Edward Wing “Doc” Huson and Clarissa Pettingell

Story by Fred Gahimer. 

For information about early Pettingell’s, see this story.

JACOB PETTINGELL was born in Bridgewater, Connecticut on August 1, 1763.  As a young man, he fought in the Connecticut Regiment in the Revolutionary War with his bother Oliver.  He served three years and was at the surrender of Cornwallis.  With a series of three wives, Betsy Wellington, an unknown #2, and Prudence Soper, he had eight children: Hiram, George, Philander, Jacob, ASAPH, Marietta, Sarah, and Edward, most of them born after he had moved to Erie County, New York prior to 1820.  He was a farmer in Aurora.  He died in 1838, and is buried next to his brother Oliver in the Pioneer Cemetery in East Aurora, New York.

One of JACOB’s ancestors is of special interest.  Francis Cooke and his eldest son John came to America in 1620 on the Mayflower.  His wife and remaining children came a year later.  Francis survived the first winter that killed about half of the pilgrims, and lived to old age.  The lineage is as follows:

1  Francis Cooke  1582 - 1663
+  Hester Mayhieu  Abt 1585 - Abt 1675
   2  Jane Cooke  Abt 1606 - Abt 1695
   +  Experience Mitchell  Abt 1608 - 1689
      3  Jacob Mitchell  Abt 1645 - 1675
      +  Susanna Pope  1649 - 1675
         4  Mary Mitchell
         +  Samuel Kingman  1670 - 1742
            5  Joanna Kingman  1701 - Aft 1735
            +  Akerman Pettingell  1700 - 1770
               6  Daniel Pettingell  1726 - 1808
               +  Hannah Soper  1732 - ????
                  7  JACON PETTINGELL  1763 - 1838
                  +  PRUDENCE SOPER  1778 - Aft 1850

Recently, however, it has been suggested that Jane Cooke was not a descendent of Francis Cooke but rather a different husband of Hester Mayhieu. This has not yet been confirmed.

Soon after JACOB PETTINGELL died, his sons ASAPH and Edward went to the upper midwest into the Wisconsin and Minnesota Territories.  In the 1850 census, they were farming together in the Buffalo District of Marquette County, Wisconsin.  ASAPH’s household consisted of himself (35), his wife SARAH (32) from New York, sons Charles (8), and James (6); and daughters SARAH [CLARISSA] (4), and Rachel (7/12).  Both Sarah [CLARISSA] and Rachel were born in Wisconsin, all others in New York, so they must have settled in Wisconsin about 1846.  ASAPH’s assets were valued at $300 real estate.  The household of his brother Edward D. (27) consisted of his wife Olive (21), daughter Mary J. (4), sons George (2) and Albert (8/12), and ASAPH’s and Edward’s mother, PRUDENCE [SOPER] (72) from Connecticut.  All of Edward’s children were born in Wisconsin.

Clarrissa Anne Pettingell as a girl. She later became Doc Huson’s wife).

In the 1855 Wisconsin state census they were listed as ASAPH PATTENGALL, with a household of 4 males, and 2 females; and Edward Pattengall, a household of 2 males, and 4 females.  In 1859, ASAPH PATTENGELL, of Goodhue County, Minnesota purchased Lots 1 & 2 in SW 1/4, Sec. 14, and land near the 1/4 post of the line of Sec. 23, T14, R11 from Maria Van Valkenburg of Marquette Co., Wisconsin for $1500.  Warranty Deed R-211; Dec. 21, 1859; recorded Dec. 24, 1859.

In the 1860 census, ASAPH and his family were in Kingston, Green Lake County, Wisconsin.  ASAPH’s household consisted of himself (47), wife Sally [SARAH ARNOLD] (44), sons Charles (16), James (14), and Jared (7); daughters CLARISSA (12), and Sarah (4); and ASAPH’s mother-in-law, Polly Arnold (63) of New York.  There is no mention of Rachel, so she may have died since the 1850 census.  CLARISSA, Jared, and Sarah were listed as being born in Wisconsin, all others in New York.  ASAPH’s assets were valued at $1200 real estate, and $300 personal porperty.  His brother Edward and family had moved to Wanaming, Goodhue County, Minnesota.

EDWARD WING HUSON (30) and CLARISSA ANNE PATTENGILL (15), ASAPH’s daughter, were married in Kingston, Green Lake County, Wisconsin on March 30, 1862.  They reportedly moved to Missouri and lived there briefly during the Civil War.  While there, the Rebels came and took his store, so they moved up to Iowa.  [No hard evidence has yet been found to substantiate their move to Missouri.]  They moved to northeastern Iowa in 1862.  Their first child, Willis Oren, was born at Waucoma, Fayette County, Iowa on December 27, 1863, according to the date and location of his birth given on his death certificate.  Also, the later census data indicates he was born in Iowa.

For more information about Edward’s younger years, see this story.

It is thought that by 1866 they had moved to Belle Plaine in Benton County, Iowa.  More children were born in rapid succession; HATTIE “KATIE” in 1866, Carrie Belle “Clara” in 1867, and the twins,  Asa and Sattie in 1869, living only a few months.

The 1870 Census found them still in Belle Plaine Township, Benton County, Iowa; Blainstown Post Office.  EDWARD was listed as Ed Huston (38), and was a grocer by trade.  Living with him was his wife CLARA (22), son Willie (7), and daughters KATIE (5), and Carrie (3).  Also living with them was a girl, Sheare Luvinia (16), probably a boarder.  EDWARD WING HUSON was listed as having $1,000 in real estate and $1,000 in personal property.  Living nearby was Royal Tucker (39), born in New York, his wife Frances (25), and children.  The Tuckers may have been relatives of EDWARD.

Jennie was born in 1872, and Sadie in 1873 in Council Bluffs, Iowa.  While there, EDWARD started practicing medicine.  Unfortunately, he contracted typhoid fever and became violently ill.  He remained in ill health for some years.  Elizabeth “Lizzie” followed in 1875, and Gracie in 1877, the latter living only a few days.

They then moved to the southwest corner of the state to Tabor in Sidney Township in Fremont County where Harry H. was born in 1879, and Fred, also in Tabor in 1880.  In the 1880 census, EDWARD (48), was listed as a druggist.  The rest of the household consisted of wife CLARISSA (35), son Willis (16), daughters KATY (14), Clara (10), Jennie (8), Sadie (7), Lizzie (5), and son Harry (9/12).  CLARISSA’s parents, ASAPH (62) and SARAH (60) PATTENGILL and a daughter Phoebe (19) were living next door.

Front L – R: Jared (son of Asaph), Asaph Pattengill, Sarah (Arnold) Pattengill, Phoebe Pattengill. Back L – R: Edward Wing Huson, Clarrissa Anne (Pattengill) Huson. Photo must have been taken between 1866-1872.
On the back of the picture: “G.M.Huson husband G.P Huson Parents Pattengill” Presumably this stands for grandma and grandpa Huson (E W and Clarissa) and Asaph and Sarah Pattengill, Clarissa’s parents. Doc and Clarissa were married in 1862. Doc Huson: 34 in 1866, 40 in 1872. Clarissa: 19 in 1866, 25 in 1872 Jared: 13 in 1866, 19 in 1872 Phoebe: 5 in 1866, 11 in 1872

West To Wyoming

EDWARD decided to go to a high, dry climate for his health, so they started west in 1881 with oxen team and covered wagon, arriving in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  ASAPH and SARAH PATTENGILL went with them. In 1882, they moved on to Crazy Woman Creek at Trabing and lived in a dugout.  They were one of the first settlers there.

Remains of “Doc” Huson and Ephraim’s dugouts at Crazy Woman Creek
View of Crazy Woman Creek and “Doc” Huson and Ephraim’s homestead from dugout

Another daughter, Julia, was born that year, but lived less than a month.  The Indians camped a lot on the river and creeks.  CLARISSA was scared of them, but she fed them sometimes, giving them corn and other food that they raised on their homestead.  The Indians did them no harm.  They also became friends with one of the area’s most feared outlaws, “Rap” Brown. For more information on Arapahoe “Rap” Brown, see Arapahoe Brown.


The Hole-In-The-Wall
Thelma Gatchell Condit

Annals of Wyoming, V 30, n 2; Part V, Sect 3: Outlaws and Rustlers Andrew "Arapahoe" Brown

Excerpts from pages 178-180.

…later on an entirely different side of his dual personality is revealed in his association with the Huson family on Crazy Woman. EDWARD W. HUSON was born in Boston [of Erie Co., New York] where he had been educated to be a doctor [actually, learned from books]; but like so many others he wanted to go west.  So in the late 70's [actually 1842, with his parents] he went to Wisconsin where he found himself a good wife.  Next he went to Council Bluffs, Iowa, where he started practicing medicine.  Here unfortunately he contracted typhoid fever and became violently ill.  After a long, seemingly endless period of convalescence he decided to get farther west into a high, dry climate. So in 1881 the family arrived in Cheyenne, Wyoming, with wagons and teams carrying their few worldly possessions.  It was here the Husons met John R. Smith, who was already firmly established at Trabing, Wyoming, notwithstanding the fact that the Indians weren't exactly peacefully inclined toward the few white settlers.

In 1882 [actually 1885, after living in Buffalo briefly] the Husons came on north and took up land on Crazy Woman [Creek] right below present day "Tipperary".  It was here they became acquainted with Arapahoe Brown.  They grew to be fast friends.  Arapahoe Brown proved indeed "A friend in need" as they built a homestead cabin and set up residence in this wild, unpopulated area. Dr. Huson and Arapahoe hunted buffalo and other wild game.  It was then that the doctor learned the ways of the great western outdoors and gradually and completely regained his good health.  Arapahoe and the doctor spent evening after evening in stimulating, social conversation, discussing events of the times, philosophy, poetry, books, etc.  It was very evident that Andrew Brown was a well-educated man.  He had by now grown a mustache and a small "goatee".

The Shoshoni and Arapahoe Indians used to camp on Crazy Woman below the Huson homestead, 1,000 at a time, to cut up and dry their buffalo meat and make the ever-needed pemmican.  This would have been indeed frightening had not Arapahoe Brown been there, for as Dr. Huson said, "He was quite an Indian fellow---could get anything out of a bunch of Indians."  He used to spend quite a bit of his time with the Indians when they were buffalo hunting.

But Rap, in spite of all this apparent sociality, was still mysterious and abrupt about his comings and goings.  After days of enjoyable hunting and visiting he'd suddenly be gone, to appear weeks later just before the evening meal.  Perhaps he'd come in all covered with snow, and, unfastening his heavy buffalo-hide coat remark, "Well, Doc, I think we're going to have a chinook tomorrow."  And they did.

It was while Arapahoe was doing a lot of visiting at the Husons, and soon after a Deadwood Stage robbery, that one dark night two strangers knocked at the door and asked if the doctor would set a man's leg.  They were tired-looking and heavily armed.  Both were red-eyed and dust-covered to the point where it was hard to tell what their faces were like normally.  They were tall, well-built fellows drooping with fatigue.  One said, "Doc, this man's needin' a doctor mighty bad. We're figgerin on bringin' him in".  Dr. Huson didn't see how he could rightly refuse such a request (or was it an order?) and while looking them over it flashed through his mind that it was very odd indeed that they had called him "Doc".  How had they found him?  At the same moment he had a queer prickly feeling up and down his spine sensing that it would be unwise to refuse the request had he had such a notion.

He told them to bring the man in and go stable their horses and have a bite to eat, said he could put them up for the night.  The fellow was in a bad way for sure, plumb used-up and suffering plenty, said his "horse had stumbled and fell on his leg."  After the doctor and his wife had finished working with him, they looked around but no one was there---the other two strangers had vamoosed.  Thinking maybe they'd bedded down in the barn, the doctor investigated, but the only thing he found was a big long-legged brown horse tied to the manger, tiredly eating oats.  It was plain to be seen that "he'd done some hard-going," for he was sweat-caked and muddy.  To one side lay "The swellest silver-mounted saddle and bridle a fella'd ever care to see."  "Odd, now wasn't it, if them fellas was in such a hurry to leave, why had they taken time to unsaddle that horse and give him some oats? How'd they know where them oats was, now you come to think of it?"

For a week or more the cowboy took a "heap of watching"---he was a sick man.  He stayed there for over a month, "him and his horse," but the Husons enjoyed the stranger's stay.  As Harry Huson, then a boy, said, "He was the finest lookin' man I ever saw---the pleasantest fella you could ever talk to---smart too, and well-raised and educated.  He was a good-hearted devil---had a smile a foot long.  He was a southerner, and very dark complected, musta been six feet tall and musta weighed 170 pounds.  He was sure nice to us kids.  We'd break our necks waitin' on him.  We'd do anything, just so he'd smile and tell us things in that fascinatin' southern drawl."

One day when he got so he could hobble around fairly well, the cowboy said, "Have the boys get my horse in the corral with the bunch. I aim to be leavin' in the morning."

So the following morning, sure enough, he saddled up and leading his horse back to the house, said, "Doc, how much do I owe you?  For the extra-special favors for me and my horse?"

"Well, you cowboys have a pretty hard life, have to work hard for your money---guess $25'll do the job; although, rightly, boy, I didn't figure on chargin' you a red cent.  We've all enjoyed having you here, even if we do have a tough time wondering where the next grub'll come from.  Tain't none of our business and ain't idle curiosity, just friendly interest, and if you're not sayin' won't matter.  But now that you're leavin', do you mind tellin' us what outfit you work for generally?  Hope it ain't too far away, so we'll be seein' you again soon."

The stranger didn't answer for a moment or two---just stuck his hand in his pocket and pulled out a big roll of money and handed the doctor several hundred dollar bills.  Then leading his horse, he limped over and sat down on an empty nail keg nearby and slowly and very painstakingly rolled a cigarette.  After carefully scrutinizing the finished job he lit a match and, looking up with that engaging smile of his, said, "Come on over here, you boys, and set down.  I want to tell you somethin'.  I want you to always remember it.  I'll tell you who I am---I'm Bob Dalton---just a plumb no-good train robber and outlaw, and I've been doin' this fer quite a spell; but mind now, I ain't advising you to do it.  Get what you get honest.  Do you hear?  Honest, get it honest.  Somethin' pretty bad happened to me awhile back, and for the life of me I can't seem to get it out of my head.  All the time I been a layin' here healin', it keeps popin' up and troublin' me.  My mother was on a stage I held up---she was comin' out here to find me, her son, 'cause she couldn't stand me never writin' and her never hearin' or knowin' where I was.  So after the holdup I rode into Cheyenne and hunted her up.  Hadn't seen her for ten years. She had no way a knowin' I was one of them that took her money and scared her till she was fit to be tied.  She was terrible upset.  Tried to get me to come home and get away from all this wicked country.  I gave her money and sent her back home promisin' I'd come soon; I leave her think I was doin' good and earnin' money---I mean earnin' honest money.  Boys, I lied to her and ain't atall proud that I had to tell them lies.  Boys, don't ever do nothin' that'll keep you from lookin' your ma in the eyes and knowin' you've rightly earned that proud way she has a lookin' at you.  It ain't good for a fellow to have to lie to his own ma."  And stomping his cigarette out with a boot heel he mounted and rode off at a gallop, waving goodby, as he disappeared over the hill.  The Husons never saw him again.

Although it has been questioned whether the outlaw in the story was actually Bob Dalton as the outlaw claimed, and as the documented life of Bob Dalton doesn’t mention any exploits in Wyoming, an analysis of Bob Dalton’s documented life, and the Deadwood stage indicates that this could have been Bob Dalton if it occurred around 1887 and if Bob Dalton had an undocumented life of crime in robbing the Deadwood stage (prior to his notorious life robbing trains and banks in 1890).

EDWARD WING and CLARISSA moved to Buffalo in 1882 and had one of the first log cabins on North Main Street.  There, in their home, on December 17, 1882, Katie Huson was married to Ephraim Worth Ford by Justice of the Peace, H. R. Mann, with her father, Edward Wing Huson and a man named John Paul signing as witnesses.

Three generations of Pattengill/Huson women. Mills’ Studio, Buffalo, WY. 1893? Back L – R: Lizzie, Jennie, Sadie  Front L – R: Clarissa Pattengill [m. Huson] (Doc Huson’s wife), Sarah Arnold [m. Pattengill]. On the back is written:  “Grandma Pattengill, Grandma Huson”

In 1883, the townfolk decided to remove several unsightly old Indian graves which were high up in the forks of trees on the southeast side of town.  In August, The Echo was established as the first newspaper in the area.  Dr. R. E. Hollbrook became the first dentist.  C. P. Organ and Company established a hardware and implement store, George Holt started the first drug store, R. H. Linn was the first saddle and harness maker, and Billie Hunt and James Convey established rival livery and feed stables.

After the turn of the century, when autos were becoming more common, a man was herding three horses down Main Street.  One of them was an old saddle horse which had frequently been kept at the livery, which in the meantime had been converted into the Central Garage.  The horse walked in, looked around at the shiny new cars and decided this wasn’t where he belonged, so he just calmly walked through the plate glass window and up the street.

Other businesses in Buffalo were the Cowboy, Senate, Charlie Chapin, Minnie Ha-Ha, and Kennedy saloons, the “Q.T” Bowling Alley and Saloon, the Germania House Restaurant and Beer Depot, Charles Burritt Attorney-at-Law, B. Hertzeman’s Merchant Tailor shop, Hopkin’s Meat Market, and Sam Lung’s Chinese Laundry.  Webster and Pratt set up a barber shop, and R. V. Stumbo started a restaurant.

On August 4, 1883, Helen Buell, the first white child born in Buffalo, was delivered in her father’s Occidental Hotel.

On March 3, 1884, the Territorial Legislature approved a charter for Buffalo, and it officially became a city.  The first court house was built that year, and the day after Christmas they had a Citizen’s Ball in honor of its dedication.  Tickets were $5 and included supper.  The Occidental and Monroe bands combined their talents to provide stirring music for the dancers.  At midnight, the revellers retired to the Occidental Hotel where they were served “the finest supper ever served in this county.”

The Homestead Act allowed any person to acquire 160 acres of land by living on it and cultivating it.  However, under the Desert Land Act, one could acquire 640 acres by irrigating any portion of it.

The first patent of record in Johnson County was issued to Verling K. Hart.  It was a desert claim and was located next to Fort McKinney.  This land became the original site for Buffalo.  Major Verling was the commanding officer of the fort from 1882 until his death in February, 1883.  His widow, Juliet Hart, was granted a patent for it on June 19, 1884.  She wasted no time in platting what is now Buffalo, and the plat was filed on July 29, 1884.  Until then, there had been no city plan for laying out streets or locating building sites.  People had put up buildings anywhere, and it was virtually impossible to get the plats to conform to what was already there.  The result was crooked streets.

While in Buffalo, “Doc” HUSON carried name cards listing him as “Dr. E. W. Huson, Buffalo City.”  He is reported to have treated some of the Frank James Gang for wounds.  They hung out in what is now Big Horn.

In addition to practicing medicine and running a drug store out of one of his Main Street properties, EDWARD made and fired bricks among other pursuits.  He made and fired the bricks for the Holland house built right across Main Street from his log house.  The Holland house was built in 1883 after Mrs. Juliet W. Hart offered William H. Holland an acre of land if he would build a two-story brick house costing more than $3,000.  All materials used in the house were native except the windows, hardware, and the walnut stair railing.  The bricks were made of clay and fired by Doc HUSON in the kiln south of the city park. They were 1/5th smaller in size than standard brick.  The house was still inhabited and in good shape in 1993.  Three of the original cottonwood trees are still in the yard.  The porch across the front was removed several years ago.  The house is on the northwest corner of Holland and Main streets.

Holland House in Buffalo, WY.  Doc Huson fired the bricks (notice the unusual size). Photo taken in 2000.

Doc HUSON was a Justice of the Peace in Buffalo in January 1883 performing marriages, etc.

Edward Wing Huson, Clarissa Anne Pattengill Huson

On August 29, 1883 he sold, by quit claim, part of his Main Street property to S. E. Webber for $50, described as, “the twenty feet front on Main Street on the north side of Clear Creek running east one hundred and twenty five back to the alley, the same being the lot next south of the lot occupied by the said E. W. HUSON as a drug store and residence on the south east corner of the said Main Street and the street running east to Clear Creek – directly in front of the School house in the village of Buffalo, County and Territory, aforesaid.” Book 1, p25.  Then on September 6, he sold the rest of the property to Webber, including the residence, for $300, described as, “the corner lot on the South east corner of Main and Nuel Streets twenty five feet front more or less on Main Street running east one hundred and twenty five feet more or less to the alley, across Main Street east, opposite the school house grounds, together with all the buildings now being or standing thereon, owned or occupied by the said E. W. HUSON as a Drug Store and Dwelling or otherwise.  And also all the estate and interest homestead or other claim or demand which the said party of the first part now has or may hereafter acquire of, in and to said premises.” Book 1, p26.  The HUSONs apparently moved to or were already living at their other property in Buffalo on lots two, three and four, at 315 North Main Street across from the Holland house.

He could not give a warrantee deed because he was a squatter, as were all early settlers of Buffalo since the land had not yet been owned or platted.  When Julia Hart inherited the land from her husband’s desert claim, she sold the land to the squatters.  Doc HUSON apparently had squatted on two locations and sold his squatters’ rights to one of the locations to S. E. Webber.

A daughter Edith was born in September, 1884.  CLARISSA became one of ten charter members of the Union Congregational Church there in October.


Oct. 25, 1884

HE WOULD GO ON A "TOOT".   Fisher, a cook who has been employed for the past two months at Hanna & Babcock's hotel in this town, hired a horse this week out of Farwell's livery stable for the purpose of going to Buffalo and seeing the sights. Evidently he saw more than he bargained for, and after the second day's visit he concluded to come home, but first filled himself skin-full of "booze," and, mounting the livery steed, rode quietly out of town, headed for Big Horn.  He had gone but a short distance when he became too top-heavy, and fell off, the saddle turning under the animal's belly.  The horse ran and bucked for all that was in him until he reached Billy Hunt's stable in Buffalo.  Enroute, he ran over Mr. W. W. Pringle, throwing him to the ground, knocking him insensible, and severely bruising his right shoulder, and otherwise injuring him.  Mr. Pringle lay insensible about two hours, when he was taken to his ranch south of Buffalo.  Dr. Wood, the physician who was called in, says the injuries will not prove fatal.

On October 28, 1884, Julia Hart sold to Doc HUSON lot 3, and parts of 2 and 4 in Block 16 of Buffalo for $200.  It was described as “the Northerly ten feet of lot two lot three and the southerly fifteen feet of lot four in Block 16 of Buffalo, Wyoming Territory.”  Book C, p101.

Edward Wing “Doc” Huson. 1833-1914

About December of 1884 EDWARD W. HUSON applied for a homestead on a quarter-section of land on Crazy Woman Creek (SE1/4 of S9, T51N, R79W).  EPHRAIM and KATE (HUSON) FORD had already moved to a 160 acre lazy-L shaped homestead in Section 10 (W1/2NE1/4 & S1/2NW1/4) and the HUSON’s homestead joined on their west side.  Both homesteads were on the creek bottoms just downstream from the confluence of Dry Creek and Crazy Woman.  It is not known exactly when the HUSONs moved to the homestead.  They may have lived part time at both places for a while as they obtained stock and built their home at the homestead.  They were definitely there in 1890.  Possible evidence of two dugouts at the edge of the Crazy Woman road at the homestead was found during a 1993 visit at the site.

The early homesteads in the west were obtained by either the Homestead Act of 1862 or the Desert Land Act of 1877.  Under the 1862 act, a homesteader could file for 160 acres of government land.  A five year residency and $1.25 value of improvements were required to make final proof and obtain a patent.  Mineral rights were included.  Up to 640 acres (lowered to 320 acres in 1891) could be patented by the Desert Land Act by constructing dams, ditches, etc., to provide irrigation, plus a payment of $1.25 per acre.  No residency was required, and the mineral rights went with the land.


May 2, 1885

The practice of shooting off firearms in town is getting to be a nuisance.  Those who wish to become perfect in this line should select some place for practice other than our principal streets.  A stray bullet might accidently hit the wrong mark.



May 30, 1885

Charles A. Trabing, of the firm of Trabing Brothers, Laramie City, died in Omaha last Sunday of blood poisoning.  Mr Trabing was one of the pioneer residents of Wyoming.  He was also the first man to open a store and trading post in this county, and a post office on the Wyoming stage line is named after him.



June 6, 1885

In Buffalo, under the new city ordinance, a fine of not under ten nor over twenty-five dollars will be imposed on each woman for appearing on the streets in a "Mother Hubbard."  This is a move which concerns us but little either way or the other, only that we would say to the makers of that law, please don't extend your city limits so that it would take in Big Horn.



Aug. 8, 1885

They Took Us In.   A small party of Crow Indians struck a picnic in Big Horn this week.  They loafed around several days and then interviewed THE SENTINEL office on the subject of horse racing, bringing to the office door a one-eyed, pigeon-toed, and ring-boned cayuse that didn't seem to have enough life in it to beat Charlie Round's slow mule in Buffalo, which made a record of a mile in ten minutes on the Fourth of July last.  Our "devil" had for some time been putting in trim his fleet-footed race nag, but being far minus of having enough funds in his exchequer, called upon the staff to make up the desired amount, in order that the Indians could return to the agency in a dilapidated condition financially.  The race came off, and on account of improper management on our part (we suppose this was the cause) the Indian pony came out a neck ahead.  A second race was made up the following day, with double the amount bet that was put up the previous day - and again the Indian managed to get his horse through about a neck ahead.  This was proof that either THE SENTINEL outfit didn't have a race horse, or that the Indians were equal to any emergency in the line of racing.



Aug 15, 1885

Bad Belly, a Crow chief who made a "clean-up" in horse racing in Big Horn last week, is reported to have gone north with several head of horses belonging to the Stoddard & Howard Live Stock Company.  If Bad Belly illegally came in possession of any horses belonging to a cow outfit, he will most likely receive a rounding-up from the cowboys in the form of a surprise party in the Crow camp.



Aug. 29, 1885

Col. Benteen, the officer who had charge of the pack train during Custer's campaign through this country in 1876 and who joined Reno on the Little Horn just before Custer and his command were taken in by the Sioux, is now stationed at Fort McKinney.



Oct. 17, 1885

Wanted, a barber -- Apply to the unshaven and unshorn inhabitants of Big Horn.


The Chinese must go" is the cry all over the territory.  Will one please stop at Big Horn to open a laundry?  We hesitate to advocate importation of "Chinese cheap labor", but as we must have clean clothes once a month, if not oftener, and no one else seems inclined to relieve our necessity, we apply to the last resort offered.



Dec. 12, 1885

The cold weather has driven a large number of range cattle into town, and they go wandering up and down the streets at all hours of the night in search of food and shelter.

The winter of 1885-86 was one of the coldest in Wyoming history, causing terrible loss of range stock.  After the spring thaw, masses of dead carcasses were found in the draws.


Jan. 23, 1886

Dave Larison, that grittiest of stage drivers, arrived in Big Horn Thursday last with a frozen finger on each hand, his eyes almost totally closed by the cold, and not withstanding all these ailments, any one of which would have been enough for any ordinary man to give up in despair, in all honor to his duty, this nervy fellow refused to lay over at Big Horn and permit a volunteer, of which there were several, to finish his drive for him.  After thawing out as much as possible he again grasped the lines and continued his drive - of which Big Horn is about the central station - in the face of a blinding storm of wind and snow.  Fit stuff for a hero in that man.


The cold spell continues with the thermometer thirty degrees below zero and a keen cutting wind from the northwest.



Jan. 30, 1886

Since Dave Larison, one of the drivers on the stage line from here north, was frozen so badly in the blizzard of last week, he has been laying up for repairs at Sheridan.



Feb. 20, 1886

The deepest snow of the season fell Wednesday night.



Mar. 6, 1886

The stages from the north have been delayed somewhat this week on account of the bad condition of the roads.

Julia Huson was born on December 2, 1885 and died two weeks later on the 17th.

EDWARD W. and “CLARRIE” A. HUSON mortgaged their home in Buffalo at 315 North Main Street to Charles Bilderback on March 29, 1886 for $265 for six months.  Book 2, p268.


Apr. 3, 1886

The drivers on the Wyoming stage line are a unit in declaring the present condition of the roads the worst in their memory.



June 5, 1886

Dave Larison, who pulled the ribbons on one of the coaches on the Wyoming stage line for a period of three years, and who recently located near Bingham to follow the life of a granger, has gone to Miles City, where he will list himself among the ranks of benedicts.  Dave's friends are legion in this neck o'the woods, who wish him joy and prosperity in his new departure.

On June 8, 1886 EDWARD W. and “CLARISA” A. HUSON sold their property across from the Holland house to John Phillips for $1,000 and and paid off the mortgage.  “KATTIE” (HUSON) FORD, their oldest daughter, was one of the two witnesses to the transaction.  Book C, p329.

On June 9, 1886 EDWARD HUSON bought 14 mares with 8 colts from Charles Builderback with a chattel mortgage for $270.20, to be paid four months later with interest thereon of 10 percent per annum. (Book B, 193-5)

The mares were as follows:
- one dark brown mare with colt running by her side
- one buckskin mare with yearling colt running by her side
- one dark bay mare 4 years old with yearling colt
- one light buckskin mare 4 years old with yearling colt
- one light bay mare with young colt running by her side
- one bright bay mare 4 years old
- one daple gray mare 8 years old
- one light gray mare 4 years old with colt running by her side
- one dark brown mare 5 years old
- one buckskin mare 5 years old
- one dark sorrel mare 3 years old with colt running by her side
- one chestnut mare with colt running by her side
- one light sorrel mare 3 years old
- one light bay mare 4 years old

All of said above being branded “P” on the left shoulder, colts unbranded.



Jul. 31, 1886

Grasshoppers are reported as doing considerable damage in some parts of the county.


A PUBLIC DISGRACE.  There is a period in the history of all frontier towns when it makes but little difference whether houses of prostitution are conducted openly in the principal business streets or not, but as towns build up and a better class of people become the controlling power, such places of infamy are usually consigned to the back streets and their inmates frequently brought before the city authorities and compelled to pay a fine in case they violate any of the city ordinances.  Different in this town.  A stranger coming to Buffalo need not wait until the gas light looms up in order to see the extent of vice.  The nigger houses of prostitution, conducted openly on Main street and the inmates thereof appearing in the street half clad, is sufficient for any ordinary being to become at once disgusted with the town and the men who have the power to enforce the ordinances.  Gentlemen of the city council!  We appeal to you on behalf of the business men of Buffalo, and for the sake of the better class of our female population, to make some move in the direction of compelling the colored prostitutes to take up quarters elsewhere than on the principal street, and to see that their appearance on the streets, in a manner beyond all lines of decency, will hereafter be a thing of the past.

On June 11, 1887, “Doc” HUSON bought some 5 horses from James Murray for a chattle mortgage of $250 to be paid November 11, 1888 with interest of 10 percent per annum. (Book B, p619-20) The mortgage was paid in full on November 12, 1889.

The horses were as follows:
- one dark grey stallion branded thus (see A below) on the left shoulder
- one bay mare with a star in the forehead
- two grey mares
- one brown mare

All the mares branded (see B below) on the left hip and (see C below) on the left shoulder.
Huson Brands

EPHRAIM and KATE received a formal printed wedding notice from her older brother William O. Huson addressed to E. W. FORD, Beckton, Wyoming Territory, postmarked received at Big Horn, Wyo., Feb. 10, 1888, one cent postage, as follows:

W. O. Huson
Florence Grove

Mr. & Mrs. W. O. Huson

Married January 23rd, 1888

After February 10th, 1888
Kingman, Arizona



Feb. 4, 1888

Elsewhere in this issue appears the announcement of a dance to be given in Big Horn, on the 22nd, in Skinners hall.  Big Horn has always been noted for its dances, and from the arrangements being made for this one we are led to believe it will surpass any previous occasion of the kind ever given in that town.  Tom Green has the affair in hand, and you may rest assured of a pleasant time should you attend.


in Skinner's Hall,

Wednesday Evening

The best of music and a general good
time for everyone.


Feb. 25, 1888


The dance given at Big Horn last Wednesday evening (Washington's birthday) was well attended, and proved to be one of the most enjoyable of the season.  Early in the evening the participants, who were mostly Big Horn people, began to assemble at the hall, and soon there were arrayed in their best about twenty-five of her fair ones ready to trip the light fantastic, which commenced at about 8:30 o'clock.  This time Big Horn was in excess of its chivalry, which no doubt had a consoling effect on the young men, as on other occasions they often got left.  The music, which comprised three violins, cornet, and organ, was excellent, and the prompting of J. W. Howard was good.  At twelve o'clock supper was served at the Oriental, by the landlady of that popular hotel, who on this occasion prepared one of the finest repasts ever spread before a gathering of this kind in the country - turkey, chicken, oysters, salads, pickles, sauces, jellies, etc., etc. - and it undoubtedly had the desired effect of satisfying the appetites of the merry makers.  After supper was served they repaired again to the hall and continued the pleasurable excitement until the wee small hours of morning, when all left for their homes well pleased with the evening's entertainment.



May 12, 1888

For the past ten days our town has been crowded with cowboys and wagons taking in supplies and making other preparations for the spring round-up which commenced near Ohlman on the 15th.  George Lord is captain, and it is needless to say the work will be done thoroughly and well.


Some of the saloons have the following notices posted on their front doors during Saturday:  "Have your Sunday bottles filled here."



July 21, 1888

There is a dog in town called Dick which performed the remarkable feat of traveling alone from Missouri this summer back to Sheridan.  He was owned by a man who formerly lived here, but returned to his home in the east last fall, taking the dog with him, and great was the surprise of the people when he put in an appearance a short time ago.  He is evidently stuck on the country.

In August or early September of 1889, KATE (HUSON) FORD is thought to have had a still-birth, and she and EPHRAIM sold their homestead on October 8 to Erain Wickard (Book E, p255) and went to his brother Jim’s ranch in Osborne County, Kansas with their three small children and belongings.  Kate died there on December 9, a month after arriving.


Nov. 24, 1888

The festive cowboy has returned from the range with his pockets filled with gold galore, after a season of hard toil, and asks for a new deal.  He will help make the town lively during the winter.

On December 7, 1889, EDWARD WING HUSON got the final receipt on their Crazy Woman homestead.  (Book H, p384)

In 1890, the family of Jerome F. Brown moved in next to the HUSONs on Crazy Woman Creek, and one of the children, Edna, wrote of their experiences there during the period.  [They may have taken over EPHRAIM and KATE’s homestead from Erain Wickard.]

"MY STORY" by Edna Brown Wood

pp XXXIX-LIII  (Buffalo, Wyoming Library)

The spring of 1890 Father [Jerome F. Brown] decided that he wanted to advance in the cattle business.  For this he needed more land, or rather more range.  He obtained a homestead on Crazy Woman Creek.  I think he bought a relinquishment or else he refiled on an abandoned claim.  It was situated 25 miles east of Buffalo, within 4 or 5 miles of the mouth of Crazy Woman Creek. [Actually it was about 15 miles southwest of the mouth]

It was around the first of April 1890 that we left the Hopkins Ranch and sallied forth on a new adventure.  I well remember the trip. I thought it was fun.  I rode Cub and helped drive the cows.  The roads were quite well dried up after the spring rains and snows except for a few mud holes.  We ate our lunches as we rode along.  Mostly crackers and cheese; it tasted mighty good.  It took two days to make the trip. About 15 miles east of Buffalo we came to a ranch where we stayed all night.  Then the next day we reached our new home early in the day. The hills were green with the first of the spring grass.  The house was a very crude affair of logs and dirt roof.  It had small windows.  It wasn't long, however, before work was begun on a new addition.  It consisted of one large room with a partition across one end which was divided into two bedrooms.  In the west end of the large room there was a large double window, which was filled with Mother's house plants of different varieties, which soon presented a mass of bright blossoms and beautiful foliage.  The addition was made of large cottonwood logs.

There were corrals and barns built and fencing done.  Sage brush grew tall and rank around the house.  So while the men folks were doing the building, Mother spent her spare time grubbing sage brush.  I helped sometimes.  In the evenings when we had a great pile of sage brush, we would have an immense bonfire around which all the family gathered with cheerful repartee.  And the milk cows were kept in the pastures while the rest of the stock was turned out on the hills.

In the fall Father was instrumental in obtaining a school for that locality.  A small hut fourteen by sixteen feet in size with dirt roof and a dirt floor, which stood on land about a half mile from our home, was utilized.  The teacher boarded at our home and the term of school covered a period of four months.  There were five other pupils besides Roy and me.

Through Father's efforts a post office was granted to this section of the country.  Our ranch being centrally located, Father received the appointment of Postmaster.  The duties of the office were performed in one corner of the living room in our house.  The mail route extended from Buffalo to Sundance and the mail was transported by the reliable Pony Express.  The settlers and cowboys came for many miles to get their mail at this office which was called Landgrove.

Our nearest neighbor was a family known as Huson.  There were several small children.  The oldest child was a girl about my age whose name was Lizzie.  We had many good times together.  Mrs. Huson was a very nice woman and every day or two she brought her sewing and spent the afternoon with Mother.  Lizzie and I learned to crotchet and we were together most of the time.  They lived about a half mile from us. The Husons later moved to Clearmont near the old U-Cross Ranch.  Just below us about a mile and a half was another ranch.  The owner's name was Sonne.  His wife was a notorious character.  A man by the name of Jack Miller lived with them.  Their reputations were not enviable.  But they didn't bother us much.

These people had a few cows on the range, enough to use for a "blind" which enabled them to sell beef cattle which they usually stole.  Jack Miller was under suspicion as a cattle thief, but authorities up to this time had not had sufficient evidence to convict him.  He was a pale-faced man with a restless, bleary eye.  He had the reputation of associating with lewd women.  Because of these rumors I always avoided him for I was afraid of him.  It was quite generally known that Mrs. Sonne was his mistress.  No other woman on the creek associated with her.

About three miles down the creek on another ranch lived another group of people who represented the type of small cattlemen who considered it their privilege to brand mavericks on the range according to a law which held that if a man possessed a bunch of cattle running loose on the range, he was entitled to brand an unbranded calf away from its mother.  It was practically understood that that was how the large cattle companies had increased their flocks.  Some had paid cowboys to rustle mavericks for them.  But things were changing now with the coming of the small ranches or settlers.  The cattle men were seeing a vision, which did not include him as the supreme being, or did not permit him the freedom he had once enjoyed.  Stricter laws were made, the enforcement of which came to be a mighty problem.  Then, on the other hand, here was my Father with perhaps 35 head of milk cows with I suppose a few head of young cattle, who had settled here in the hills that he might have free range, thus cutting the cost of feeding. The branding of mavericks did not provide any temptation to him for his only motive was to have access to this free open range.  He came to build a home, to promote and establish a better civilization.  "To live by the side of the road and be a friend of man".  When we settled on the banks of Crazy Woman he became what was called a "Nester", which the cattlemen considered a menace.  Father was well within his rights-¬he would never willingly be a menace to any man.

Thus, here within a radius of 10 miles, there were three distinct types of cattlemen, which were doomed to be at opposing points in a dangerous situation.  Jack Miller, a petty, sneaking cattle thief, who couldn't look himself in the eye while he shaved, let alone any other human being.  There was a bunch of cattle rustlers headed by Jack Bell who maintained that they were within their rights by taking what was as much theirs as anyone's.   All neighbors.

We made cheese back in a cave dug back in the bank that first summer.  Father made a trip to Buffalo every week.  There was butter, cheese, and eggs to sell.  Then he bought a magnificent Clydesdale stallion for breeding purposes.  He wanted to produce a larger strain of horse flesh from the small cow pony.  Taking care of the animal was a big job, for he had to be taken out of the stables for exercise twice or three times a day.  What a sight he was to see, dancing along the end of his rope, running in circles around his manager.

The mail came three times a week.  They changed horses and some times ate a noon meal at our place.  This was an exciting event for us. He brought a bit of news each time.  He usually had some interesting experience to tell about his trip - so we always looked forward to his coming.

As the summer advanced there was some riding to do.  Besides the cattle out on the hills, there was the bunch of mares and geldings to keep an eye on.  If they did not come in to water every two days, I had to go locate them and get them in if possible or if they happened to be near a water hole, I counted them and left them alone.  Thus began my experience as a "cowgirl".   I never learned to throw a rope, nor did I have a desire to ride a bucking horse.  But I knew the hills, I learned the habits of the herds of horses and cattle, so that when I set out to find certain ones of the range stock I could do so with such little trouble that Father said it was uncanny.  Sometimes out of the main herd of horses there would be one of the mares missing, then I would look for, and find her, in some ravine or secluded spot, with her wee baby colt.  This always gave me a lot of pleasure.  Father's brand was E-5 for both horses and cattle.  When at last he possessed a few colts old enough to break for the saddle or harness as the case may be, it fell to my lot to help with the "hazing" if for the saddle, and to hold the foot rope if for the harness.  In "hazing" for a bronc it was necessary to ride close by, ready to cut in and steer the bronco if possible away from a wire fence or a precipice.  It was fun to race along the side of a bucking, squealing, kicking bronco.

Cub was too slow for this, so in the course of time I was given a dapple grey horse to ride.  We called him Eagle and he was fast and smart.  When I rode close to a running horse to haze him away from trouble, I could feel Eagle push against the bronc.  This amused me for I knew that my horse understood what was expected of him.  He was a dear and I was more fond of him than of any one I knew in the whole world, excepting my own intimate family.

How I used to love to ride!  It might be thrilling to race over a paved road in an automobile at 80 miles an hour, but to me nothing can beat the feel of rippling horse flesh beneath the saddle as you take the trail together.  This horse became well known and admired by everyone.  He was spoken of as "The little grey the Brown girl rides". "Which Brown?"  "Why, Cheese Brown."  I was referred to as "Cheese Brown's girl."

When a new driving horse was broke to the harness, he was hitched up to the wagon with a large gentle horse.  Attached to one foot of the bronc was a long stout rope.  I was usually  detailed to go along and hold this rope.  Sitting on the seat by the driver or standing up some times, I was expected to keep cool while the wagon lurched and bounced around when the bronc took his first lesson in the harness.  I was not supposed to jerk the rope till the psychological moment when the driver would call "jerk it".  I did my stuff and the floundering victim in the harness would be thrown on his knees.  Tactics repeated once or twice would make a humble bronco out of him.  Sometimes we would upset.  The wagon seat seemed to have a fondness of following me through the air, but it never caught me, for when I felt solid earth under me, I kept right on rolling till I was away from all flying pieces of wreckage, even the driver.  My dexterity in making myself scarce at the right moment during these exciting mixups was a joke.

There came a time when serious rumors were afloat concerning the feelings between the so-called rustlers and the cattle barons.  Father was warned against Jack Bell and his gang who lived on a ranch just below us.  Father told me if I ever saw smoke rising from a small fire in an unexpected spot, or if I saw cowboys engaged in roping cattle, to give them a wide berth, for to surprise a rustler in the act of branding a maverick was regarded as a dangerous situation.  But I could not bring myself to think that Jack Bell and his companions could be utterly lawless.  These steady eyed, calm-mannered men, who were generous good neighbors.  They accorded Mother and me the old-fashioned courtesy of "home" folks.  The first year we lived there, Grandpa Martin held religious services in the front room of our home several times.  The families along the creek came and these cowboys came too. Jack Bell said, "It's sure been a long time since I went to a church". Some of the others said, "Ain't been to a church since I left home back in Missouri", or "down in Texas", or "in Virginia".  And they came dressed in their Sunday best.  They removed their spurs and their guns and they stood with bowed head while Grandfather prayed.  They were enthusiastic over the singing of hymns.  Once I caught a mischievious look in Jack Bell's eyes when one of the boys sang with more than usual gusto, and when the song was ended and the other boy saw that twinkle in the eyes of his friend, there were some hot looks exchanged.  In the course of the three years we lived as neighbors, these boys came to our house often.  Mother had a big Thanksgiving dinner for them once, and Father often asked them up to Sunday dinner.  For they were bachelors and enjoyed Mother's cooking.  In the long winter evenings they came to cards, "high five" being the popular game at that time.  Then too, Mother often shared her household medicines with them during an epidemic of grippe and treated their eyes for snowblindness.  They seemed fine and good, we were all fond of them.

Late in the fall of 1890, Frank Grouard rode in most unexpectedly. He told Father he came down to hunt deer and antelope that roamed the hills in large numbers.  After letting his pony, which he called "Cayuse", rest two days he planned on rising at 4:30 some morning, and take a day's hunt in the hills.  I wanted to go too, so I asked Mother if it would be all right to go hunting with him.  Mother said yes, if he didn't mind being bothered with me.  So at daylight we started out. I rode my grey Eagle; he rode his little Cayuse, which looked so small under him that I felt like telling him to get off and let the pony ride awhile.  We forded Crazy Woman Creek and went out towards the Powder River divide.  Once I started to talk and he motioned me to be still. That ride taught me how to ride in absolute silence.  I found it possible to guide my horse on soil so that his hoofs made no sound.  On seeing deer, Grouard gestured -- gave me orders of what to do by gestures.  This delighted me for I knew he was using his Indian prowess in this hunt.. I wish I could explain his cunning.  Some times using stealth, other times depending on his swift prompt action.  When we rode home there were eight deer lying "dressed" out on the hills. Grouard was without hat, coat, vest, neckerchief, outside shirt, both socks, pocket handkerchief, when we returned.  He left these articles of clothing on the "kill" to keep the coyotes away from them.  The next morning Father took the little team of mules, hitched to the running gears of the wagon, and went out to bring in the trophies of the hunt. Grouard and I went along on horseback.  We had many a laugh that day at Father's efforts to keep right side up when traveling on a side hill or crossing a deep gulch.  In fact, poor Father acted as though he was peeved at having to undergo such a harrowing experience.  It took several days to cut and dry some of the venison.  When it was ready to eat, it was the best dried venison I had ever tasted.  Grouard took most of this meat back to the garrison at Ft. McKinney.  Father hauled it in for him.

At round-up time when the round-ups neared Landgrove, letters came in the mail for the cowboys days ahead of time.  This colored the days with a little romance for me because I flirted with them quite openly. Since there was nothing else to do I thought why shouldn't I flirt with them just a little?  It was fun to see the cowboys look surprised when they saw Mother or me.  Evidently they expected the postmaster to be a grizzled old homesteader.  Their reactions to our home and surroundings were very amusing to us.  The window full of house plants always brought forth pleasant comments.  One day a certain cowboy who had been a previous visitor came to mail a bundle of letters.  I went to the desk to get the postage stamps.  In the act of handing me the money for the stamps, he placed his hat on the corner of the table close to me. When I turned I caught a glimpse of something unusual, then I saw that a large rattlesnake took the place of the usual band around the crown of his hat.  I was startled for a moment and gave a little scream which of course was what the cowboy expected I would do.  Then he at once began to apologize, saying, "Why, lady, I'm sorry - I didn't dream it would scare you.'  It didn't take much imagination on my part to see him telling this story to the other cowboys around the campfire that night.

When the roundup camped in our neighborhood, we usually paid them a visit.  It was fun to eat around the mess wagon.  The food was always of excellent quality.  And the cowboys were always courteous and sociable and jolly.  Sometimes great herds of longhorn Texas cattle passed our house.  Once I recall an extraordinary large herd that was about three hours in passing.  The riders accompanying these droves were always hot and dusty and thirsty.  They always received a welcome at our ranch, for whenever Mother heard the distant mooing of cattle, she would say to me, "Get a bucket of ice water ready".  And sometimes there was cold fresh buttermilk which they deeply appreciated.

It was about this time that the heifer that Roy and I had bought with the "pig money" presented us with a very handsome steer calf --the morning of the Fourth of July, 1891.  We had hoped, of course, that we might be fortunate enough to get another heifer.  But fate had a hand in this affair, though we could not see it then.  However, we accepted the "razing" about our rapid increase in the stock business cheerfully enough, until in sympathy Mother said, "Never mind, Edna, you can sell him for enough to get you an organ when he is two years old".  So, we named him Benjamin Franklin after that well-known exponent of independence, and planned accordingly.  But as time passed, the idea of an organ from his share of the calf did not appeal to my partner, so I proposed that Roy trade me his share of the calf for my share of the cow.  This proposition was accepted.  In due time Benjamine joined the "bucket brigade" and grew into a well proportioned skim milk calf, received his earmark, then the final badge of honor, the E-5 on his right side, turned out on the range, the prideful possession of Miss Edna Brown of Landgrove, Wyoming.

The public road passing our house became a popular highway.  In due course travelers stopped at our house for meals and to feed and rest their horses.  A stage route was established between Sundance and Buffalo which took the place of the mail carrier and pony.  It was a thrilling moment when the heavy overland stage drawn by four horses swung into a full gallop as they neared the gate.  From the gate to the barn nothing could hold them down and the lumbering old coach would turn in the gateway with the horses prancing on their hind feet.  It was exciting to watch while the fresh horses were being hitched up, which usually required three men.  The horse wranglers stood at the head of the lead team till the driver was in his seat with a sure control of the lines.  With a shout from the driver the four spirited horses would rear and plunge till they were well out in the road.  Then they were given a looser rein and would travel with a slow and steady trot.  Thus, living by the side of the road, meeting all kinds of people, gave a zest to our experiences and there were very few dull days during the summer months.  The name of Landgrove Post Office became the Landgrove Road Ranch.  The horses that were used on the stage route were kept in our stables and the wrangler boarded at our house.

Oath Speilman, a mail carrier who had showed me some attention was offered a job in Sundance, and decided to accept.  The day he made his last trip through with the mail, he asked me to saddle Eagle and ride with him a ways.  While I was putting on my riding habit he saddled Eagle for me and when he led him to the door for me to mount, Eagle was wearing some new martingales with lovely ivory rings and attachments, a gift from Oath.  Eagle danced along so proudly and I was pleased for anything to add to my riding equipment.  Oath talked seriously of his plans for the next spring when he would be coming back.  He asked me to write to him, to not forget him, and to wait for him.  Under the impulse of the moment, I promised him all those things.  Father soon discovered that I was writing to him and objected.  So I wrote to Oath that this could go on no longer.  He, however, had different ideas, and arranged with another mail carrier to pass our letters between us.  I soon looked back on these occurrences and laughed over them.  But at the time, they assumed serious proportions to me, and while the secret correspondence continued for some time, I silently accepted the situation brought about by my Father.  How funny life is after all!

Another family had moved in the community consisting of Mr. and Mrs. Stewart, and the two children of Mrs. Stewart's former marriage, Laura and Al Tytler.  I liked Laura; we were good friends.  She married Billy Cameron after the cattle war.  The man, Stewart, joined forces with the rustlers below us, but left the country the spring of 1892. Laura and I used to ride together a lot, she always admired Eagle and told me that we made a pretty picture together.  She was a very pretty girl, having many admirers among the cowboys.  We never regarded each other as rivals though.  We used to beautiful ourselves with buttermilk and real cream if we could snitch it off the pans and Mother not know it.  We used the juice of lemons too, for bleaching our skin.  Although we were outdoors constantly we did not allow our faces to get tanned. She never understood why my hands were whiter than hers, but I knew it was because I drew off the warm sweet "whey" from the cheese as it was being made and gave my hands a long bath in it.  Then I never exposed my hands to the sun.  We wore hats that completely shaded our faces, and gauntlet gloves always.  Thus we managed to keep our pink and white complexions.  You just weren't "in it" if you lost your white skin by the sun and wind, no matter how much you were outdoors.

When it came branding time that fall, Jack Bell offered to help Father, who gladly accepted the offer.  Jack came, bringing one of his men.  They worked all day and had dinner with us.  Heavy snows did not fall early that year; grazing was good until after the first of the year.  Father had some wild hay that he fed his milk cows.

On January 9, 1891, EDWARD W. and “CLARISSIE” HUSON sold the homestead on Crazy Woman for $500 to Aaron Kline, “a single man,” providing a warrantee deed for the “lands and premises” described as follows: “The South-East quarter (SE1/4) of Section Nine (9), in Township Fifty-one (51) North of Range Seventy nine (79) west of the Sixth Principle Meridian.”  Charles H. Burritt of Buffalo, Notary (Book E, p348)

On the same day they bought two lots in Buffalo from Aaron Kline for $150, described as: “Lots numbered Twenty Seven (27) and Twenty eight (28) in block Fifteen (15) in the City of Buffalo.”(Book E, p349)

On April 2, 1891 EDWARD and CLARISSA HUSON sold lots 27 & 28 in Buffalo they had bought just three months earlier.  They sold to Decatur Brown for $200.  (Book E, p543)

One can only speculate what happened here.  Three possibilities are that they wanted a place in Buffalo to stay for the rest of the winter before moving to Lone Tree Draw; buying the lots from Aaron Kline was simply a requirement of the deal for the homestead; or, they thought they would move back to Buffalo, and once there, changed their minds.

They moved over onto Clear Creek at the mouth of Lone Tree Draw. The family built a large stone house with rock quarried from a pit on Lone Tree Draw north and west of the house.  Two of the boys, Harry and Fred, packed mud for the rocks.  On July 16, 1892, CLARISSA’s mother, SARAH PATTENGILL, obtained a homestead patent (#614-T54N-R79W; E1/2NE1/4 & SW1/4NE1/4, S31) for 120 acres at $1.25 per acre. That same day she sold it to EDWARD WING for $3,000 total.  The house was used for a time as a stage stop on the Moorcroft-to-Buffalo route before Clearmont became an incorporated town.  Edward built a square rock building, with two open windows on opposite sides, about a mile west of the rock house, for a school.  [The school was still standing in 1993, but was not used.  The HUSON rock house was still occupied in 1993.]

Edward and Clarissa stone house two miles west of Clearmont, WY on highway. Stone house was built by Doc Huson. Photo taken in 1999.

“Doc” HUSON was the area’s doctor for a number of years.  In December 1892, EDWARD rode 60 miles to deliver a baby. When he got back, his wife CLARISSA had delivered a son, Samuel, their sixteenth and last child.

Across Lone Tree Draw from the house was a small settlement named Huson or Husonville, where EDWARD had a general mercantile store. There was also a bank.  EDWARD was the first postmaster, with the post office in his home, although only from April 29th to November 30th of 1892 before it was moved to Clearmont three miles east.

Fred Huson, Esther (Ely) Huson, baby Violet Leah Huson. Thought to be “Doc” Huson’s merchantile store in Clearmont, WY. 1911

This is thought by some surviving family members to be the location of Doc Huson’s mercantile in Clearmont, WY.

There was a small cemetery across from the HUSON home.  A flood washed the cutbank and exposed some of the caskets.  They had to be moved.  SARAH PATTENGILL’s casket was moved to Buffalo.  It is not known whether her husband Asaph was also moved.

Asaph and Sarah (Arnold) Pattengill (Clarissa’s parents, Doc Huson’s in-laws). Asaph died before 1892.


(Library; Buffalo, Wyoming)

He came by 4-horse stage from Suggs, which is where Arvada now is, and Jimmy Childs who was the stage driver tipped them over at Double Crossing.  That was this side of Clearmont about four miles, wetting all of them - 13 on this old Concord Stage and their luggage.  They stayed all night at old Doc HUSON's, that's about three miles west of Clearmont where the stone house is that Tex Ellis now lives in.  It was a half-way house then between Suggs and Buffalo.  Doc HUSON, Harry's father - Harry still lives here in Buffalo - was a Civil War veteran and a very colorful story teller.  And he entertained his guests after supper with stories of the old west.  One of the young ladies who was on the stage asked Doc, "Mr. HUSON, did you ever fight Indians?" "Well, did I ever fight Indians" he said.  "Why we used to fight them every fall here when we would go up hunting deer.  One time, we went up back of Big Horn hunting deer and we looked back and here come a whole bunch of Indians with war paint on following us up this canyon.  We thought we could go right up the canyon and then go out on top and get away from the Indians.  We got up to the top of the canyon and it was a straight up and down wall about 300 feet high and we couldn't do a thing.  We had to stop right there."  Old Doc kind of stopped and didn't say anything for a few minutes and one of the school teachers said, "Well Doctor HUSON, what happened?"  He said, laughing, "They killed every damn one of us."

In 1892 the Burlington-Missouri Railroad reached Huson.  Finding the location inadequate for its operation, the town site was moved 1 1/2 miles northeast to its present site and named Clearmont, after Clear Creek, and because you could see the mountains from there.  Prior to this, there were only two families living in the area.  The railroad reached Clearmont in early winter, and operations stopped for the winter while the decision was made as to which way to go from there. Sheridan was decided upon, and the following spring work was resumed. Fills and grades were made with horses, slips moving the dirt.  The town was teeming with activity.  The railroad construction crews consisted mostly of the kind-hearted, hard-working, hard-drinking Irishmen. The train crews had to stop and open the gates across the tracks.  The train picked up passengers along the way.

Town of Clearmont, WY in 2000 looking from the Sunnybrook Cemetery. The railroad runs in front of the town.

About 1914, a man named Duffy built a train from Clearmont to Buffalo on a slim budget.  The track was laid so poorly that the train could only go at a fast creep because of the sway of the cars caused by the uneven rails.  It was known as the BABM (Buffalo and Back – Maybe).

Joan Loafman opened a hotel in early Clearmont.  “Doc” HUSON had a store for several years.  He used to ride a donkey the three miles from the rock house to work each day.  Other early-day merchants were Billie Hunt, Ed Tway (better known as “Eat-Um-Up-Jake”), and J. R. Summers.

In August of 1893, Robert Foote, a prominent Buffalo mercantile owner, filed a civil lawsuit against Doc HUSON claiming that he owed $216.30 for merchandise provided. Reportedly Doc HUSON had received a check for $120.13 from J. J. McCullough of the Burlington Stage and Express Company on April 4, 1892 and endorsed it over to Robert Foote on the following day to pay his account. Robert Foote claimed that Doc HUSON subsequently purchased additional goods totalling $96.17. When Robert Foote presented the check to J. J. McCullough for payment, J.J. McCullough refused to pay. A summons was issued and Doc HUSON was not found in Johnson County. A second summons was issued in September and this time it was delivered. In October, Doc HUSON filed a motion requesting to see a copy of the uncashed check and a listing of reported goods purchased on account. In February of 1894, Robert Foote submitted an amended lawsuit now claiming that Doc HUSON had wittingly falsely endorsed a check payable to E. M. Husen. In May of 1894 Doc HUSON submitted a response to the lawsuit, stating he didn’t owe any money and asked that the case be dismissed due to lack of evidence. In June, Robert Foote provided a listing of goods allegedly sold to Doc HUSON and totaling $216.30. In November, Doc HUSON responded to the lawsuit with his side of the story. He started by stating that the list provided by Robert Foote was not a true account of goods that he purchased. Then he admitted that he had an outstanding balance, but said that he had endorsed the check in April 1892 and Robert Foote had accepted that as partial payment. Then Robert Foote, through negligence, failed to redeem the check in time from J. J. McCullough. Then in July of 1893 Doc HUSON attempted to pay the balance he owed, but since Robert Foote hadn’t collected the partial payment from J. J. McCullough, he refused to accept the payment on the balance and instead filed the lawsuit. Doc HUSON then petitioned the case to be dismissed. The judgment was missing from the court documents, but the card was marked “Judgement for the plaintiff, November 15, 1894.”

In his autobiography, Wyoming Peace Officer, p106-8, Joe LeFors tells how he convinced Ed Tway, who had been rustling cattle, to turn states evidence on his friends and neighbors, who were also rustling. Ed got them all together, and LeFores arrested them. (1896)

At this time (1890s) the country around Clearmont was a cattle range with annual round-ups.  The biggest operation in the area was the Pratt and Ferris Cattle Company.  One year they branded 30,000 calves. Clearmont became the supply center of the valley, shipping supplies to either Buffalo or Clearmont in three large covered wagons pulled by eight to ten teams.  There was also a stagecoach line for mail, passengers and a little freight.  A trip on the stage was a risky and adventurous experience.   At one time there were four saloons in Clearmont, and during this period the town was known as “Bloody Clearmont,” as almost every week cowboys rode in and shot up the town.  There were also private feuds that caused much gunfire.  The gun-play was characteristic of all new frontier towns, especially where railroad builders had camps.  The county seat, Sheridan, had its own “Bucket of Blood” saloon.

Jennie (Huson) Weeden died on June 15, 1899 in Buffalo, Wyoming.

In 1900, according to the Federal Census, Edward was a merchant in Clearmont, and his at-home family included Edith, Wing, Frances (Fannie), Samuel, and a lady school teacher named Sophie Roll as a boarder.

L – R: Edith (Huson) Patton, Frances “Fannie” (Huson) Donaldson. L. B. Glafcke Photographer, Sheridan, WY.

Sadie and her five children were living nearby.  Harry and Fred were on Harry’s place at Spotted Horse, and their sister Clara was living with them along with her three children by Billie Hunt.  Their 82-year-old grandmother, SARAH PATTENGILL, was also living with them. ASAPH PATTENGILL must have died prior to 1900.  ASAPH and SARAH PATTENGILL had eight children total, and two were still living in 1900 (CLARISSA was one).

Sarah Arnold [m. Pattengill] (Clarissa’s mother, Doc Huson’s mother-in-law); c. 1906. Sarah died in 1907.
In 1900, the Federal Census listed the HUSON’s neighbors at Clearmont to include a school teacher, saloon keeper, railroad pump engineer, railroad section foreman, telegraph operator, stage driver, bartender, roundup foreman, cook, many cowboys, and a cattleman.

Sadie (Huson) Arrington died on May 25, 1901 in Clearmont, Wyoming.

Sadie Clarissa (Huson) Arrington] (daughter of Doc Huson) c. 1901. 1/16/1873 – 5/25/1901

Sadie Clarissa (Huson) Arrington] (daughter of Doc Huson) c. 1901.

In 1905, Harry and Fred applied for separate homesteads.  Fred’s was a 280 acre tract located about two miles northwest of his parents’ stone house, and straddling Town Draw just north of Lone Tree Draw.  He received the patent in June 1910.  Harry’s was an L-shaped 120 acre homestead adjoining EDWARD WING and CLARISSA’s property on it’s north and east sides, and including the confluence of Clear Creek and Lone Tree Creek.  The main highway ran through the middle of it.  Harry received the patent in July 1910.

In 1910 in the Clearmont area, EDWARD, a doctor, and CLARISSA were still living in the stone house with son Sam, who was a laborer at odd jobs, and granddaughter, Lucina Hunt, Carrie’s 20 year old daughter.

Back L – R: Mabel (Kephart) Huson (Sam’s wife), Edith (Huson) Patton, Fannie (Huson) Donaldson and baby Harold Donaldson, Ted Patton, Bernard Patton. Front L – R: Harry Huson, Edward Huson, Clarissa (Pattengill) Huson, Carrie (Huson) Hunt, Irene Patton Back: Helen Hunt, Lucinda Hunt. c. 1911. Doc Huson died in 1914, Sam married Mabel in 1911.

Living nearby were:

  • Harry Huson, raising sheep, with wife May, and her 7 year old son Homer.
  • William Donaldson, freight depot agent, and wife Fannie (Huson).
  • Fred Patton, laborer at odd jobs, wife Edith (Huson), and children Irena, Bernard, and Theodore.
  • Theodore Weeden, widower of Jennie (Huson), and his daughter, Sylvia, in the home of his nephew, George Freede, laborer at odd jobs, and George’s wife Jennie.
  • Fred Huson, working as a wool grower.
  • Wing (Edward, Jr.) Huson, a herder on a stock ranch, and wife Mabel and son Gerald.
L – R: William Donaldson, Frannie (Huson) Donaldson, Doc Huson, Clarissa (Pattengill) Huson

EDWARD WING HUSON died at Clearmont on November 26, 1914, and was buried in the Sunnybrook Cemetery located on the hillside across the railroad tracks.  Other Husons buried at Clearmont include Fred, Sadie Arrington, Jennie Weeden (whose husband Theodore had his ashes scattered over her grave when he died), Harry Huson’s first wife May, and CLARISSA.

Sheridan Enterprise, Sheridan, Wyo.,
November 27, 1914


Dr. E. W. Huson, father of sixteen children and one of the pioneer settlers of Sheridan county died at Clearmont Wednesday morning after an illness of about two months.

Dr. Huson was born in Buffalo [actually Boston] N.Y., in 1833.  In 1862 he married Miss Clara Pettingell in Iowa.  In 1882 the Huson family moved to Northern Wyoming.  At that time there were only two settlers on the Big Goose [Creek] and only two or three families in the country north of Buffalo.  Dr. Huson was one of the first justices of the peace in Sheridan county. He moved to Clearmont in 1890, two years after the railroad reached there.  He was a devout Christian and leader in everything good in the community. He is survived by his wife and nine children: W. O. Huson, Klamath Falls, Oregon; W. E. Huson, Spokane; F. G. Huson and S. T. Huson, Clearmont; H. H. Huson, Buffalo; Mrs. Clara Hunt, Sheridan; Mrs. T. L. Avant, Riddle, Idaho; Mrs. Edith Patton and Mrs. Fanny Donaldson, Clearmont.

The funeral was held yesterday at Clearmont.  Dr. David E. Kendall of Sheridan officiated.  Burial was made in the Clearmont cemetery.

The Homesteads at Spotted Horse

The earlier Huson homesteads near Clearmont were obtained under the Homestead Act of 1862 which allowed filing for 160 acres with a residency requirement of five years to obtain a patent.  The Mondrell Homestead Act of 1909 allowed filing for 320 acres and reduced the residency requirement to three years.  Sam Huson and Fred Patton were the first in the family to file for 320 acre homesteads under the 1909 Act.  They received the patents for them in February, 1919.  The Additional Homestead Act of 1916 allowed homesteaders to increase their homestead acreage to 640 with no residency requirement.  Both Sam and Fred increased their homesteads to the 640 acre limit.  Fred received his patent in March 1920, and Sam received his in March, 1923.  Their 640 acre homesteads adjoined each other, and were located 6-8 miles north of the highway, and a mile east of the Sheridan/Campbell County line.  Sam’s northeasternmost part was within a quarter-mile of Spotted Horse Creek

Huson Homesteads (Harry, Fred, Clarissa) at Spotted Horse, WY in 2000.

CLARISSA and Harry also filed for the same mix of homesteads in the area.  Under the 1909 Act, Clarissa and Harry each received a patent in June, 1919, four months after Sam and Fred.  However, Harry only filed for 200 acres.  This suggests that he retained his Clearmont area homestead of 120 acres, which would have put him at the 320 acre limit of the 1909 Act.  He and CLARISSA both obtained 320 additional acres under the 1916 Act, receiving their patents in October, 1921.  Harry also obtained a patent for 120 acres in September, 1922, suggesting he had sold his Clearmont 120 acre homestead.  Harry and CLARISSA’s homesteads adjoined each other and were two miles due south of the south end of Sam and Fred’s acreage.  The only exception was a 120 acre parcel in CLARISSA’s second homestead in 1921 which was located two miles east of the north end of her main acreage.  It was an L-shaped parcel of bottom land along the South Prong of Spotted Horse Creek.  Perhaps she needed it for a water supply.

Six of Doc and Clarissa’s children. L – R: Carrie (Huson) Hunt/Fountain, Harry H. Huson, Fred Huson, Clarissa (Pattengill) Huson, Edith (Huson) Patton, Fannie (Huson) Donaldson, Sam Huson
Clarissa (Pattengill) Huson (wife of Doc Huson). Clarissa died in 1932.

Lizzie (Huson) Avent died November 10, 1918 in Mountain Home, Idaho.

In 1920, Harry Huson was listed in the Federal Census as a stockman in the Clearmont area with his wife Laura, and a live-in servant, Fred Dryer (a Wisconsin man, and probably Laura’s brother).  Fred Huson was a rancher on Harry’s Spotted Horse ranch in neighboring Campbell Co., with his wife Esther, and daughters Violet, June, and Louise.  Fred’s mother, CLARISSA (PATTENGILL) HUSON, was also living with them.  Willis O. Huson, a farm manager, was with his wife Margaret in Silsbee Township, Imperial Co., California.

Clarissa (Pattengill) Huson (wife of Doc Huson). Clarissa died in 1932.

Fred G. Huson died April 1, 1928 at Clearmont, Wyoming.

CLARISSA stayed with Fred’s widow and family for a while at the Spotted Horse ranch.  When she became ill, she moved to her son Samuel’s place.

She died there on January 24, 1932.  She was buried at the Clearmont Cemetery with EDWARD.  Her name is also listed at the top of a common marker at the Arvada Cemetery located across the Powder River from Arvada.

January 25, 1932


Clarissa Huson, 82,

Came to Region 50 Years Ago

Mrs. Clarissa Huson, who came to northern Wyoming a half century ago this spring, died at her home at Arvada late Tuesday morning.  She was 82 years old and had been in ill health for some time.

Mrs. Huson first settled with her Husband at Buffalo, later moving to a ranch near Arvada.

She is survived by five sons: Willis O. Huson of Cal., Harry H. Huson of Buffalo, Wayne E. Huson of New York, Fred G. Huson and Sam Huson both of Arvada, and by three daughters: Mrs. Clara Fountain of Washington, Mrs. Edith Patton of California, and Mrs. Mary Donaldson of Arvada.

Funeral services will be held from the Clearmont church at 1:30 o'clock Wednesday afternoon.  The Champion Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.

According to her death certificate, she had an onset of chronic endocarditis, and died due to a week of acute myocarditis.  She was listed as being born on March 30, 1849 in Wisconsin, was widowed, was a housekeeper on a ranch, and lived for 82y9m26d.  Her son Harry Huson was the informant listed on the certificate.


Willis Oren Huson – Hattie “Katie” (Huson) Ford – Carrie Belle (Huson) Fountain – Jennie B. (Huson) Weeden – Sadie Clarissa (Huson) Arrington – Elizabeth (Huson) Avent – Harry Henderson Huson – Frederick Grant Huson – Edith (Huson) Patton – Edward Wing Huson – Frances Lee (Huson) Donaldson – Samuel Tucker Huson

Willis Oren Huson

Willis Oren “William O.” Huson was born December 27, 1863, Waucoma, Fayette County, in northeastern Iowa.  He reportly left the family in 1881 when they went west, and never returned to visit them in Wyoming.  However, local records in the Buffalo Library state that “Billy Huson, son of Doc Huson, learned the jewelry business from Chappell.”  In Buffalo’s First Century, 1984, p37, it tells how J. E. Chappell operated a jewelry store in Buffalo from 1884 to 1937. Therefore, Willis must have been in Buffalo with the family until the mid-1880s.  In the 1880s he carried oversized name cards with a thin gold rim and the name “W. O. Huson”.

Willis Oren “William O.” Huson.

In 1888, he sent a formal printed notice to his sister Katie and her husband Ephraim Ford addressed to E. W. Ford, Beckton, Wyoming Territory, postmarked Big Horn, Wyo., Feb. 10, 1888, one cent postage, as follows:

W. O. Huson.  Florence Grove.

Mr. & Mrs. W. O. Huson
Married January 23rd, 1888

After February 10th, 1888
Kingman, Arizona

They moved to Phoenix, where on December 11, 1888 his wife Florence gave birth to twin boys.  One died at birth.  The other was named Willis Edward Huson.

The Pleasant Valley War of 1887

Based largely on "A Little War of Our Own" by Don Dedera; Northland Printing Co., Flagstaff, AZ, 1988

Willis was a Justice of the Peace in Phoenix 1891-92.  He served an unpopular cause in Tempe, Arizona, a suburb of Phoenix, in 1892 in a feud called the "Pleasant Valley War of 1887."

The war was not simply a struggle between sheepmen and cattlemen, between cattle-running Grahams and the sheep producing Tewksburys.  Some ranchers ran both cattle and sheep.  The conflict was caused in part by the skyrocketing of the number of sheep and cattle in the 1880s.  The biggest sheep producers, the Daggs brothers, ran as many as 50,000 on the Colorado Plateau.  Their shareholding agreement with the Tewksburys, who drove several flocks of Daggs sheep into the Tonto basin, helped trigger the Pleasant Valley War.

Pleasant Valley was a high pocket of grass watered by Cherry Creek, located northeast of Phoenix, and was one of the most isolated spots in Arizona.  Consequently, the law was far away.  Once the feud started, it was difficult to stop, and was the bloodiest feud in Arizona's history.

An excerpt of an article by Sam Negri in the February 1996 issue of Arizona Highways magazine puts it very succinctly:

The principals in this feud were John Tewksbury, his four sons, and [the] brothers Tom and John Graham.  In 1879 the Tewksburys started ranching on Canyon Creek in Pleasant Vally.  Three years later, the Grahams also started ranching in the area.  Tom Graham's men were stealing cows.  One of the Tewksbury boys had been working for Graham, and when he told his brothers about the rustling activities, they urged him to quit.  That created hard feelings between the Grahams and Tewksburys, a situation that was exacerbated when another rancher, Jim Stinson, accused the Tewksburys of stealing his cows.

In the course of the five-year feud, some 30 people - members of both families and their respective supporters - were killed, and not a single person was convicted of any crime.  Never before had the theft of cows produced such vicious and prolonged bloodshed.  Because of the area's isolated location, its vast hidden canyons and caves, the few lawmen sent over from the county seat at Prescott accomplished nothing.

The first of the casualties was a Ute Indian shepherd for the Daggs and Tewksburys who was murdered in 1887.  It soon escalated into pitched battles, sneak attacks, and poisonous vendettas; the latter exemplified by Tom Graham, who, enraged by the murder of his younger brother, killed Frank Jacobs and John Tewksbury and then stood guard so that wild hogs could feed on the bodies.

The last to die in the war was Tom Graham, who was ambushed in Tempe in 1892.  John Rhodes and Ed Tewksbury were accused of shooting Tom Graham in the back.  On the morning Graham was killed, Rhodes was spirited off to jail in Phoenix under arrest.  He was exhibited like a zoo animal.

To most of the populace, his guilt was unquestioned.  The victim had named him as he lay dying.  His horse's tracks were found at the scene.  When arrested, he shook with uncontrollable nervousness.  He was related to the Tewksburys by marriage.

Because of overheated public sentiment, on August 4, officers "watched their chance" during the midmorning to hustle Rhodes to the courtroom of Justice W. O. Huson.  With defense and prosecution attorneys present, the magistrate set a preliminary examination for the following Monday.  Before a vengeful Phoenix could learn of it, Rhodes was whisked back to jail.

Promptly at 10 a.m. on Monday, Justice Huson called court to order, with the defense handled by two of Arizona's most expensive trial lawyers.  There was a strong suspicion that the Daggs brothers financed the defense.

One of the side effects of the feud was to encourage a lot of outside ridicule about the goings on there, and Arizona Territory in general.  There was definite concern about its effect on Arizona's ambition to become a state.  "If Arizona should have a few more feuds like that out in Tonto Basin, it would be difficult to get enough people together there ever to admit her as a state," sniffed the Los Angeles Times.

Most of the pre-trial examination time was taken by the prosecution weaving a tight web of incriminating circumstantial evidence, or so they thought.  However, Rhodes had a perfect defense.  Several witnesses, one of which was a prominent presence in the group that wanted Rhodes hanged, testified that Rhodes was somewhere else at the time of the murder.

In spite of a spirited 2 1/2 hour summation by the prosecution, the Rhodes alibi held up.  Late in the afternoon on Thursday, Justice Huson delivered his findings, as recounted in the next day's Phoenix Gazette.

Upon the conclusion of the District Attorney's argument, there was hardly a pause before Justice Huson rendered his decision.  He said, in a rather indistinct voice, "I have listened carefully to all the testimony in this case, and, although I was at first inclined to believe the defendant guilty of the murder, the defense has so conclusively proved their alibi that I must release the prisoner."

A look of disgust and amazement spread over the uplifted faces of his hearers.  There is no doubt but that the decision pleased very few.  Knots of men gathered all over the streets and discussed, somewhat angrily, the situation.

A number of wild propositions were made, the most popular being to hang the judge in effigy.  But a milder reaction followed, and none of the foolish schemes were carried out.

Rhodes elected to stay in the jail one more night for his own protection; then, escorted by a troop of heavily armed friends, he left town.

Rhode's release was decried by most of the Arizona press.  Typical was the editorial reaction of the Tucson Star for August 20:

It appears that Rhodes did not have a hand in the killing of Graham.  So Justice Huson of Tempe [Huson was of Phoenix, of which Tempe is now a suburb] thinks, if he is honest in his decision which turns Rhodes loose on the community.  If the Phoenix press reported the evidence correctly, and we have no good reason to believe otherwise, we cannot conceive upon what grounds the defendant was discharged.  Why go to the useless expense of an examination which is but a travesty upon law and justice?"

In Phoenix, the Herald of August 19 turned the screw tighter:

"...sufficient to alarm every good citizen and property owner in the country.  When dangerous men are turned loose with evidence almost sufficient to hang them, against them and a moral certainty that their freedom means additional murder or assassination, it is time for the people of this county to begin to consider the kind of men they choose to preside over their justice's courts and the influences that are brought to bear on these courts to defeat the end of justice and destroy the protection of law and government generally..."

The Gazette of August 21 reported:

"The following notice was found posted up on the street corner yesterday:  'Anny partes I am owing, call at my office, as I got money now, after Rhodes' trial.  Willis O. Huson, J.P.'"

Elsewhere, sarcasm vied with indignation:

The conflicting testimony at the examination of Rhodes...leads to the belief that Graham committed suicide.  He evidently dismounted from his load of grain, went behind the bushes, took deliberate aim and shot himself.  He then rode away.  If this theory proves correct, the lawyers in the case may succeed in proving that Tom Graham was not shot at all - that he died of typhoid fever.

Salt River Valley citizens likewise were furious, and appointed a committee to draft the following resolution:

Resolved:  That the action of one W. O. Huson, justice of the peace at the City of Phoenix, in relegating to himself the powers of judge and jury in the recent preliminary examination of John Rhodes, accused of the murder of Tom Graham, is hereby condemned as an unwarranted assumption of power.  That is the opinion of the meeting that the evidence presented at said examination was in the minds of all honest men sufficient to bind the accused over to await the action of the grand jury.

Ed Tewksbury was tried in Tucson.  The first trial was ended because of a procedural error.  The second was a protracted trial which ended in a hung jury.  Tewksbury was released on bail.  As time passed, interest waned, and in 1896, the prosecution asked that the charges be dropped.  Tewksbury's little war was over.

Decades later, a man by the name of Joe McKinney supposedly acquired a statement from Rhodes which stated that Ed Tewksbury killed Tom Graham, but that Rhodes was right there with him when it was done.

Edwin Tewksbury married and had children.  "His friends always remembered him, and his enemies never forgot," as an old western saying goes.  He served in various roles as lawman, and died in 1904.

John Rhodes served a hitch as an Arizona ranger.  He and John Tewksbury's widow married and had seven children of their own.  Rhodes was considered Arizona's best steer team roper in small-town and big-time rodeo.  He died in 1918.

Zane Grey wrote a fictionalized account of the feud in his book To The Last Man.</p>

The furor following Rhodes’ release apparently induced Willis O. Huson to move west to Yuma to continue his law practice.


Saturday, October 20, 1894

W. O. Huson, our nominee for District Attorney, is a young man, a native of Iowa and is 30 years of age.  Studied law and was admitted to the practice of his profession in 1890 in the Supreme Court of the Territory at Phoenix.  Has filled the office of Adjutant District Attorney of Yuma County a great portion of the time for the past 15 months.

The following from the Arizona Republican, the leading newspaper published at Mr. Huson’s former home, Phoenix, says: “The Republican congratulates both Mr. W. O. Huson and the Republican Party of Yuma County……man’s nomination for District Attorney.  Mr. Huson……a man of great ability and energy and will make…… And we heartily……our next District Attorney.”

Saturday, November 10, 1894


Practices in all the Courts of the Territory. Special attention paid to Land practice and Collections.  Office first door north of Oriental saloon, Yuma, A. T.

In 1898, Willis O. Huson is selected as one of eight men from Yuma, Arizona to serve as the first of the “Rough Riders”.

April 30, 1898


Yuma Sends Eight Fearless Fighters To The Front

Almost the entire populace of Yuma gathered at the depot last evening to bid adieu, perhaps for the last time, to our quota of "Teddy's Terrors" who left on the 5 o'clock train to join the cowboy regiment being mustered in at Prescott.

Last Tuesday County Recorder C. P. Cronin received a telegram from Col. Brodie asking him to muster in six good men for the cowboy cavalry.  Within an hour fifty or sixty men had signed the rolls, and if a hundred more had have been wanted they could have been furnished before night.  It was a difficult matter to select the proper men from so many applicants and a public meeting was held at the court house Wednesday afternoon for the purpose of deciding the question satisfactorily to all.  A large number of interested parties were present and C. I. Brown was elected chairman and Mulford Winsor secretary.  Upon motion the chair appointed a committee consisting of C. P. Cronin, U. G. Wilder, and Mulford Winsor to select the small number of men wanted from the large number of anxious applicants.  The rivalry for preference was exceedingly keen and after deliberation on the question for some time the committee reported four names and asked for twelve hours more time in which to complete the list.  After a short and hot debate the time was granted and the meeting adjourned.  In the mean time Mr. Cronin was in constant telegraphic communication with Gov. McCord and Col. Brodie in regard to qualifications, equipment and transportation.  He also asked for the privilege of sending more men and finally succeeded in increasing the number from six to eight men.

The committee completed the list Friday morning and reported the following well-known men ready for service:  J. H. Maxey, W. E. Marvin, W. O. Huson, Harry Moss, Al Neville, Al Wright, Jas. Denmark, and Al Hanser.  The selection gave satisfaction to all, with the exception of a few disappointed candidates who bitterly bewailed their misfortune in not being given an opportunity to smell the powder of the first gun fired in Cuba at the American army.  Most of the boys, however, took their defeat philosophically and are content to wait for the next call, which is liable to come at any time.

The men selected are all expert horsemen and crack shots and if given an opportunity at the front will crown themselves with glory and sustain the reputation of the Arizona cowboy as the idol of the world and the pride of the west.

Col. Cronin was the most enthusiastic man in Yuma county and deserves much credit for the part he took in this preliminary war measure.  Col.'s only regret is that he is not a full-fledged cowboy, qualified to take an active part in the liberation of suffering Cuba.  He has plenty of nerve, but is a trifle shie on the knowledge of firearms and experience with the festive western equine.  He chaperoned the boys to Prescott and will remain with them until they leave for Cuba.

Nearly the whole town turned out last evening to see the boys off and as the train pulled out amid the firing of sixshooters and husky shouts for the liberty of Cuba, Yuma realized for the first time that the war is actually on.
Requirements for Applicants

(Excerpts from Pictorial History of Our War with Spain for Cuba's Freedom, 1898, pp 372-3.)

According to the requirements of the war department applicants for enlistment must be between 18 and 35 years, of good character and habits, able-bodied, free of disease and must be able to speak the English language.  If one is addicted to the bad habit of smoking cigarettes it is quite likely that he will not pass the physical examination.  A man who has been a heavy drinker is apt to be rejected without ceremony.

Married men will only be enlisted upon the approval of the regimental commander.

Minors must not be enlisted without the written consent of father, only surviving parent, or legally appointed guardian.  Original enlistment will be confined to persons who are citizens of the United States or who have made legal declaration of their intention to become citizens thereof.

These requirements fulfilled a man is permitted to take the physical examination.  Few understand just how rigid this examination is.  Many have been rejected who thought they were in perfect physical condition.  A number of applicants who were confident that they would be allowed to enlist were rejected by the physicians on account of varicose veins.  Varicose veins are enlarged veins which are apt to burst under the stress of long continued exertion.  Closely allied to this is varicocele, which threw out a surprising large proportion of the National Guard and the recruits.

After a man is weighed and his height taken, he is turned over to the doctor, who places the applicant's hands above his head and proceeds to feel his flesh.  If it is soft and of flabby fiber the physician is not well pleased and if he finds that the bones are too delicate for the amount of flesh he turns the applicant down.  Fat men, however, get through if their bones are solid and there is no organic weakness of any description.  To discover the condition of the heart the applicant is made to hop about five yards on one foot and back again with the other.  The doctor then listens to the beating of the heart.  He lifts his head and says to some apparently fine-looking specimen of manhood the simple word: "Rejected."

This man has heart trouble, and, strange to say, he does not know it.  If a man be of pale complexion or rather sallow, the doctors will question him with regard to his stomach.  Of course the lungs are thoroughly tested.  It is not often, however, that anyone presents himself who is suffering from lung trouble.  One man in particular was rejected because of the formation of his chest.  He was what is commonly known as "pigeon-breasted."  The doctors said that there was not enough room for air in the lungs, and yet the rejected applicant was a well-known athlete.

But after all the organic centers have been found in excellent condition several things yet remain to be tested.  A man's feet must not blister easily.  His teeth must be good, because bad teeth interfere with digestion and are apt to develop stomach troubles.  Of course other things taken into consideration a particular defect may be overlooked according to the discretion of the doctor.  A man with his index finger gone stands no show.  A bow-legged man will be accepted, but a knocked-kneed man rarely.

The final test is of the eyes.  At a distance of twenty feet one must be able to read letters a half inch in size.  Many tricks were played to read the letters when the eager candidate could see only a blur before him.  The favorite method was to memorize the letters from those who had taken the examination and knew in just what order the letters were situated.

W. O. Huson was one of 16 lawyers selected for the 1st U.S. Volunteer Cavalry known as the “Rough Riders.”  The roster listed him as: Huson, Willis O., Yuma, Ariz., 1st sgt., C Troop; 34, 5 ft., 7 3/4 ins., fair, dark-brown eyes, dark-brown hair; born Waucoma, Iowa; lawyer; joined May 2, Whipple Barracks; single; sick in line of duty.

The 1st Volunteer Cavalry regiment consisted of three squadrons of four troops each.  The Arizona squadron consisted of A, B, and C Troops from Arizona, and D Troop from Oklahoma.  The chain of command to W. O. Huson was Col. Leonard Wood, Lt. Col. Theodore Roosevelt (who Col. Wood allowed to lead the regiment), Maj. Alexander Brodie (Arizona squadron), Capt. Joseph Alexander (C Troop), 1st Lt. Robert Patterson, 2nd Lt. Hal Sayre, Jr., 1st Sgt Willis O. Huson.

The Arizona squadron left Prescott, Arizona for San Antonio and Camp Wood on May 4 by train in four passenger cars and one combination car.  They were the first group to arrive at Camp Wood.  The men had to be housed in the exposition building and grandstand for two weeks until the tents arrived.

By May 10, Brodie’s Arizona squadron was completely equipped with a McClellan saddle, stirrups, rifle boot, saddle bags, grooming kit, surcingle, latigo cinch straps, halter shank, saddle blanket, and other items.

On May 17, the Arizona Squadron was officially formed at Camp Wood.  It consisted of Capt. O’Neill’s A Troop with three officers and 68 men; McClintock’s B Troop of two officers and 65 men; and Alexander’s C  Troop of three officers and 67 men.  Each troop was to have one captain, one first lieutenant, one second lieutenant, one first sergeant, one quartermaster sergeant, six sergeants, eight corporals, two farriers and blacksmiths, two trumpeters, one saddler, one wagoner, and 55-59 privates.  The men of the Arizona squadron were aged 18-44, with an average age of 28; and in height 5′ 5″ to 6′ 6″ with an average height of 5′ 8″.

On May 20, the tents arrived.  These two-man “dog tents” consisted of two shelter-halves buttoned together and suspended from a cross pole, measured 4′ high,  4′ feet wide , and  6 1/2′ long.  The ground was covered with straw.  The enlisted men tents lined both sides of the troop “street.”   C  Troop named their street “Manila Avenue.”

By May 23, the men had their 30-40 caliber Krag-Jorgensen carbines, .45 caliber Colt revolvers, and canvas uniforms, and the first drills were started.  They were to be supplied with horses according to standards of the Regular Cavalry.  The horses were to be at least four years old, sound, 15 1/2 hands high or a little more, and 1100-1250 pounds.  Some of the horses did not meet these standards by being smaller, and some were unbroken, and had to be broken by the men. Each troop decided to outfit their units with horses of the same color by sorting.  C Troop chose browns.

On May 29, the Arizona squadron left San Antonio by train for Tampa, Florida, where they were to be transported to Cuba.  They were one of the last units to arrive.  There they met their division commander, “Fighting Joe” Wheeler.

When the regiment assembled at Tampa in early June prior to embarking for Cuba, the Army had enough transport ships to send only eight of the twelve Troops of Rough Riders.  Troops C, H, I, and M were left behind in Tampa for the duration of the War, and those who went had to leave behind their horses and revolvers, and serve as common infantry.  When the announcement was made to those to be left behind, many of them burst into tears.  To make matters worse, their encampment at Tampa was in a malaria-ridden swamp.  Three of the men in Troop C died of typhoid or malaria while there.  Nineteen others were sick and incapable of duty.  Disease and boredom were relentless enemies.

In early August, the four troops in Tampa were ordered to Long Island to prepare for discharge.  On September 15, 1898, the Arizona contingent of the Rough Riders was officially disbanded and W. O. Huson and his comrades headed home with bittersweet memories of their “war” experiences.  [For more details, read The Arizona Rough Riders by Charles Herner.]

Saturday, April 1, 1899

Probate judge Frank last Monday issued a marriage license and performed the ceremony which made W. O. Huson and Miss Amanda Rappet of Fortuna man and wife.

In 1900, he was listed in the Federal Census as William O. Huson, an attorney living in Yuma, Arizona with his wife Amanda he had married in 1899, who was a French immigrant of 1892, and whose parents were Belgian.

In 1904 he was living on Laguna Street in San Francisco, where he was listed as William Oren Huson.  He has so far not been found in the 1910 census.  He was listed as being in Klamath Falls, Oregon in 1914 at the time of his father’s death.  In 1920, the census lists him in Imperial County, California, working as a farm manager, with a wife named Margaret L. (Billings).  She is listed on his death certificate as his wife, the daughter of William Billings of Ohio.  Willis O. Huson died in the V. A Hospital in San Francisco on October 28, 1950.  No obituary was found.  His death certificate lists the cause of death as bronchial pneumonia, due to myocardial decompensation, due to arteriosclerotic heart disease.  It also lists him as a retired U. S. mail carrier living at 164 Beulah Street in San Francisco at the time of his death.  He was still married to Margaret.  Willis was buried in the Golden Gate National Cemetery by the Duggan’s Funeral Service on October 31.

Memories of W. O. Huson by Thelma (Patton) Bowers

Willis was in the Spanish-American War of 1898 with Cuba as a 1st Sgt. in Troop C of the Rough Riders.  Mom [Edith] and he kept in touch. He and his wife used to come from Arizona to visit us in southern California quite often.  My brother Bernard was in Tucson once, and he discovered at the courthouse that William was a judge in Arizona at one time.  From Arizona he came to the Imperial Valley and stayed there until he retired in 1936,  He bought a home in San Francisco and lived there until 1952 when he died in Veterans Hospital in Oakland.  He was buried in a Military Cemetery in San Mateo, California.  He was a good ole’ fella.  We missed him.


Memories of Willis Oren Huson by Pauline (Huson) Scafidi

As for my grandfather,Willis Oren Huson, I remember that he was a handsome man with beautiful snowy white hair.  We knew that he was a lawyer and a judge, but he became tired of that and left to work at the post office.  Apparently, my father sort of followed his life in some fashion, because he occasionally knew of him.  I met my grandfather, on two occasions; once when I was in high school, and again when I was in college.  The first time he just dropped in, unannounced and alone.  When we came home from school, there he was talking to my mother.  The second time he came by quite unexpectedly with a most unpleasant woman (wife no. 4, we were told).  They didn’t stay long, and disappeared, never to be heard from again.  For some strange reason he always came by when Father was at work.  It is rather amazing to learn later that my grandfather lived so close to us and yet never wanted to see his son or his grandchildren.  Willis George also remembers the only visit from him, when he came unexpected, stayed only a half hour, said very little, and left.

My sister Barbara saw Willis Oren’s death notice in the newspaper and persuaded our father to go with her to pay their last respects.  Upon arriving, Father would not go into the room because he felt that if his father didn’t want to recognize him in life, why should he go to his funeral.  Barbara went in alone and was greeted by his wife, who, upon finding out her relationship, immediately informed her that if she thought there was anything coming forth from the estate to forget it.  Barbara was shocked, because she just thought someone from the family should be there out of respect.  Willis Oren was dressed in the kilt of his Scottish clan.</p>

L – R: Thelma ???, Willis Oren Huson, Ilene ???

Willis’ son, Willis Edward Huson, married Paulina Marie Riechling.  They had four children – Willis George, 1917; Jeanne; Pauline; and Barbara.  Willis Edward died in San Francisco prior to 1977.

Willis Edward Huson (nephew of Doc Huson). Graduation from University of California, Berkeley. c. 1910

L – R: Pauline Huson, Willis George Huson, Paulina (Huson) Riechling, Jeanne Huson, Barbara Huson. Willis Edward Huson family. Wilis Edward was the son of Willis O Huson, brother of Doc Huson.

Willis Edward Huson (son of Willis O Huson and grandson of Doc Huson), Willis George Huson (son of Willis Edward)
The Willis Edward Huson Family by Pauline (Huson) Scafidi

Willis Edward Huson was born in Phoenix, Arizona December 11, 1888.  He lived with his mother, Florence (Grove) Huson, who was an actress and traveled extensively.  Since he spent so much time backstage, he read constantly because he was so lonely.  He especially loved poetry.  He memorized a lot while he was backstage with his mother.  There was a radio program when we were kids where the first line of a poem was given and a panel of four men had to identify what the poem was.  We always listened to it to see if our father would ever miss the answer.  He never did.  His mother died when he was about 11 or 12 years old, and he was sent to live with an Aunt Minnie in San Francisco.  He graduated from Lowell High School and went to the University of California at Berkley.  He wanted to study architecture, but he was also an excellent tennis player.  He had relatives by the name of Hodgekiss who wanted him to make a career of tennis.  In the meantime, he fell in love with Paulina Riechling, a catholic.  The family gave him a choice of tennis with financial backing but giving up Paulina, or he would be disowned.  He chose to become an architect and marry Paulina, so the family never spoke to them again.  Paulina tried to get together with the family several times, thinking that they might be interested in meeting the children, but to no avail.

Willis Edward went on to become a well-known architect, designing homes in San Francisco, the Peninsula, Pebble Beach, and Carmel.  He also worked on the Pan Pacific Exposition in San Francisco in 1913.  He did wonderful pen and ink sketches as well as charcoal drawings that were treasured by the family.

Willis Edward Huson died on June 28, 1960 of cancer, with a book of his favorite poet, Keats, on his nighstand.  He was buried with honors in the Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno.  He had been an officer in the Naval Cadet Corps during World War I.

Paulina Marie (Riechling) Huson died in January 1982 at the age of 94 years of natural causes, and is buried beside Willis Edward.

Willis Edward and Paulina had four children: Willis George, Jeanne Marie, Pauline Therese, and Barbara Frances.

Willis George Huson married Dorothy D'Arco in 1941.  They had two daughters - Patricia Huson and Ellen (Huson) Frank.  Ellen and her husband Marty have three children: Daniel, a student at Sacremento State; and twins Lisa and Steven, both college students.

Jeanne Huson married Bruce Heiser, an architect.  They had five children: Gerald, a carpenter; Jennay Edwards, an accountant; Jane Storsetter, a homemaker; Kirk, a home designer; and Bruce, who sets up for conventions.  Gerald has a daughter, Sarah, and a son, Jason.  Jennay married John Edwards, and they have four children: Heidi O'Hare, a school teacher; Thomas Edwards, a paramedic; and Cassie and Roxanne, high school students.

Pauline Huson married Joseph Scafidi in 1949.  Joseph was Executive Director of the San Francisco Symphony.  They had four children: George Joseph, Anne Marie, Mark Edward, and Paul Thaddeus.

George is a financial planner and has two daughters, Jennifer and Emily; both in high school in Sonoma, California.

Anne, in 1975, married Craig Davey, who is in property management.  They have two daughters, Heather Marie and Lisa Marie; both in high school in Danville, California.

Mark Edward married Linda Valesquez in 1982.  They adopted a son, Gregory Willis, in June of 1995.  Mark is in the legal profession, and Linda is a psyiologist.  They live in Larkspur, California.

Paul married Joan Kania in 1982.  They have two sons, Daniel Joseph and Joseph Anthony, both in grammar school.  They live in Reno, Nevada.

Barbara Huson married Lawrence Caracciolo.  They had no children.  Larry died in 1992.  He was a maintenance engineer.  Barbara lives in Gardenerville, Nevada.


For the detailed story about Katie, see this story.

HATTIE “KATIE” HUSON was born June 15, 1866, probably in Belle Plaine, Benton County, in east central Iowa.  Shortly after moving to Buffalo, Wyoming with her family, KATIE HUSON was married to Ephraim Worth Ford on December 17, 1882 by Justice of the Peace, H. R. Mann, with her father, EDWARD WING HUSON and a man named John Paul signing as witnesses.  In the 1880s, EPHRAIM and KATE carried fancy name cards with a wide gold border, the upper left corner printed as if turned in, and a bow and the words “True Love” printed thereon in tiny script. Then, a glossy embossed colored bouquet of flowers, held by a lady’s hand with the words “Yours for ever” on the satin cuff, was glued at the cuff to the card so that the flowers covered the name “Mr and Mrs. E. W. Ford” until lifted up to reveal the name.

EPHRAIM had arrived in Buffalo in 1880-1881 and squatted on what later became Lot 24 in Block 18.  It is the lot on the east side of Main Street right at the main highway intersection by the Court House. During this time, Ephraim had carried plain name cards with the name “E. W. Ford” in large fancy script.

EPHRAIM homesteaded on a 160 acre lazy-L-shaped creek bottom plot in Section 10, T51N, R79W (W1/2NE1/4 & S1/2NE1/4) on Crazy Woman Creek near the Dry Creek Road in December 1881 and proved out on it in December 1886 (Book D, p535).  He sold the Lot 24 in Buffalo on September 18, 1884, for $1000 the same day he bought a deed for it from Juliet Hart for $10.  At that time they probably moved to the Crazy Woman homestead.  EDWARD WING and CLARRISA HUSON moved onto their 1/4 section homestead immediately to the west of Ephraim and Kate in 1885. EPHRAIM and KATE also lived on the prairie near Beckton and Big Horn in 1888.  They may have suffered severe losses in their stock in the winter of 1886-7, and EPHRAIM may have had to work for one of the big ranches in the Beckton/Big Horn area to survive.  They had three children: Mabel in 1885, MYRTLE in 1886, and Harry in 1888.

In August or early September of 1889, KATE (HUSON) FORD is thought to have had a stillborn child, and she and EPHRAIM sold their homestead on October 8 to Wickerd Ervin (Book E, p255) and went to his brother Jim’s ranch in Osborne County, Kansas with their children and belongings, including a herd of 35 cattle, calves, a bull, three horses, and a wagon; and perhaps the body of the stillborn child.  KATE died on December 9, a month after arriving, and is thought to be buried in the Cole Cemetery along with the body of the still-born child, to be joined by EPHRAIM’s loyal brother Jim, who tended her grave until he died two years later.  Three small FORD headstones mark the graves.  The Cole Cemetery is about two miles from Jim Ford’s ranch.  There is also a Pine Bluff Cemetery hidden in a woods at the edge of Jim’s ranch that is about the same size as Cole, but there are no Ford headstones.  No listing exists for either cemetery.

EPHRAIM returned to Indiana in 1900, from where his parents had started west, and went to the “Springs” in southern Indiana near Orleans to heal.  He put the children in separate foster homes.  He was married to Mary Alice Johnson of Orleans, Indiana from 1892 to about 1902 with one child, then separated or divorced.  He died at his sister Matt (Ford) Rooker’s home in Zionsville, Indiana in 1904.  He never reclaimed the three children.

Carrie Belle “Clara” Huson

Carrie Belle “Clara” Huson was born on November 15, 1867, in Belle Plaine, Benton Co., Iowa, as listed on her death certificate.  In the early 1880s, she carried white name cards shaped like a lady’s slipper with the fancy features of the shoe (bow and other markings) embossed on the card, and the name “Carrie Huson” in fancy script on the inside sole.  She married Billie Hunt in Buffalo, Wyoming on July 4, 1883 and they had four children: Gertrude, 1887; Ula Lucina, 1889; Helen A., 1891; and Willie A., 1893.  Billie Hunt ran a livery stable in Buffalo. In 1900 she and her three youngest children were living at Harry’s place at Spotted Horse with their grandmother, Sarah Pattengill.  Her eldest daughter, Gertrude, was living or visiting with the Thomas and Lizzie Avent family in Burlington, Wyoming.  At the time of her father’s death in 1914 she was listed in his obituary as living in Sheridan, Wyoming.  However, in the 1912-13 Sheridan City Directory, she is listed as having moved to Billings, Montana.  She later married Theodore Calvin Fountain from Oregon, who was nine years her senior. They lived in Washington, where her husband was a foreman at a sawmill along with Wing Huson, Clara’s brother, in 1920, in Blue Slide Precinct, Pend Orielle County.  They were still there at the time of Clarissa’s death in 1932.

At the time of her death, Carrie was a housewife living at 4770 South 9th Street in Seattle, Washington.  After a sixteen day stay in the King County Hospital there under the care of Dr. L. B. Kirchish, Carrie died of coronary artery schlerosis on March 10, 1952 at the age of 85.  She was buried in the Greenwood Cemetery in Seattle on March 14, 1952.

Asa and Sattie Huson

Asa and Sattie Huson (twins) were born on July 27, 1869, probably in Belle Plaine, Benton Co., Iowa.  They died on September 16, 1869.

Jennie B. Huson

Jennie B. Huson was born January 8, 1872, probably in Belle Plaine, Benton Co., or Council Bluffs, Iowa.  In the mid-1880s, Jennie carried the same type of slipper-shaped name card as Carrie, with the name “Jennie Huson” printed in fancy script on the inside sole.  Jennie (18) was married to Theodore H. “Ted” Weeden (36) on November 17, 1888 by clergyman J. C. Rollins at the home of E. W. Huson, her father, with J. E. Chappell, a watchmaker and jeweller of Buffalo, as witness.  They had one daughter, Sylvia.

Ted Weeden was the wagon boss for the TH Ranch south of Buffalo prior to his marriage.  He then bought into a clothing store in Buffalo and later a livery business.  Later, he owned saloons in both Buffalo and Kaycee, Wyoming.  Ted bought the Clearmont merchantile store owned by his wife’s brother, Fred Huson.  He worked there five years before incorporating with Joseph Stone and Ben Nolan, the store being renamed the Weeden Merchantile Company.  Ted sold his interest and retired in 1919.  Later he became Vice-President of the Clearmont State Bank.

Jennie died on June 15, 1899 at the age of 27, and is buried in the Sunnybrook Cemetery at Clearmont.  In 1910, Ted and Sylvia were living in Clearmont at the home of his niece Jennie Freede.  In 1920, the census found him living alone at the age of 65 years on Front Street in Clearmont.  When Theodore died in Clearmont in 1936, he had his ashes scattered over Jennie’s grave.  Sylvia reportedly married Jack Ekstrand, a San Francisco newspaperman.  She also reportedly married a man named Peters, and they lived in Kennewick, Washington until he died.  As far as is known, she had no children.

Sadie Clarissa Huson

Sadie Clarissa Huson was born January 16, 1873 in Council Bluffs, Pottawattamie County, Iowa as listed on the Mormon records.  In the mid-1880s, Sadie carried the same type of slipper-shaped name card as Carrie and Jennie, with the name “Sadie Huson” printed in fancy script on the inside sole.  She also carried the same type of fancy name card as Kate Huson, except the words in the corner were “My wish”, and the words on the lady’s cuff were “Accept my fondest love”.  Under the bouquet was her name, Sadie Huson.

Sadie (17) was married to Ezekiel “Zeke” Arrington III (27) of Texas on December 8, 1889 in the Occidental Hotel in Buffalo, Wyoming by clergyman J. C. Rollins with J. T. Wall, stagecoach driver, and  J. E. Chappell, jeweler, of Buffalo as witnesses.  Sadie used the name Sarah Jane Huson on her marriage certificate.  They lived in the Clearmont area and had five children: Minnie Lee, Ethel Pearl, Hilliard “Hillie” E., Ezekiel IV, and Raymond Courtney.  Ezekiel worked as a roundup foreman.  They reportedly lived near a cave which provided them with coal for their home and storage for their ice in summer.  “Zeke” is said to have been a rodeo performer.

Ezekiel Arrington III (Sadie’s husband, Doc Huson’s son-in-law)

In the 1900 census, Sadie was living at home with their children Minnie (9), Ethel (7), Hillie (6), Ezekiel (3), and Raymond (1), while Zeke was working as a roundup foreman somewhere else in the county and had five cowboys boarding with him, and a cook..

Sadie died on May 25, 1901 and is buried in the Sunnybrook Cemetery at Clearmont.

Sheridan Enterprise, Sheridan, Wyo.,

June 1, 1901

Mrs. Sadie C. Arrington, wife of Ezekiel Arrington of Clearmont, died at her home in that village Saturday May 25.  Mrs. Arrington, whose maiden name was Miss Huson, was born January 16, 1873.  She was married to Mr. Ezekiel Arrington at Buffalo, Wyoming, December 8, 1889. She leaves a husband and five small children to mourn her loss.  Short funeral services were held at the family residence and the remains were interred in the Clearmont cemetery Monday afternoon.

Ezekiel then moved the family to Mesquite, Texas, and began farming.  He married Lillian “Lillie” Novia Rowland on July 13, 1907 in Dallas.  Ezekiel then worked for the Corps of Engineers at lock and dam construction sites on the Trinity and Brazos Rivers.  Ezekiel and Lillie divorced about 1924 after having two sons, and she married her stepson, Ezekiel Arrington IV.

Ezekiel Arrington III lived at the Corps of Engineers’ houseboat office at Harrisburg, Texas, until he retired.  He died October 10, 1938 at Houston.  Lillian had died there March 28, 1933.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Huson

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Huson was born on March 15, 1875, probably in Council Bluffs or Tabor, Iowa.  In the late 1880s, Lizzie carried the same type of slipper-shaped name card as Carrie, Jennie, and Sadie, with the name “Lizzie Huson” printed in fancy script on the inside sole.

Elizabeth “Lizzie” Huson

Lizzie (17) was married to Thomas Lewis Avent (32) on November 26, 1891 at the home of Mr. T. H. Weeden by gospel minister A. E. Gardner with Mrs. T. H. Weeden and W. H. Bowser of Buffalo as witnesses.  Tom Avent had been born in Houston, Texas on August 14, 1858.

Tom Avent, Elizabeth (Huson) Avent (daughter of Doc Huson). Wedding picture in Cheyenne, WY on Nov 26, 1891.

Tom and Elizabeth had nine children: Preston Nevel, Ivan Mervin, Ross Irvin, Eula Sible, Lois Nina, Shola Myrtle, Clara, Marvin Edward, and Fred Woodrow.  At the time of the 1900 census, they were living in Burlington, Wyoming where Tom had a general store.  At home were Lizzie (25), Preston (7), Ivan (6), Ross (4), a one-month-old daughter [Eula], and a niece, Gertrude Hunt (13) [apparently Carrie (Huson) Hunt’s daughter, possibly visiting].

L – R: Tom Avent, Preston Avent, Eula Avent, Ivan Avent, Lois Avent, Ross Avent, Elizabeth (Huson) Advent (daughter of Doc Huson). Photo taken about 1904. Lois was born in 1902. Next baby was born in 1905. Elizabeth died in 1918.

In the 1910 census, they were living in Hot Springs, Owysee County, Idaho where Tom (51) was farming.  At home were Lizzie (36), Preston (17), Ivan (16), Ross (13), Eula (9), Lois (8), Shola (5), and Clara (3).

Thomas and Elizabeth Avent home in Klamath Falls, Oregon
unknown (daughter), unknown (daughter), Elizabeth [Huson] Avent (Doc Huson’s daughter)
same as ju112.jpg
Elizabeth died on November 10, 1918 in Mountain Home, Idaho, of progressive muscular atrophy and was buried there in the Mountainview Cemetery.

By the 1920 census, the family had split up.  Eula (19), Shola (15), Clara (13), Marvin (9), and Fred ((8) were living with their brother Ivan (25) in Elmore County, Idaho.  Their older brother Preston (26) had married and was living with his wife Sarah (21), and sons Ronald (2), and Jack (1) on Alamo Avenue in Burley, Cassig County, Idaho.  Preston had apparently moved to Washington and back during the previous year or two, since their son Ronald was listed as being born in Idaho, and Jack in Washington.  They may have just stayed with relatives there for a while.

Their father, Tom, had apparently started tending sheep in the Idaho mountains by this time.  He later moved to Oregon, and died January 20, 1927 in Portland.  He was buried there in the Rose City Cemetery.

Marvin Avent (son of Elizabeth (Huson) and Tom Avent and grandson of Doc Huson). 1937
Eunice Avent, Marvin Avent (son of Elizabeth Huson and Tom Avent and grandson of Doc Huson). 3/12/1993

Memories of Marvin Avent

My father’s family owned slaves in Texas, but when Lincoln freed the slaves, they refused to leave because Dad had given them some land of their own to work for themselves.

Dad drove trail herd from Texas to Wyoming in the early days.  He and Kendricks, who later became governor and senator of Wyoming, took books as part of their pay.

Dad also went through the cattle wars in Wyoming when the cattlemen and sheep herders fought over the rangeland.

After Dad and Mother were married, he and his brother started a cattle ranch near Burlington, Wyoming east of Cody.  Later he sold out to his brother and ran a store in Burlington.  It was a small country store that sold everything from horse collars to groceries.  Later, Dad moved the family to Klamath Falls in south-central Oregon.  After a time in Oregon, Dad moved the family near Riddle, a small town in the sparsely populated southwest corner of Idaho, where he started a cattle ranch.  Dad, two of the boys, and Mother took up homesteads there.  Dad and the boys built a reservoir and made some nice meadows for hay.  I don’t remember everything, as I was pretty young.

I do remember Mother driving the wagon with a span of mules and taking my younger brother and me to the Post Office, which was several miles from the ranch.  She wrapped the reins around the brake handle and went in and picked up the mail.  When she came back, she reached over the wheel to get the reins when the mules suddenly took off with her hanging over the wheel and ran over a fence.  She finally got them stopped and took us home.  We were about three and five years old at the time, but I will never forget this accident.  I don’t think Mother ever recovered from her injuries, as she was in bed for quite a long time.

Dad sold the ranch and moved us to Mountain Home north of Riddle where Mother could be near a doctor.  She passed away in 1918.

After Mother died, Dad took a band of sheep to the mountains in Idaho near Mary’s Creek.  My younger brother Fred and I spent the summer with him.  We lived in a tent and cooked our meals on a camp fire.  Dad had a three-legged cast iron Dutch oven and he would set it on a bed of coals and make the best biscuits, stews, etc., that I ever ate.

Dad would graze the sheep to water in the morning, and Fred and I would clean up the camp and make a lunch and meet Dad at Mary’s Creek. We were camped in a grove of quaking aspen trees.  They are spooky looking as they are white with black spots on them and the leaves shimmer all the time.

One morning we had cleaned up camp and were ready to go meet Dad when a cougar screamed right in the trees where we were camped.  If you have never heard a cougar scream, it’s just like a woman in mortal agony only much louder.  When we didn’t meet Dad, he came looking for us to see what had happened.  He found Fred and me under the mattress with Dad’s rifle pointed at the tent door in case the cougar came in.

At night when the chores were done and we were in bed, Dad would tell us about things that happened during his days on the cattle trail from Texas to Wyoming; about brushes with Indians and how they had swam the rivers with the cattle; and how they had to give the Indians some of the cattle to keep them from running off the herd.

Dad had a long-barrel 25-35 rifle and he was an expert shot.  He very seldom missed when he shot at wild game.  They gave Dad the job of shooting wild game for the chuck wagon.

After that, our family was split up, with the younger kids staying with some of the older married brothers and sisters.  I stayed with my sister Eula and her husband Bruce Aaron.  In 1927 I came to Montana to go to school at Billings Polytechnic and I have been here ever since.

Gracie Huson

Gracie Huson was born on August 11, 1877, probably in Council Bluffs or Tabor, Iowa.  She reportedly died August 11, 1879.  [It is unlikely that she died exactly two years after the date of her birth. Probably the birth date is correct, and she died the same day]

Harry Henderson Huson

Harry Henderson Huson was born on August 16, 1879 in Tabor, Fremont County, Iowa.  He was a cowboy in the early days.  He homesteaded near the double crossing at Clearmont the day he turned 21 in 1900.  He worked for the Hi-Bar Dude Ranch in the Big Horns for 35 years.  Harry had money from his job, so he bought flour, etc., and gave it to the needy homesteaders nearby, much to the chagrin of some of the Huson family.

Harry H. Huson

Harry H. Huson (5th from left), Wing Huson (3rd from right)

Harry married May Knight in Sheridan County, Wyoming on June 7, 1905.

L – R: Harry H Huson (son of Doc Huson), Homer Huson (their son), May Knight [m. Huson] (Harry’s first wife); c. 1905
That same year Harry applied for a homestead of 120 acres which was an L-shaped tract contiguous on the two inside edges with the homestead of his parents at Lone Tree Draw which Edward Wing had purchased from his mother, Sarah Pattengill in 1892.

In 1910, Harry (30), May (22), and her seven year old son Homer were living in the lower Powder River area in Johnson County.  He was herding sheep.  May died later that year on October 4, 1910 and was buried in the Clearmont Cemetery among the Husons.

Fred and Harry were very close brothers.  Needing pasture for the horses, Harry bought and leased land in the Spotted Horse area.  Harry worked on the Dude Ranch in the summers, and Fred stayed at Harry’s place at Spotted Horse.

On August 8, 1910, Harry received the patent for the homestead next to his parents.

Harry was listed in the obituary as living in Buffalo in 1914 at the time of his father’s death. He married Laura H. Drier in Sheridan County on December 1, 1914.

About 1916, he applied for a 200 acre homestead in the Spotted Horse area , and received the patent June 2, 1919.  It was contiguous with the homestead which Clarissa had obtained at the same time.

In the 1920 census, Harry, a stockman, his wife Laura, and Frank Drier, listed as a servant, probably a brother of Laura’s, were living in the Clearmont area.  Laura died in 1922 at the age of 31 and was buried in the Arvada Cemetery.

Harry obtained another homestead in the Spotted Horse area of 320 acres adjoining his other one.  He received the patent October 26, 1921.  After apparently selling his original homestead of 120 acres in the Clearmont area, Harry obtained another homestead, of 120 acres in the Spotted Horse area .  He received the patent September 15, 1922.  This brought his homestead there to the maximum 640 acres.

The brothers had one misadventure in 1923 when Harry went with Fred and his family to Deer Park, Washington where their brother Wing Huson and Edith’s husband Theodore Fountain were foremen in a sawmill. Harry put up money for the business, but it didn’t work out, and Harry and Fred returned to Wyoming.

Harry met Mae Chase who was working at the IXL Ranch at Dayton, and they were married on September 24, 1927.

Harry H. Huson (son of Doc Huson), wife Mae (Chase) Huson. They were married in 1927.
Harry H. Huson and son Harry Marshall Huson.

After they were married, they moved from place to place leasing pasture, while Fred stayed on the place near Spotted Horse.  Harry was listed as living in Buffalo at the time of his mother’s death in 1932.  In 1939-40 they lived on Cottonwood Creek off Crazy Woman Road a few miles downstream from Doc Huson’s former homestead.  Harry ran a band of sheep there.  When the creek ran high, their three sons, Harry, Ed, and Russ, would climb the trees and swing across to a tree close by, then catch the school bus to Arvada.  Harry and Fred worked together at Spotted Horse cutting wood, etc.

In 1941, Harry moved his family to Clearmont and lived eight years in a two story house across the railroad tracks on Sheridan Avenue. Clearmont had a beet dump which Harry ran where farmers would haul their beets and dump them in piles.  Then Harry and Mae and others would load them onto freight cars.  It was back-breaking work.

They then moved to Buffalo.

Back L – R: Harry H. Huson (son of Doc Huson), Mae (Chase) Huson. Front L – R: Russ Huson, Ed Huson, Harry Huson.

Harry later died at the Sheridan Hospital on May 26, 1966 and was buried in the Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo.

Picnic picture showing Harry M. Huson (son of Harry H Huson and grandson of Doc Huson) Frederick Dale “Russ” Huson (son of Harry H Huson and grandson of Doc Huson) Vera Dabney [m. Huson] (wife of Harry M. Huson
Front Row : Marjorie Grenier [m. Bull] – Senior; Mary Severance [m. Enochs Leath] – Soph.; Harry Huson – soph.; Vera Dabney [m. Huson] – Soph.; Mary Catherine Smith [m. Fivecoats] – Junior Back Row: Velma Robinson [m. Drake] – Junior; Robert Frank Clabaugh – Junior; Darrell Clabaugh – Soph.; Frederick Dale Huson – Junior; Thomas “Johnnie” Shell – Senior; Walter Harry Fidler – Junior
May 28, 1966


BUFFALO - Harry Huson, 86 year old Johnson County pioneer, died Friday at the Sheridan hospital, and funeral services will be held Tuesday at 2:00 pm from the Adams Funeral Home with burial in Willow Grove Cemetery.

Mr. Huson was born Aug. 16, 1879 at Tabor, Iowa, and came to Johnson County in 1881 with his parents who homesteaded on Crazy Woman, and later moved to the Clearmont stagecoach stop.  As a young man he worked on roundups in the Clearmont and Powder River area, and for 35 years he worked at the Hi-Bar Ranch.  He ranched in the Buffalo area until 1941 and lived in Clearmont from 1941 to 1951, when he moved back to Buffalo.  He was married Sept. 24, 1927 to May Chase.

Survivors include his widow of Buffalo, three sons; Harry M., Casper, Ed of Buffalo, and Dr. F. Russell of Paris, France; a sister, Mrs. Frances Donaldson, Reno, Nev., seven grandchildren, several nieces and nephews.

Mae (Chase) Huson died in Buffalo in February 1989 and is buried with Harry in the Willow Grove Cemetery in Buffalo.

Frederick Grant “Fred” Huson

Frederick Grant “Fred” Huson was born on September 13, 1880 in Tabor, Iowa.

Fred Huson
Fred Huson

After meeting Esther Ely in Clearmont in 1908, Fred married her on September 16, 1909 in Sheridan.

Frederick Grant Huson (son of Doc Huson), Esther Melvina (Ely) Huson. Taken sometime after their wedding (9/16/1909).

They had five children: Violet Leah, Margaret June, Jessie Louise “Shortie”, Irma Ilene “Slim”, and Frederick Dale “Buck”.

Back L – R: Margaret June Huson, Violet Leah Huson Middle L – R: Esther (Ely) Huson, Fred Huson, Jessie Louise Huson [m. Amende] Front L – R: Frederick Dale Huson, Irma Ilene Huson

L – R: Frances “Fannie” (Huson) Donaldson, Violet Huson (Fred’s daughter).

Sheridan, Inn in Sheridan, WY in 2001. It was built and originally owned by Buffalo Bill.

On June 2, 1910, Fred acquired 160 acres of land in three parcels; S1/2NW1/4, NE1/4SW1/4, and NW1/4SE1/4, in T54N R80W S24.  They lived on a ranch or homestead near Clearmont, and their first three children were born there.  Then they lived on Harry’s place at Spotted Horse, while Harry worked at the Horton Dude Ranch.  Fred acquired 120 more acres of land on August 2, 1920: NE1/4SE1/4 and S1/2SE1/4 T54N R80W S24.

Fred and his brother Harry were very close brothers and worked as wranglers on several ranches in the Clearmont and Arvada area.  Later they were partners running cattle on Spotted Horse Creek known as Dana Cabins.  In 1920, the census showed Fred living on Harry’s Spotted Horse ranch with his wife, three daughters, and his mother, Clarissa.

Fred was known to be quite handy with a bullwhip.  One day he came upon a rattlesnake and popped it in the head with the whip.  One of the fangs flew up and stuck in his lower lip.  He pulled it out and squeezed his lip until he thought he had most of the poison out.  He was very lucky that he only got sick over the incident.

In 1923 they went to Deer Park, Washington, where Fred worked as a millwright at a sawmill along with Harry, Carrie (Huson) Fountain’s husband, and Wing Huson.  Their fourth child, Ilene, was born there in 1924.  When she was three months old, the mill failed, and they returned to the Spotted Horse ranch.

Their only son, Frederick Dale, was born in 1925 at Sheridan. Fred was so elated that he called him his little buckaroo, and the nickname “Bucky” stuck.  Fred continued working on Harry’s ranch until he died of pneumonia in the Sheridan Hospital on April 1, 1928.  He was buried at Clearmont.

Sheridan Post-Express, Sheridan, Wyo.,
Monday, April 2, 1928


All But Two Years of Life Spent in County

Frederick Grant Huson, longtime rancher of the Arvada community, died at the Sheridan County Memorial Hospital Sunday afternoon about 3:00 o'clock after a short illness.  He was 47 years old at the time of his death and had spent all but two years of his life in Sheridan County.

He came to Wyoming in 1882 with his parents.  His mother, Mrs. Clara Huson, is still living at [near] Arvada.  Those surviving are his widow, Mrs. Esther Huson, of Arvada; his mother, Mrs. Clara Huson, Arvada; four daughters: Mrs. Violet Lancaster of Arvada; Miss June Huson, Miss Louise Huson, and Miss Illene Huson at home; one son, Frederick Dale Huson, at home; four brothers: Harry Huson of the Horton HF-Bar ranch at Buffalo; Sam Huson of Arvada; W. E. Huson of Spokane, Wash.; and W. O. Huson, of California; and three sisters: Mrs. Fannie Donaldson of Everett, Washington; Mrs. Calvin Fountain of Washington; and Mrs. Edith Patten of Glendale, Cal.

Funeral services were held at the Clearmont Methodist church, Monday afternoon at 2:00 o'clock in charge of the Rev. E. K. Morrow. He was buried in the Clearmont cemetery beside his father's grave.

After his death, Esther and the children had to leave the ranch. Violet, the oldest daughter, married Leonard Lancaster, who was working on the ranch.  June, the second daughter, went to live with Aunt Fannie (Huson) Donaldson.  Jessie Louise went to stay with Sam and Mabel Huson for the summer.  Esther took the two youngest, Ilene and Frederick Dale and went to Missouri to visit her family for the summer.  Her father had died in June.  When she returned, she took June, Jessie, Ilene, and Dale to the Bert Smith place on South Prong Creek.  Grandmother Clarissa lived with them until she got very ill, and went to live with Sam and Mabel Huson at Arvada.  Esther and the girls then moved to the Perry Bryant place and lived there until 1933, when she married William Amende, and moved to his farm at Recluse, Wyoming.  William died in 1960 and Esther lived with her oldest daughter, Violet, and her family until her death in June 16, 1966.

Memories of Ilene (Huson) Terry

I do not remember a lot about our early days.   My father, Fred, died when I was four years and one month old.  I was born March 1, 1924; he died April 1, 1928.  We called our parents Mama and Daddy. Mama was a very quiet person and didn’t talk much.  If she told anyone anything, it would have been to my older sisters.  Shortie is the only sister left, and she doesn’t remember.

I do remember some things that happened at the ranch at Spotted Horse.  I can remember the ranch house, the bunkhouse, the chicken yard, the garage, the corrals, and the cellar.   I can remember sitting on Daddy’s knee when Mama got after me, and he was telling me to mind what Mama said.  I remember we had some geese and one old gander who chased me every time I went out of the yard.  It would grab my dress and shake it, and I stood there screaming for help. My sister, Shortie, would come and rescue me.  I remember our first radio.  It was the first one in the area.  Some of the neighbors came over to listen to it.  They came on horseback or in wagons.  It was in the winter, and just before dark a blizzard came up and they couldn’t go home, so they stayed all night. We kids gave up our beds to them.  I slept on a pallet behind the big heating stove.  I was supposed to go to sleep, but the stove was in the living room and that’s where the radio was.  So I listened and wondered where those people on the radio were hiding.

We had a big Buick car.  I can’t remember riding in it, but it was kept in a shed out by the corrals.  I think that is the same car that my sister Violet and Fanny Huson are sitting on in an old picture we have.

I can’t remember when Daddy died.  I do remember living in an apartment in Sheridan for a while.  It was cold and snowy, and my brother Buck and I watched kids sliding down the hill beside the apartment.  Daddy wasn’t there.  Later, Mama took Buck and me to Eaglesville, Missouri, and we visited her sisters and brothers. Shortie went to stay with Uncle Sam and Aunt Mabel Huson.  June went to stay with Aunt Fannie.  Violet had married Leonard Lancaster who had been working on the ranch.  When we came back from Missouri we stayed at the ranch a while; then Mama, June, Shortie, Buck, and I moved to Uncle Bert and Aunt Ruth’s place on South Prong.  We had a team and wagon, two saddle horses, and our personal things.  Mama couldn’t harness the horses, so June and Shortie did that.  Shortie had to stand on a bucket to do it.  It was a big team, and their names were Mike and Jum.  I was six years old and we went to the South Prong School.  We were there two years; then we moved again to Perry Bryant’s place on Spotted Horse.  We went to school there until 1933.  I think it was called Ivey Creek School.

In 1933 Mama met and married William Amende, a dry farmer.  He had a farm near Recluse, Wyoming</p>

Edith M. Huson

Edith M. Huson was born on September 16, 1883 in Buffalo, Wyoming. She married Frederick Leslie Patton on March 26, 1902.  They had five children: Irene, Bernard, Theodore, Earl, and Thelma.  In 1910 they were living near her parents in the Clearmont area.  Edith was a bookkeeper and was postmistress in Clearmont in 1914-15.  They tried farming in Wyoming for a while in the Spotted Horse area of Campbell County, but it didn’t work out.

They settled in Glendale, California about 1924.  Their last child, Thelma, was born there in 1926.  Edith started a dressmaking business in her home.  Her husband Fred became a barber and owned his own shop.  They were there 17 years.

In 1943, they retired to the San Fernando Valley and enjoyed building their own home with the help of their sons.  They raised their own fruits and vegetables.  Edith lived there until she had a stroke in 1961.  She was moved to the High Valley Lodge convalescent home in Los Angeles where she died four years later on May 12, 1965.  Her previous residence was at 11501 Gladstone Avenue in Lake View Terrace in Los Angeles.  According to her death certificate, Edith had suffered from generalized arteriosclerosis for the last ten years, and from cerebral arteriosclorosis with cerebral artery thrombosis for the last two.  She was buried by the Glen Haven Mortuary on May 17 in the Glen Haven Memorial Park.  Her son, Bernard E. Patton of Glendale, California, was the informant on the certificate.  Her husband Fred Patton had died in the same convalescent home the previous year.

Julia Huson

Julia Huson was born December 2, 1885 at the homestead on Crazy Woman Creek.  She died two weeks later on December 17, and was buried there.

Edward Wing “Wayne” Huson

Edward Wing “Wayne” Huson was born on November 7, 1886, probably on the homestead on Crazy Woman.  He married Mable Golden on February 29, 1909.  He worked as a herder on a stock ranch in the Clearmont area.   In 1910, Wayne and Mable and ten-month-old son Gerald W. were living in the Clearmont area close to his parents. He was working as a herder on a stock farm.  They had another son named Carl Wayne.

Wayne was listed as being in Spokane, Washington at the time of his father’s death in 1914.  He was listed in the 1920 census as living in Blue Slide Village in Pend Oreille County, Washington with an attorney partner, Lionel Campfield. Wayne was a planing foreman at a saw mill.  His sister Clara B. Fountain was a neighbor, living with her husband Theodore, who was also a foreman at the saw mill.  Wayne was joined in 1923 by his brothers Harry and Fred.  Apparently Harry put up the money to buy the saw mill.  The business failed in a year’s time, and Harry and Fred returned to Wyoming.

Wayne married Mildred Monroe as his second wife.  There were no known children.

Wayne was listed as being in Spokane, Washington in 1928 when his brother Fred died.

During the NRA days, Bill Donaldson, Jr., worked for Wayne at his lumber mill in Kinzua, Oregon.  Everyone worked for a while and then would be idle for a time.  Bill wanted to work all the time so he left and came to Reno.  While he worked for him, Wayne told him that “You will never amount to anything or have anything until you separate yourself from your family.”  Bill couldn’t do that.

He was listed as being in New York at the time of his mother Clarissa’s death in 1932.

About 1936 he married his third wife, Mabel Frances Krug.  They had a daughter, Carolyn F. about 1937.

In the 50s, he lived in Reno, Nevada for a year.  One day Bernice Donaldson’s boss was telling her about this fascinating man he met playing bridge.  She realized it was Wayne.  He knew Fannie lived there too.  Neither Wayne nor Fannie made an attempt to meet while he was there.

He married a fourth time, but her identity is not known.

He died on March 30, 1975 at the age of 88 in Tampa, Hillsborough County, Florida at the Manhattan Convalescent Center.  His residence at the time of his death was 6350 West Hillsborough, Apt. 7 in Tampa.  On his death certificate, he was listed as Wayne Edward Huson, born November 7, 1886 in Wyoming, widowed, and a contractor in the lumber business.  He had at some time officially changed his name.  The informant on the certificate was Charles H. Wells of the same address; either a roommate or neighbor.  The body was cremated by the West Coast Crematory in St. Petersburg.

Memories of Wayne Huson, by Carolyn F. Huson

Most of my knowledge is what my dad told me. As a young man he worked for Diamond Match, although I don’t know in what capacity.  At the time he and my mother, Mabel Frances Krug, met, he was working in Spokane, Washington as a city engineer, and she taught school there.  I don’t know whether they married  there or after they moved east.  At the time I was born (Jan 2, 1936) she was teaching math and remedial reading at Bronxville High School, and we lived for most of those years at 11 Wild Way, in a house they had built.  During this time, he had a sales office for Huson and Son Lumber Co., in the Grand Central Railroad office building, in New York City.  He spent about half time with us, and half time in Grants Pass, Oregon, where the lumber mill was.

At some point in his youth he was apprenticed to a baker/candymaker and when I was a kid, he made candy in huge batches every Christmas to give to our neighbors.  His caramels were particularly good.  When I was a pre-teen, he made it for sale for a while, under the Wayne’s name.  At this time, my mother had a book and gift shop (I don’t remember its name) near the hospital in Bronxville, and the candy was sold there.  I wish I had the recipes.

I don’t remember ever hearing him talk about any of his brothers or sisters.  The only relative of his I ever met was a cousin named Sylvia, who was considerably older than he.  She visited us during the time we owned Red Shield Farm.  I never heard him mention his mother.  He said that his dad was a doctor and missionary to the Indians.  He believed in God, but despised any kind of organized religion and all preachers.  My assumption was that this related  to his father.

He only mentioned one previous marriage, to Carl’s mother [Mabel Golden], and never mentioned other children of that marriage.  Nor did Carl ever say anything about having brothers or sisters.  Either Dad or Jean, his secretary, once said that Carl’s mother was an alcoholic who was in and out of mental institutions, and that her problems were due to being a victim of incest as a child.

Dad always had many interests in addition to his job.  When he was out west he did a lot of fishing.  At our home in Bronxville, he had a greenhouse and propagated plant specimens from all over into beautiful landscaping shrubbery for the house.  When that became less interesting, he built a workshop, where he made a silver clock which I still have, and jewelry boxes, and a hi-fi cabinet.  Some time in the late 40s he got the gentleman farmer bug, and bought Red Shield Farm near Goldens Bridge, New York.  Then he bought a bunch of fancy black Angus cattle and went into cattle breeding.  We also had horses (which was my favorite part), sheep, pigs, chickens, and an orchard.  This lasted about five years.  We spent all our weekends and vacations there.  He and my mom were avid duplicate bridge players and had many friends in Bronxville with whom they played.

In the early 50s, he lost the business, which by that time was no longer with his son Carl.  He said it was due to some extent to dishonesty of his then partner, in addition to changes in demand for the type of lumber he produced.  Before he could do much about starting up again, he developed catartacts in both eyes, and the operations left him with a lot of vision problems.  In an attempt to start up a business again, they sold the Bronxville house and spent a year living in Reno, Nevada.  This didn’t work because of his eyes, and they went back to Bronxville and lived in an appartment.  At this point, my mother, who had been playing lady of leisure for a number of years, went back to teaching in Bronxville.  I was in college at the time at Wellesley, but thanks to a college insurance policy taken out when I was born, my college was not interrupted.

In 1959, while I was a graduate student at the University of Chicago, my mother died of brain cancer, and my dad came out to Chicago to live with me.  He could see well enough to get around, but not enough to do much except watch TV, read a bit, and play solitaire.  We had a decent 2-bedroom apartment, and lived on my research assistant salary plus his social security.  This lasted a couple of years, and then he found his social isolation such that he preferred moving back to Bronxville.  At some point he married a widow (I think her name was Louise Anderson, but I am not at all sure), who had been my mother’s friend.  The two couples had been bridge friends, when all spouses were alive.  He moved in with her, but that did not work out and they divorced and he moved into an apartment by himself.  However, Bronxville was so cold that for several months of the year he could not get out at all, so he finally moved to Clearwater Creek, Florida, where he lived in a retirement home that was kind of like a motel.  I don’t remember the name of it.  When he could not take care of himself any more, he was put in a nursing home, where he died in a few months.  1975 sounds about right, because I came back from Santa Barbara in 1972.  Some time between these dates, I saw my half-brother Carl for the last time.  He was in Chicago on business (whatever that was) and called me.  I tried to get him to help support Dad, but he said he felt that was up to me, because I had been around for all the rich years, and his youth was spent while his parents were poor.  He never called again.


Memories of Wayne Huson by Pauline (Huson) Scafidi

Many years ago my parents, husband Joe, sister Barbara, and I were in Reno.  My father always looked up Husons in the phone book, and came upon Wayne Huson.  We met at the Motel, and he was a delightful person, telling us stories of the family.  He mentioned his sister, Wilma[?], who lived in southern California.  She had two sons, one of whom was an artist for Walt Disney Studios.

Frances “Fannie” Huson

Frances “Fannie” Huson was born on January 3, 1890, probably at the homestead on Crazy Woman Creek.  She married William Donaldson, a carpenter, on January 30, 1908.  He was the son of George Washington Donaldson.

William Donaldson and wife Frances “Fannie” (Huson) Donaldson.

They lived for a while in Clearmont.  William was a freight depot agent there according to the 1910 census. They were there in 1914 when her father died.  They had three sons, Harold, William, and Jim.  About 1916, they had a homestead at Tick Ridge on Crazy Woman Creek south of Clearmont for a while, but the Sheridan National Bank foreclosed on them.  About 1919, Bill and his brother, George Donaldson, Jr., also a carpenter, built a large two-story house in Clearmont for their parents and family.

Front L – R: William Donaldson, Fannie Huson [m. Donaldson] (Doc’s daughter) Back L – R: Jim Donaldson, Harold Donaldson, Bill Donaldson Jr.
same as JU110.jpg
Helen ?, Harold Donaldson, Fannie (Huson) Donaldson. Sheridan, WY. 1932

L – R: Donaldson son, Fannie (Huson) Donaldson (daughter of Doc Huson), Donaldson son

About this time, Bill and Fannie and their three sons moved to Washington, and were living in Seattle during the 1920 census.  William was working as a streetcar driver, while Fannie was at home with Harold (9), Bill (5), and Jim (3).  They were in Everett, Washington in 1928 at the time of her brother Fred’s death.  Willam Donaldson died there on July 9, 1930, on son Bill’s sixteenth birthday.  Fannie was listed in obituaries as being in Arvada, Wyoming in 1932 when her mother died, and in Reno, Nevada in 1966 when her brother Harry died.  Her son Harold died in a fire in an oil truck accident, and Jim died of cancer.  Fannie died on June 17, 1975 in Reno, Nevada, and was buried there in the Mountain View Cemetery, along with her son Harold.  Son Jim is buried in the Veteran’s Cemetery in Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, June 19, 1975


Frances L. Donaldson, 85, of Fernley, a longtime resident, died Tuesday in a Reno hospital after a lengthy illness. Born in Clearmont, Wyo., Jan. 30, 1890, her father ran a stagecoach stop where she met Buffalo Bill and Calamity Jane. She was graduated from the University of Wyoming with a teaching degree and taught in a one-room school near Clearmont. She lived in the Reno area since 1932, and was first employed as greeter at Harolds Club.  She later became known as a Bingo Queen, frequenting William Harrah's small 1940s establishment. She also ran a rooming house on Lake and Plaza streets and cooked at ranches around the area. Her son, Jim Donaldson, who died in 1973, worked as a local singer and in vaudeville. Surviving are a son, William H. Donaldson of Fernley, six grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. A funeral is scheduled for 10 a.m. Friday at Walton Funeral Home, Reno.  Burial will follow at Mountain View Cemetery.

Memories of William Donaldson, Jr.

(stories told to him by his mother, Frances (Huson) Donaldson)

At one time [probably in Iowa or at Trabing, Wyoming], Willis “Will” was out playing with his small dog when several Indians rode up and took Willis and his dog.  It is not known how long they had him. Some other Indians came by the house with the small dog following. “Doc” Huson said to them, “That looks like my son’s dog,” and explained to them what had happened.  Some time later, the Indians returned Will to the family.

In Wyoming, not long after the Husons had built the stone house at Lone Tree Draw, an Indian stopped by and tried to push the house down. He expressed great surprise that he was unable to do so.

In the two decades bridging the turn of the century in the Clearmont area, the Huson family encountered some of the most famous characters of the west, including Tom Horn, Joe Lefors, and many of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang.  In fact, Lefors, the famous lawman, reportedly stayed with the Husons once when he was in pursuit of the Hole-in-the-Wall Gang.

In his autobiography, Wyoming Peace Officer, Joe LeFors tells how he went to Buffalo, Wyoming on a cattle drive in 1885.  He stayed there and worked for the Murphy Cattle Company (Flying E Bar ranch) 18 miles north of Buffalo on Piney Creek.  In 1887 he went to work for the Wyoming Land and Cattle Company just below Arvada.  A year later it moved 4 miles south of Buffalo at the TH ranch.  He tells how “Theo Weeden [Jennie Huson’s husband] was the wagon boss and “above the average in honesty”.  In 1889, Theo quit the TH and Joe LeFors succeeded him as wagon boss.  During 1892-1900, LeFores worked for the state of Montana as a Livestock Inspector to recover Montana livestock which had been rustled and taken to Wyoming.  Rustling was rampant, and the rustling cowboys who were caught and blackballed by the ranchers went to the “reservation” (later called the Hole-in-the-Wall) with their cattle.  LeFors spent most of his time in the Buffalo/Clearmont/Arvada area pursuing rustlers, even entering the Hole-in-the-Wall after them.  He later made Buffalo his permanent home and he and his wife lived out their lives there.

Memories of Fannie (Huson) Donaldson by Marvin Avent

I traveled the Montana and northern Wyoming area for over twenty years, and the road from Sheridan through Arvada and Spotted Horse used to be the main highway.  I drove it many times, and went right by the old Huson home.  This was in 1942-45 when I first met Aunt Fannie Donaldson.  Fannie contacted me at the Crescent Hotel in Sheridan, which is where I stayed when I was in the area.  She took me out to Clearmont and introduced me to Harry Huson and his mother and younger brother .  They showed me that big old family trunk with all the old family heirlooms, including that big old family Bible.  I don’t remember if Uncle Harry was there.  Harry Huson [Harry’s son] had an automotive repair shop in Clearmont and I always stopped to see him and he used to buy some auto parts from me.  I saw Fannie several times after that.  She came to Billings once to see me.  I visited her at Fernley, Nevada when she was in the hospital shortly before she passed away.  I liked Fannie.  She was an attractive lady and real friendly. She knew my father quite well and said he was a fine man.

I always used to visit Bill Donaldson [Fannie’s son] in Fernley, Nevada.  Bill had a cabinet shop there and he did the most beautiful cabinet work I ever saw.  Bill and I became quite good friends.  He had a lot of records of his family that he showed me when I visited him.

Samuel Tucker “Sam” Huson

Samuel Tucker “Sam” Huson was born on December 20, 1892 at the stone house near Clearmont, and lived there with his parents until he married.  He married Mabel R. Kephart on May 16, 1911 in Sheridan County, Wyoming.

Samuel Tucker Huson (son of Doc Huson), 1st wife Mabel (Kephart) Huson.

In 1920, Sam and Mabel were living near Fred Huson and his family at Spotted Horse.  About 1924, the children of a widower, Edward Cook, stayed with Sam and Mabel for the summer while school was out.  Mabel later ran off with a ghandi dancer and Sam divorced her.

He then married Myrtle Sanders Lincoln.  She had a daughter named Helen by a previous marriage.  When Myrtle died in August 1930, Sam was named guardian of Helen.

Sam married Alma Larsen on March 7, 1931.  They had a daughter, Lois Elaine.  He died September 3, 1932, six months after Lois’ birth. After Sam died, Helen did not want to live with her natural father, and the court awarded guardianship to Alma, who raised Helen to adulthood with her own daughter Lois.

Samuel Tucker Huson (son of Doc Huson), 3rd wife Alma (Larsen) Huson.

Samuel Tucker Huson (son of Doc Huson), 3rd wife Alma (Larsen) Huson.


Sam Huson holding his daughter, Lois Elaine Huson.


Sheridan Press, Sheridan, Wyo.,

September 4, 1932


Prominent Arvada Man Succumbs During Operation

Samuel T. (Sam) Huson, prominent Arvada rancher, died at the Sheridan County Memorial hospital Saturday morning.  His death was attributed indirectly to injuries he received nearly a decade ago when a horse fell upon him.

Mr. Huson, who was 40 years old, was born at Clearmont on Dec. 20, 1891, and had lived in this county virtually all his life.

He is survived by his widow; a daughter, Lois Elain Huson; a foster daughter, Helen Lincoln; three sisters, Mrs. Edith Patton of Glendale, Calif.; and Mrs. Clara Fountain and Mrs. Frances Donaldson, both of Washington; and by three brothers, William Huson of El Centro, Calif.; and Wing Huson of New York; and Harry Huson of Buffalo.

His mother died in January of this year.

Mr. Huson became suddenly ill Wednesday morning and died on the operating table at the hospital here.

The body is at the Champion Funeral home.  [Interment in the Bellevue Cemetery, Sheridan]

Alma married Faires E. (Ted) Wintermute in 1935.  Ted and Alma live in Sheridan in 1993, as does her daughter, Lois.


  1. Ruth Kingan, a marvelous lady who grew up long ago in Big Horn, Wyoming but went to New York after marrying, saw my Huson query in New York, and referred me to Alma Wintermute in Wyoming.
  2. Alma Wintermute, another marvelous lady, who shared what she knew of the Edward Wing Huson family and gave me my first connection to the Huson cousins in Wyoming.
  3. Edie Martin; Marcia Knowles, and Mary Huson for freely sharing their research on the Husons.
  4. Suzanne Kulp, who shared her research on the early Quakers in the great migration from east to west New York.
  5. Cleo Claybaugh of Arvada, who helped guide me in the right direction as I started the research in Wyoming.
  6. Harry Huson, for his help with Harry H., and Fred Huson.
  7. Marvin Avent, for his memories of Lizzie and family and other Husons.
  8. Ilene (Huson) Terry and her sister Louise (Huson) Amende for the pictures and help with information on Fred Huson.
  9. Bill and Bernice Donaldson for their help with Fannie.
  10. Thelma (Patton) Bowers for her help with both Edith and Willis.
  11. Harry and Russ Huson, Alma Wintermute, and Lois Hall who met me on my September 1993 visit to the Buffalo/Sheridan area to see the ancestral sites, and who loaned me the great old pictures to reproduce.
  12. Gloria Jackson of Arizona for help on Willis.
  13. Nancy Jennings and Patty Myers of the Buffalo, Wyoming Library; and Helen Graham of the Sheridan Library for all the help they gave in helping me find the stories, obituaries, records, etc., that help so much to flesh out the history.  Also, the good people in the Johnson County Clerk’s office in Buffalo who helped me obtain copies of the old documents.
  14. John M. Arrington and Alton L. Johnson for their help with information on Sadie and Ezekiel; with a special thanks to Alton for sending me a “cleaned up” picture of Sadie.
  15. Alan Bunner of Alexandria, Virginia for sending me information on the descendants of my Huson branches, and his information on my line of the old Hughsons.
  16. My two sisters, Anna John and Martha Skillman, for their interest, encouragement and support of the family research.

John Ford and Elizabeth Dye

Story by Fred Gahimer. Cover Photo: Land of John Ford near Nevada, IA in 2000.
Children of John and Elizabeth:

 1. Mary Ellen
     Born:  April 12, 1839; Zionsville, IN
     Died:  August 15, 1839; Zionsville, IN

2. Mary Pricella
     Born:  April 11, 1841; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  April 4, 1874; Rock Creek Twp., Jasper Co., IA
     Buried:  Bevin's Grove Cemetery, Clemons, Marshall Co., IA
     Married: George See, Marshall Co., IA  December 25, 1866
     Children:  Sophia, James, Harriett, Conaway, Andrew

3. Sarah Parintha
     Born:  July 23, 1843; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  July 24, 1930; Buffalo Co., NE
     Buried:  Westlawn Cemetery, Omaha, NE
     Married: Alexander Boyce McCain; July 12, 1864
     Children: Dode, Orran Ford, Adell, Effie Maude, Elizabeth Gay & Isabella May (twins), Fannie Fern (Hewett), and Hattie (May) & Mattie (twins)

4. George Dye
     Born:  May 19, 1845; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Jan. 25, 1912; Liberty Twp., Marshall Co., IA
     Buried: Bevin's Grove Cemetery; Clemons, Marshall Co., IA
     Married: Nettie A. Rooker, Polk Co., IA; Oct. 2, 1889
     Children: Chella E (Hale), Mary E., John W., Gertrude L.(Robinson), George S., Louis E., Lois, Gailerd B.

5. Martha Serepta "Matt"
     Born:  Nov. 27, 1847; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Feb. 5, 1935; Lafayette, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: James Webster Rooker; Dec. 23, 1880
     Children: None

6. John William
     Born:  July 28, 1850; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Sept. 15, 1851; Howard Co., IN

7. William Nineva "Jim"
     Born:  Sept. 14, 1851; Howard Co., IN
     Died:  Dec. 23, 1891; Victor Twp., Osborne Co., KS
     Buried: Cole Cemetery, Covert Twp., Osborne Co., KS
     Married: No

     Born:  Feb. 14, 1854; Jasper Co., IA
     Died:  April 2, 1904; Zionsville, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: Hattie "Katie" Huson; Buffalo, WY; Dec. 17, 1882
     Children: Mabel (McFatridge), Myrtle (Wagoner), Harry
     Married: Mary A. Johnson; Orleans, IN; Jan. 1, 1892
     Children: Oscar L.

9. Frances Emiline "Fannie"
     Born:  Dec. 27, 1857; Jasper Co., IA
     Died:  Feb. 26, 1932; Zionsville, IN
     Buried: Zionsville Cemetery
     Married: Paul J. Lang; Kattitas Co., WA; Feb 28, 1889
     Children: Nora (Shore), Myrtle (Stanley), Gene, Lloyd, Clyde

10. Effie Jane
     Born:  Nov. 24, 1859; Story Co., IA
     Died:  Feb. 16, 1937; Portland, OR
     Buried: Portland, OR
     Married: James H. Rice; October 25, 1884 in Big Horn, WY
     Children:  At least a son & daughter; names unknown

11. John Lincoln
     Born:  Aug. 15, 1863; Story Co., IA
     Died:  Oct. 11, 1863; Story Co., IA
     Buried:  Nevada Cemetery, Nevada, Iowa  with John and Elizabeth


1800 – John Ford and his wife [Mary] and one son were listed in the Federal Census in Ashe County, North Carolina, for the first time.  John became listed in the county history as one of the earliest of settlers, arriving 1790-1800.

1810 – John Ford was listed in the Federal Census with wife [Mary] and five children (4 females and 1 male), and three slaves.

1811 – John Ford, Jr., was born on September 22.

1820 – John Ford, Sr., and wife [Mary] were listed in the Federal Census in Ashe County as having five females and five males in their household plus one slave.

1830 – In the Federal Census, Mary Ford was the head of the household.  John, Sr., had apparently died since the 1820 census.  She had five males (including John, Smith, Ninava, and Ephraim) and five females in the household.  No slaves.

1838 – John Ford emigrated to Indiana 1830-1838, and he and Elizabeth Dye were married in Zionsville, Indiana by Warner Sampson, M.G., on March 11, 1838.

Elizabeth Dye Ford (wife of John Ford, mother of Ephraim)

1840 – John (28) and Elizabeth (20) are found in the Federal Census living in Zionsville next door to Elizabeth’s brother Jacob Dye and his wife.  John and Elizabeth’s first child, Mary Ellen, had been born the year before on April 12, and died four months later on August 15.

John’s brother, Smith Ford, was listed in the Federal Census as living in Ashe County with his own family, which included a female 50-60 years old; probably his mother Mary.  Two females, probably his sisters, were in the household also.

1841 – John (28) and Elizabeth (20) moved to Howard County, Indiana. Mary Pricella born April 11, 1841. Sarah Parintha born July 23, 1843. George Dye born May 19, 1845. Martha Serepta “Matt” born Nov. 27, 1847

1848 – John Ford received a letter from J. W. Mast, a lawyer in Sugar Grove, Ashe County, North Carolina, on July 12, telling him that he had “Sold land for $40 to G. M. Bingham and paid off various debts of John’s.”

Sugar Grove, N. C. 
10 cent postage
July 16
To: John Ford, Kokomo, Howard County, Indiana
From: Sugar Grove, Ashe County, N. Carolina, July the 12, 1848

Mr. John Ford

Dear Sir I have set down to inform you I have sold your land for forty five dollars in money.  I adverised it that I would sell on a certain day but there was not a man attended.  But G. M. Bingham he offered me the 45 dollars and no more and I excepted it he paid me the money and I made him a title and should have sent it to you before this time.  But Landrine Eggers talked of going to your county and I thought it would be safer to sent it to you by him than by the mail.  I thought that I would mail a part of it and forward it on to you.  I have not as yet been able to affect a settlement with Daved Lewis, he is holding some claims against you one from Jordan Councill for something over six dollars this claim  will have to be settle as it was taken out of his hands by as attachments he has another he says he got of you on Willis Megee for something over two dollars and he says he must have his pay out of the amount of the receipt and I find if I would allow him all his claims he is not willing to pay any interest on the ballance as he says that he has been ready to pay at any time when cald on how to settle with him about the note.  I do not know he has taken two judgments on the debt and could not find property to make the money out of and I do not expect that the money can ever begot of McGee as he cut his knee last January two year's ago and he was confind to his bed nearly two years and is now a criple and dose not work at all and is ensolvent.  You will please to as nite when these comes to and let me know all about how the note was traded to Lewis and how I must proceede about it whether to settle it out of the reciept or not I went to see Solomon Isaaks and his wife Sarah they informed me that soon after I got your first letter that they received a letter from Hugh Eggers with Twenty Dollars in the letter and they nor I neither know whether that is all that is coming to Sarah or not so I thought it would be best to send you a part of the money and you could inform me wether I should pay to her or not so I sill incloes twenty five dollars on the bank of the State of South Carolina all curent money.  Hear your mother is as well as could be expected for as old a woman as she is.  Your connections are all well as fare as I know.  Your brother in law Piolert Piolapt departed this life sometime last fall and your sister Polly Yelton has moved back from Tenneysie last fall.  Your mother  received a letter from Nannevi dated some time in March..  He writes that they Indians are some what troublesome in his country.  He was out two hundred miles from home after the Indians when he wrote the letter.  We had a tolorable moderate winter but the spring was wet and backward but our summer has been warm with the exeption of a few day about the midle of June when there was in several freazes an hard enough to kill the corn.  Our wheat crop are as good as the commonly get to be, oats are likely and forward corn looks very promising.  People are generally well though out this country as fare as my information extends.  With these remarks I conclude and remain yours most affectionately.

To John Ford                                    
J. W. Mast

1850 – The Federal Census lists John and Elizabeth Ford and children living in Howard County, Indiana and owning about $2,000 in real estate.  Mary, Sarah, and George are in school.

John William born July 28, 1850; died Sept. 15, 1851

William Nineva “Jim” born Sept. 14, 1851

The Federal Census shows John’s two brothers out in Oregon Territory.  Ninava (35 yrs) was farming in Clackamas Co., near Oregon City with his 20 year old Missouri wife, Martha, and their one year old son John J., who had been born in Oregon Territory.  Ephraim (29 yrs) was in Yam Hill Co., just west of Clackamas Co., in the northwest corner of Oregon Territory.

1852 – John Ford’s brother Nineveh wrote from Oregon City, Oregon Territory entreating John and Elizabeth to come west with their family.  He tells of their group finding about $5,000 worth of gold in California, including a single nugget worth $64 which he still had.  Their brother Ephraim Ford was with Nineveh, and had married the previous spring.


TO: John Ford,  Kokomo, Indiana
FROM:  Oregon Territory, Oregon City, March 16, 1852
John and Elizabeth Ford

Dear brother and sister

I can inform you that we rec'd yours of the 28 Dec. last which gave us great satisfaction to heare from you.  I have wrote since I returned from California.  Ephraim was married last spring to Miss Martha.Sarrijon.  We returned from California the fall after we went in the spring.  We had tolerable luck in the mines making near 5 thousand dollars between us.  I dug one piece of gold that was worth $64.

I have got it yet.  I wish you could come and see it.  I think you would like to dig some of the yealow stuff but if you was here you could get it and stay at home.  Those that stays at home does as well as those that goes to the mines, which you will see when I give you a feew facts.  The mines are being worked very extensively in Oregon in or near a rich fertile and in a healthy country.  You say that times is hard there.  You wish to know how land rates in Oregon is.  I will try to give you a general idea in relation to land here.  The Congress of the USA pased a law on the 21st Sept. 1850 granting to all american white settlers on the public lands over the age of 18 that was in Oregon at the pasage of the law or and those that got here before the first day of December 1850 one half section or 320 acres if he be single man, and if he be maried or shall become maried on or before the 1st day of December 1851 one section or 640 acres of land, one half to the wife and the other to her husband, the wifes half to be held in her own name.  The donation is extended to those that come since up to the first day of December 1853 in half the amount of the above.  So if you can get here before the 1st day of Dec. 1853 you can get 320 acres without paying anything.  One half to your wife which is one quarter section each after 1853.  I think land will be sold by government at $1.25 per acre.  If you have any notion of coming to this country, start next spring 1853, then you will git here in time to git your half section.  I can write as I have wrote before that this is the healthiest country that I have seen.  Winters are miled, summers plasant, not so hot as your summers.  Winters are so.....and mild that stock keeps fat all winter.  This winter past was near a total failure for snow.  I did not see one particle fall during the winter.  The best country for stock perhaps in the contenent.  They keep fat all the time without feeding.  When I say stok I mean all kinds.  Our beef is fater off of the range here than I ever saw it in the stats out of the stall.  Pork fat all the year and the range stock increases fast.

I have got letters from home generaly.  Brother Sinut died in '49.  His wife has maried again.  Syrena is maried.  I got a letter last summer from mother.  They condition was generly well.  I have wrote since and am looking for a letter now.  We are all well except colds.  Mrs. Ford is quit porly at this time with a cold.  Our little snow storm has set some of us to coughing.

If you do conclude to come to this country I would advise you by all means to sell out next fall and come to Missouri and winter there and start early in the spring with first that starts.  You will come with one and get you a good team at home.

I want you to write as soon as this comes and tell me what your calculations are and so I will know what to advise.  Never think of coming without our family.  It is too far.  Do not come without Elizabeth is willing.  Elizabeth, I wish you was here with your family.  I think you would be hapy and we would be brother and sister here.


Yamhill O. T.   June 9th  1852

Dear broth and sister,  threw the .... of diveme providence an blesses with the opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are still in the living and enjoying a tolerable .... of health at present wishing these lines may find you in posesion of the same blessing.

We have the pleasure of reading your letter baring date Decemba the 28  1851  which is a sorce of grate satesfaction to hear from you and to hear that you are still living and well but sarey to learn of your misfortune in loosing your child but we must be reconsiled to God as he is just in all things.

You requested us to write concerning our country as to climate.  I suppose yours are informed, but I will say that it is the best I have ever lived in with the acception of rain in the winter and as to agriculture purpeses fare before your country not withstanding it is a pore corn growing country but we can make that up in small grain and I find of late by manuring our land we can rase as good vegilables as you can in....., and as to stock rasing I believe we can but would, we can rase a hors or cow here with as little....as you can a chicken there.

Land is what you would call high but if you wish to cum to this country do not let that stop you for I think you can make a living in this part of our republic easeyer than you can there at your prices

for produce.  Perhaps you wish to know how times is, times is good.  Health is good.  Money is plenty.  Goods is cheap.  Produce is high.  Good horses from 100 to 150 dollars american, mares from 150 to 200, cows from 50 to 75 dollars per head, sheep 8 dollars, hens one dollar, beef 8 dollars per hundred, pork 10, butter 50 cts per pound, egg 50 cts per dozen, wheat 1.25 cts per bushel, wages from $2 to 4 per day.

If you wish to cum to this country git you a well made light three hors wagon and three or fore yoke of cattle and start from Missouri about the first of aprile.  Start with only clothing and bedding to last you threw as it will not pay, start with plenty of provision and if you wish any further information write as soon as you can and I will answer the same and if you start to this country I want you to write to me before you leave Missouri and send your letter by the mail and when you git on the road write by the packers if you wish any asistance and I will try to administer to your wants.

If you calculate on emmigrating to this country I think it advisable to cum next spring so that you can have a chance to hold 320 acres of land under the donation act which will be out the first of December 1853 which is considerable.........to cum next year.  Nineveh is still living in Oregon city and was well the last acount and is making money very fast.  I am still marreyed and think I am settled for life as I am satisfide with this country that I can make faster and easer than any other in my knowing.

I have stock a plenty to answer my perpose and to spare and a moderate crpoe of grain and calculate on sowing plenty this fall for you and I in Pardenership.

I would be extremely happy to see you all but think sometimes we will never have the pleasure of meeting in this world but hope that we will meet in the next where parting and sorrow will never be nomore.

Direct your letters to Yamhill Co. Lafayette Po O. T.

We want you to give our love to your childer as we would be glad to see them.

So nothing more at present best remans your with respect.

From Ephraim and Martha Jane Ford


TO:  Mr. John Ford, Esq.,   Kokomo, Indiana
FROM:  Oregon Territory, Nov. 26, 1852

Dear brother and sister.  It is with much pleasure that we take the opertunity of writing you a few lines to let you know that we are still numbered with the living and enjoying a tolerable degree of health at present.  Wishing these lines may find you all in possession of the same blessing.  The last letter we recieved from you was dated December 28, 1851 which we answered before so that I do know that we share anything interesting to write to you unless it is in relation to your friends Joneses.  John Jones was at Nineveh's 4 or 5 weeks.  Since he stated that his father and brothers had got in about fifty miles of this place they had considerable sickness in the family while on the road, as there was much sickness in the last part of the immigration.  Jones could not giv any account what of your calculation was in relation to immigrating to this country but stated that your brother-in-law [Jacob Dye?] had sold with the calculation of immigrating to this country next season.

When Jones was here Nineveh and his wife was sick, but have got a bout health is generaly good with the acception of the immigration last to this country in consequence of experience on the way to this country.  If you calculate on immigrating to this country I think next season will be the best time in consequence of the donations being out in December will give.......................in this country American mares from one hundred and fifty, hundred dollars cows from 50 to 100 dollars, 8 and 10 dollars per head beef, 10 pork per hundred, wheat 3 and 4 dollars per flour, 15 dollars per hundred, labor 2 and 3 dollars per day, lumber fifty dollars per thousand and other productions of the country in protion.  If you come to Oregon and wish to bring stock I will advise you to bring scheap or cows and be shore to start in the first part of the emmigration for the reason that their is not half the sickings in the first part of the emmigration as the last.  if you cum write before starting and while on the road as we can git your letter in a very short time by male.

I am here for the purpose of proving my clame to a donation write to 640 acres of land.  We are at the same burruls that we was when we wrote last to you.  I have a good crop in and sold the .... of six hundred hogs this season and some beef cattle.

We send our love to our cousins and be glad to see them and if you do not cum this aunt wants you to take that perty boys likness that you wrote about having blew eyes and black hare and send it to her but much rather see him..........(mostly illegible)

with respect

Ephraim and M. J. Ford

To John & Elizabeth Ford
direct your letter to Yamhil Lafayett or Oregon City

1853 – John Ford (41 yrs) and family headed west to the gold fields of California in a party of 40 would-be miners.  John became concerned about the danger to his family in continuing the trip west, and they lived for a while in Jasper County, Iowa.

Ephraim Worth born Feb. 14, 1854

Frances Emiline “Fannie” born Dec. 27, 1857

1858 – John Ford and family moved in the spring to Story County, Iowa, east of Ames, where they purchased a farm south of Colo, in New Albany Township about thirteen miles east of the county seat, Nevada.

1859 – John and Elizabeth Ford have Effie Jane, born Nov. 24.

1860 – The Federal Census shows them in Story County, Iowa with Mary (19), Sarah (16), George (15), Martha (13), William “Jim” (8), Ephraim (6), and Frances (2).   John’s assets had increased to $10,000 real estate, and $500 personal property.

1862 – John’s brother Nineveh writes to him from Oregon

State of Oregon
Wayco County

Sept. 7, 1862
John Ford

Dear brother

We recd yours last evening of the 22nd of last June directed to the post master at oregon city stating that you had not herd from Ephraim and we since 18.., heared that you and George Dye came to Iowa and stoped.  We did not learn where you was   we have wrote to our relatives in carolina but learned nothing   I had nearly given up all hope of evering hearing from you thinking that the colery [cholera] had swept you all off on the plaines   my [heart] leaped for joy when I opened your letter, this being the first that I have saw since you came to Iowa.  Ephraim is living where he first settled, in 2 miles of McMinville, yamhill co.  I am living in middle oregaon east of the cascads over 300 miles from Ephraim 627 miles west of fort Benton in the Walla Walla Valey.  look on the map and you will see where I live   I have been living here 3 years and am well pleased with the country   I have not hered from home for a long time   we have 6 chilaern [children] living and one ded   John Thomas Jefferson is nearly grone   our 2nd Mary Simpson died at 9 years old, 4 boys living and 2 girls   you perhaps are posted in relation to the development of this country concerning the gold mines, graizing and agricutureal pursuits   the miners are still making new discoverys of new digings   some 15 to 20 thousand miners and traiders in middle oregon.  This is the fastest country that I have heard of   towns going up in a few days   men taking out their weight in gold dust in a short time and thousands doing no good and spending fortions in a few days   I have not worked in the mines here yet for what would it profit a man to gain the whole world and loose his own sole   we hope to gain the selistial [celestial] city and too much gold is dead weight some times on that pilgrimage   he that will run let him lay a side every weight and that sin that so easly beset us, that sin I think is unbelief   I once was young but now am old and I never saw the children of the riceous [righteous] beging bread (Soloman)

We should not trust in uncertain riches so says christ     dear brother and sister we would be hapy to see you all in this life, but if we should not be favored with that opportunity let us strive to meet each other in heaven where our dear little ones are gon, our parents have long since gained that heaven, and we too are hastening to that unseen world when we shall bid farewell to this vain world of woe.

Wrie when this comes to hand   direct your letters to (Walla Walla Washington Territory)

no more at present only our best wishes and brother and sister until death

Nineveh & M. R. Ford

To John & Elizabeth Ford

1863 – John Lincoln born Aug. 15; died Oct. 11.

1864 – James Webster “Webb” Rooker of Mitchellville, Iowa, about 25 miles south of Colo, enlisted in the Iowa Calvary volunteers on March 1, at 20 years of age.  Wounded at the battle of Harpeth Creek, Tennessee on Dec. 18; shot in the eye; the ball entering the right and coming out under the left, destroying the sight of both.

James Webster “Webb” Rooker holding Harriett Rooker

John Ford (52) died June 19, and was buried near the home farm in Indian Creek Twp., Story Co., with young son John Lincoln.  He had been under treatment by Dr. Mark D. Shelton, who filed claim for visits and medicine.  At the time of his death, John Ford owned 520 acres in Marshall County, at least 84 acres in Jasper County, and 147 acres in Story County, for a total of 751 acres. Elizabeth stayed on the home farm near Colo, east of Nevada, and had the oldest sons George and Jim manage the various farms. The other son, Ephraim, went to Burr Oak, Kansas to farm with relatives.

Sarah P. Ford married Alexander Boyce McCain July 12, 1864.  He was a Civil War Veteran wounded at Shiloh.

Sarah Parintha Ford (Ephraim’s older sister)

1865 – James W. Rooker was discharged from the Iowa Cavalry volunteers at Keokuk, Iowa on June 1, by reason of blindness.  He received a pension of $50 per month starting on June 4, 1874.

Elizabeth Ford sold 204 acres of land in Jasper County.

1866 – Mary Pricella Ford (25) married George See (27) Dec. 25, 1866 in Marshall County, Iowa, just east of Story County.

1870 – Elizabeth Ford is shown in the Federal Census living in the Colo area on the family farm, about 13 miles east of Nevada in Story County, with her children George (25), Martha (22), William “Jim” (18), Ephraim (16), Frances (12), and Effie (9).  Only William, Ephraim, and Frances were in school.  Elizabeth’s assets were $4,200 real estate and $550 personal property.  Her son George had $1,000 in personal property.   Maria Romane, a niece, was living nearby.

In the 1870 census, W. Rooker is listed as a blind farmer in Franklin Twp., Polk Co., Iowa, just south of Story County, with his wife Martha and two year old son James.

1874 – Mary Pricella (Ford) See died April 4, and was buried in the Bevins Grove Cemetery north of Clemons in northwest Marshall County, Iowa.

187? – Sarah and A. B. McCain write to her sister, she on the front page, and he on the back page.


home matters, etc, etc  Aprile the 20

Dear Sister

After our love to you then comes the Home matters   Orra says he looks for aunt marth in the morning.  he said he went home to grandmaws to stay till aunt marth come home.  Orra hasent forgotning you nor never will   he gets newespaps and reads letters from you and Chella   wants too write to you. he can spell and read a little and count.  The prospect for fruit is good   mother thinks she will have som apels [some apples]   Seet [sweet?] folks came from Story today they were all well at home.  Anna is such a seet [sweet] girl.  She says she likes us well a nought [well enough] to live with us.

We think we might keep her.

[A. B. McCain]

Ephraim has rented my corn ground.  which will relieve me of much travelling this summer.  George was over some time ago and stayed with us three nights.  He informed us his intentions were to herd cattle this summer and probably a herd of colts.  George and Priscilla's folks are all in usual health.  They and Ephraim have gone to Story yesterday.  will be back to day.  How much do you get a month for teaching school.  Is it a subscription school of is it a district schooll.  I have no other news of importance that would interest you.  Nouthing more.

Yours forever
A. B. McCain

1878 – Elizabeth Ford was living in Colo, Iowa; but upon becoming ill, moved to Nevada, Iowa, about 13 miles west.

A. B. McCain is listed in the Directory of Marshall County as “a farmer in Section 14; P. O. Bevins Grove; owns 80 acres of land, valued at $30 per acre; born in Armstrong Co., Penn., in 1834; came to Iowa in 1856.  Married Sarah P. Ford in 1864; she was born in Howard Co., Ind., in 1844; have seven children – Owen, Jo, Ben, Adel, Effie Maude, Isabella M., Elizabeth G., and Fanny.  Are members of Methodist Church.  Enlisted in Company H, 13th Iowa V. I., in 1861, and was wounded in the battle of Shiloh, and was discharged in 1863 on that account.”

1879 – On March 28, Ephraim Ford, and the rest of Elizabeth’s children, received their share in the estate from Elizabeth’s guardian (probably George Dye Ford), and each signed a hand written receipt.

Rec'd of Elizabeth Ford Guardian
the full amount of personal property
due me and I release said Guardian
from all liability on my account -

Nevada, Iowa
Ephraim W. Ford
March 28, 1879

Elizabeth Ford (59) died intestate on December 7, and was buried at Nevada, with husband John and last-born son John Lincoln, (moved from their prior burial in Indian Creek Twp. near the farm) about 100 feet inside the Lincoln Way entrance and to the left (east) about 100 feet.  George Dye Ford arranged the funeral and burial.  He purchased three lots (Lot #24) in Block 3 of the Nevada Cemetery for $10, and a large gravestone for $225.  He paid James Green $12 to dig the graves, and to move the bodies of John and John Lincoln from the Indian Creek Cemetery  to Nevada.  Dr. George Stitzell was paid $16 for sick calls to Elizabeth from Nov 29 to her death on Dec 7.

Obituary - Died in Nevada, Iowa after a protracted illness, Mrs. Elizabeth Ford, whose obsequies took place at her residence in this city on the 9th inst.  Mrs. Ford survived her husband fifteen years and leaves a large and respectable family.  She became united with the M. E. [Methodist Episcopal] Church at an early period of life, and continued a consistent member of the same till her death.  Her house was not only always open to the ministers of the gospel, but her hospitality was of that liberal christian character toward all, which can be observed in the fine and the good at all times.


Jim Ford writes to Ephraim at Burr Oak, Jewel Co., Kansas telling of their mother’s death, and asking him to tell Aunt Sally (Dye) Harmon.


TO: Mr. E. W. Ford, Burr Oak, Jewell Co., Kansas    3c postage
Forwarded to Colo, Iowa (13 mi. E of Nevada); arrived Jan 9, 1880

Black border on envelope, used when there is sickness or death. 

FROM: Nevada, Iowa   Dec 8, 1879

Dear Brother,

With a sorrowful mind I will try and write a few lines to let you know that our dear Mother is gone forever. She departed last night, and will be buried tomorrow at 2 o'clock. I wish you could have been there. She spoke so often about you.

Let Aunt Sally [(Dye) Harmon] know of her death. So goodbye.

Write soon.
As Ever,  Your Brother

We will bury her in the Nevada Cemetery

1880 – George See filed for Letters of Administration for his two minor children by Mary (deceased) as heirs of Elizabeth Dye Ford.

Matt and Effie were living with their brother Jim Ford on the home farm in New Albany Twp., Story Co., Iowa. just south of Colo.

Ephraim Ford went to Wyoming.  Fannie and Effie joined Ephraim there later in the year..

In the 1880 census, James W. Rooker was listed as living in Beaver Twp., Polk Co., Iowa with his four children: Nettie (11), William S. (8), Martha E. (5), and an unnamed daughter of four months.  His wife must have died at the birth of the child four months earlier.  Matt Ford married the blind Civil War vet Webb Rooker, December 23.

DesMoines   Sept 5/81

Rec'd of Martha S. Rooker One Hundred Dollars to apply on Note of Margaret J. Rooker and James W. Rooker to Mary Singer dated December 20th 1876 for $400.

W. A. Young

1881 – Ephraim filed for a 160 acre homestead out on the desolate rolling prairie on Crazy Woman Creek near the Dry Creek Road about fifteen miles northeast of Buffalo, Wyoming.

1882 – Ephraim Ford married Hattie “Katie” Huson on December 17 in Buffalo, Wyoming at the home of her parents, Edward and Clarissa Huson, by Justice of the Peace, H. R. Mann, with her father, Edward Wing Huson, and a man named John Paul signing as witnesses.  Katie was 17 years old. (Marriage Book 1, page 16). They moved to the Crazy Woman homestead, and were joined there by Katie’s parents and children, who took up a quarter-section homestead adjoining theirs on the east side.

1884 – In January, Webb Rooker receives a letter from H. U. Dale.

TO: Webster Rooker, Mitchellville, Iowa,
Sent Jan. 25 from Centerville, Iowa,  1 ct postage
Arrived: Jan. 28
Centerville, Iowa  1-25-1884

Dear Bro. and Sister:  In compliance to your kind request I write.  I arrived home safely yesterday and found all well except Mrs. Dale was suffering from severe cold.  The girls were almost in ecstacies over my return.  Edna said she felt so good that she could not laugh.  Craving an interest in your prayers and assuring you that you have in mine I remain your brother.


On August 14, Jim Ford bought the S1/2 of SW1/4 of Sect. 23 (80 acres) in Victor Township, Osborne County, Kansas from Robert and Mary E. Wilson of Gage County, Nebraska for $500.  (Osborne Co., Deed Book H, p597)

Effie J. Ford was married to J. H. Rice in Big Horn, Wyoming on October 22 by Herbert Probert, a Congregational minister from England, at the house of Mr. Haund and witnessed by her sister Fannie Ford and Mrs. Belle Babcock of Big Horn.

1885 – A son was born to Effie (Ford) and Jim Rice in Buffalo during the week of September 26, 1885 so they must have moved there beforehand.


Sept. 26, 1885

The wife of J. H. Rice, the barber, gave birth to a son this week in Buffalo.

1886 – Fannie went to Washington state with Effie and Jim Rice.

1887 – On May 20, 1887, Jim Ford bought the S1/2 of NE1/4, the SE1/4 of NW1/4, and the NE1/4 of SW1/4 of Section 23 (160 acres) in Victor Township, Osborne County, Kansas from William and Hannah Bradley of Independance, Osborne County, Kansas for $1800.  This was adjacent to his previous land purchase.

(Osborne Co., Deed Book N, p220)  On December 29, Jim obtained a Land Patent for the NW1/4 of SW1/4 of Sectiom 23 (40 acres) in Victor Township adjacent to the previous purchases.  This brought his total known acreage to 280.  (Osborne Co., Book AD, p468)

1889 – Fannie Ford married Paul Jackson Lang on February 19 in Kittitas County, Washington

Frances “Fannie” Emilene Ford Lang (Ephraim’s younger sister)

George Dye Ford married Nettie Anne Rooker (Webb Rooker’s daughter by his first wife) in Polk County, Iowa. Witnessed by Webb Rooker.

George Dye Ford (eldest son of John and Elizabeth Ford, Ephraim’s eldest brother)

Matt and Webb Rooker returned to Zionsville, Indiana.

In August or early September 1889, Ephraim Ford’s wife Kate apparently had a miscarriage or stillbirth. Late in 1889, Ephraim and Kate sold their homestead and suddenly moved with their three young children and belongings to his brother Jim’s ranch in Osborne County, Kansas.  Kate died a month after arriving.  The following spring, Jim and Ephraim returned with the children to Zionsville, Indiana.  Jim returned to his Kansas ranch.  Ephraim was ill, and left the children with his sister Matt and her blind husband Webb Rooker while he went to Orleans in southern Indiana to the “Springs” to get well.

1891 – Jim Ford died on 23 December at the S. H. Noyes residence in Victor Twp., Osborne Co., Kansas, where he had been staying for the past two years because of illness.  He died intestate. Mr. Noyes petitioned the court in Osborne to name C. W. Baldwin, of Baldwin & Co. Drugs, to be the administrator of the estate, consisting of nothing but a note for $250 owed by Noyes [probably for the sale of stock to him by Jim], and a few small notes from others for a total of about $300.  The entire estate was used to pay the doctor and medicine bills, the funeral ($44), coffin ($28), burial suit ($5), and past boarding bills from Noyes.  The 160 acre farm of Noyes was at the head of Covert Creek close to the Victor-Covert Twp line.  Jim Ford’s 280-acre ranch was about a mile northwest of Noyes.

There are three identical very small FORD headstones near the gate to the Cole Cemetery just over the Covert Township line, about two miles southeast of Jim’s ranch.  It is thought that after Kate had a stillbirth in Wyoming, they sold their homestead on Crazy Woman Creek near Buffalo and brought the body of the baby with them to Jim’s ranch, where Kate died.  The two were buried together in the Cemetery, to be joined two years later by Jim.  There are no burial records for the Cole Cemetery, nor was there an obituary in the local paper to tell us where he was buried.

Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were farming in Pleasanton Twp., in Buffalo Co., NE outside Kearney.


L – R: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s older sister), Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Alexander Boyce McCain (Sarah’s husband)

1892 – Ephraim married Mary A. Johnson in Orleans, IN on Jan. 1 where he had been recovering from illness he had contracted out west.

1900 – Ephraim and Alice (Mary A. Johnson) Ford were living on North Pike Street in Shelbyville, Indiana with their six year old son, Oscar L.   Ephraim was an insurance agent, and Alice was a dressmaker.  He never reclaimed his earlier children.

George Dye Ford was farming in Liberty Township, Marshall County, Iowa with wife Nettie of ten years, and children Chella E. (8), Mary E. (7), John (5), and Gertrude L. (1).

Sarah (Ford) McCain and her husband Alexander were farm owners living in Kearney, Buffalo County, Nebraska with their daughters Isabel and Elizabeth (twins, 23), Fannie (21), and Hattie (18).  Isabel is a school teacher, Elizabeth a seamstress, and Fannie a milliner.

Fannie and Paul J. Lang were living in Wenatchee Lake, Chelan Co., Washington with Nora (10), Myrtle (8), Eugene (6), Lloyd (5), and Clyde (1).

1901 – Fannie and Paul Lang return to Zionsville from Washington over the Oregon trail in a covered wagon.  Paul had made a table which was carried on the back of the wagon.  Each night when they stopped, Fannie would set out the table and fix a formal dinner.  She was a well-educated woman (rare in those times) who always dressed very properly.

1904 – Ephraim Ford, apparently divorced from Mary, died at Matt and Webb Rooker’s home in Zionsville on April 2.  He was buried in the Zionsville Cemetery next to William and Margaret Dye.

1909 – Effie and Jim Rice were in Portland, Oregon, having arrived there sometime between 1906 and 1909.  They are first found in the City Directory of Portland in 1909.  They were listed in the personal listings as:  H. J. Rice, residence at St. Johns; in the business listing as: Barber; H. J. Rice at 8 Fourth Ave. N.

1910 – George Dye Ford was farming in Liberty Township, Marshall County, Iowa, with his wife Nettie of 20 years, and children Chella (19), Mary (17), John (15), Gertrude (11), George (9), Louis (7), Lois (7), and Gailerd (2).  Chella was teaching, and Mary was in school.

Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were living at 1828 Ave. G in Kearney, NE.

1911 – Jim Rice had apparently died.  In the 1911 City Directory, only Effie is listed; as:  Mrs. Effie J. Rice, 248 1/2 Montgomery.

1912 – George Dye Ford died January 25, buried in Bevin’s Grove Cemetery north of Clemons, Marshall Co., Iowa.

TIMES REPUBLICAN, Marshalltown, Iowa

Jan. 26, 1912


George Ford, Well-Known Farmer, Meets Death From Trivial Accident

Marrow from Broken Leg Forms Clot On Brain

Becomes Unconscious a Few Hours After Log Slides From Load of Wood and Breaks His Leg - Wife and Eight Children Survive - Funeral Saturday Morning.

An accident that, in itself, would be classed as trivial, resulted in the death Thursday afternoon of George Ford, a well-known farmer living one and one-half mile north of Clemons in Liberty Township.

Ford's death resulted from a thrombus, which formed on the brain following the man's injury Tuesday afternoon when his left leg was broken by a heavy log which rolled off a sled.   Mr. Ford was hauling a load of wood from his timber to his home, and was in his own dooryard when the accident resulted.  Ford was walking beside the bob sled when the heavy log slid from the top of the load, falling against Ford's leg, and breaking it above the knee.

Marrow Carried Into Circulation

Ordinarily the accident would not have caused the victim anything more than the usual pain and inconvenience resulting from similar cases, but in this instance an unusual complication resulted.  Some

of the marrow from the fractured leg was carried into the blood, and by 2:30 o'clock Wednesday morning the patient became unconscious.  He never rallied from the comatose state, and the end came at 1:15 Thursday.

Was Well-Known Farmer

Mr. Ford was well known in his neighborhood, where he had lived for several years.  He was 67 years old, and is survived by his wife and eight children - four sons and four daughters.  Four sisters also survive, in the persons of Mrs. Sarah McCain of Kearney, Neb.; Mrs. Martha Rooker and Mrs. Fannie Lang of Indianapolis; and Mrs. Effie Rice of Portland, Ore.

Brief funeral services will be held from the house Saturday morning at 11 o'clock, and the funeral proper will take place an hour later from the Bevin's Grove Church.  Rev. C. S. Stauffacher, of the Zearing United Evangelical Church, officiating.  Interrment will be in the church cemetery.

1913 – Fannie Lang visited old friends at Nevada, Iowa on the way to visit her sister, Sarah McCain, in Nebraska.

Nevada, Iowa Newspaper


An Old Timer Returns

Mrs. Paul J. Lang of Indianapolis, who old timers remember as Frances Ford, is spending a few days with the Sam White family, and greeting other old friends and neighbors in Nevada, Ames, and Colo while pausing in her journey to visit her sister Sarah (Mrs. A. B. McCain) in Nebraska.

Mrs. Lang's father, John Ford, was an early settler of Story County.  He and Mrs. Ford and their four children came from Indiana to Iowa with a party of forty miners which were bound for California.

Mrs. Lang says the fair fields of Iowa lured them from their interest to cross the desert plains and the Fords tarried for a while in Jasper County, then located permanently on a farm in New Albany

Township [Story County], and there Mrs. Ford died in the later seventies.  Frances was a member of the Nevada High School during the first years of its existence in its present location, and was included successively in the Dan McCord, William Gatsa, and Jerry Franks families till at the death of her father, when her mother moved to Nevada and here died.  Frances and her sister Effie soon after went to Wyoming to visit their brother Ephraim, who is now deceased.  Both married in the far west, and there Effie, orMrs. J. H. Rice, remains.  The Langs returned to Indianapolis twelve years ago and there rejoice in two promising daughters and two sons, all grown and in active life.  Another of the Fords, Martha, now Mrs. J. W. Rooker, also resides in Indianapolis.  Frances the maiden is pleasantly remembered, and Mrs. Lang, the matron of wide and varied experience, is gladly greeted.

1914 – In July, Alexander and Sarah McCain celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary.


The golden wedding of Mr. and Mrs. McCain was celebrated enjoyably, when surrounded by members of the family, whose congratulations and gifts they received, were entertained yesterday.  Mr and Mrs. McCain have lived in Buffalo County for over thirty years.  They have been blessed with eight children, three boys and five girls, and with twenty-five grandchildren.  The gifts which were presented to them on the occasion were very elaborate and mark the appreciation which the children felt for all the sacrifices which the parents have made for them in other days.

Two gold watches, a gold bracelet, breastpin, and a set of collar, cuff, and stud buttons were among the presents.  A sumptuous dinner was served at 2:00 o'clock in the afternoon.  Captain S. James presided and made an appropriate presentation speech when giving Mr. and Mrs. McCain their children's gifts.  Mr. McCain responded and thanked those present for their loving remembrances.  After the dinner further speaking and musical numbers closed the enjoyable celebration.

The following children of the couple were present:  Mr. Orran McCain, Mr. Dode McCain, Denver, Colo.; Mr. Dell McCain, N. Platte, Nebr.; Mrs. Charles Wittlake, Omaha, Nebr.; Mrs. Charles Croston, Hazard, Nebr.; Mrs. Seymore Cruise, Mrs. Claude Hewett, and Mrs. Hattie May, Omaha, Nebr.

1915 – Effie Rice was listed in the Portland City Directory as: Effie Rice, 484 Burnside.

1917 – Alexander and Sarah (Ford) McCain were living in Omaha, Nebraska.

1919 – Alexander Boyce McCain died and was buried on the hillside behind the mausoleum in the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha.

1920 – In the census, Effie (Ford) Rice (60), was living on Buck Street in Portland, Multnamah County, Oregon with her thirteen year old granddaughter, Donna Dixon.

Sarah McCain (75) was living in the home of her daughter, Fannie F. Hewett (40) and Fannie’s son Ross (6) on 42nd Street in Omaha, Nebraska.  Fannie was an office clerk.

Standing: Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Claude Henry Hewett (Fannie’s husband)
Sitting: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s older sister)


George Dye Ford’s widow, Nettie (50), was still farming the family farm in Liberty Twp., Marshall Co., Iowa.  Still at home were Lois and Louis, both 16, and Gailerd (12).  However, Nettie reportedly moved to Zionsville with Gertrude, Lois, and Gailerd, apparently during the last half of the year.  It is not known whether George S. came with them or came later.  Louis must have stayed, because he is buried in Bevins Grove next to his father George and sister Mary.

In the 1920 census, Paul Lang, at the age of 65, is living on Senate Avenue in Indianapolis with Forest Eaton, a boarder.

1923 – Webb Rooker died at age 79 in Lafayette, Indiana on Oct. 23; and was buried in Little Eagle Creek Cemetery southeast of Jolietville in Hamilton Co., Indiana next to Nellie G. Lutz (wife of his son, Wm. S. Rooker) and Mattie (daughter), both having died in 1900 in their 20s.

1929 – Nettie Anne (Rooker) Ford, widow of George Dye Ford, and daughter of Webb Rooker, died in Zionsville at age 60 and was buried next to her sister, Mattie, sister-in-law Nellie, and her father, Webb Rooker, in the Little Eagle Creek Cemetery.

Back row L – R: Fannie McCain Hewett (Sarah’s daughter), Alexander Boyce McCain (Sarah’s husband), rest ?
Front row L – R: Sarah Parintha Ford McCain (Ephraim’s sister), rest ?


1930 – Sarah Parintha (Ford) McCain died June 24 in Buffalo Co., Nebraska, and was buried alongside her husband in the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebraska.


Sarah Parinthia (Ford) McCain, at the age of 86 years, 11 months, and 1 day, passed away June 24, 1930 at the home of her daughter, Mrs. Fannie Hewett of 3467 N. 42nd St., Omaha, Nebr.

Her father, John Ford, and family with two brothers, were enroute with the "Forty Niners" across the continent, but the father, being fearful for the safety of his family, left the caravan when they reached Story County, Iowa, and settled in the new country, when skins were hung for doors.

In 1864 she was united in marriage to Alexander Boyce McCain, a Civil War veteran.

In 1883 they moved with their family of three sons and six daughters to Buffalo County, Nebraska where they were pioneer residents of Pleasanton and Kearney.  Her husband preceeded her in death eleven years ago at the age of 84.

She is survived by two sons, Dode McCain, Hazard; and Dell McCain, Loretto; four daughters, Mrs. Maude Wittlake, Fanwood, NJ; Mrs. Charles Croston, Hazard; Mrs. William B. Rains, Hawk Springs, Wyo.; and Mrs. Hewett; and three sisters, Mrs. Martha Rooker and Mrs. Fannie Lang, both of Indianapolis, Ind.; and Mrs. Effie Rice of Portland, Ore., plus 25 grandchildren and seven great grandchildren.

She was known for her ever ready aid to those who were in sorrow, need, or distress.  As long as she  was able to be in active service for her Lord and Savior, her standard of living was, "In as much as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me also", John 3:17.  Her ever ready advice was a repeating of the First Psalms.  Interned at the West Lawn Cemetery in Omaha, Nebr.

1932 – Fannie (Ford) Lang died Feb 26 in Zionsville at age 74 and was buried in the Zionsville Cemetery by Paul J. Lang, and near Ephraim Ford, Matt Rooker, and William Dye.

1935 – Matt (Ford) Rooker died in Lafayette, Indiana on Feb 5; buried on a Thursday afternoon in the Zionsville Cemetery near Fannie and Ephraim; reported in the Feb. 7 Zionsville Times:

Obituary - Mrs. Martha S. Rooker, 88 years old, a native of Boone County, died yesterday in a home for the aged in Lafayette.  She had lived in Indianapolis forty years and had spent part of her life in Iowa.  Her Indianapolis home was at 3609 N. LaSalle St.  Funeral services will be held in the McNeely & Sons mortuary, 1828 N. Meridian St. at 2 o'clock tomorrow afternoon.  Burial will be in the Zionsville cemetery.  A sister, Mrs. Effie J. Rice of Portland, Oregon, survives.

1937 – Effie Jane (Ford) Rice, the last surviving child of John and Elizabeth (Dye) Ford, died Feb 16 in Portland, Oregon.  She died in the Multnomah Hospital of coronary thrombosis and generalized arteriosclerosis, made worse by pulmonary emphycema.  She was 78 years old.  Effie was in the hospital for nine days prior to her death.  She was listed on the death certificate as a widow and homemaker living at 313 NE San Rafael Street.  No family informant was listed on the certificate.


Frances [Fannie] Ford was born in Story County, Iowa and educated at Iowa State College in nearby Ames, Iowa.  She taught for a while in Iowa, then went west to Washington Territory with her younger sister Effie.

Paul Jackson Lang was born near Copenhagen, Denmark.  He came to America with his family and settled in Wyoming Territory, where they were in the dairy business.  Paul was studying to be a Lutheran Minister when he got the urge to go farther west.  He gave up his studies and went to Washington Territory where he met Fannie.  They were married in Kittitas County.  They had daughters Myrtle and Nora, and sons Eugene, Lloyd, and Clyde [the latter dying at age two].

By Myrtle (Lang) Stanley, written Aug-Sep 1972:

Written 1972

I was born in South Prairie, Washington on September 16, 1891. My parents had lived in Wenatchee.  I don't remember that because it was before I was born.  Then we lived in Ellensburg.  The only thing I remembered about that was when we moved from Ellensburg.  Nora and I were in the covered wagon for the night.  I remember my first sense of fear was when I heard the wolves howling.  I heard my father say "We will keep the fire burning and that will keep the wolves away because they are afraid of fire and won't come near it".

When we got to the ranch, there was a log cabin, and that housed us until my father and his friend Mr. Cahill built two or three more rooms with a large stone fireplace in the living room.  Papa cut the logs and split the firewood, and Nora and I helped to carry in the firewood when needed.

Nora and I would go on horse to get cow.  We would lead the horse up to a tree stump, then get on the stump,  and then get on the horse, as it seemed to understand, and we would go for the cow, as we could hear the cowbell she wore.

One day, near forenoon, a young buck Indian came to the ranch.  Papa had built what was then called a shed over the back door and like a roof (more like our patios).  He then put up a rope swing for us.  Our swing board split and broke, and the Indian took out his hunting knife (when Momma saw him take out his knife, she was frightened she admitted later).  He made a new swing board for us and then played with Nora and I pushing the swing.  Momma had him stay for dinner.  I don't remember what we had - probably a meat stew.

There were many wild roses, and Nora and I would pick the pink petals.  Momma told us to put them in bottles and hang them in the sun, and that melted the petals forming as oil perfume, so Nora and I had our own perfume.

Momma was teaching the country one-room school, when one of the big land owners (and also the sawmill) refused to pay his share for school upkeep on what was called Chumstick School that was part of the country where we lived.

Then my parents sold the ranch and homestead, and moved to Leavenworth so we children could go to school, as Momma felt our education was more important than the ranch.  We lived nearer the mountains since that was where the best homes were.  The railroad was between us and the main street of stores, and back of them was the Wenatchee River.

I remember Gene as a baby on the ranch, but I don't think Lloyd was born until we moved into Leavenworth.


  1. Edie Mahaney, Curator of the Patrick Henry Sullivan Museum in Zionsville, and her staff who helped me get started on the history.  And all those who contributed to the files there.
  2. Ester (Mills) Compton, a marvelous lady and a Dye cousin of mine, who mentored me in my early Dye research, and who was a fountain of knowledge about the early days in Zionsville.
  3. Ross and Emily Hewett, who showed me the McCain gravesites in Omaha, and who entrusted to me many old pictures of the Fords.
  4. John Hook of Cicero, who provided the old letters written to John Ford from the western gold fields, the letter from J. Mast of North Carolina, and Myrtle’s memories.
  5. Charlene Shropshire of Carmel, for her help with the George Dye Ford family.