Early Sublette County Brands Project
Bob Olson
INTERVIEWER: What is you birth place, date, address, parents, where they
grew up and schooling.

April 30, 1933, at Mrs. Gunter's House.

INTERVIEWER: Tell us a little bit about this ranch and its background.

Grampa Olson bought this place from Rotons in 1932.  That's when Mom and Dad were married and they lived here.  There was just about 40 acres in hay meadow at the time  Dad and Ed Luce cleared the brush and planted this.

INTERVIEWER:   How did you come to have the ranch, and take it over yourself?

In 1953 I went to the service.  That fall Dad got sick.  I was shipped overseas in January 1954, but my dad had gotten so bad the Red Cross had me brought back home.  I ran the ranch for Dad until 1960.  The folks went to Fort Collins three or four years before that.  Me and Ena moved back and forth between here and the little house.

INTERVIEWER: What is your main brand for this place?

3 b a r H

INTERVIEWER: The previous owner was your dad?

He owned it, but I do have a history of this brand.  I found that when Glen Johnson died, Buzzy was executor of his will.  He sent me all these brand transfer papers.  I was looking through them today and Oscar Johnson recorded this brand in July of 1917 and then it went to his two sons, George and Glen Johnson.  George Johnson turned it over to Glen in 1931.  Then from Glen Johnson my dad bought it in 1940.  I got it in 1960.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have other brands for this place?
No.  The boys have a brand "F\G" and Freddie Gurney gave them that brand.

INTERVIEWER: Will they retain this and have it registered?


INTERVIEWER: Do you have a horse brand?


INTERVIEWER: You have the waddles and all?


INTERVIEWER: What stream do you irrigate from?

New Fork.

INTERVIEWER: Who are your neighbors?

Anne and Pete Olson.

INTERVIEWER: Where do you put your brand on your animals?

Left rib.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have an ear mark?


INTERVIEWER: Where did you get your branding irons?

I've always made them.  When Dad first got the brand, he had some copper branding irons made.  They were real good irons.  The only thing is that the steel handles wouldn't stay on the copper hip and they had a lot of problems with them.  The copper heated faster and was evener.  It was a real heavy looking branding iron, although it wasn't that heavy.  It held and retained the heat.

INTERVIEWER: Has the brand been good?

Yeah.  It's a big brand that's easy to see.

INTERVIEWER: Do you plan to keep this brand in the family?

Yeah.  As long as we can keep this going.

INTERVIEWER: How many irons do you use?

I used to put the three and then put an H on, but now I make the 3 and put a little short bar right on the three iron and that way you only have to go two trips to the fire.  And it makes it a lot better.

INTERVIEWER: When do you usually brand?

Usually May 2nd.  Used to brand on my birthday, but Higgins started using that.  Higgins brands on the 30th of April.  We try to keep May lst open for a turn-out day and then I usually brand on the 2nd.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have a little fall branding?

Yeah, but usually not very many.  If I do them I have a little calf shoot that I put them in.  It tips over on the side and I can do that myself.

INTERVIEWER: Who helps you brand?

The river crew.

INTERVIEWER: Do you help others brand?

Yeah.  We have a branding week and we help each other.  I do the ear marking and the waddles.

You usually have all your branding irons and stove ready.  Around 8:00 in the morning you start rounding them up.  By the time you finally get all the calves in you brand all day.

INTERVIEWER: Has your branding changed much over the years?

When Dad had it they used to turn cattle out on the desert earlier.  Rex Wardell and his crew used to brand a lot of calves out there.  Now we try to brand here.  Earlier they used to get a lot of the irons made.  Then I started to make the irons for Rex and everybody.
I rode with Rex when I was 8 years old.  One year I remember  my sister and I went to school here at home.  At that time, this was in the Boulder school district. There was the River School down at Murdocks, where Pete
and his brothers and Wardells and everybody went.  But we only had a six month school, so I got out early.        Rex went out to the desert the last part of March.  I was out of school, so I got to go before anybody else,
which I thought was great.  We went around to everybody's place and got all the horses and just ride trailing back to camp.  We had three or four horses apiece.  Probably in all around 75 to 100 horses for the crew.  After you got all those horses together, it got to be quite a chore just taking care of them.  They all wanted to go back to their own home ranch.  Whoever had the job of herding horses, he had a real job.  They weren't fenced.  You would take them out to let them graze, but you had to watch them.  You had to watch that they didn't sneak off.  If you took a nap you usually lost some horses, and you were in trouble.

INTERVIEWER: Any good stories about your brand or branding?

I used to drink a lot of beer on branding day.  It is a lot better now.

INTERVIEWER: Do you have any photographs or certificates important to your brand?


INTERVIEWER: Is Glen Johnson related to Tuffy Johnson?
No. There was just, they lived down near the three bridges.  Wardell's own that place now.  Well I don't know.  Glen's wife is the one that taught Betty and I here.  She stayed here during the week and he would come up in his Model A and take her home for the weekend.  I think we had school here through the sixth grade.  I went a couple of years down at Murdock's.

INTERVIEWER: Have you heard of any rustling problems that you can tell us about?

In my mind, I'm sure that there is rustling going on, up the river on the forest.  We just come up short calves every year.  But you can't ever prove anything.  Nobody has ever been caught.  But every year we come up short calves.  Too many calves.  I usually get the cows home.  The numbers have been getting larger