Friday, June 3, 2016

Some Gave All Continued

In my prior post on this blog I told the story of Orin Snyder from Salt Creek who lost his life in France during World War I.

Orin wasn't the only soldier from Salt Creek who lost his life.   The Rotary flagpole in the park actually has three names listed.  Orin was the only one who had been raised in Salt Creek.  The other two had come to the area for work in the oil fields.  88 men from the Salt Creek enlisted during World War I and these three never returned.
Orin Snyder
Wm McClafin
John M Speckbacher

The flagpole had originally been placed in the old park on the bluff overlooking today's football field in Midwest, Wyoming.  It was moved when the new park was built in the 1980's and the old park abandoned.

Arbie William McClaflin is listed on the census records for Clark, Wisconsin as a child and was still there as late as 1910.  He was born in 1901 making him the youngest of the three.  He had a twin brother, Merill Mahlon.  He was only 17 when he was wounded in battle, passing away two days later.  I was unable to find out much about him or his family.  I don't know if he was in the Salt Creek area by himself working or if his entire family moved with him. claims this is a picture of him as a young child. The placque in Midwest has his name wrong.  William was his middle name and the first name was Arbie. Perhaps he went by his middle name?

He is the only one of the three buried in Arlington National Cemetery in Washington D. C.  His last name is misspelled, omitting an L.

Arbie W McClafin
116 Ammo Tn
41 DIV
Jan 23, 1918


The third soldier, John M. Speckbacher, was from Buffalo, Wyoming and his draft card states he was working in Salt Creek as a pumper for Midwest Refining and was unmarried.  It also shows he had been in the infantry for the state of Wyoming for six years and had attained the rank of corporal.

 Born in 1887, Max (his middle name was Maximillan) was the oldest of the three when he died in 1918 at Fort Des Moines, Iowa. He was born in the Big Horn Basin near Spring Creek (Ten Sleep).  *Spring Creek is also the site for the infamous Spring Creek Raid which killed three shepherds in 1909 for bring sheep onto cattle range crossing the deadline.

John M Speckbacher
Pvt Med Dept
September 17, 1918

He had re-enlisted on July 23, 1918 and had only been in the service again for 2 months when he was killed.   His obituary appeared in the Buffalo Bulletin and he is interred in Willow Grove Cemetery, Buffalo, Wyoming.   The American Legion applied for his military headstone in 1937.

From the Buffalo Bulletin dated 9/26/1918:
Max Speckbacher, another Johnson County boy, died at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, and the remains were brought to Buffalo for interment, the funeral services being held in City Hall Tuesday afternoon, and were conducted by the Odd Fellows, of which organization he was a member.  He was in the United States service and was stationed at Fort Des Moines.  Deceased was born on Spring Creek in the basin country and has lived his entire life in this county.  He was a young man of good habits, industrious and conscientious and had friends by the score in Buffalo where he was known.  He the stepson of August Linder and a brother of Tony Speckbacher of Casper, both of whom survive him.  Besides these members of the family he leaves a half brother and half sister, John and Pauline Linder.  Moxie was one of the boys. It was always a pleasure to meet and in his death we lose a good citizen and the government a good soldier.

In two short years, we will be acknowledging the 100th anniversay of the end of World War I.   May the horrors of war never visit again.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

He Gave All for Eternity

This Memorial Day, after visiting the graves of family members, Hubby and I set off to find a special grave in the cemetery.

I first became aware of Orin Snyder when I was browsing through some old historical 'company' magazines called The Midwest Review published by Midwest Refining Company in the early 20th century. There was a photo of him riding a bronc and he was mentioned in several Review's as having been a great cowboy.  It also said he was killed in action during World War I.

Through the years I have gathered small tidbits about him.  He was born in 1897 in Lost Cabin, Wyoming (Fremont County).  The family originally worked on the J. B. Okie ranch but later homesteaded a small place near Badwater.  Apparently one of the neighbors took exception with the location of their homestead and the father, Ora, pulled a gun on him in an altercation, which was reported in the Natrona County newspapers at the time.  It appears the contentious co-existence continued for several years.

Eventually, the family moved to a place on Castle Creek near Midwest, Wyoming.   There are numerous references to Orin and he was a popular young man.  He is mentioned as visiting in Arminto, and also back in Badwater.  Today there is a reservoir on what I assume is their old homestead known as Snyder Reservoir.  There was also a town called Snyder that the father started in approximately 1923.  It never had a post office and was never a going concern so faded from existence.  Interesting in 1923, the BLM awared Orin's father the homestead he had filed on before leaving for France.  Was that where the town Snyder was?

This is the photo from the Natrona paper that announced his death in 1918:

The accompany article stated:
Casper Daily Tribune no. 310
October 18, 1918
Front Page

He Gave the Boche Hell While He Lasted and His Pal Took Machine-Gun That Sent Him West

Less than an hour before he "went west" while assisting in operations against a machine-gun nest near Croix Rouge Farm late in July, Private Orin Snyder, son of Mr. and Mrs. O. E. Snyder of Salt Creek, epitomized the spirit of the American soldier when he scribbled a last note to his family saying:

"We are on a mighty lively front. Don't know whether we will get out of it or not. Will give them hell as long as I last."

Private Harry H. Brown of Company C, 167th Infantry, also of Salt Creek and a close friend of Snyder's, received a letter of commendation for extraordinary bravery in leading a charge against and capturing the machine gun which claimed the life of his pal.

Memorial services for Orin Snyder, held at Salt Creek on Sunday last, speak in eloquent appreciation of his service and sympathy in his loss. As the Rev. R. H. Moorman spoke of his sacrifice, he was "An American Indeed." 

Orin was the first boy from the Salt Creek area out of 88 who went, to be killed in action.  There were numerous memorials for him around the area.   At first he was buried in France and then in 1921, his body and that of Guy C. Burson, the first killed from Casper, were brought back to the area for burial. Both were buried in Highland Cemetery, Casper, Wyoming, with full military honors.

Several articles are found about the memorials and in 1918,  his dad says Orin asked for his opinion if he should go or not.   His dad advised him, "Son, I won't stand in your way.  Your Dad has no coyote blood and I know his son hasn't."

Orin I. Snyder
167th INF, 42nd DIV
August 30, 1897
July 26, 1918
He gave All for Eternity

Note that this headstone is NOT a military headstone but a private headstone.  The other soldier buried at the same time with full military honors, Guy C Burson, also has a private headstone.  I suspect the George Vroman American Legion Post purchased both headstones.

It is distressing that after almost one hundred years, Orin's is almost illegible.   It took Hubby and I quite a while to read the last line. I am going to locate the Burson headstone and note it's condition and then see what can be done to restore them.

Orin perished from machine gun fire during the Croix Rouge Farm battle.  There is a memorial on site in France and a lot of information on the battle.  It states: "
July 26, 1918
“…the 167th Alabama assisted by the left flank of the 168th Iowa had stormed and captured the Croix Rouge Farm in a manner which for its gallantry I do not believe has been surpassed in military history. It was one of the few occasions on which the bayonet was decisively used.”
– Douglas MacArthur

Sounds pretty awful doesn't it?   Orin's unit was attached to the 167th Alabama which was known as the "Rainbow Division" because it had men from 43 States in it, most of which were state units.

The website for information on the battle is HERE.  There is a very poignant statue on the site.

As we are only two years away from the WWI Centennial, finding Orin's gravesite made it a memorable Memorial Day for me.  I left a small spray of poppies which joined the red/white/blue arrangement and Flag left by the local American Legion who decorates the graves of Veterans.

RIP Pvt. Snyder.   All gave some and some gave All.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Senior Living - Why does No One Mention this?

Since this year I am eligible for Medicare (how did that happen?) I've done some research and thinking into home renovations that would make it easier for us in our home.

All sorts of articles and blogs mention revamping the bathroom for 'senior living' most of which involves something easy to step into for a bath/shower and handrails where appropriate. Okay gotcha, that makes sense.  Non slip flooring through out a no-brainer.   I even saw one article that mentions putting hand rails down the hallways.  Really?  That's how decrepit I'm going to get??? Yikes.

But so far not ONE has mentioned the kitchen.  NOT ONE.  What? Grandmas no longer cook???

Well this grandma does - and will have to continue to do so.   I also like to home can.  Hubby is allergic to gluten which means I have to cook a lot from scratch.  That's not going to go away as I retire.

I have a lot of trouble trying to get on my right knee to reach anything.  It kills me as I broke the kneecap years ago (and yes, it was horse related.)  Knowing they couldn't cast it I never went to the doctor and now that kneecap is oddly shaped.  So it hurts a lot when I try to get down on that knee.

And that means it's a major ordeal to get anything that is in the back of my lower cupboards.  Wasn't particularly easy as a young woman but now it's a no - go zone.  I bet I've got spices etc wayyyyy in the back that is old enough to have wandered in the desert with Moses.

Recently making a pumpkin pie I saw my above cupboard cinnamon container was empty.  I keep bulk spices in the bottom cabinet.  Do you think I could find it?  No way.  Well I wasn't about to get down on that knee so the pie went in the oven with touch of cinnamon I could shake out of that bottle.  The next day being extradordinarly hardy I DID get down and found the cinnamon.....and the black pepper,,,,,and the italian seasoning.......and the cornstarch.........and.................
And that wasn't all of it.  It's just where I quit.

Which means I need to install wire baskets like this....
I can see where a complete set of these in your cupboard would really be handy especially under the sink and in those lower cabinets.  Pull it out, get what you want.  Pray it never falls out the back end of the basket...

But I've never seen any suggested for a revamp.  Also I want to find a new dishwasher as mine is kaput.  But you can bet I will pay close attention to exactly how low that bottom basket/rack is!!

Happy aging!  Pfttttt!

Warmth has arrived 60 miles north of nowhere and green grass is growing.

Saturday, April 30, 2016

When it Snows in Wyoming; you know its Spring!

It seems like it's been f-o-r-e-v-e-r since the sun has shone but I really think it's been more like a week.  We've had snow almost every day since then.
Wet and Muddy April 24
Deeper and Muddier April 26

April 27th and MORE snow.  This is a view of our old barn on the hill in the pasture.

On the 28th, the snow has melted to about an elevation of 5,000' -- you can see the snow line in this picture.  This is called Pine Ridge.  We live on Pine Ridge so we got snow not rain.  (our elevation is 5,500')   Yep we live in that white zone.................

On the 29th it warmed it a tad so it melted as it snowed and ditto for today, the 30th.  We still have patches of snow, but it's warmer by a few degrees.  Not warm enough for grass to grow well.  We need sunshine for that and warmer temps.   Sure to be just around the corner.   I mean tomorrow is MAY!!!

The moisture was needed so it's welcome.   In our neck of the woods,  it isn't spring showers that bring May flowers ---it's usually SNOW.

This all started at the end of March when it dumped big time on the mountain---like FEET of snow.  Up to then it had been very dry and not near the normal amount of snow we receive every winter.  I was beginning to wonder if drought wasn't returning!

Here's our mountain lot on the 31st of March when #1 Son and daughter-in-law skiied in to see if there was any damage.
I think they said they had 3 feet of snow on the Mountain when this picture was taken.  It's at least that deep around our trailer in this picture.

The wild flowers will be spectacular this year.   I love seeing fields of lupine on the mountain. It always reminds of what I hear about the bluebells in Texas.   
They were about at the end of their bloom stage when I took this picture but this is lupine that was blooming in the front of the trailer in the above picture.  They will cover that whole hillside and their color should be intense this year with all that water!

May snow come in April and Flowers in June in your neck of the woods!

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Fun with Genealogy DNA

or Grandpa Dick and Grandma Jane may not have been who you thought they were.....

One of the big questions in our family genealogy search has always been if there was native americans in our ancestors.   My husband's mother distinctly relayed on numerous occasions, the tale of the "Indian Princess" who was adopted into the family.  In my own family, my grandfather who descended from French Canadian Fur Trappers, told me there were native american ancestors.  Given the bloodline, I thought it was true.

Joseph Maxime DeSotels (1834 - 1927) the last DeSotel ancestor born in Longue Point, Montreal, Quebec Canada.  Does he look part Native American?  That was the gr great grandfather.

Burley Austin Dye (1893-1988)  my husband's grandfather who was a descendant of the "Indian" Princess.   Does he look part Native American?   That was the question....................

We decided for Christmas for ourselves we would buy each other a DNA test.  Both of our kids were pretty excited to see the results.

And the results were:

Hubby -- NO trace of Native American ancestry.   Busted myth of the Indian Princess.

Me -- NO trace of Native American ancestry.  What?  My line of DeSotels have been in North America since the mid 1650's and were fur trappers....

It would appear that every generation I trace back on the DeSotels, I am descended from a French Canadian wife right back to Catherine Lorian Dit la Pointe DeSautels in the 1600's.   No native wives.  Quite the surprise

For Hubby, obviously there was no adoption of a native american girl and the princess myth is totally untrue.  How did that rumor come to be????   And where did the family features come from in the Dye family line -- men who were tall, dark haired and did not go gray nor bald in old age.  Faces that aged and looked native american. My husband is often asked how much native american blood he has when he goes to a public function.

Turned out the Dye family has been in North America since the founding of New Amsterdam (now New York City) in the 1600's.  And the physical features we had attributed to Native American ancestors were in fact, probably Dutch.

One of the interesting things dug out of was that the first Dye (then Duyts) was a "Great Foot" Hans Lauren Duyt who was called that due to his stature and foot size.  Apparently a big guy and also not very nice.   He was banned from New Amsterdam and had his left ear cut off for selling his wife!!!

Was I satisfied with my subscription to  Yes.  However you must use the data with a caution.  A lot of people have errors and it's easy to copy and pass along those errors.

Was I satisfied with the DNA tests.  Yes, up to a point.  Don't expect detailed information from this.   You will get a generic area from where you descended like Northern Europe, Spain, Southern France, Etc.  So if you expect what you get, it's okay.

Am I glad I did it?  Absolutely.   Warning - it's addictive!

Happy Genealogy Hunting!

Tuesday, March 1, 2016

A Gift from My Daddy.......

Almost sixty years ago this summer (about fifty six years ago to be precise) I received a WONDERFUL gift from my daddy.   He took me Clearmont to have shoes put on his Morgan mare, Lady.

I was a really horse crazy little girl.  I ate, slept , BREATHED horses.  I remember sitting on the front step of the house when I was three going on four and Daddy asked me what I wanted for my birthday and I remember telling him.  I NEED a pony.  Not I wanted a pony, not I would like to have a pony but I NEED a pony.   I asked every year and for my sixth birthday I got:
Heidi.  She was my best friend.

I think I was six turning seven that summer, maybe a year older.  And Daddy looked at me as I got into the truck and he said "I want you to remember today.  You won't see this anywhere else.  It's like stepping back one hundred years.  I'm worried you are too young to remember it well but I want you to see this and remember it."

And was it ever something to see.   He took me to Reigel's Blacksmith Shop  (link to story about shop) go to gallery to see photos.

When we pulled up to the shop, the doors were wide open.  It had a horsey, smokey, metallic atmosphere and it was dark inside.  There were no other horses there, just us and our one horse.
                                                The Clearmont Iowa Blacksmith Shop 

Interior of Clearmont Blacksmith Shop with blacksmith tools on the bench
Both From website gallery

There were rings in the bricks all along the one wall and the blacksmith told Daddy to tie Lady to one of the rings. 

The Smithy by John Sargent Noble

I don't remember the blacksmith as a tall man but he was a Powerfully built man with Big muscular arms, bald head, and a leather apron.  
A painting of Burkhard Riegel who ran the shop from 1931 to 1967.
From website gallery

I remember him holding a hammer in his big hands and there was a circular brick 'firepit' with a hood over it.  It was rigged up to a big bellows that he could 'pump' the fire up with.  First the blacksmith (who I now know was Mr. Riegel) trimmed each hoof and then took a horseshoe off a wall, which had hundreds of shoes hanging in rows on it)  and measured it on the newly trimmed hoof.  Lady was a perfect lady during the process and did not give him any fuss. Then he took the shoe over to the forge.
Charles Grant Beauregard "The Blacksmith"

He pumped up the fire and heated the shoe till it glowed red hot and then shaped it to exactly the shape of the hoof.  The shoe would still be hot when he put on the horses' hoof and it would sizzle.  I asked Daddy if it hurt the horse but he said she didn't feel it.  

Bellows for a forge

Daddy, I wasn't too young.  I remember EVERYTHING, how it looked, how it smelled, the bricks, the shop, the smithy.   It was one of the greatest gifts you ever gave me.   And thank you to Mr. Riegel for explaining what he was doing and letting a small young girl watch him at his craft.

Sometimes very special gifts come in surprising packages.

If you are ever near Clearmont, Iowa, you must stop.  I know I will.  I would love to see it again.  I got to go again one other time with Daddy a year later but I've never been back since.

                                              Horse and Buggy Days by Paul Defletson

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Whose at the Gate?

Recently we began to notice that Someone has been rubbing this bush right at our gate.
See that volunteer sprig right at the base of this cottonwood?

Look closer.............................

Closer Still........................................
Someone has been rubbing their antlers to shed them.  Now the WHO remains a mystery.  We have between three and five elk bulls that hang around every winter and also four huge mule deer stags. These guys have scared the bejeebers out of me several times by trying to commit suicide in front of my car!

 Last spring our daughter in law found a very nice elk shed on our place.

So to the WHO, we hope you leave us an antler or two!

Definitely, wildlife is one of the greatest things about living 60 miles north of nowhere.