Early Sublette County Brands Project
Melvin Gurney "Swede"

     Today is January 20, 1991, and I am Mary Gurney Fear.  I am going to visit with my father, Melvin Gurney known to most people in this area as 'Swede."  I am going to visit with hin about his life in Sublette County and his brand the Bar K Lazy V.

     Swede was born June 1, 1915 (he said June 15) at the Frank Steele Ranch that Harry Steele now owns. It was formerly owned by Denson and then his father, Walter Gurney. His parents were Walter Gurney and Hazel Gurney.

    "I went to school in Pinedale, I don't know how many years, and then went to school at the Summers' place for a couple years and finished the 8th grade at Big Piney.  I went a half year at Cora and lived with my sister and her husband.

 First job I guess was at Jenkins on the Bar Cross Ranch.  I hayed, then drug meadows and other stuff, fenced and just everything in about 1929.   I worked part of the next haying there then I left and went down and hayed for Carroll Noble.  That winter I fed cows for Roy Mathis at the old Westfall place.  I went back and worked steady for Carroll Noble then until 1945."

     This in how Swede got started in the cattle business:
     " I bought my first cattle fron Carroll Noble for $10 a head, bought 10 head of heifers."
     He was working for Carroll when he got married, which was November 9, 1936, and he married Annie Binning.  Price of cattle at that time--"Cattle were bringing about a nickle, I think, somewhere in there for steers."  He lived and worked at Noble's and ran cattle of his own.

     "Left there in the fall of 1945 and moved to Pinedale and went to work for John Bloom.  The John Bloom ranch was what is known today as the Redstone Subdivision in Pinedale."

 What about cattle?  "Moved them down there and pastured them the first year at the Mike Steele rauch and then sold them that fall.  They were all black angus."

     "After that went back into the cattle business.  John Bloom said I could run a few, so I bought a few hereford heifers.  Kept the cattle until I moved from ranch and moved into Pinedale.  Sold cattle the same fall, 1969."   When he moved into town he gave his grandchildren a couple head of heifers.  They are Jay Fear and Mandy Fear Norris.

      How did you get your brand?  "Sent in 3 or 4 different brands and this is what they sent me.  Bar K lazy V.  Had brand since about 1932 when first purchased heifers.  The brand is put on the left hip of cattle."  Ear mark?  "Split in right ear.  Used ear tags instead of using ear mark.  I gave my brand to grandson, Jay T. Fear, and had it transfered July 18. 1979.

     I bought some branding irons and made some ourselves.  Bill Bloom helped make the last ones.  First branding irons were made by Charlie Wiederanders.  He had the blacksmith shop in Pinedale.  He made a lot of the branding irons for ranchers around there.  At that time a lot of people had them made instead of making them themselves.  Branding isn't much different now than it was.  Neighbors came in and helped brand.

     While on the ranches at Cora, the water came out of New Fork Lake for irrigating.  At Pinedale the water came from Fremont Lake through Pine Creek.

     At Cora, Jenkins used the Bar Cross as long as I can remember.  Carroll Noble used the L V L V.  John Bloom used the Double N.  When Bill Bloom took over the ranch and John retired, Bill continued to use the Double N.

     Since retired, I work in my shop building things-wagons, teams, sleds & sleds with teams, bird houses, bird feeders.  You build lots of sleds and teams like you used to use back when you fed loose hay.  I wish I could paint without making a mess of it."