Early Sublette County Brands Project
Miller Ranch
 Stuart McKinley interviewing Mildred Miller

  Stuart: If you would just give your name.

 Mildred: My name is Mildred Miller and I was born in Salt Lake in 1910.  I
 live at Big Piney.  Is that all I need to say?

 Stuart: That's good enough.  Where did you grow up, basically?

 Mildred: I grew up here.

 Stuart: Here in Big Piney and your schooling was here?

 Mildred: I went to school here until I went to high school and then I went
 to Salt Lake.

 Stuart: All right.  Now, how long have you been here on the 67 Ranch?

 Mildred: This is the Circle Ranch.

 Stuart: The Circle, pardon me.

 Mildred: All of my life.  No, Bob and I lived over at the Holden place for
 twelve years.  Do you know where that's at?  Just below Frank Fear's.

 Stuart: And then you moved up here in what year?

 Mildred: In 1944, and I have been here since that time.

 Stuart: Okay; Basically you run cattle and horses, no sheep?

 Mildred: Not sheep!

 Stuart: And in the past it was the same always just cattle and horses?

 Mildred: Always, just cattle and horses.

 Stuart: And when you moved from the Holden Place up here, how was the ranch
 put together?  Did you own this place before when you lived on the Holden
 Place or was this put together after that?

 Mildred: No. This was Mother's.

 Stuart: And did your mother's family homestead it?

 Mildred: No. My mother came up here to visit her cousin, Mrs. Frank Fear, the original
Mrs. Frank Fear and met my father and married him.

 Stuart: What year was that?

 Mildred: 1899.

 Stuart: 1899, a long time ago.

 Mildred: My dad bought this place in 1895.

 Stuart: And Who did he purchase it from?

 Mildred: He purchased it from Leifer.

 Stuart: Now, did Leifer homestead it or did he buy it?

 Mildred: I understood that Leifer and Swan came in here and brought some cattle
 from over in Idaho and that's how they got over this way.

 Stuart: So they apparently homesteaded this place, then?

 Mildred: Well, Leifer did.

 Stiart: All right.

 Mildred: Leifer's first wife died and he married Susan Cooper's great aunt.

 Stuart: Susanne Gallemore?

 Mildred: Her name used to be Cooper.  I couldn't think of Gallemore.

 Stuart: Now, when you lived on the Holden Place did you buy the place from
 Holdens?

 Mildred: No, Mother had given it to me.  She gave that to me before I was married.

 Stuart: And she purchased it from Holden?

 Mildred: No.

 Stuart: Well, this is what we are trying to do is dig back a little bit and see if we can  establish the history.  Do you recall who she purchased it from?

 Mildred: Well, it was in my father's estate.

 Stuart: And you don't recall how he ended up with the Holden Place?

 Mildred: A family by the name of Mills lived over there and I think they
 homesteaded part of it.  Then Charlie Holden was the sheriff and that was when we were     still In Uinta County, I am sure.

Stuart: At the time that you had the Holden Place what brand did you use over there?

 Mildred: We used the 67.

 Stuart: And where did the 67 brand come from originally?

 Mildred: It came from Mr. Budd, the original Mr. Budd.  And Pearl Spencer has the story  on that.

 Stuart: Did the brand come with him when he came into this country?

 Mildred: Well, Mr. Budd had a brother out in Nevada and he was a bachelor
 and he died.  And he had cattle and I suppose ranched, too.  But, anyhow, Mr. Budd lived  in Kansas, the original Mr. Budd, and he went back to Nevada to bring those cattle to  Kansas.  And he got into this country in the fall, and he rode up here to see what it looked like.  And it looked pretty good and so he brought his cattle up here to winter them.  And those were the original 67 cattle.

 Stuart: And they were branded with the 67?

 Mildred: That's right.

 Stuart: And that was in the late 1800's?

 Mildred: Well, my dad bought this in 1895 so it was before then, so it was late in the  1800's.  I think it was even before then.  It's an old, old brand.  Pearl has the dates on that.

 Stuart: So, one wouldn't know whether or not possibly the brand came from
Kansas originally and was taken to Nevada.  That would be some of the history
Pearl has.

Mildred: No. But I doubt very much that it was.  I think it was the brand Mr. Budd's brother had in Nevada.

Stuart: Did you have any additional brands to the 67 or was that the only brand that you used?

Mildred: Well, that's the only brand that we used but we have had several
 brands.  That one that Bob Beard has, that Turtle, Bob had that.  We got that with the Turtle Ranch.  Did they have any history on that brand?

 Stuart: Yes.  They had some history on that.

 Barbara: Bob and Florence Beard bought the Turtle Brand from Dick and Shirla
 Pearson.  Dick and Shirla worked for George Franz and had the Turtle Brand, and they  sold it to Florence and Bob Beard.  And in later years, after George Franz's first wife died, and Dick Pearson died, shirla and George Franz were married.

 Stuart: She did after George Franz's wife died and her husband died.  She married George and she was from Victor, I)daho.  Apparently they worked for George.  To sort of digress a little bit, there is a question I wanted to ask you.  Bob Beard thought when going back through the history of the place, that George Franz had, that either
 the original or close to the original homesteader was the old Clifford Hansen.  Do you remember that?  Is that correct?

 Mildred: It was the Roy Place.  My father used to winter cattle there.

 Stuart: And that was the old Roy homestead originally?

 Mildred: I imagine so.  He was one of the last of the old trappers.

 Stuart: You don't happen to recall when he was up there?

 Mildred: That was way before my time.  That would go back to my father in the 1ate 1800's, or early 1900's.

 Stuart: And do you know how it ended up in the old Clifford Hansen's ranch?

 Mildred: Well, I guess they bought it.

 Stuart: They bought it from Roy?

 Mildred: No, they didn't buy it from Roy.  I don't think so.  They got it during the time that I can remember--Hansens did.

 Stuart: You don't recall what year they might have gotten that ranch?  That's been sort of vague because George Franz bought the place in 1942 from Clifford Hansen, not the Senator, but his father.  Well, see now this is a step.  We'll go back and we'll research the Roy place.

 Mildred: I can remember one time when Mr. Hansen was coming over here from Jackson and some fellow working for him was driving.  And I don't know what happened, but anyhow they ended up in the river.  And what date that was, I don't know.

 Stuart: Maybe they were tipping up the bottle when they drove off into the river.

 Mildred: No. I think it was in the wintertime, just slid off.

 Stuart: But you don't remember what year that was?  A long time ago?  Well,
 at least that's a point to start from.

 Mildred: When did George buy it?  Do you know?

 Stuart: I think in 1942.  That's what Bob Beard said.  And he bought it from
 the Hansens.

 Mildred: Well, I would have guessed probably in the late thirties,that Hansens bought it.

 Stuart: And the depression there right at the beginning probably that seems
 an appropriate time.  Well, we'll go back now and check because Bob did not know that.  He just thought Hansens had homesteaded it.  So we have just jumped back a little in time.

Mildred: Oh, yes.  My father, this man was by the name of Roy and he was one of the last of the old trappers, and my dad wintered cattle up there, I know.

Stuart: See, we are beginning to pick up a lot of things.  This is the thing we have found out, you know.  In doing this, when,you start doing this, there are a lot of things you recall again.

 Mildred: Well, if I had just paid attention I would know a lot more.

 Stuart: People remember.  You talk and you say something that will trigger something in the memory.  You were talking about old brands.  And at one time you had the Turtle Brand.  And then do you recall any others that you had in addition to the Turtle and the 67?

 Mildred: Well, let me think about it.  Ask me another question.

Stuart: Well, we'll let you think about it.  I was going to ask you how many brands the ranch had but that all goes into what you are trying to remember.  We'll come back to that.  Now on the 67--we have to back up because we are still on the Holden Place.  You had the 67 brand down on the Holden place and then you moved up to the 67?

 Mildred: We moved up here, the Circle.

 Stuart: Right, you moved to the Circle.  And . . .

 Mildred: You see, how this happened.  When Bob and I were married, we didn't have a brand.  And Jimmy Mickelson, my brother, had his brand, so he gave us the 67 brand over here on the Circle and he has the Circle brand over on the 67.

 Stuart: When Jimmy gave you the 67 brand, was that one of his original brands?

 Mildred: No. He had bought the 67.  He bought it from P. W. Jenkins.

 Stuart: He bought it from P.W. Jenkins, that lived up in the Cora valley?

 Mildred: Well, he lived down here.

 Stuart: Oh, that's right, on the Reservoir Ranch.

 Mildred: I guess he probably always lived up there around Cora.  But he did have
the Reservoir Ranch.  Mrs. Jenkins lived in town.  She had a house down here in town and lived in it.

 Stuart: She lived down here.  Now, on the--that was P. W. Jenkin's original brand?

 Mildred: No. It was A. W. Smith's.  You see, Mrs. Jenkins, with A. W. Smith, came in with Budd when he brought those cattle in from Nevada.  He was one of his cowboys, that is A. W. Smith.  He was one of the great frontiersman in this country.

 Stuart: And he worked for Budd?

 Mildred: No. Mr. Smith was Mrs. Jenkins' great uncle.  That's how P. W. got all his holdings was through her great uncle.

Stuart: I see.  So now we have it back to the original?  We don't have it back to the original.

 Mildred: Which, the 67 brand?  Well, it was those cattle that came from Nevada.

Stuart: And that was the Budd family,' you said?

 Mildred: It was the original Mr. Budd, the original Daniel Budd.

 Stuart: So now we sort of have it traced back to the beginning.

 Mildred: That's all we know about it.  I don't know where the brand came from in Nevada, other than Mr. Budd's brother had it on cattle.

 Stuart: Either into the late 80's or early 1890's.'.

 Mildred: No, it was 1868 and 1869 when they came in here.

 Stuart: That far back!  It goes way, way.back. That's a long time ago.  That
puts that about 120 or 130 years old, a 1ot of history, behind that one, then.  You still have the Holden Place and the Circle.  What streams on the Holden Place do you get your irrigation out of?

 Mildred: Middle Piney and South Piney.

Stuart: Have any of the places that you have incorporated into the Circle and the Holden Place--were any of those under territorial water rights?  Or were they later than that?

 Mildred: This place was territorial.

 Stuart: The Circle, the original.  And how about the Beck Place, was it under. . .

 Mildred: I don't remember.

 Stuart: The Circle was, but the Holden Place wasn't then?

 Mildred: Well it should have been but I don't know.  I haven't gone back into
the water rights.

Stuart: Well, I thought because of the short water years you might have had a reason.  Your neighbors might have been getting your water.  It happens sometimes.

 Mildred: On a short water year, they want to, I am sure.

 Stuart: Oh, yeah.  Now, basically who are your neighbors?  We'll start on the
south and just sort of circle around.

 Mildred: Well, Frank Fear and Bob O'Neil was.

 Stuart: Do you know what Frank's brand is?

 Mildred: Well, I think they have several.  I don't know what he is using now.  I can find out.

Stuart: Oh that's all right, we'll look it up.  And then Bob O'Neil is just up the creek.  Do you know what his brand was?

Mildred: Well, he had his father's old brand.  I don't know if he had another one other than that.

 Stuart: And do you know what that was?

Mildred: HL.

 Stuart: And then up the stream from him would be John Chrisman?

 Mildred: Chrisman's, I guess.  I don't know what they use.

 Stuart: And you don't know what they use . . .

 Mildred: Oh, they use the Flying W, don't they?

 Stuart: I think that's right.  And then as we come across to the west who is that, the Budds?

Mildred: Well, the Charley Noble Place is the next one, and we have that now.  We bought it from Charley.

 Stuart: When you bought that, did you get any of the brands that he had?

Mildred: No.

Stuart: Do you remember what his brand was?  And just above the Charley Noble place you bought, is that the Homer Place?

Mildred: Yes, the Homer Place is up there and the old Gene Noble Place, up where Schwabachers have it.  That's where George Meeks is now.

Stuart: Okay.  Do you remember what that brand was at that ranch?  Do you remember what Homer's brand was?

Mildred: No.

 Stuart: We'll slip over on the north side, did the Reservoir Ranch border yours?

Mildred: No.

 Stuart: Not quite.  I thought that came to the highway.

 Mildred: It does.

 Stuart: But you have it on this side of the highway?

Mildred: Yes.

Stuart: It sort of borders you then?  Do you remember what the Reservoir Ranch brand was?

Mildred: No.

 Stuart: And then we come on down, it would be Gordon Bray.

 Mildred: Yes.  And I don't know what brand he uses.

 Stuart: Did his father own that?

Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: And you don't remember what Blackie's brand was?

Mildred: No.

Stuart: Okay.

 Mildred: But those are all in the brand book.

 Stuart: Yes, we can go back and see what those are.

 Mildred: I could probably remember if I wasn't trying.

 Stuart: Well, what we try to do and it was sort of short notice, is to hand out the questions earlier and let the people read the questions and have the people think about it for a week
or so.  We think they have a recall then.

Mildred: Fear I think at one time had an S Bar 0 but I don't think anyone uses that.

Stuart: I think this is the thing that we have found out, that there have been a lot of brands and a lot of them are not being used.  As I recall, I'm not sure of the figure, since the beginning of Sublette County, and this might include when it was part of Uinta County, around twenty-seven hundred brands have been recorded, plus or minus.  I may be off on that figure but it is an awful lot of them, just in Sublette County alone.  And trying to go back and dig them all out and to get the history of them, at least as many as we can.  You know there will be a lot of them that will be hard to come by.  I noticed one the other day.  One of the brands from down here--Vernon Johnson's brand.  Rudy Parvacinills boy has that now--Johnny.

 Mildred: Oh, for heavens sake!  How did that happen?

 Stuart: They just purchased it from Frances.  I was surprised.  I thought somehow it would be retained down here in this area, or maybe Frances, like a lot of people would continue to keep the brand active.  And I was very surprised.

Mildred: Well, this PL brand, you know, ended up with one of the Tanners.  I don't know how they ever came by it.

 Stuart: Was that your brand originally?

 Mildred: Well, it belonged to the land down there, the PL.

 Stuart: Who owned that place originally?

 Mildred: Swans.

 Stuart: But Tanner ended up with it.  John Tanner?

 Mildred: I don't know which one of the Tanner boys has it now.

 Stuart: That's interesting.  It's just like we were talking about Buck Baker, how his brand  got to Gene Pfisterer.  And no one seems to know.  We will ask Jake.

 Mildred: I'm sure Jake will know.

 Stuart: But this is the thing.  There are gaps sometimes and you just wonder how many people had them in between.  Where about do you brand the 67 brand on the cattle?

Mildred: On the left hip, and on the horses on the left hip.  Well, farther down on the thigh, but the cattle brand is right under the hip bone.

 Stuart: Do you have an ear mark for your cattle?  And what is it?

  Mildred: Yes.  It's--well let me think about it.

 Stuart: That's all right.  We'll look it up in the brand book.

  Mildred: Well, I know it just as well as anything.  Ask me something else now.

  Stuart: Do you have any dewlaps or wattle?

 Mildred: No.  It's a 7 out of both ears and a crop to the left. (referring to ear marks)

 Stuart: I would imagine, they want to know when the brand was registered, And as old as  the 67 brand is, I would imagine that the first year they required registration, the 67 was registered then.

 Mildred: I would guess.

 Stuart: You wouldn't happen to know the year--a long time ago?

 Mildred: No. But I'm sure Pearl will know.

 Stuart: We can also go back into the Stockgrowers' Association and find out.

 Mildred: But it should be the first-year.

 Stuart: Undoubtedly.  Has the brand been a good one?  Easy to read?

 Mildred: Oh, yes.  It's the best!

 Stuart: Can't be altered?

 Mildred: Not very well.

 Stuart: Did you make your own branding iron, too?  Or did you have it made
by a blacksmith?

 Mildred: Tony Subic used to make them for, us.

 Stuart: I thought about that coming in today, that Tony probably made them.  The old original ones you probably. . .

 Mildred: He always made them.

 Stuart: He made them as long as you can remember.  When do you usually brand?

 Mildred: In the spring, but we brand in the fall, too.  The smaller branding is in the fall, but our bigger branding is in the spring.

 Stuart: In May?
 Mildred: No, the first part of June.

 Stuart: And then you just catch up in the fall?

 Mildred: Yes, the ones that got away or the ones that were born during the
summer.

 Stuart: Has it always been this way7 In the early part of June?

 Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: Who helps you brand?  I'm sure it has changed during the years . . .

 Mildred: Any help we have on any of the ranches.  And there are always
neighbors who want to come and help.  And we help the neighbors.

 Stuart: And with all of them, if we started naming we would get from one end of the county down to the other, so we'll bypass that one.  It would be a lot of people.  Could you describe a typical branding day?

 Mildred: When we used to brand when we had the whole outfit together--see, Stu, it isn't together now.  When it was all together, we got up at one or two o'clock in the morning.

 Stuart: Breakfast time, early?

 Mildred: And went up, usually up around the rim, we went from there down to what we call the O'Neil section.  And we started as quick as it got daylight.

 Stuart: And on an average, how many did you brand in a day?

 Mildred: Oh, what should I say--about eight or nine hundred.  And the neighbors came and brought food.  And we brought food and after we Got through branding, we had our lunch.

 Stuart: On the branding, I'm sure you did it the old way.  You didn't use any tables.  It was all done by rope.

 Mildred: All by rope and wrestling.  We still do it that way now.

 Stuart: That's the way a lot of people up here do it.  And so really the branding procedure hasn't really changed over all of the years since the inception of ranching.  Probably the
source of the heat for the branding irons has changed from a sagebrush fire or fence post fire to butane.

 Mildred: Yes, we use butane now.

 Stuart: So that part has changed, but other than that it has not changed.  Have you got, I know this goes a long ways back.  But have you got a good story?  Bob Beard mentioned something about one time a Beck . . .

 Mildred: Grant Beck?

 Stuart: One of them, used to rope hard and fast.  He hever let go of the rope.  And the rope happened to get under the tail of this horse and by the time the rodeo was over with he had cleaned out all the branding corra1l.  And afterwards Bob took him aside and had a long talk with him and supposedly he never roped hard and fast after that.

 Mildred: That was probably Wells Beck.

 Stuart: Bob said he could remember that one.  He said that was a pretty good rodeo.  When the rodeo was over with there wasn't anything left in there.

 Mildred: I'll bet not.

 Stuart: But you can't remember any of them?  I thought you might be able to remember something humorous that might have happened at one of them.

 Mildred: Right off the top of my head, I can't, Stu.

 Stuart: All of these years that you have been ranching, have you ever had any rustling problems?

 Mildred: Yes, but I don't want to talk about them.

 Stuart: That's fine.  Now we have covered a lot of it, but let's just drop back and maybe you can give me a little bit of the early history of the Kelly Place up on Horse Creek.

 Mildred: Well I really don't know how Si Kelly came by that place.  But he sold it to some people.  There was these two brothers, Gul Whitman and Trav Whitman.  Trav wasn't in the ranch transaction, but Gul interested this man from the East somewhere and it was a man by the name of Baum.  And it was Whitman and Baum.  And they were the ones who bought it from Kelly.

 Stuart: You don't really recall who Kelly got it from?

 Mildred: I think a man by the name of Johnson homesteaded some of it.

 Stuart: You don't happen to remember what brand Si Kelly had?

 Mildred: Yes, It's a Y. At that time they called it the Buggy Pole.

 Stuart: The Buggy Pole?  That's a strange one, isn't it?  And now they just
call it the Y, same brand but just ch3nged the name.  Was that his original brand or did he get that from someone?

 Mildred: I am sure that he probably got the brand with the ranch.

 Stuart: From the Johnsons who originally homesteaded that place?  And do you
still have that brand?

Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: Kathy has that up there?

 Mildred: No, I think Jim Miller has it.

 Stuart: Oh, Jim has it.  That goes hack a long ways then.

 Mildred: Yes, it does.

 Stuart: After Whitman had the ranch do you know who had it?

 Mildred: Whitman and Baum went broke and so Si took it back.

 Stuart: Do you know who . . .

 Mildred: Well, Bob's dad bought it.  I was trying to remember--that's the
reason I thought maybe Ruth Kelly could tell you.

Stuart: Okay.  We'll talk to her about who bought it after that.  And you've had it ever since.  And you used that brand, the Y brand, at that time.  What brand does Kathy use?

Mildred: Kathy has it now.  But I don't know what brand she uses, and I don't know what brand Matt uses.  You'll have to ask them because they are all new brands they've got.

 Stuart: Ones they have designed themselves?

 Mildred: Yes, I think so.

Stuart: Well, I'll get in touch with her, and see what I can find out.  Let's go down to the Flying V. Or do you know anything about the Kelly Place that would be of interest?

 Mildred: Not really, I don't, Stu.

 Stuart: The Flying V. How far back can we go on that?  How far back do you
remember?

Mildred: As far back as I can remember is when my father passed away and Mother and I and her sister spent the summer up there.

 Stuart: What year was that, do you remember?

 Mildred: Yes, it was nineteen twenty--he passed away in 1921 and we spent the summer of 1922 up there.

 Stuart: And you had it before 1921?

Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: Who did he purchase it from, do you know?

 Mildred: Well, let's see.  I don't know.

 Stuart: I had heard that maybe John Angus homesteaded that.

Mildred: Sure, sure.  It belonged to a man by the name of John Angus and my father loaned him money.  And he had several boys, and they didn't want to be ranchers.  They wanted to be something else.  So he just told my dad to come and take the place.

Stuart: And that's how you ended up with it, then.  So that goes back then.  It went from John Angus to the Millers, then?

 Mildred: To my father.

 Stuart: And it's been in the family ever since then?

Mildred: Mrs. Key--the original Mrs. Key, Addle.  Her stepfather owned the place.  That was way--the late 1800's.

Stuart: That was before John Angus' time?  Then possibly they were the ones that homesteaded the place then?

 Mildred: Could have been.

 Stuart: What was her full name?

 Mildred: Addle Keye Vanderbort.  I don't remember what her name was, but his
name was Vanderbort.

 Stuart: That gives us so we can drop way back in history, and see if we can pick it up from there.

 Mildred: Oh, yeah.

 Stuart: You wouldn't happen to even probably remember what brand they had?

 Mildred: They had the Flying V.  That's the brand that came with the ranch.

 Stuart: Even when John Angus picked it up, it had the Flying V?  So that was probably the original brand with the ranch to start with.  So that goes back to the late 1800's.  And it's
always been with the ranch?

Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: Now, the water rights on that place, were they territorial?

 Mildred: I think so.  Yes, I would say.

 Stuart: That far back it could have been possibly?

 Mildred: Yes.  It very well could have been.

Stuart: When the ranches were all together, and you branded, did you ever usc the Flying V on your cattle?  Or just the 67?

 Mildred: Just the 67.  Well, we used the Y too.

Stuart: Yah, the Y. Was there any particular reason you didn't use the others?  Was it a brand that was easy to read, or hard to alter?

 Mildred: I don't know why we used it, we just used it.

 Stuart: Outside of the 67, then you used the Y brand?

 Mildred: Yes.

 Stuart: But you still have the Flying V brand in the family?

 Mildred: Yes.  No!  The Greenwoods have it.

 Stuart: When did it go to the Greenwoods?

 Mildred: Oh, I can't remember.  I don't remember how they came by it.  Did we give it to Greenwoods?  But Jim used it all the time.

Stuart: It went to Jim Greenwood, Jim and Tharon.  And Jimmy still has it, I am sure.  Now we are beginning to trace it.  And so if I ask Mack and Patti, I'll know what brand they are using.

Mildred: Each one of the youngsters picked out their own brand.  I don't know what they are using.

Stuart: I'll check with them and then that will bring us up to date.