Baughn Recollections of Early Day Life near Manville

Last updated: April 24, 2013

The Lusk Herald
October 21, 1992

Western magazine recalls early-day life near near Manville

(In an earlier article, writer Homer Crisman detailed some of the events recalled by Carl and Jessie Baughn, who lived in the area south of what is now Manville at the turn of the century. Crisman's story originally appeared in the September-October issue of "Westerner Magazine," in 1969. The Baughns recalled the events surrounding the numerous cattle drives coming out of Texas and heading for Yellowstone and Montana. In this segment, the second detailing portions of Crisman's article, Carl Baughn recalled the cattle drives and the instincts cattle displayed during severe storms on the trail drives of 90 years ago.)

When Car Baughn was asked about his recollections of the cattle drives, he was somewhat hesitant. He said his adventures 'were not very important' in Crisman's article.

"I guess you have forgotten those times when you were a 'nightrider' during a summer storm," his wife offered. "You might tell about one of those incidents."

Carl was deep in thought for a moment, as though hesitating to bring himself into the picture. He then recalled the following experience.

"There've been some nights which I'll never be able to forget," Carl told Crisman. "Cattle and other animals have a built-in sense whereby they are able to predict an approaching storm.

"Any cowboy with experience will swear that there is something uncanny about this ability. In some areas along the trails, summer thunderstorms are most severe, and especially at night, the herd becomes restless.

"That is when the cowboys talk to the cattle and on occasion even to break forth in song. I am no singer," Carl said, "but believe me, I sure learned to make a 'joyful noise' many a time when on night duty with a bunch of nervous critters.

"At such times they are likely to 'spook' at most any unexpected sound; a close clap of thunder, or the snort or sneeze of a steer or horse. When so spooked, all that is needed is for one or two of the cattle to break and run 'for nowhere,' and quickly the whole herd is stampeded.

"This is one of the worst things that can happen on the trail," Carl added. "At such a time, every cowboy in the outfit is out riding for all he's worth. We try to circle the herd and get them to quiet down or to break into smaller groups.

"Many times, the cattle have to run until they're exhausted. You may wonder why the riders don't get ahead of the cattle to slow their running. The fact is that this is the most dangerous place to be during a stampede. On the fringe of the herd is by far the best place for you to stay.

"Many a 'poke' has come to an untimely end when his horse stumbled and threw him to the ground in front of a stampede," Carl said. "His horse might recover his feet and escape, but the rider does not have a prayer of a chance when the leaders of the herd are being pushed on by the cattle which follow.

"I still shudder when I recall some of the tragedies which I have witnessed. Nights like those when I reached out to brush the static electricity off the ears of my horse, or when we watched the static dancing along the long horns of the cattle -- well, I'm pretty sure that I accumulated some of my gray hairs when I was on duty during such storms," Baughn added.

In Crisman's article, he said that Jessie's family moved into "an attractive home" in Manville while she was a young lady. She met and eventually married the "up and coming" young cowboy, Carl Baughn.

The wedding was held in Manville's Methodist Church, just a few blocks from Jessie's home. A local jeweler, Mr. Howard, played the wedding march on an old reed organ.

After the ceremony, the wedding party moved to the Manville High School auditorium for the wedding banquet (or "the big feed," as some of the cowboys called it).

The meal was followed by a dance in the hall of the high school, with Carl and Jessie leading the Grand March.

At the time Crisman's article was published in 1969, the Baughns had celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. The couple was retired from active ranching and living in Manville at the time.

On their Golden wedding anniversary, the couple repeated their wedding vows. A special gathering was held at the old church, which still served the community. Many who had attended the first wedding were still living in the area and were on hand once more. Mr. Howard even agreed to play the music for the anniversary.

During their life together, the Baughns became quite active in Wyoming politics. During several sessions of the Legislature, Jessie served as mail Clerk.

Among the special guests who were invited for their 50th anniversary were the Wyoming Governor and his wife.




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