Early Sublette County Brands Project
Joe Murdock Ranch
  Joe Murdock, 1/22/91
 

INTERVIEWER: What is you birth place, date, address, parents, where they grew up and schooling.

Joe Murdock: My father came from Henry, Utah when he was 13 years old.  He worked down the river.  My mother came from Larkford,  Iowa and taught school.  My mother had a couple years of college before she came out here to teach.  She came out here around 1902.  My mothers name was Mary Sullivan.  Her parents names were Mary and Ed Sullivan.

I was born and raised here on the ranch.  I've been a rancher all my life.  I run cattle.  Never had sheep.

Our main brand is the lanky D.  It's a real old brand, but I didn't have any history on it.  I'm sure it was being used in 1906.  We have a permit.  When they started the forest service in 1906, my dad applied for a permit.  We have been running the Green River since 1906.  We have another brand - ILL brand.  My dad got that brand from a man from Green River City named of Barrett.  I have a letter on it.  That was around 1880's.  It was recorded just for horses until 1970 or 1975.  Bill Murdock uses it now.  I use it on horses now myself.

You can list some brands and have a choice. 1945 we applied for a brand and got our first choice.  My brother was on the ranch with me, but he died in 1944.  My sons are third generation.  I bought most of them out.

We irrigate out of the Green River.  We have gates on both sides.

My neighbors are the Bob Olsons, Higgins, J. Becker, Pete and Ann Olson, Wardells and Hills.

Lazy D is used on right hip and ribs of cattle.  Our ear mark is on the right ear, an under 7.

We got an iron and made our own brand or we had Tony Subeck make quite a few irons.
We use a stamp.  The brand is good especially the Lazy D.  I will keep the brand in the family

We always brand in the spring around the lst of May.  We work with the neighbors.  We brand a ranch each day.  Sometimes we brand a few in the fall.  We brand most of our calves on the dessert.  Rex Wardell with his wife Zelma was a foreman for forty years.  The neighbors help everyone brand.
 

A TYPICAL BRANDING DAY
Every one on the river does it pretty much the same.  They all come with their horses and they round them up.  They bunch them up in a corner.  They have some wings on the brand trails and they use that to bunch them up there and brand.  They rope them and drag them in.  Usually Kate and Spout Wardell are the ropers.  Everybody else has a job.  I haven't run a branding iron for so long, a lot of the cows that I've branded are dead.  Dan Chapel usually vaccinates the cattle and Joe used the iron.
 

INTERVIEWER:  Have branding procedures changed much over the years?  Do you do it the same as you did thirty or forty years ago?

Joe Murdock:   No they aren't much different.  We used to bring them in to trail um.     And brand them there.  Now we brand them all on the ranch.  We used to brand them in the dessert.
 

ROUNDUP:

The old roundup wagon that is still sitting out here, they bought it in 1914.  Even before that time, they had roundups.  They hired a foreman and he hired the cowboys and everything.  He took care of it.  It's a lot different than it is now.  We take our own cabins in the motintains now.  Rex ran the outfits for about 40 years.  After that they would build some allotments out here in the dessert.  Then we would take our cattle out of the respective allotments.  Bob Olson and Pet Olson and ourselves were in one allotment.       Wardells and the Higgins and the Beckers were in one allotment.  The Jergensons had an allotment.  Then we would go the the places out on the range, out here.  Living on the dessert was the hard life.  Now you can't get anybody.  Alot of the cowboys were ranch
kids.  Now you can't hardly get anybody to go out there.  They paid a little bit more on the roundup.  The wages haven't gotten much higher than on a ranch.  At one time forty to fifty years ago you had all these cowboys.    You could get good cowboys.  The first year I was ever out there was 1927.  Jean's brother Tobe Francis and another boy, Larry Redman, came over from Jackson.  I know B. Lozier and Carl Hill and then Leonard Brady.  It took quite a while to gather them all together.  You didn't have any trucks.  It was all done on horses.  They didn't have trucks to gather up the late cattle here, there and everywhere.  Rex wrode all winter.  He was paid year round.