Since February I have been sharing the story of my maternal second great grand aunt Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd. She was the sister of my maternal great great grandfather Abel Roberts. I chose Elizabeth “Lizzie”, because in delving into family geneology I had come across a comprehensive written story of her life. I was impressed by this young woman’s courage and strength. If you want to start at the beginning click here. If you have been following her journey scroll down for the next and final installment of Lizzie and her family’s journey.
Valie took Grace with her and went up on the train to be with Addie for a couple of weeks. Thelma and Grace had a lovely time together in the fall of 1914 when things became quiet for the winter. Lizzie rented out the hotel and took an extended trip. They went first up to Burley, Idaho where Claude and also Edna were living. They then took the train down to Salt Lake City and to southern Utah to visit Lizzie’s brother Will and Ben Roberts. Following that they traveled to Olathe, Colorado to get acquainted with some new family members that had been born there; James Earnest Louise Wiggett (DOB 11/28/1912), Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd III (DOB 02/07/1913) and Agnes Prettyman (DOB 03/01/1913). The family stayed with Carl until about the end of January and then returned to Burley on the train.
When they returned they found George and Edna Hanna had a new son, Calvin Grant Hanna (DOB 01/12/1915). Carl and Annie Shepherd also had a son born that spring, Lyman Shepherd (DOB 03/28/1915). Annie was not able to leave her bed after the birth of this child. The doctor diagnosed her problem as enlargement of the liver, but Valie believed she have had cancer. Annie (Mary Anna Abercrombia Shepherd) suffered a great deal and died about three weeks later on April 18, 1915 in a hospital in Montrose. She was buried on April 21st at Olathe, Colorado.
Lizzie and Valie took the train and returned in order to help Carl with the young family. It became apparent he could not work and care for seven children. Annie’s son, Ira Caldwell, was sent off by train to his sister Brazilla in Green River, Wyoming. Electra and 11 and Bertha 9, and they stayed with their father on the ranch at Olathe. Lizzie took the four smaller children back to Denton, Montana. Lora was about 7, Clara about 5, Carlos just past two and Lyman was a new baby only a little over a month old.
Claude and Francetta remained at Burley, Idaho that year and had their first son, Claude Albert Shepherd, born there on August 6, 1915. Over in Colorado, Earnest Wiggett and Carl Shepherd lived on East Mesa at Olathe. Mary Wiggett has a younger sister named Hattie May Kinnaman, who lived with their mother Ellazia York Kinnaman Marley in Delta. Hattie often came to Olathe to visit Mary. Carl took a job on Ash Mesa and boarded with the Markley’s while he worked on the canal. During this time he fell in love with Hattie. They were married at Mrs. Markley’s home in Delta, Colorado on January 16, 1916.
Meanwhile back in Denton, Montana, little baby Lyman Shepherd was ill all that spring. Although he was past a year old he could not stand on his feet and was ill until he died at age 14 months on May 1916. Lizzie asked the elders to have President Melvin J. Ballard come and conduct the funeral. He came and preached a very powerful sermon to the large crowd of towns people who came out of curiosity. Sometime later in the summer, Lizzie took the other three children back to Colorado. One cannot begin to understand the feelings of these young children who had lost their own mother, then just as they were getting settled into a life with their grandmother, were then taken back to begin life as members of a new family.
Sometime in 1916, Claude Shepherd decided to go to the Uintah Basin of Utah. According to history regarding Joseph Prettyman an Uncle Tom Roberts was running the post office at Cedar View, Utah. The Prettyman family arrived in Roosevelt about this same time and took jobs fencing land for the government Indian reservation in this area. About this same time Jim Peacock inherited $4,000.00 following the death of his father in England. He took this money and invested it with Claude on a piece of land near Red Cap, Utah. Claude build a small frame house for his family and Jim had a tent nearby. The following year another son, Robert Bartley Shepherd, was born to Claude and Francetta, on January 11, 1917.
Early in the spring of 1918, Lizzie rented a farm near Roosevelt, Utah. Both the Hanna family and the Huffman family, came up to the area. Two little cousins, Thelma and Grace, enjoyed walking to school together. Sometime early in April, as the girls came home from school, they waded in rain puddles and got very wet. Grace developed a case of croup and became very ill. The croup took her life in a few days and Grace Esther Shepherd died at the age of 6 on April 14, 1918. Bill Tubbs made the casket for her to be laid to rest in. The loss of this dear little girl was very hard for the family to accept.
Late in that same summer, George and Edna Hanna had another son, Harold Raymond Hanna, born at the ranch near Roosevelt, Utah on August 25, 1918. Also that same year Scott and Addie Huffman suffered a loss of twins. Addie had been having labor pains for about a week and was very ill. When the babies came on September 6, 1918, they were stillborn. The twin girls were given the names Adeline and Valie. They were buried at the foot of Grace’s grave in the Roosevelt Cemetery. Addie was very sick for about three weeks. She had always wanted twins and took the loss very hard. Valie stayed with her and took care of the family until Addie recovered and became stronger.
Late in the fall, most of the Shepherd family moved to Grand Junction. Addie became very ill. Valie went to the druggist to ask what they were using to help and he just shrugged and said “Nobody knows what to do.”, so she went to the grocery and bought a bag of onions and a bag of lemons. She made a big pot of onion soup and kept everyone drinking hot lemonade. Everett had a high fever and went out of his head talking about Grace. This alarmed his mother and the family very much. Many people were dying each day during this epidemic of flu. Everyone worried for several days that Addie would not have the strength to survive. Finally she and the others began to improve. However, when Francetta Shepherd got the flu in February, she was not so fortunate. This strain of flu seemed to be especially violent for young children and for women who were expecting. Francetta was one of these women, and after many days of being very ill she died. Francetta Kelsey Shepherd, only 23 years old, was buried at Roosevelt, Utah beside her daughter Grace on February 14, 1919.
Early in the spring of the same year, Claude moved his family to Grand Junction. It took him eight days to travel with his wagon from the town of Wellington in Utah, to Colorado. Both Bart and Claude went to work for the irrigation company in the area known as the Redlands South of Grand Juncton. Lizzie and Valie took care of the young boys. It was Grandma who raised Claude and Bob from then until manhood. Late in the fall , the family went to Olathe and spent the winter of 1919-1920 there. It proved to a be a pleasant winter as all the young people would get together at different homes for Saturday night dances.
About the middle of May, Valie returned to Grand Junction to be with Addie when her baby arrived. She and Addie were very close and she always looked forward to spending time with her family. She was there with them when the baby, Glen Huffman, was born on May 31, 1920. Early in June the rest of the family returned to Grand Junction. Scott and Addie were just getting ready to move out into the Redlands where Scott had taken a job with a ditch company. The company had a house for them. The Shepherd family moved into the house that they had been living in. Soon after this, Valie and Thelma were going downtown one day when they met John Garrett on the street. He had gotten a piece of steel in his eye, and had been to the doctor. He was wearing dark glasses to protect his eye for a few days. Soon he and Valie were going together again. He took a job irrigating on the Redlands too, and became a frequent visitor at the Huffman’s house.
That spring there was an epidemic of whooping cough. Florence, Nellie and Agnes Prettyman all had it. So did Marie Wiggett when her family came for a visit at Addie’s house. The older children would survive it, but a tiny baby did not have enough strength to endure the endless coughing. When Glenn began to get very sick, Addie called the doctor, He came and left a prescription slip. Valie walked out in the fields and asked him if he would take his care and get the filled for the, which he did. However, the baby died before the medicine could help him. Baby Glen Huffman passed away on June 31, 1920. Addie took the loss of this baby very hard. This was the third baby she had buried in less than two years. Claude stayed at Olathe until he had the crops all in. Then in the summer he traveled down to Grand Junction. He and Bill Tubbs got a big carpenter job over at Gateway, Colorado and they worked there until the last of August.
Sometime during the year before, when they were living in Grand Junction, Valie had met a girl named Maude McGovern. She had first met her at church. Later Valie went with Edna and George, and a group to a dance at Maude’s house. When Valie came home from this dance, she had told Bart that she had met his wife. Bart really laughed at this idea and said he was not very interested in girls and the idea of a wife was far from his mind. Valie had almost forgotten about this incident, since it was almost a year later. Soon they met up again with Maude following their attendance at the family wedding of Sarah Prettyman and Loren Craig on June 12, 1920.
After the wedding, Loren and Sarah were taking a group over to the store for a treat. In the group was Valie, John and Bart. On the way they met Maude. Valie introduced her to everyone else, ignoring Bart. Bart kicked his sister in the shin saying “Sis, aren’t you going to introduce me?” Valie responded “No, this is the girl you didn’t want to meet.” Then she said, “Maude, this is my brother Bart.” Maude talked for a few minutes, congratulations were expressed to Loren and Sarah Craig, then Bart and Maude linked arms and walked off together. They were together from that moment on throughout the rest of their lives.
It was not many days after this that John Garrett purchased a ruby engagement ring and presented it to Valie. When they announced their plans to be married soon, Bart and Maude thought it such a good ideas, that the two couples began to make plans for a double wedding. The wedding date was set for July 31, 1930, however, just a few days before the wedding Maude’s step-father died, and her family convinced her she should wait until a later date. John and Valie went ahead and were married as planned at the home of Scott and Addie Huffman on the Redlands. They moved into a little house on Main Street and began housekeeping. John was working on the Redlands where he did irrigation work. The following Sunday afternoon, August 8, 1920, Bartley and Maude were married at the home of Maude’s mother. In a few days they moved to a small house in West Camp of the Redlands, where Bart became an overseer of this irrigation camp.
About this same time, Claude and Bill Tubbs came back to Grand Junction from the job at Gateway, where they had been building houses. Just a month later the family had another wedding when William Tubbs married Lizze Shepherd on September 8, 1920. They were married at the elders place on Rude Avenue. John and Valie stood up with them.
After this group of marriages, there remained only person left to be married in the family, and since Gilford was only sixteen years old, he had a few years before he met and married Detta Arhea Norwood on May 5, 1924.
In December of 1934, George and Edna Hanna were coming to Salt Lake City, Utah to go through the temple and Lizzie decided to join them. They left Grand Junction, but somewhere out in the desert the old car broke down. They had to wait quite awhile in the cold before Bart was able to come from Helper and get them. Lizzie got chilled and became sick.
It was not long after Christmas that her cold turned to pneumonia. She was weak and tired, and her hip injury pained her a great deal. Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Robert Shepherd Tubbs died on January 5, 1935 at the home of her son Bart in Helper, Utah. She was buried at Price, Utah on January 10, 1935.
Who are your ancestors? Whose DNA did you inherit? Have you done any researching or digging into your family’s history? Have you unearthed any interesting stories?
Since February I have been sharing the story of my maternal second great grand aunt Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd. She was the sister of my maternal great great grandfather Abel Roberts. I chose Elizabeth “Lizzie”, because in delving into family geneology I had come across a comprehensive written story of her life. I was impressed by this young woman’s courage and strength. If you want to start at the beginning click here. If you have been following her journey scroll down for the next installment of Lizzie and her family’s journey.
It was in about December of 1909 that Valie, one of Lizzie’s daughters, began to feel ill. Her first symptoms were rheumatic pains in her joints which ached, so that she slept many nights with her feet propped up on the oven door for warmth, as she sat in a larger rocker. Early in April while on an errand for her mother Lizzie, she was caught in the rain and became thoroughly chilled. She spent several days in bed but finally was allowed to go back to school. On the last day of school there was a picnic and they were caught in a heavy rain. She became soaked and for the next few days was very ill. She had improved some when it was time for her mother to go into the mountains to cook for her brother and another man who were building homestead houses. Lizzie took Valie along thinking that the mountain air would do her some good. After a sold week of an earache while in the mountains Valie was returned home to the care of her sister Adaline, who was sixteen. Valie was fourteen at the time. Lizzie then went back to the mountains to cook for the men.
The third day Valie was home she began to feel worse and when her sister brought her lunch, Valie began to hemorrhage from the nose and mouth. Adaline was frightened and sent for the doctor and send Douglas Spencer to the mountains for Lizzie. It was almost dark when he started out and had about fifteen miles to ride on horseback over unfamiliar trails. Adding to his troubles, a blizzard came up and he became lost. Lizzie had already gone to bed in the camp when she heard someone calling out. Claude, nor anyone else could hear the calls, but nevertheless Lizzie had the men get up and light a lantern. They went outside and called out into the darkness. A nearly frozen Douglas Spencer heard the shouts and located the camp.
As soon as it was light enough for them to see they started back to Laurel. The doctor had been to see Valie who was still having violent hemorrhages. When Lizzie arrived he told her that he did not know what the problem was but thought that Valie should be taken to Billings, Montana to a hospital. Lizzie asked him if he thought an operation would be necessary to save her life. He told her he didn’t know since he could not diagnose the problem, but that it might be the means of saving some other life. Valie had lost so much blood that the doctor admitted he had little hope she could withstand the trip to the hospital. Lizzie told the doctor that if it was the Lord’s will that she die, that she wanted her to die at home. Early the following morning Valie had another hemorrhage, this being the eighth one. The doctor returned but said he had done all he could. He told Lizzie that she was dying and pulled the sheet up over Valie’s face as he left. Lizzie stood in the kitchen praying for her daughter, when a knock came on the door. There on the porch were two Mormon missionaries. They came in and talked to Lizzie and held a prayer circle in the kitchen. They then entered Valie’s bedroom. Valie who had been only semi-conscious for three days and unconscious all that day responded when one of the elders took her hand and asked if she would like to be administered to. She was able to respond that she would. In the blessing she was given it was promised that she would recover and become a mother in Zion.
Valie ended up recovering from her unexplained illness. The same missionaries who had visited her on her “death bed” returned one day and marveled at Valie’s recovery. They shared their story of how they had come into town the night before and had planned out their route for the next day. They had planned to go to the opposite end of town, but the next morning one of them had a strong feeling that they should go the other way. They had only gone a short distance when a neighbor told them that there was a Mormon family nearby and how the daughter Valie was very sick. They were the only Latter Day Saints family living there at the time. The doctor who had told several people that Valie would not live through the day later stated that he believed a higher power must have restored her health. Valie had no further symptoms of that mysterious illness. In later years after a few years of marriage and after several doctors told her she would never have a child, she went on to eventually raise a large family.
Edna and George Hanna lived for a while at Red Lodge, Montana, during this time. Addie came up from Laurel and visited with her sister. It was here she became acquainted with Scott Huffman. Later Scott came down to Laurel to visit her. It took them awhile to realize how much they cared for each other, but when they did, they became a very devoted couple. When Valie began to feel better in the fall, the Shepherd family moved to Red Lodge. They were there when Scott and Addie’s first child, a daughter named Thelma Huffman was born on October 11, 1910.
The following year her sister Edna and husband George Hannah had a son named Milburn Minor Hannah on July 21, 1911. Brother Claude and his wife Francetta Kelsey were also living at Basin City and their first child, a daughter named Grace Esther Shepherd was born on August 25, 1911. Francetta was a very young wife and mother, only fifteen years old. Her parents Benjamin Franklin and Bolettie Vance Kelsey encouraged her to remain with them that year while Claude worked at Thermopolis on a sewer line and later at Crosby, Wyoming in the coal mines. It was at Thermopolis that Valie met Jim Peacock. Claude invited him to join the family for Thanksgiving dinner. Jim had been born in England and enjoyed hearing the soft English spoken words of Claude’s family. Jim also found himself attracted to Valie and the whole Shepherd family. He spent the next ten years near and around the family, even as they moved about. While Lizzie was at Thermopolis in 1912 she decided to sell the ranch in Burlington. She sold the 160 acres homestead that the family had worked so hard to pay off for $4,000.00.
Earnest Wiggett, Lizzie’s oldest son, had taken his family to Olathe, Colorado and was farming there. After the ranch sold, Carl and his family also went to Olathe, as did Burton and Florence Prettyman. A man named Bill Tubbs who was an artist, architect, carpenter and wood craftsman also entered the picture about this time. He had many talents, but didn’t always put them to use and too often sought solace in the bottle. There was much good in Bill though and Lizzie could see this in him. She chose to accept him as he was. There was sometimes resentment in the family when it seemed Lizzie put Bill before her own children. Yet they also recognized that he treated all her children with respect. He taught Claude the carpenter trade, and Bart and Gilford also learned craftsmanship from him as they grew into manhood. Lizzie was past fifty years old when Bill came into her life, and they stayed together until her death.
In the spring of 1912 the Shepherd family went north to Lewistown, Montana. Lizzie rented a café on Main Street called the Lewiston Dining Parlor. Lizzie did all the cooking, while Laura Clark and Helen Bolden helped Valie wait on the tables. They ofte had fifty men to serve for meals. Claude was working with his tems for a steam shovel outfit. Bill Tubbs was building some homestead houses. Scott and Addie Huffman were living in Red Lodge, Montana. Scott was doing bookkeeping at the coal mine at Washoe. Their second child, a son named Everett Roland Huffman, was born on August 23, 1912.
In the spring of 1913 the family went up to Denton, Montana. This was a new town about sixty mile northwest of Lewistown. The railroad was just being built into the town and plan were being made to build two large grain elevators. Lizzie felt there would be a lot of work there so she bought a piece of land that had a small old building on it and began to feed boarders.
Claude took a job hauling freight from Stanford where the railroad ended at that point in time. It was a muddy wet spring. The heavy mud on the unimproved roads rolled up around the wagon wheels and made it hard to travel very fast. Claude hauled lumber from Stanford to build the Denton Hotel. Bill Tubbs drew up plans which included a gas lighting system, which he planned, built and kept operating. He and Claude did most of the work. They moved into the hotel just before Thanksgiving, and it became the family’s source of income for the next five years. They had a pump house behind the hotel with a nice well. They had six bedrooms upstairs to rent. There was one bedroom downstairs. The old majestic range stood in the kitchen. Bill built a long convenient counter in the kitchen to serve from and made shelves above it for the dishes. He build a sturdy table on the other side of the room where the pump was located. They were always heating water for some purpose. There was a large reservoir on the old stove. Each room upstairs had a pitcher for water and a basin for washing in, but the wash tub had to be used for a weekly bath. The toilet facility was located on the back of the property, but each bedroom had its own covered convenience tucked under the bed.
While they ran the hotel Lizzie enjoyed the luxury of having someone else do the washing. She sent the sheets out weekly to be done. Lizzie was too busy feeing about a hundred men three meals a day. They served the food family style at five big table. Lizzie cooked big meals of meat, potatoes and gravy, and some kind of vegetable. She always made pie for lunch. In the early afternoon, Valie would bake two great big sheet cakes for supper, one white and one chocolate. Valie and Katie took turns waiting on tables. In 1914 Claude brought his family up to Denton and his wife Francetta also helped with serving. Valie and Francetta became close friends and little Grace, at about 18 months was the darling of the family.
Young Gilford, as a small boy, built a play house and a garage under the back stairway and put a neat fence all around it. These were good settled years for the family. Lizzie bought two other pieces of property here. Bill Tubbs built a five room house on one of these lots which they rented out for income and later sold to the blacksmith. He built a smaller two room house on the other lot where the family lived later for a short time. Edna came down and stayed with the family during the summer and George came down in the fall and worked on the construction of the bank building. Scott and Addie Huffman’s son Wilfred Scott Huffman added to the family when he was born on October 14, 1914.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts is the sister of my maternal great great grandfather. In the process of doing genealogical research I came across a story written down about her. Her story begins in when Lizzie was born on June 10, 1861 in Headless Cross, Worchestershire, England. I have been sharing her story here in Mojo Mondays and if you want to start at the beginning you can do so by clicking here.
…Meanwhile back at the ranch in Burlington, both of the young wives had recently given birth to baby daughters. The children born at the time were daughter of Carl and Annie, Bertha Adaline Shepherd, born on October 30, 1906 and daughter of Earnest and Mary, Mary Ella Wiggett, born on October 31, 1906.
Earnest and Carl brought their father by wagon from Burlington up to Belfry. That night the weather changed, a strong wind came first ahead of the storm. Claude and Edna spent most of the night trying to hold the ridge-pole steady to keep the tent from blowing away. The next day they went by wagons in a snowstorm to Bridger, Montana, about ten or twelve miles north. Here Laffe was laid to rest. His grave was marked with a large rock slab with the letter “S” painted on it. In 1973 his sister Valie would make a trip to Wyoming and Montana and she was able to locate a very efficient caretaker at the Bridger, Montana cemetery. He searched his records and located the grave site.
The storm continued very strong. Lizzie took the girls, Bart and Gilford, and traveled back to Belfry on the train. Later the boys brought Rollins Don Carlos and the teams and wagons back to Belfry. When Earnest and Carl were ready to travel back to Burlington they left their father with his family. The family lived that winter in a tent on the bare ground. It was remarkable that those in the family made it through the winter.
That winter and the next spring was a very hard time for the family. In the summer, Claude and Burton Prettyman were able to get gobs on the railroad near Billings, Montana. When the Ringling Brothers Circus came to town, the kids saw the first circus they had ever seen. When the job was finished in the fall, the Shepherd family went back to Chance, Montana and the Prettyman family, to Red Lodge. In a short time, Burton Prettyman and three of the young boys had thyphoid. They were very ill and were taken to the hospital. The family recalled how during that summer Forrest Prettyman, who was just past five years old, had said to his grandmother Lizzie on several occasion, “When I die, will you bury me by my uncle Laffe?” Forrest died on September 18, 1907.
Lizzie and her family came for the funeral and stayed with Florence until Burton and the other boys were better. Later that fall the Shepherd and Prettyman families went down to Worland, Wyoming to work on the big Hanover Canal. The children did not go to school that winter. Joe and Earnest with Valie and Addie, would take the big cross-cut saw and with a couple of kids on each end, they would cut wood for both families. One day the four of them were playing down by the river and taking turns being pulled on a sled on the ice along the bend of the Big Horn River. The rope slipped out of Joe’s hand as Earnest and Addie, on the sled, headed for the swift open channel. Joe quickly slid out on his stomach to grab the end of the rope. His quick action saved them from plunging into the freezing icy river.
When the family moved to Laurel, Montana in the spring of 1908, Lizzie rented a house which the family called “The Coffee House.” The railroad was building a big ice house there and Lizzie took one room where she served family style meals to a few boarders. These were very hard times and work was hard to find, but there were quite a few men employed in building the big ice house. One of these was a young man named Douglas Spencer, who became very fond of Addie. When the ice house was about half built, it collapsed. One man was killed. Douglas Spencer dove into a ditch under the flowing, which saved his life, but his foot was caught and badly broken.
Another of the men who worked on this job and came to board with the Shepherd family was William Tubbs. William Tubbs had been born August 29, 1878 in Omaha, Nebraska. According to family stories, he had married there and was the father of two small children, a boy and a girl. The story goes that he came home one evening to find another man loading his household furniture and his family into a wagon. When he asked what was going on the man bluntly told him that he was in love with the wife and that they were leaving together. A fight followed and the story continues in that the other man was knocked backwards over the wagon tongue and died of a broken neck. Ill Tubbs left Omaha that night. Were he went on his westward journey, nor how long it was before he came to Laurel, Montana.
Later that year the family moved to a smaller house and Lizzie still continued to cook for a few men. Claude worked at the livery stable and there he met a man by the name of George Hanna. After George met Edna he became a frequent visitor of the family. Early in 1909 George and Edna went to Billings, Montana to be married. They moved into a small place of their own not far from where the family lived. It was here that they had their first child Mildred Fay Hannah on September 24, 1901.
Sometime in 1908 Earnest and Mary Wiggett left the ranch and went to Olathe, Colorado. Their daughter Millie Wiggett was born on January 1, 1909, but sadly she died the next year on December 22, 1910. Carl and Annie were still living on the homestead. Two daughters were born to them during this time, Lizzie Lora Shepherd on October 13, 1908 and Clara Shepherd on August 20, 1910.
Many people were out of work and the winter of 1909 and 1910 found many people facing very hard times. Claude and George worked at the liverly stable. Addie worked for a lady who ran the section house. Addie helped with the cooking and in the kitchen. Valie suffered from pains in her legs and her joints all that winter.
Earlier in the year their father used to take a couple of coal buckets and would follow along the railroad tracks to pick up coal. There was a curve in the railroad tracks a short distance from the house. Sometimes coal would fall off the train as it rounded this curve. Often the firemen would toss a few shovelfuls of coal off the train for people to pick up. One day in the summer father had gone for coal, but had become tired and sat down on the track where he proceeded to fall asleep. Addie notices that her father was gone just about the time she heard the train whistle. She ran out and pulled him off the track. She then gave him a lecture and asked him to stop going after coal. This was about the only time he ever left the house. He seemed more and more tired as winter and cold weather arrived.
Often the family was without good food that winter. As Christmas approached they were very bad off and had very little to eat. When their father got up on Christmas morning he went to Lizzie in the kitchen and told her he was going to die. He went over to a couch-like bed which they kept in the kitchen. He laid down, went to sleep and then died in his sleep. Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd died at age 79 on December 25, 1909. A heavy winter snow storm came up the day of his funeral, just as it had when Laffe was buried. Valie remembered the teams that pulled the hearse, and how several of the men stood on the side of the hearse to add their weight to keep it from tipping over in the heavy snow.
The family remained in very destitute conditions that winter. One of their boarders, a man by the name of Ezra King brought the family a twenty-five pound sack of flour, which was all the food they had in the house at that time. Malnutrition may have contributed largely to compounding the problems which beset Valie at this time, for it was in the sprint of 1910 that she suffered an illness which almost took her life.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts is the sister of my maternal great great grandfather. In the process of doing genealogical research I came across a story written down about her. Her story begins in when Lizzie was born on June 10, 1861 in Headless Cross, Worchestershire, England. I have been sharing her story here in Mojo Mondays and if you want to start at the beginning you can do so by clicking here.
It was a time of change for Lizzie too, and while these things affected her, it was in a different way. She was just past forty-three years old and still a strong and vigorous woman. She had fought with William Packard over the irrigation water. Packer insisted that Carlos had given the water right to him, and Lizzie insisted that he was not going to have it. She had used the water to irrigate five acres of wheat and had seen it come to a good harvest under her care. She would stand up for herself, so in the Spring of 1904, when the crop was coming along, she rented out the ranch land as pasture. Then she took the livestock and her six children and moved from the ranch into a house on the Prettyman place down by the river. She stayed here for a few months. Her husband was left in the care of Earnest Wiggett and his wife Mary. They moved back to the ranch and their first son Leslie Wiggett was born there on September 3, 1904.
Early in the Spring of 1904 Lizzie decided to leave Burlington. She had a covered wagon to carry a few belongings. She took a horse for Claude to ride and a pony, which Edna rode. They helped to drive the cattle and milk cows, which they also took. Lizzie’s son Carl was also very restless and perhaps hoped for a better start somewhere else or perhaps he felt his mother needed his help during this time. Lizzie, Carl, and Annie with her three young children, left Burlington together. They traveled across Wyoming that summer finding work where they could. Somewhere along Lander, Wyoming the children found lots of wild berries growing along the creeks and river. They picked large quantities of the berries to use fresh and Lizzie and Annie made jelly as well. They moved on southward to Atlantic City, which was a very rough frontier town. They lived in a tent and the wagon that summer. Lizzie sold milk and butter. She baked bread to sell and took in washing from the miners there. Carl and Laffe took a job with their teams cutting and hauling cord wood and railroad ties. The man who leased them the land for cutting did not own the land and they were ordered to get off or be shot. The boys had the wagon loaded but were afraid to drive it out because of the threats. Edna at age twelve was not about to let that load be left there. She climbed up and drove the wagon down to the mill without incident.
Once again that summer, Edna kept the family from having trouble. Lizzie had been carefully saving the money she made so she could pay the mortgage on the ranch. She has nearly a thousand dollars and was keeping the money in a large trunk. One evening two very rough men came to buy break and she went to the trunk for change. When they got outside the tent, one man said to the other, “That old lady has plenty of money in that trunk. We will come back after dark and get it.” Edna happened to be standing where she heard them. As soon as they were out of sight she told her mother. Lizzie put the money into two small sacks and pinned them to the inside of Addie and Valie’s clothing. She told the girls if she was caught that they were just to keep on walking. The family went to the home of the Marshall for the night. When they returned to the tent in the morning, the trunk had been kicked open, the contents scattered about and the place torn up, but the money was safe. Lizzie took it to the bank that day and sent it off to Burlington to apply on the mortgage of the ranch.
Another story to add here is how Bart, who was not yet five years old, liked to dig through the trash near their tent, which happened to be near a saloon. One day he picked up a round object, but his sister Valie told him it was just an old poker chip and to throw it away. Bart was convinced it was as good as money and sure enough earned one dollar for it. He gave it to his mom to go with the other mortgage money and he liked to tell everyone how he found the last dollar to pay on the ranch mortgage.
The family stayed in Atlantic City until the fall of 1904. Carl and Annie’s first child, a daughter names Electra Shepherd was born there on September 20, 1904. Carl gave her the name of his beloved little sister who had died as a child. In the later Fall of that year, Carl and Annie went back to Burlington to the ranch. Earnest helped Carl build a two room house on the upper forty acres. The two young men, with their growing families, lives and worked together on the ranch for about five years.
Lizzie moved to Thermopolis, Wyoming that Fall. All the children went to school there that winter. Lizzie’s last child William Gilford Shepherd was born there on December 18, 1904. In the spring of 1905, Bart was ill with large abscesses on his legs. There were no miracle drugs in those days and infections were common. Lizzie could not cure them with home remedies, so she took him to one doctor who wanted to lance them. She was not satisfied with his quick diagnosis and took him to another doctor. He told Lizzie if they were lanced, the boy would never walk again. Lizzie took him home and made homemade poultices of soap and sugar to gather the infection. Finally they broke and drained. Bart was in bed most of that spring. When the family left Thermopolis in the spring, they made a bed in the back of the wagon for Bart. Valie had just completed a most satisfactory full year of school and enjoyed being Bart’s teacher. She taught him to write all the letters and when they ran out of paper they wrote on the side of a wooden box. They had some little “Buster Brown books” they had received when they bought shoes. The read and reread these stories, and also anything that had printed letters written on it. Valie was evidently a successful teacher for when Bart started school he was put right into the third grade where he could read with the best of the class.
The family returned to Burlington for a short time that summer, then Claude and Carl took a contract to bale hay on the Y.U. sheep ranch some distance west of Burlington, at a place called Pitchfork. The boys used a baler that was driven by horsed. They hooked the team to the baler, and then the team went around in a circle. The hay was put into the baler which pressed it into the shaped of a bale. A wooden block was dropped into the baler to regulate the length of each bale. Edna and Addie had the job of dropping the blocks between the bales. The bales were then tied with baling wire. They worked long hard hours, and one night Addie, who was very tired, dreamt that they were still working. She shouted out in her sleep, “Block Carl, block! This bale is a mile long now.” They baled a good many tons of hay that season. They piled the bales into long stacks. There were six or eight long stacks of these bales.
Lizzie spent several weeks of misery that summer with a big abscess under her arm. She could hardly mix bread or take care of the cooking for the hungry workers. Later that summer the family went to Bear Creek where Lizzie established a little store in part of their home.
In the summer of 1906 her son Claude went to Chance, Montana to work on a ranch. It was here that he first met Scott Huffman. Scott was recuperating from lung problems following pneumonia. His family had sent him to the farm of his uncle Onie Hall, to do light work and breath clean air. Claude and Scott became friends.
Early in September Laffe took some time off to go on a fishing trip. He went with a fellow named Ross Nixon. (Ross Nixon was married to Rose Clark, who had a sister named Laura Clark. His brother Claude would marry Laura many years later.) Laffe and Ross took the spring wagon and were gone several days. When Laffe returned home he was very sick. He asked Valie and Addie to unhitch the team and take care of them as he was too sick to stand up. He went right to bed and was very ill for many days. He had caught typhoid fever. After a while, he began to feel better. Lizzie decided that the water at Bear Creek was adding to Laffe’s problem, so they packed up and moved down to Belfry, Montana. Laffe did feel better for a while and would sit outside in the sun, but his strength did not return and he continued to feel ill, which gave cause for concern to his mother Lizzie and family.
Claude took a job hauling lumber that Fall. In handling the lumber, he got a big half-inch sliver in his thumb that appeared to go nearly to the bone. He tried to ignore it. One night he rode about six miles to visit his girl and when he got home he was in so much pain that he fell off the horse. A doctor came and lanced and drained the wound. Claude nearly had a case of blood poisoning as a result of that incident.
The weather stayed open and quite warm until late into the fall. Laffe would feel better for a while, then would take very ill again. One day he was sitting up and a neighbor brought over a plate of food. It looked and smelled good to him and he ate it all, seeming to enjoy it very much. In a short while he began to cough. His cough became worse and he began to hemorrhage. Soon he became violently ill and he died that evening. (Marcus De Lafayette Shepherd died at age 20 on November 14, 1906.)
Belfry, Montana was a very tine place with neither stores, nor a cemetery. Lizzie had to send Claude and Edna to Red Lodge, a trip or ten or twelve miles up over the mountains, to get a casket. When they got to Red Lodge, the store keeper sold them a coffin and clothing for Laffe to be laid away in. He also included a black veil for Lizzie to wear as was the custom of the day. When they got ready to start back, the stubborn old horse Kate balked as she often did. Claude was just about at the end of his patience. He picked up a 2 x 4 and gave her a beating. This caused the horse to kick wildly and Edna held the reins praying Claude would not be kicked in the head by the flying hooves. Finally the got the mare under control and made the trip back home safely. Lizzie notified the family at Burlington, and they began to prepare Laffe for burial.
The story of my maternal great great grandfather’s sister Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues…. (The beginning of Lizzie’s story can be located here.)
Now at a time when things are going along quite well for the new community and life has become a bit easier for most of them, it is sad to report that things were not going that well for the Shepherd family. As Lizzie’s husband Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd advanced into his seventies he became more and more irritable and unpredictable in his behavior. One evening Florence and Burton Prettyman stopped by the Shepherd Ranch and were caught there in a heavy rainstorm. They moved a straw tick from their wagon and prepared to stay over night. Sometime during the night, father got up and was going to set the house afire. When Burton took hold of him and spoke to him he did not even remember that Burton had been there earlier. Burton put him back to bed and talked quietly to him for awhile. Often after this, the children would carry their straw ticks out and sleep in the haystack during the summer weather.
About this time Carl had a very bad attack of boils. He had three or four large boils on the back of his neck. They were very sore and made him hurt all over. He had stopped work and come into the kitchen and sat down in a chair feeling very ill. In the meantime the calves got out of their pen and in with the cows and were nursing all the days supply of milk. When his father saw this he became enraged and rushed into the house to get Carl. He was carrying his irrigation shovel. Carl saw him raise the shovel, mother yelled, and he jumped out of the chair just as father brought the shovel down with such force that he split the chair in half.
Another day father came into the house from the fields and went to the water bucket for a drink, but the bucket was empty. Lizzie was sitting at the sewing machine and did not get up. Rollins Don Carlos took the bucket and went to the irrigation ditch for water. When he came back he sat the bucket down and took a drink. Then he took the heavy water dipper and began to beat Lizzie over the head with it. Her cries brought Carl on the run from the barn with the pitchfork. He told his father to quit or he would use the fork on him. His father knew that Carl meant it. Carl and father got along well for the most part. It was Carl who stayed and cared for him longer than anyone.
Late in the summer of that year Lizzie’s son Laffe and a man by the name of Will Hawkins went over near the Yellowstone area and worked on a cattle ranch for that fall and winter. Laffe got very homesick and wrote a poem, which he mailed home, to his mother.
I wish I had a clean shirt
I wish I had some shoes
I wish my little grey horse was fat
and I didn’t have the blues.
I would go back home again
and there I would remain,
I never would punch cows
for the old L.C. Ranch again.
With two of the older boys away and only Carl to help him with the ranch work, Rollins Don Carlos became very discouraged in the fall of 1903. He arranged to mortgage the ranch for a thousand dollars and decided to make a trip back to Beaver, Utah where his brother was living. Before he left he went to a lawyer in Burlington and had a legal paper drawn up conveying all the personal property, farm equipment and livestock to Lizzie. Their daughter Valie also believed that he had a formal bill of divorcement drawn up at this time. Lizzie sewed the money into his underclothing and the boys took him by wagon to Basin, where he took the train to begin his journey to Beaver. Rollins Don Carlos was happy to see his brother again and remained with him for several months. He was still in Beaver when his brother Marcus Lafayette Shepherd had a heart attack and fell from a load of logs on February 5, 1904 at the age of nearly 80 years. From a book on Beaver history, J. F. Tolton said of him “Marcus L. Shepherd: Philanthropist, Church Man – One who loved God adn served his fellowman.”
When their father returned to the ranch in the early spring of 1904, he brought a velvet bonnet for each of the little girls and a China doll. Edna got a brown bonnet, Addie a red one and Valie a blue one. Not long after though Edna’s had her taken by some older boys to tease her and they dropped it into the outdoor toilet. The China dolls that Edna and Addie had, each had back hair that was painted on. Soon Claude ran one of these through the cog wheel on the wringer of the washtubs. Claude was always full of mischief. he loved to get the key to the big eight day clock that hung on the wall. he would change the alarm and set it to go off in the middle of the night. Mother tried to keep the key hidden and often scolded him for his pranks, but he did not change. The doll that Valie had was a smaller doll with real blonde hair. She cherished this doll until she was past twenty year sold. Then one day while she was cleaning out her trunk and had laid it on the bed, Claude came into the room and up to his usual mischief picked up a marble and flicked it at the doll. The marble struck the doll’s head, causing it to break all to pieces. Valie felt very bad about it for she had kept it for so many years and it was the only keepsake she had from her father.
Sometime early in the year of 1904 Carl Shepherd, age 19, married Marry Anna Montana Abercrombria (Caldwell) who was born December 18, 1876. She was 28 years old. Annie had come to the area with her parents, but she was living in a small house on the place just below the Shepherd placed. Annie had been married to James Caldwell and had four children. They were Melissa Caldwell (who had died prior to their marriage), Brazilla Caldwell, who was about 8 year sold, James Caldwell, who was about 6.5 years old and Ira Caldwell, who was still a baby. Carl left the ranch and moved to a small house with Anie and her family sometime in the early part of 1904.
Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd was now past 74 years old and he was tired in body and spirt. He had been saddened by the passing of his brother and could feel that his own years were limited. He did not have a great deal to show for all his years of hard labor. He had mortgaged the ranch and signed away the livestock and all the farm equipment to his wife. The two boys, Earnest and Carl, who had worked so hard with him on the ranch for ten years had left to establish homes for themselves.
**It is believed that if the Shepherd families had combined their resources and gone ahead to homestead and to acquire more land in this fertile area, that their lives might have been very different.
However it was a time of change for Lizzie too. She was just past 43 years old and still a strong and vigorous woman. To be continued……
The story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues…. (The beginning of Lizzie’s story can be located here.)
One humorous story concerning the three little girls happened about this time. In their Sunday school attendance they had been hearing much about the power of prayer. The greatest hope of these three little girls was to have a fully equipped playhouse of their very own. They knew that their folds did not have any way to provide them with such a luxury, so they decided to make it a matter of prayer. They swept and cleaned a place under a large tree for the playhouse to be placed. Then they set about to pray. They prayed and watched, and often got up real early to see if their prayers had been answered during the night. They even imagined that each cloud might have a playhouse hidden away inside it. One afternoon the folks went to town for groceries and the girls were left with an older brother. They wanted until earnest had gone about his work, (or so they thought), then they knelt down around the big wood box in the kitchen and prayed for the playhouse. They each took a turn praying in a most fervent manner. When it was Addie’s turn to pray, she brought her fist down on the wood box and said, “And I pray that our playhouse will come down, plunkety, plink, flunkety, plunk.” Outside, Earnest and his friend, who had been listening to them, were doubled over with laughter. And of course the story got passed around the family. Soon the girls decided that a playhouse was not the thing to pray for. But in later years, they enjoyed telling and retelling this story on themselves.
But Edna did have one of her childhood prayers answered in a very dramatic way, and it always strengthened her to remember it. One day the family was getting ready to go to town. The children were not often taken along, but this day they were told they could go. So everyone hurried around to get ready, but they could not find the baby’s shoe. After looking everywhere else with no success, Edna decided that it must be in the bed covering so she carefully shook them out but to no avail. Not knowing where else to look, she crawled in under the quilts and began to pray that she might be able to find the shoe there. In a few minutes she crawled out to look on the top of the covered, but there was no shoe. Then she dived right back down under the covers again, and began to pray that much harder. They next time she came out to look, there was the shoe, as she had prayed that it would be, on the top of the quilts.
Edna had a firm testimony that prayers could be answered. One summer day about this time the girls were amusing themselves at a game. Lacking toys for fun, they had turned a wash tub upside down in the yard. They would take turns crawling under it while the other two beat a good drum rhythm on the top of the tub. The noise soon became very annoying to their father and he shouted for them to stop the banging, but they were having such sun, they paid little attention. Valie was under the tub and Edna and Addie were beating good strong strokes, when their enraged father came around the corner carrying his pitchfork. The girls were fearful of their father’s temper. Valie stayed right where she was under the tub, Edna ran as fast as she could and hid between the house and the cellar. Addie took another route and sneaked through a hollow log and into the house where she stayed under the bed until her mother got back home.
Another day soon after this, Addie and Valie decided that they would run away from home. They had crossed their own fields and gone through the fence down on Corn’s place and were hiding in the sagebrush. When they saw their mother running towards them with Bart under her arm, Valie said, “Oh, we better run. If she catches us she will give us a good whipping.” But Addie felt differently, “No,” she said “We had better go back, something is wrong.” And something was wrong. Lizzie had been scrubbing the floor with lye water. She had set the can and measuring spoon on the table and Bart who was just beginning to crawl had gotten into it. Lizzie quickly washed out his mouth again and again. Although the lye had burned his lips and the inside of his mouth quite badly, he was not seriously harmed.
Valie can remember going to visit her sister’s family one summer day. Florence had taken a large empty wooden box and spread a quilt onto it for a playpen for baby Burton. As Valie bent over to say hello to the baby, she saw there was a large snake in the box with him. They quickly scooped the baby out and were relieved that it was only an old blow snake.
The family of Florence and Burton Prettyman also continued to grow. The following children were born to them in the next few years: February 11, 1902 ~ Forest Mansford Prettyman Burlington, December 27, 1903 ~ Sarah Talmer Prettyman, April 13, 1905 ~ Leonard Murrel Prettyman.
Crops continued to be good on the ranch. After the spring planting was done, Earnest and the other boys would take jobs hauling freight to bring in extra money. They hauled the first telegraph wires, cross arms and insulators from Cody down to Thermopolis, Wyoming. Claude went along with earnest on this job. In the Spring of 1903, Earnest hauled freight quite frequently to Thermopolis and began to save most of the money he was making. For Earnest had decided to get married and he needed the money for a wedding stake. One June 8, 1903 Earnest Wiggett married Mary Golda Kinnamin, daughter of James Aaron Kinnamin and Eliza York.
Earnest was twenty-two that year and Mary had just turned fifteen, having been born June 3, 1888. They rented a small place further north of Burlington and went there to live. Valie can remember a small tin trunk that Mary kept clothes folded in. They had no closet, but Mary always kept her house very neat and clean.
One of the highlights of the year for all the populations of the Burlington Ward was the 24th of July Celebration. (Pioneer Day is an official holiday celebrated on July 24 in the state of Utah, with some celebrations in regions of surrounding states originally settled by Mormon pioneers.) The youngsters looked forward to this for weeks. It was a full day of fun. There were horse races, foot races and for the boy, sack races and three legged races. They had a ball game going all day and other games for everyone to enjoy. A long table was set up under the shade of the bowery and the lunches the ladies had brought were put all together on this big table at noon. There was fried chicken, potato salad, corn on the cob, slices of tomato, and the ward furnished a large barrel of lemonade, which was a treat for the young children. There there were all kinds of cakes and pie for dessert. It was a great day of good food and good fun for all. Later in the afternoon when everyone was resting from the games, Claude and Eugene Praetor began to fist fight. As Eugene was to remember years later, “Not because we were mad, we were the best of friends, but just to entertain the group.” Valie remembers that one of the ladies looked up at the boys and said, “Who is fighting?” Mrs. Praetor replied, “Oh, it’s my Gene and that Shepherd kid.”
To be continued….
When working on your own ancestral research consider this suggested list of questions to ask parents, grandparents, great grandparents, aunt and uncles.
The story of Elizabeth Talmer Roberts Shepherd continues…. (The beginning of Lizzie’s story can be located here.)
It was in 1897 that Lizzie’s children got their first chance to go to school. The people of the community donated logs to build a 16 x 32 feet school house. Reverend L.D. Thompson donated two acres of ground on which to erect the building. It was covered with a dirt roof and was used not only for school purposes, but for other purposes by Mormons and gentiles alike. In the winter of 1896 Elder William Packard called a meeting of the Mormon people to discuss the proposition of building a meeting house. This building was completed by 1897.
In this period when the Mormons were still in very poor circumstances the chief engineer of the Burlington Railroad came to A.O. Woodruff and told him that he would like to give the people of this area twenty miles of railroad to build. This section of railroad ran from Pryor Gap on the Crow Indian Reservation in Montana to Frannie, Wyoming. Contracts were signed for twenty miles of grading, the price being 13 1/2 cents for earth, 24 cents for solid rock, and 50 cents per ton-mile for pipe haul. Charles A. Welch, who wrote a history of the Big Horn Basin, was selected to do the railroad work and look after the commissary. This was an answer to a prayer as it supplied the settlers with a source of income during the winter.
The next three years were quite good years on the ranch. They continued to clear more land, to improve the canals and to plant more each year. The crops of hay and grain were good, the family had a small garden, which Lizzie took care of. The children picked wild berries along the river. Some jelly was made and preserved. The children would collect old beer bottles and such. The tops were cut off the bottles by dropping a hot harness rind down over the bottle neck. Then they were filed smooth across the top. After they were washed and the jelly was poured and set, they were sealed by coating a piece of tablet paper with egg which and sticking it securely over the top. Lizzie was a thrifty woman and made use of all the items of produce. She made tomato preserve and a large stone jar was made full of pumpkin butter. The children love the green tomatoes that Lizzie used to slice and fry. After their lean years it now seemed that they had a very comfortable life.
Lizzie’s daughter Florence gave birth to her second son on July 12, 1898 and named him Earnest John Prettyman, after her brother. In the winter of the following year on December 18, 1899, Lizzie and her husband Rollins Don Carlos had another son and named him Bartley Roberts Shepherd. Lizzie’s oldest son Earnest Wiggett was now nineteen years old, son Carl Shepherd celebrated his fifteenth birthday on January 1, 1900, and Laffe was fourteen.
Son Claude wrote in a story, “I was big enough then to go with my brothers to get timber.” The boys cut and hauled many loads of logs and started to build a four room house. They laid logs up to the square (ready for a roof) at least two different times, the took the logs down to use for fences and corrals. One day while they were working on the fence, Carl picked up a new hatchet that one of the neighbors had carelessly left. New tools were rare, and Carl was pleased with his new find. Lizzie saw him hide it in the sagebrush and knew it did not belong to them and made him return the hatchet to the rightful owner.
In the early spring of 1900 Florence and Burton Prettyman had their third son. Burton Hazen Prettyman was born in Burlington on March 27, 1900.
In the fall of 1900 there was a lot of illness. A man by the name of James Aaron Kinnamin came to Burlington. He had left his wife and small child in Colorado, but had brought his four oldest children with him in a covered wagon. Lon and Willard were in their early teens, Mary about twelve years old and Howard about ten. When they arrive Lon was ill with diptheria. Lizzie took in the washing for this family and although she used carbolic acid as a disinfectant in the wash water and in the dish soap, soon Earnest, Valie and Lizzie each had diptheria. They were all very sick. Lizzie sent Carl to buy a bottle of pure grain alcohol at the saloon. She would pour a few drops of this onto a teaspoon with sugar and have the ill ones take it to cut the phlegm in their throats to keep them from choking. Addie was then about seven years old and was very afraid of getting the illness. She told her mother, “If I get it, I’ll die.” So she ate sugar and alcohol, and also threw all the used spoons behind a chest of drawers. Fortunately she did not get sick.
Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd had his seventieth birthday in the winter of 1900. He continued to work on the ranch with the help of Earnest and Carl. They were still clearing sage brush and still extending the canal system across their land. In the year of 1901 they had a good crop of alfalfa that grew as tall as a horse.
In the fall Laffe and Claude walked about three miles to school. Enda, Addie and Valie also walked to school with them. Valie can remember taking a short cut through the fields and down along the big canal. Sometimes they would go over to the Kinnamin house with Mary for lunch. They had rented a small house in Burlington. Although they had no woman to care for them, the house and the children were neat and clean. The children enjoyed these growing up years, and many family stories come from this time.
To be continued…..
Do you know any old family stories? How far back do they go?
Consider asking grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles about stories they may know.
When we last left off with the story of Lizzie an accident had just occurred.
On the family’s return trip from Billings, Montana the older children were walking along the roadside picking flowers. Five year old Electra who was riding in the wagon decided she wanted to pick flowers too and while climbing down, slipped and fell. Her dress caught in the brake block and threw her under the wagon. The heavy wagon rolled over her body and her back was broken. The family went back to Billings for a doctor, but he said he could do nothing for her. Her father, Rollins Don Carlos, wanted to get back to the ranch, so they made a bed for her in the wagon and started out. Their travels took them through the Crow Reservation at Pryor, Montana. The Crow tribe did what they could to ease her suffering, but after a few days she died on June 27, 1894. She was laid to rest there on the reservation with a service spoken by a Catholic priest. Lizzie did not feel good about the rosary beads and the cross he put into her little coffin and she removed those before she was buried.
The family finally returned to Burlington in the month of July. Young Earnest, who at twelve years old, had been left behind to mind the ranch, had almost given up hope of ever seeing them again. The sad events of the trip and the poor conditions of the family made it hard for them to accomplish much that summer. Lizzie’s husband, Rollins Don Carlos, continued to work for other others. They moved onto the Thorn Ranch and lived in a small cabin. It was another hard winter for them. In the Spring of 1895, Rollins Don Carlos chose his land and began to clear some of the sagebrush. While they were still living at Thorn’s Place another daughter was born. Valie Shepherd joined the family on June 5, 1895. (Valie in later years would share how her father wanted to name her Roxalana Ray after his mother, but what of the neighbors had a dog named Roxie, and that is why she was not given that name.)
In 1895 Mormon settlers located in the region permanently and named the place Burlington. They decided to build another ditch to cover the land lying along the river valley and it could be down for much less than the Bench Canal. Things were looking blue, but the settlers came together and elected Richard L. Proctor as Superintendent and through his untiring effort rallied the people. That land had to be homesteaded so that every man had to build on the place he had selected for a home. The ditch was sufficiently finished and some crops were raised the same season that the work began. The group of families that were among those who built homesteads included the Shepherds, Packards, Bakers, Rigtrup, Corns and Dobson families.
Young Earnest and Carl hauled logs from the Narby mountains and a one room cabin was built. A story by Claude states that they moved to the homestead in the Fall of 1895. They hauled logs to build a fence so cattle could be kept out. The first year they put in five acres of hay and grain. They continued to clear more land each season. The following years they had a good crop of wheat and Lizzie had a large bin built in one corner of the cabin. She filled it with wheat and a bed was made over it. She traded three bushels of wheat for a small pig. The pig had the scurvy and she put it into a wash tub and gave it a good lye soap bath and then fed it well. She was rewarded with a nice littler of pigs the following spring. Claude’s story tells of pulling salt grass during the winter to feed the pigs.
The family continued to clear the land. The earliest memory that Valie recounted was of sitting on a blanket of sagebrush while the older boys, Earnest and Carl, hauled more logs from the mountains. Times were still very hard for the settlers, but romance entered the picture too when eldest daughter Florence Wiggett, at age seventeen married Burton Jackson Prettyman on August 3, 1896.
The young couple went to live with his family at their place across the Greybull River. They built a small house on his parents property and lived there for about ten years. Burton Prettyman had been married before and had one son, Charles Prettyman.
The Shepherd family was able to get a cow and some chickens the next year. This added milk, butter and eggs to their diet. The children picked berries down along the Greybull River in the summer for fruit. Sometime during the year of 1897 Lizzie suffered a late term miscarriage. That same year she also became a grandmother. Lizzie was thirty-six years old the year her daughter, Florence Wigget Prettyman had her first child on May 12, 1897, a son named Josephus Prettyman.
The continuing story of Elizabeth “Lizzie” Talmer Roberts Shepherd. The first installment began here.
In the spring of 1893 Lizzie’s husband Rollins Don Carlos Shepherd decided to move the family into the Big Horn Basin area of Wyoming. The Church of Latter Day Saints had encourage the settlement of this area and Rollins Don Carlos has heard that there were good opportunities to be found in the area. The family, which included 7 small children, loaded their belongings and supplies into a covered wagon and set out on a journey of about 550 miles to the north.
One of the family stories mentions that a small pony was purchased for Earnest Wiggett, who at twelve years old, helped to drive their cattle. The family started off with 75 head of white face cattle, which would have given them a good start on a herd, but due to feuds between cattle and sheep men of the west, a significant number of their cattle were killed during the journey.
Lizzie, expecting again during the trip, cared for the small children, including six month old Edna, who was ill almost the whole trip. Their son Laffe (Marcus de Lafayette) had trouble with an injured eye all the way and for years following.
The area that the settlers moved into was a large fertile valley about 25 miles east from either Basin or Greybull, Wyoming. Earlier settlers had been trying to establish an irrigation system, but the undertaking had proven too great for their small numbers. Many of those settlers grew discouraged and sold their interests to a man by the name of Wiley. He enlarged the irrigation ditch and settled the area with German settlers and in turn became know as Germania Bench.
Lizzie and Rollins Don Carlos located their wagons, when they arrived, along a bend in the Greybull River and it became known as Mormon Bend. Others in the group were the Bill Clark family, Tom Jones and William Packard. The Shepherd family had arrived too late into the summer of 1893 to begin clearing land. That year Rollins Don Carlos worked for other farmers in the area. They moved their wagon from Mormon Bend on to the small ranch owned by Jim Goodrich. It was here that their third daughter, Adeline Shepherd was born on September 7, 1893.
It was a very hard winter for Lizzie. She had a newborn baby and little Edna, who was not yet a year old, was ill a great deal of the time. After the new baby was born both of the babies were breastfed. The entire family lived in, around and under the covered wagon. It provided little shelter and food was very scarce. Rabbits and other wild game was used as meat when they were available. Wheat was ground in a small hand coffee mill. The wheat was used as cereal, toasted and brewed as a warming drink, and twice ground for bread. An old man living alone in a wagon down near the river starved to death that winter.
In the spring someone sent word that they had one of the whiteface cows with the family brand. Rollins Don Carlos went to get it, but the man insisted that he could not take it home alive, so the cow was killed and taken home as much needed beef.
It was a very hard and discouraging year. By spring all the supplies had been exhausted. Rollins Don Carlos decided to make a trip to Billings, Montana, a journey of about 200 miles. Young Earnest Wiggett (12 years old) was left to take care of the camp. Many years later daughter Edna Hanna wrote a story about this journey titled “Never Marry An Old Man” It was on the return trip from Billings that an accident occurred.
To be continued….
What are your thoughts about the challenges and hardship this family faced?
I know it gives me pause and perspective regarding what I might consider challenging and difficult in my own life today.
Have you come across any daunting stories in your own family history?