you run cattle of your own?

Helen: Yes.  Our brand was S Slash Five, the same as it is now. (They draw the brand)

Maicille: That is the S Slash Five brand, then.  Now is anyone running this brand now?  You still run cattle and Gordon is using this brand?

Helen: Yes.

Maicille: Gordon has a different brand registered.  Does he use it, too?

Helen: No.

Maicille: The one I remember is the reverse F.

Helen: That's Frank's.  Gordon's is a GB.

Maicille: Maybe we should go back and ask the question that was asked earlier.  Was there a plan for keeping the brand in the family?

Helen: Just to keep it, I guess.

Maicille: You don't know what will happen to it when Gordon quits ranching?

Helen: Oh, I'm sure they will.....

Maicille: Probably Gordie will use it, or some of the other grandchildren?

Helen: Gordie has a brand.  I don't know what it is.

Maicille: But you don't have a specific plan.  Some of the families do.  They have a plan.  It must be sort of like a will as to what will happen to the brand.

Helen: They may have.

George: Kind of like a Coat of Arms.

Maicille: Now we are down to the good part.  Can you remember any good stories about brands or branding?  George, you must have some good ones.

George: The only one I remember is about Walter Ball.

Maicille: Well, tell us about it.

George: He was always kidding us and said if a cow gets on the fight, don't run from her, you will spoil her.  So we were branding down in Gus Larson's and Walter was vaccinating and we had had a cow there that had gotten on the fight.  But Walter hadn't noticed her and so Walter was bent over and here come that old cow and she hit him in the rear end'and it knocked him half way across the gravel.  And he got up and this old gal was still after him.  And someone yelled out,"Walter, don't run, you'll spoil her." And he said, "She's already spoiled!"

Maicille: Helen, can you remember any?

Helen: No.