Early Sublette County Brands Project
The Gilligan Ranch
 Patsy Gilligan Smyth interviewed by Jonita Sommers

Dear Jonita,
     First off, let me commend you for your interest in this area of Boulder.  To my knowledge, not much has been written about it.  Most of what I have read is about the people and places that lie closer to the city of Boulder, itself.
Sorry that I don't have much to contribute myself.  All I know for sure is that the Gilligans came early and haven't left yet!
     I know they came via  wagon from Green River for many years and in my youth we still had a buckboard that Dr. G. used to make sick calls with while here.  One summer when my father was 12, they made a trip through Yellowstone with the wagon and a team of horses.  That was quite an adventure.
     Am not sure who built the log house we live in, but Bill Hutton from Green River said it was constructed when he came here to work for Doc in 1896.  My folks had it added onto in the early 30's and modernized, but it still remains a wonderful model of log work...the nicest I have seen.
     The barn is a grand log structure, too. and I believe the largest in the country.  I see they are featuring it in a pamphlet on Sublette County Historical Buildings, which I came upon by chance at the courthouse.  The barn was the scene of night-long dances in those far away days, and I would guess that George Madsen played the fiddle for them.  Maybe there were other talented people around also.
     The main road to and from Boulder came straight down the lane by our house and through the river, up the draw to the desert and over to Boulder.  This I was told.  I don't remember it that way myself.
     Many of the ranches here are owned by the same families, more or less, that had them in the beginning.  Janet Tibbals was my main source of information on many events of the past and I miss her because she had a good memory for such things and would have a detailed answer for any query I would ask for.  My mother was always more interested in the present and what was going on today.  Daddy would have been the one to recall it all.
     Since I went to school in Salt Lake and lived with my maternal grandmother all the years before I was married, I missed many of the events that took place in my younger days.  As I told your grandmother, I wish I had more information to give you, but I really don't.  She is the one who told me that there was an East Fork Cattle Association.  I don't remember that, but maybe we were in the sheep business then.  I do remember when I was very young that we had cattle and there was a very anxious discussion abut whether we  were going to be able to trap the wolf that was living on the butte who had killed some calves.  We had a wolf rug and a bear rug on the living room floor in those days, so I knew what a wolf looked like and was very fearful.
     Growing up we were at first able to obtain light with a kerosene lamp until my folks had the first Delco system on the flat installed.  The batteries that ran it were housed in the barn at first, and later brought to the cellar of the house.  It was there that lightning came down and struck them in the 40's and knocked them out of commission.  Lucky for us it stopped the flow down in the cellar.  Prior to that episode Linc Banes's house had been struck not once but twice.
     Since then people have electric appliances none of which were around when I was young.  There were no refridgerators, dishwashers, vacuums or powered machines.  In fact I never saw a tractor work here until the 40's.  It was all very much horse powered machinery.
     There was no asphalt highway running over here from the main highway, nor did the state fence the road to keep stock off it.  Very often when we passed stock in the lane they would panic and dash into the existing fence.  They had not been exposed to much civilization nor mechanization.
     For some reason I can't find the bill from the Vible Store that I know we have, but I noted in the Artists Guild Book that the Vible Store records show that Peter Ivan, who was here on the ranch, started to charge groceries at the store in 1891 and thereafter until 1895 when records show Gilligan-Ivan were charging supplies.  This same book, "More Tales of the Seeds-Ke-Dee," contains a story of the Gilligans written by Dorothy Sargent.
     I remember the Bybees and the Edwards who ran the Boulder store.  They were both families who were friends of my folks and I do remember a very funny story about my folks and the Edwards.  They used to play bridge together and at one such social evening it was decided they would enter into a joint venture to make some dandelion wine.  My folks had plenty of dandelions and since it was during the war years, Ed supplied the sugar.  Things were coming along nicely and my mother had it fermenting in a crock in the pantry.  Meanwhile, my folks had obtained a baby badger whose mother had been killed by a car out on the highway coming from Rock Springs.  They were nursing it along and it was getting quite big and frisky....in fact so adventurous that the little fellow got into the pantry and fell into the crock of would-be wine.  Well, my mother declared she would have to throw it out, but my father said, "No way!"  Next time the Edwards came over for a game of bridge, my father told Ed the wine was ready and asked if he would like to sample it.  Indeed he did want to sample it and sample he did, and declared it was the best damn wine he ever tasted.  Needless to say, my folks both said they never did much care for wine and insisted Ed take it all.
     Mr. Googer had the Boulder Post Office inside the Boulder store in those days, and in the beginning I thought he was a most serious, unfriendly man but later on I found that was only an early impression.  He proved to be a very friendly person.
     The state historical society is interested in ranches that have been in the same family for 100 years and we're trying to hang in there.
                                                                                        Sincerely,
                                                                                        Patsy Gilligan Smyth