Early Sublette County Brands Project
Marshall Gurney
 
 
 

     Today is January 21, 1991, my name is Mary Fear and I am going to interview Marshall Gurney.  We are at Marshall's home in Pinedale, Wyoming.

     When were you born?  Born the 6th of April, some one asked the hour, that I don't know, in 1911.  Born at Norse Creek, Wyoming, north east of Cheyenne.  I was three years old when I came to this county, Benson Place, northwest of Pinedale.  Folks bought Benson Ranch at that time.

     Schooling?  Little old log school house a mile or mile and a fourth straight across from the Benson ranch, east.  Went to school in Pinedale up to the 7th grade-through 6th grade.  Two years at Sommers place-7th and 8th grades.  Teacher was Bennie Lozier.  From there, came back to Pinedale to finish the 9th grade.  Dad moved to the 67 ranch and worked for Perry Jenkins down there and finished high school in 1929.

     Started working for Bud Sommers or his dad "Prof" Sommers and then the 67 for Jenkins and during the summer went to the Bar Cross.  After I got out of high school in 1929 went to work at the Bar Cross and that was in Cora.  Worked last three years in high school and went back after I graduated.  I worked until the first of February, 1930, up there.  They didn't need me anymore so Carroll Noble was needing some help so I went to work down there.  That was when Patty (Pearson) was just a little tiny baby.  She was born, I think, in December.

     Was there about three years then moved down to Fred Beck's for a while.  I just worked for him for wages, then after that we went in together.  He decided we would just half up the cattle.

     So you stayed there until about 1945?
     He sold the place later--about a year later, I believe it was.  Buss could probably remember that.
 

      When you were there at Fred's, you used the EF Brand.  Was the brand sold with the cattle?
     1 got that brand when I was at Carroll Noble's.  I applied for the brand.  I figured that out and sent it in and they gave it to me.  The first ranch of my own was the Shideler Place just west of Big Piney in 1947.  Was there for four years, until 1952.
 

     What streams did you irrigate out of?
     It was mostly waste water from the Kvenild Reservoir.
 
 

     Who were your neighbors?
     Kvenild--he was the closest. and Mrs. Osterhout.  Osterhouts used the Double F brand.  Kvenild--that was just the Bar Cross.  It was still into one outfit.

     Was E F  the brand that you and Fred Beck used?  PL Bar was one that Fred used, too.  Just a minute, when we went into partners, I think we just used the PL.  The YD Slash brand is the one that I bought from Shideler when I bought the place where Gordon and Beth Bray live now.

     What ear mark was used with the E F Brand?
     It was an under bit in both ears, I believe.  No waddle or dulap.  Used that brand when I was with Fred Beck and I sent away for that brand and got it from the State of Wyoming. Black Smith In Big Piney by the name of Tony Subic made my branding irom.  EF brand was a real good brand and sold it to Buss Fear in 1946 when I sold the cattle.  Good brand and never blotched and so easy to put on.

     Y D Slash was bought with the cattle, had an under bit in the right ear.  No waddle or dulap. The Fred Beck brand had a waddle-the P L Bar brand.  Y D Slash I got the branding irons from Shideler--kept that brand until I moved to Pinedale.  Didn't have any use for them.  Turned it in, thought somebody might want it.
 

     Branding the calves started last part of April and most of them in May.  John & Henry Budd helped at Fred's and a bunch of people down there, Mr.Moffat and us all got together and branded and than you would go help the others.  All got together.

     Got them in early in the mornings then always had a big dinner at the upper ranch.  Everybody went, women all went, had a big dinner and big party.

     Most of the time I de-horned. That was a hard job.  Branding procedures have changed over the years.  Quite a lot faster, they have propane heaters now, it goes a lot faster.  Then we just used wood fires--took longer to heat irons.
 

     We were over to John Budd's one time and Ned Davison boys were working there and when they got the cattle in they had missed some of them.  John was there, out with them.  He told them to go got their horses and get the cows in.  They went out and got their horses and had one kind of skittish horse.  John went over there and was spouting off.  George told him, he said, "Shut your damn mouth and get out of here."  I'll never forget that.  That's talking pretty rough to your boss, isn't it?  (Guess if you can get by with it-- sometimes the boss needs put in his place.)
 
 

     We used to drive the beef to the railroad.  I made several trips to the railroad.  Well, we used to always go with John and Henry Budd and sometimes Moffat.  Moffat, I guess, until he sold out.  Just the four outfits and still was a lot of cattle.  John Budd had the largest bunch.  Henry had a small bunch.  Fred had a few more than Henry.  Mr. Moffat didn't have many.

     It took 6 days to got there, let's see, 1-2-3-4-5-6.  Put them in the yard the 6th day.  Probably had about between 4 and 500, just somewhere in that neighborhood.  So many from each outfit would take them down.

     One time we went down and stopped at Charlie Noble's and the boy was there, you know, that married Ruby Hayter, and so he took us to town that night.  And of course we had a party.  Went home and somebody decided we ought to swipe some chickens.  I'm not going to tell you who from.  We took them over and roasted some of them right there in the stove at the bunk house.  Then we dressed them all out and took them in and Ruby cooked them for breakfast.

     We got kind of a late start and we all had kind of a hangover.  So we went out the next morning.  Joe usually counted, he or I one.  He counted and came, I think, with 16 head short, and didn't know what to do.  He asked me to go up and count them and I came out the same way.  So we went back and the other guys held the cattle and Joe and I went back into the field.  Thought maybe they had gotten out or something.  They hadn't.  So Joe stewed about it all day.  We both did, thought we were in trouble for losing cattle and couldn't figure out losing them any place else but they weren't there.  So Joe called his dad and told him, "Why don't you go out in the field, get in the pickup and drive up in the field and see if there are any of those steers left?"  So John went out and pretty soon he came back and called and we were at Yose's and said there were 16 head up there that they had missed.  Boy what a relief.
 
 

     Marshall's parents were Walter S. Gurney and Hazel S. Gurney.  They had three boys, Jack, Swede and Marshall, and five girls, Margaret, Louise, Jane, Josie, and Dorothy.  When asked what he will do now that he is retired, he said:
     Play in the shop.  I make planters, made several of them  Whirly gigs, butterflies, rocking horses, cabbage patch doll rocking chairs and a lot of wood work.

 
Marshall and Ona Gurney
Riding with the Chuckwagon
Interview with Jonita Sommers
Oct. 17, 1975

J-  What Chuckwason did you ride with?  And what outfit was it you were riding with when you had a chuckwagon, a cavy and all that?
M- North Piney people on it.  It was just the Piney round up.
J- What was it like?  Who was the cook?  Do you remember that?
M- In a way I can remember.
O- Steve Baldwin was a cook and Ron Gordon was a cook.  I can't remember
     a man and his wife that was up there so much.
M- We were up there one year and chasing cattle around and one fellow he was a
      cook.  He didn't like it so we got after him and told him.
O- Who was that?  Steve Baldwin?
M- Yea, he didn't like that.
J- Did you just go around to the ranches and gather the cows up and then take
    them up the mountain?  Is that what you did?
M- Yes in the spring we would be up there about 2 weeks or something like that.  No,
      we spent more time putting them from one place to another and that was a lot of fun.
      But one day we had something that wasn't so funny.  We had to go gather and we
      worked them.  They sent me and another fellow to get in there and cut them out so
      we could take them up the next day.  Well, we took them up that day and we were
      both so mad and I told Joe let's just go home.  We went up there and they boob out
      and left us to take those cattle and put them on the mountain.  I thought that it was
      too rough we had.  They come out that morning with a couple of horses that didn't
      know beans from batter at all.  They followed up with the kids and I don't know how
      far it was, but anyhow they went up there.  They left us and there was some other
      fellows that had to take this buncyh of cattle up to the forest and scatter them
      around a little.  I was mad.  I said when we get up there let's but our horses out for
      this bunch and then just go home.  The hell with them that is just the way I felt.  He
      said that we had better not.  I said well, why not?  They won't do anything and I said
      they got more cattle 100 more cattle than what we had.  But they put the work on us
      and when we had to take a trip they took us always.  That used to burn me up, too.
      And the kids were buggers.  They would just go get them.  I thought that was terrible
      and I had a kid up ther and I just assumed taking him.
O- Who was farming that year?  Was it Jess Case? or Bill Budd?
M- That was I can't tell ya.
O- Well Chase took Sommers up to the round up two or threeee dfferent years. Bill          Budd was a foreman for a year or two, too.  I don't remember who else might have been.
J- Did you bring the calves out there and everything when you were with the chuckwagon?
M- Not very often.  They were usually branded
M- Sometimes we had lots of fun.
J- Did you just sleep in sleepmg bags or did you have tents?
M- We had bags and we would sleep in them.
O- Well, you had tents, too.
M- Well, yes and we worked.  We got up early m the morning and you had turn
 of rangling the horses.  They just turn them loose.  Sometimes you would have
 to go for 4 or 5 miles.  Some of the horses would get out there trying to get
 ready to get home.  They weren't so dumb.  We used to get them.
J-  What did you put themin so that you could catch them when you brought them
  back?
M-  Just a bunch of things and had rope around it but some of those horses are pretty smart.  I had 2 head and they would go in there and right under it.  They didn't hurt themselves or anything else.  That is what they done.  And I had a horse that I couldn't rope very easy, the morning that I had to ride that horse.  I told them that when you get a chance, rope that horse.  The first time you roped at him and missed him, that head went down and then you couldn't get him at all.  He was a good horse.
J-Now did you use the chuckwagon in the fall when you would move cows?
M-Yes
J- And what did you do in the fall when you were gathering them?  What did you do in the fall when you were gathering the cows and bringing them home bunching them in a certain place and working them out?
M- Well we would drive them so far towards home and stop them.  The next day we would take them on home.
J- Were there a lot of ranchers running together?  Did you have to sort them?
M- Yes, some.
J- Did you have certain cut grounds?
M- We usually stopped about the same places working them towards home.  They worked pretty good.  We had a lot of fun and a lot that wasn't fun.  I had about 7 horses out there to ride.  They weren't all perfect horses.  I just had when it came to cutting out I had 4 or 5 that would work.
J- Did you ever go out on the round up?
M- When we used to take the kids I used to bake sheet cakes and take out for everybody a new meal and the kids thought that was great to get out and eat with the men.