DeGering, Ray Personal History
HISTORY OF RAY DEGERING
by Mrs. Ray DeGering
My father's parents came to the United States from France. Henry L. DeGering was born in Lehigh Co., Pennsylvania, in 1857. Only two of the DeGerings came to the U.S. -- my grandfather and one of his brothers. Therefore, there are few DeGerings in the U.S., and all are related.
My mothers’ parents came from Iowa, where my mother was born in Boone County. Her maiden name was Charlotte Smith. From Iowa, the family came by covered wagon to Nebraska. Henry L. DeGering, my father, came to Wyoming with my grandfather Smith in the late 1870's. They hunted buffalo and antelope on the Laramie Plains for the Union Pacific Railroad camps.
My mother came to Cheyenne from near North Platte, Nebr., in 1883, and married the same year. My mother was Scotch-Irish, and my father was French. They had five children -- Albert, born Aug. 16, 1884; Eva (Mrs. Louie Ryan), June 1886 (now deceased); Gail (Mrs. James Stanfield) January, 1894, (now deceased).
My parents lived on Cottonwood Creek, 25 miles east of Laramie Peak, where my childhood was spent. Guernsey was not there at that time, so they traded at Ft. Laramie. When my sister Rose was a baby, my parents were divorced. The three girls stayed with mother, and Albert and I were to stay with our father. Mother married Dave Miller shortly and they had four children -- one boy and three girls -- one girl passing away in infancy. John Miller and Ann Miller Peterson are both deceased, leaving Minnie Miller Coleman living at Lander, Wyo.
Our schooling was hard to get. One summer Albert, 11 years old, and I, 5 years old, stayed alone and rode horseback five miles to school. They had summer school since the people were poor and the children did not have enough warm clothing to attend winter school. The school houses were log buildings with wood stoves for heat. When living alone I do not know what Albert and I ate. Once, I remember we caught what we thought was a fish in the irrigation ditch; but since it had legs, I know now it must have been a water dog. This we cooked, and Albert decided we should have a pie with the fish, so he mixed up some concoction and we called it pie. I don't remember how any of this tasted, but it didn’t make us ill. We also managed at least once a week to visit a neighbor who was very wonderful to us. She fed us until we could hold no more, and we always ended up in her wonderful garden eating vegetables of all kinds. This lady we called "Grandma Herman", as she was like a grandmother to us.
When Albert was 10 and I was 4, when we were staying with our father, he sent us with a team and a double box wagon after a load of hay. Al had some apples and since it was a chilly day we were sitting in the bottom of the wagon eating them, when suddenly he dropped a line. He jumped up and could see the line on the "doubletrees;" so, thinking he could reach it, he bent over as far as he could, and the team, feeling they were free, started to run. The wagon hit a rock, threw him out onto the doubletree, hit another rock and he fell to the ground and the wagon run over his leg. The horses continued to run, and I was just tall enough to stand and hold on to the peg on the wagon box.The team tried to cross the railroad, couldn't make it and tried to turn back. This tipped the wagon over; the team was loose and headed for home. I crawled out and started home for help but met our father as the team had beaten me home. Al's leg was badly hurt but healed fast; then several months later it broke open and sand and dirt and all sorts of infectious drainage came out. How he escaped infection we did not know, since there was no doctor near and only home remedies were used.
In the meantime, dad sold his store and began traveling with a team and wagon, selling dry goods and other things. Albert had come to Lusk and was staying with a family named Goodwin. These people had been down to that country and when they came back to Lusk, Albert had come with them. So when father hit the trail, he had to take me along. One trip we stopped at the Ves Sherman ranch, located on Rawhide Creek. Mr. Sherman put me on a horse bare back and told me to cross the creek and get his milk cows. When I got to the creek it was bank full, but after hesitating a little I rode across and brought the cows over. When Mr. Sherman saw the cows were wet and I was wet to the arm pits, he was shocked, as he knew I could have been drowned, as I was only about 7 years old at the time.
From there we went on West to Keeline, where we stayed a day or so with a family whose name I do not remember. My father told him he had a patch of potatoes down home and he could have half if he would go down and dig them. Since he did not know the way to where the potatoes were, my father sent me along to direct him. It was a long trip so it was dark when we arrived. We stayed the night and early the next day he dug the potatoes and, since there were such a few, he soon finished. He was angry that he had made such a long trip for so few, so he packed up to go home.I asked him what my father said for me to do, and he said he was just to leave me there. Since no one lived there, the only thing I knew to do was to walk the seven miles to where my mother lived, where I stayed until I was 13 years old. I only saw my father once after, as he disappeared until after I was married.
Badger was located on the Cheyenne Northern Railroad (now the Burlington) where the Oregon Trail crossed the railroad track. I was at home during the years that Kansas dried out, so I saw many covered wagons on the Oregon Trail going west looking for something better. I saw many going back, just as poor as when they trailed west.
Though the community people were very poor also, they did what they could to aid these travelers -- giving food, clothing, etc.
When I was eight years old, Luke Voorhees, who lived in Cheyenne, would come by train to Wendover and get his horse and cart that he left at our place. I would get his horse in and hitch him up to the cart and he would drive to the Rawhide Buttes to look after his mining interests, and on to Lusk to see his son who had a ranch east of Lusk. For this chore, Mr. Voorhees gave me my first saddle. It was this saddle I used on the trip to North Platte when I was nine years old.
I went to Registration Rock many times as a child and read the names and saw the ruts (Oregon Trail) at the Rock and walked in them. Was at Warm Springs, as in the winter our horses watered there; and have been to Cold Springs to get a drink when riding. In about 1902 or 1903 D. Nelson from the University of Wyoming came to Wendover after trees to transplant on the campus. My step-father and I went with him. I drove the team and they dug the trees. These he shipped to Laramie. I imagine some of these trees are still there.
When I was nine years old and still at Badger my uncle, Charlie Smith, and I rode horseback to North Platte, Nebr. from 23 miles northwest of Ft. Laramie in five days. We did not see a fence in all that distance. There were two settlements -- Gering, Nebr. and Old Camp Clark (now Bridgeport, Nebr.) Scottsbluff was not a city then. We stayed a couple of months there and came back with a covered wagon train composed of Smith relatives. While in Nebraska, I attended school there. While we were at my grandmother's near North Platte, they lived across the fence from one of the Buffalo Bill's ranches. An uncle and I got on our horses and ran the buffalo, just to see them run. When one of the caretakers caught us, he put the run on us. He said to get out and not come back. We surely obeyed those orders!
When I was 13, Albert, who was working for Ed Wilson on Mule Creek, came home for a visit. That was in 1904. When he returned to Mule Creek, I came with him.
We rode up here in February. It was beautiful weather -- warm and clear -- which was lucky for me, as I had neither a warm jacket nor overshoes. From this time on I did not live with mother again. Was only back for visits by horseback. The winter of 1904 I stayed with the Matt Brown's of the Cheyenne River and attended school.
This school had as pupils the four Robinson children, two Shay children and Laurel Brown. The teacher's name was Miss Sheldon. She was a very nice person.
The next year I attended school at the Ed Wilson ranch. A Miss Moore was my first teacher there, but she became ill, so Mrs. Tom Wilson finished the school. This was the end of my education, since I had completed the eighth grade and there were no high schools around -- the nearest was at Edgemont, S.D., and the only way to get there was horseback.
When I was 15 I herded horses for brother Al and Ed Wilson from the 15th of May to the 3rd of July and stayed alone. In all this time I only saw two people. They were John Whaley and his sister who was going to the Fred Galbraith ranch on Lance Creek to teach their school. I was so glad to see someone to talk to I got them to stay and have dinner with me; I do not remember what I served them, but the visit really broke the monotony.
We had very little religious training, as the churches were in the towns, but when we were at Ed Wilson's, almost every evening we would all gather around the organ and sing hymns. We knew all the hymns in the book by heart.
In 1904, when I left the Laramie River country, all the roundups were over, as this country was by then pretty well settled up by small ranchers, especially along the streams. Of course, some big outfits were still there, but with the fences the small ranchers had built, the regular cowboys working for the owners could gather their own cattle without roundups. The big cattle drives from Texas had ended before I was born, because the railroads had reached first Cheyenne and then Wendover in 1888 and 1889; so the southern cattle were shipped that far, then trailed to the different ranches or ranges. But when I was a boy the cattle trails leaving Wendover were deep and easy to see. There were thousands shipped to Wendover and then trailed out. In 1891 the rails had reached Orin Junction, so then the cattle were shipped to Orin and then trailed from there.
About the year 1910, I helped receive a herd of southern steers at Orin Junction for Mart Jones and the Hogg brothers and trailed them to their ranches. When I came to the Lusk-Cheyenne River area it was still wide open. The spring roundups were for the purpose of gathering each owner's cattle and taking them back to the home range. The fall roundups were to gather the cattle, brand calves, and gather the beef to ship to market. Some of this beef was shipped in from Texas. My first big roundup was in 1906 when I was 16 years old. I was the horse wrangler for the Indian Creek Pool, with Jim Nolan as foreman. The wrangler's duties were to graze the herd until noon, corral them so the riders could catch a fresh horse for the afternoon drive. In the afternoon the horses were grazed and again corralled so the night guards could get fresh horses. They were then turned over to the nighthawk to look after through the night. There were about 35 men on this roundup, so we had around 300 horses.
After that I worked again for the Indian Creek Pool with Jim Nolan as foreman, but this time as a rep. I worked with the "21" wagon with Spike Levering as foreman.
Worked with the T7 with a man we called "Pecos" as wagon boss. I did not know his last name. He was with the 77, run by Bill Pack. Worked some with the MW with Ed Norris as foreman.
In 1909, when my brother Al was foreman of the Indian Creek Pool, we were camped about five miles southwest of Edgemont. Jack Burke, the 77 rep. went to Edgemont and returned to camp drunk. None of us realized he was intoxicated at first. A few of us were sitting eating when suddenly he kicked a pan of fried potatoes on MacQuest; and when Mac objected, Jack pulled out his knife. Mac jumped up, too, so I got between them. I said "What's the matter with you Jack? Mac did nothing to you." He turned without a word and went to his bedroll. I said "Mac, he's gone after his gun." So Mac went over to his bed and strapped on his gun. Had I known how drunk Jack was, I would have been scared to death. When Jack got back he did not see Mac so he shot up camp in general. He shot into the knives and forks, into the dishes, into a two gallon jug of catsup -- with catsup going high in the air. He shot twice through the cook tent, one shot barely missing the cook's head. The cook came out of the tent fast.
Jack was twirling the gun on a finger, and every time it came around he pulled the trigger -- shots going wild -- and the men were going over the bank one after the other. He shot into the cavvy and 300 horses stampeded - the corral ropes and stakes going high into the air. Some of the boys were catching horses to go to town, so some horses were saddled, some had bridles, and others stampeded with ropes dragging. It was a miracle that no one was hurt. One thing which I thought was amusing afterwards was that the rep for the T7 was sitting cross-legged, braiding a quirt, when the fracas started. He did not get up or look up all through the shooting. I could not decide whether he was too scared to move or whether he had nerves of steel. He later told that he was the only man left in camp. True he was there, but so were several more of us.
Albert DeGering was foreman so he went to Edgemont after the deputy sheriff, but he wouldn't come out to camp. Jack had made his threats to kill Al, but by the time Al got back he had sobered up a lot. When Al told him to cut his string and get out, he gave his gun to Al and promised to be good. When the roundup ended, Al gave him back his gun.
From there, Jack went to "21" roundup and tried the same thing. Spike Levering, the foreman, went in to Gillette for the sheriff and there in his office was a wanted poster for Jack, wanted ill Texas for murder. The authorities arrested him until they came from Texas to take him back for trial. This is the last I ever heard about Jack Burke. This happened about 1908 or 1909.
Another interesting incident happened when Al and I were batching on his homestead on Alum Creek about 1908 or 1909. About sundown a man walked in and wanted to stay all night; but by him being on foot, Al was rather suspicious since most would be on horseback. After supper he said to Al, "If you knew who I was, you probably wouldn't let me stay all night." Al said "Why?" and he said "Because I killed a man at the U-L Ranch," which was owned by Jake Mill. They had been working sheep and one of the men kept picking on him. He told the fellow if he didn't lay off he would cut his heart out, but, not believing him, the man continued. Suddenly this fellow pulled out his knife and killed him. At the U-L he walked around in a circle for a little while then headed east and none of the other men tried to stop him. Next morning Al had to go to a neighbor's to borrow a saddle as I was gone with mine. When he got back, the man was walking around in a circle in the yard. Al thought he might take a horse and leave, but he didn't. He wanted to give up. Al took him to the Mill ranch, left him in the bunkhouse to go to the main house to telephone the sheriff at Lusk. When he got back, the men had tied him to a chair, so Al made them turn him loose. When the deputy got there, he brought him on into town. He was sent to Rawlins. After a year or so he and three other prisoners escaped. The posse that was trailing them would find, every once in a while, where they would stop and seem to talk, then as they came over a ridge they found this fellow shot. While escaping they had knocked out a guard and taken his gun. They decided that he had been wanting to give up, so they shot him. The rest of the prisoners finally holed up in a sheep wagon, so the posse shot it out with them. I cannot remember whether they killed them all or if any were captured, I cannot re member any of the names.
I was on the fall roundup in 1911 with Jim Christian as foreman. 1911 was a very, very dry year followed by a very hard winter in 1912, the hardest since 1886, which was what the cowboys called an "equalizer" since it broke the big, as well as the little ranchers. The 1886 winter broke all the big outfits financed by English and Scottish money. These big ranches never did reorganize again, so 1886 was the end of that type of ranching. Cattle died by the hundreds.
The English and Scots lived in the East and furnished the money for these ranches.
The last roundup I was on was in 1912, again as cook with Jim Christian as foreman. I cooked up until the last two weeks of the roundup and Albert took over and finished.
I went to the Hogg brothers ranch to “break" horses and train thoroughbreds for racing. They were the first to bring in thoroughbreds from Kentucky. I rode some of them at the fairs. I also had a relay string and used my little Dan horse that I rode into the country as one of them.
Once when I was cook, I decided to make "spotted pup" (which was rice and raisins) for dinner. Never having cooked rice before, I did not know that a little made a lot, so I dumped the whole bag into the Dutch oven, soon every pot and pan in camp was full and I began dumping it on the ground. This lesson I learned, so next time I cut down the amount of rice.
We experienced bad electrical storms when on roundups at times. On one roundup, I think in 1907, we were camped about 15 miles from Ardmore, S.D. This storm was mostly electric, not much rain. It knocked down horses tied to the bed wagon awaiting the riders for the next guard. It knocked the nighthawk, Francis Miller, and his horse down. Francis Miller was unconscious for awhile but was unhurt. None of the horses were permanently injured either.
Another time we were camped on Cow Creek in 1910. Mert Jones was foreman. He had camp set up where the buildings of the George Deuel ranch now stands. The place is now owned by Julius Peterson. The herd was bedded across the creek where a draw leads into Cow Creek. When the lightning struck the herd stampeded, so I tried to get around them but was unable to stop them. Between flashes it was the darkest dark I ever saw. I do not know whether my horse was as blind as I or whether he thought he was a better jumper than he was, but suddenly we were in mid-air as he tried to jump the draw. I can not describe the sensation of settling down and down; but when my horse hit bottom, he stopped short and did not fall. It seemed forever before we lit. When I finally got my breath, and was over my scare, I rode along the draw, feeling, until I found my cow trail out. When I finally got out, in a flash of lightning I saw my co-guard in the middle of what was left of the herd, humped up with rain and hail pelting him. I got to him and said "Let's go to camp," as with the rain the creek would be down by morning. We were on the 12 to 2 guard, but since not many cattle were left, we did not call the next guard, but went to bed. At breakfast call they were surprised to see all hands present, even the ones that were supposed to be on guard. The "boss" asked us where the herd was, and we explained that they had stampeded in the storm and there were not enough left on the bed ground to guard so we had not called the next guard. It took quite awhile to gather the herd, but none were too far away.
The next few years I worked in the summer mostly for the Hogg brothers, breaking horses and training race horses. These thoroughbreds they had brought in from Kentucky to their ranch.
In the meantime, Albert had filed on a homestead and in the winter I stayed with him. Other ranchers I worked for were Al Erdman on Indian Creek, Jim Christian on Indian Creek, and George Lacey on Lance Creek. Also took horses home to break for other ranchers.
An odd incident happened when Eddie Buchanan and I were looking for the "21" roundup wagon. We were headed down the divide toward the U-L when Eddie's horse fell over dead. He did not move after falling. It threw Eddie clear so he was not pinned under him. We herded the horses we were driving up to a cut bank and I roped one of his horses as they came by. He saddled up and we rode on into camp.
I joined the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association when I was 18 and had my first cattle. I was a member until a few years ago when I. dropped out; I paid my dues even after I had retired, as Linnie was a member of the County and State Cowbelles. We attended a few National Conventions after retiring and those years we were members of the National Stockgrowers. Linnie is still a member of the County and State Cowbelles.
About 1910 the homesteaders were coming in, so the country was no longer wide open. Each homesteader built fences, so the open range became smaller and smaller. Thus, there was no longer need for roundups, as what little open range was left, the rancher could gather his own cattle. There were no real big ranches left here, but further north up toward the Montana line it was slower to settle and they were in there longer. When settled by the homesteaders, each rancher had to own his range or had to lease it from the owners; so, therefore, it cut down on his livestock count and they became smaller ranches. So ended that phase of western life.
Al had already filed on a homestead on Alum Creek. Then we each filed on a desert claim. When we had proved up on them, we sold them and Al also sold his homestead to D. J. Clark, grandfather of Allen Clark. The Clarks then sold the land to C. A. David.
When Mr. David sold his ranch, Albert and boys acquired most of this land, so after all those years it is back again in the DeGering family.
In the winter of 1912-1913, Linnie Peterson came from Omaha to teach the Buck Creek School. The pupils were Ihla (Johnson) Anderson, Gladys and Gretchen Hoagland, and Ada (Galbraith) Zimmerman (now deceased), who was taking high school subjects. Buck Creek School was so far out, they had difficulty getting a teacher, so it was December before the school could open and June when it closed. At this time it was Converse County, but that fall when she returned to teach the Oscar Jones-Boner school, it had been divided and was Niobrara County. Chuck Browning was county superintendent and made his calls to all schools by horseback. The pupils this year were Harvey, Jasper and Nora Boner and Don Jones.
After teaching the Jones-Boner school, Linnie returned to Omaha. I then filed on a homestead and went to Omaha to take barber training. Linnie and I were married at Papillion, Nebr. on July 22, 1914. That fall I worked in Omaha and Turin, Iowa, at barbering, and Linnie substituted in the schools.
In January, 1915, I purchased the barber shop in Van Tassell. Van Tassell was quite a town then, with two grocery stores, hotel, bank, drug store, lumber yard, cafe, pool hall, church, railroads, etc. It was a thriving town. That spring, while we were living there, we had a bad blizzard a lot of snow piling into big drifts.
Through the morning the storm grew worse, so the business men closed their stores and started for home. Some made it, but some stumbled into a neighbor's and stayed throughout the storm.
When the weather grew warm, my thoughts turned to my homestead, so I sold the barber shop and we moved to my place that I had filed on. That fall we moved to the Charlie Thomas ranch and Linnie taught the San Draw School. The students were three of the Hugh Updike boys, (Walter, Wallace, and N.S.), four of the Charlie Updike boys, (Richard, Henry, Lester and Benny), two of the Garth Percival boys (Garth and Roger). It was an all-boy school, but one of the best schools she ever taught. For a short while three of the Shipley boys also attended. When the school was out in the spring, we moved back to the homestead -- the 21st of May, 1916.
When we got up the next morning a bad blizzard was on. Since we had been late getting in, we had no wood for a fire and the chinking was not too good; so the cabin was quite open and, therefore, cold. I struggled outside and found a pitch post which I chopped up to have fuel to keep warm and for cooking our meals. This storm was hard on horses, as they had all shed off for summer. Had quite a lot of snow, which soon melted as the weather was warm. The storm lasted three days and nights, but made wonderful moisture for grass. We lived that summer of 1916 on our homestead. That fall Billy Smyth, who had a homestead on Lance Creek, joined the Army to fight in the Mexican trouble, so we lived on his place and Linnie taught the Jenkins-Brown School. This school building was a log cabin built by George Lacey, as his homestead shack and was located on the present John Wasserberger ranch.
The students at this school were Ruble, Verda and Leola Jenkins, children of Mr. and Mrs. Clay Jenkins, and Gladys Brown. For awhile Bernice (Brown) Bird attended, then she went to Edgemont, S.D. to school.
Nearly every winter we had at least one bad blizzard and sometimes more. We continued to live on the Billy Smyth ranch until he returned from the First World War. Linnie's brother, Fred, who was staying with us, also enlisted for the duration of WW I. He only lived 7 1/2 years after returning, then passed away in his sleep with a heart attack. I also was registered for the draft, but since I was married, I was classed low for awhile. Had my physical and was to go in a few weeks when the Armistice was signed.
Linnie did not teach any more, as we had started our family. When Billy Smyth returned, we leased the old Mert Jones ranch from the bank that had taken it over from the ones who had purchased it from Jones. We lived there for a few years, then I relinquished my homestead, bought the Eugene Albert place -- located on Lance Creek - and filed a homestead adjoining. On this place we built our house and other buildings, and lived there until we moved into town in 1956-57. We had good years and bad years here, but more good than bad.
Up until we bought our first Model T Ford in 1918, we had to go with team and wagon or buggy or horseback wherever we went. Our trips to town were few and far between. I usually made a trip to town for supplies in the spring and in the fall, bringing out fruit to can for winter - pears, peaches, plums and apples. In the fall, we would butcher and have fresh meat for winter. In the spring we butchered and canned the meat for summer. We canned both beef and pork, made our own lard and bought bacon and ham already cured. In the summer we also had our own chickens to fry.
After getting the Model T, we could go to town more often, but we always kept well supplied with food, raised a garden for summer and bought canned vegetables for winter by the case. This car, I think, we pushed further than we drove. There were no roads, only wagon trails, so driving was very slow and some hills were hard to make; and a lot of times we were stuck.
For amusement, we had dances in the homes, with music furnished by some of the ranchers. The music might be a violin and mouth harp or a violin and guitar, or any combination. In homes where there was a piano, they could always find someone to play it. Families came with all their children by wagon, buggy and horseback. Each woman brought sandwiches or cake for the midnight lunch. Dancing continued until daylight; then, tired but happy, with the children bedded down in the wagon sound asleep, they headed for home. Even in the winter when it was cold and frosty, it was fun. Homesteaders came from miles around, the news traveled by word of mouth, and everyone knew they were welcome, so anyone able to attend would come.
Sometimes a community would put on a play, drawing a crowd for miles around. A dance would follow.
On the 4th of July we always had picnics.Each family brought lunch, everyone put the lunch all together either on table cloths on the ground or on tables made of planks placed on whatever was on hand. After everyone had eaten all they could hold and rested awhile, there would be foot races, tug of war, horse races and bucking horses. That evening, after a lunch, they danced until daylight. We danced waltzes, two-steps, polkas, the Schottische and a lot of square dances.
Conveniences were not too plentiful. We heated and cooked with wood. If we had ice, it had to be gotten off a dam, sawed, and hauled to the ice cellar and there covered with sawdust. The best sawdust was old, as the new could sort of heat and not keep the ice too well. We lighted with kerosene lamps and had to bathe in the wash tub. We would heat a boiler of water and carry in cold water to cool it. Then the tub was carried outside to empty. The water was pumped by hand or by a windmill. Had to make all of our bread, cakes and pies; had milk cows for milk, cream and butter; and raised our chickens for eggs. We had to wash either with a hand-run washer or on a wash board -- boiled all whites to get them white. The next phase we had gas-run washers. This made this chore a lot easier -- then on to electric with wind chargers.
Before Al or I were married, the gray wolves were quite numerous in this country and would kill livestock. I tried to rope several but always chose a young one, so the wolf would play out the same time as my horse. But Al managed to rope a couple. The wolves were real numerous in the Seaman Hills, north of Lusk. Milo Plumb (brother of Eddie Plumb) was in the Seaman Hills after a load of posts, when loaded up and starting home a pack of seven wolves ran his dog under the wagon. Milo armed him self with a wagon stake as he thought they would attack him. By 1919 they had thinned out a lot and I helped dig out one of the last dens on Buck Creek. I took two of the pups home and kept them until they became old enough to kill chickens. They were real gentle and would come like a puppy when I whistled to them. I then gave them to John Miller at Edgemont, S.D. who kept them until they were grown, the female in the meantime ran away. He then gave the male to the Station Agent at Ardmore, S.D. where he was the last I knew anything about him.
Another dry summer was 1924. That fall we trailed our cattle 235 miles to Interior, S.D. to Winter. We had our cattle and part of Clyde Zimmerman's -- both cows and calves. When we got to Buffalo Gap, S.D. we sold the calves to Jim Hawthorne; so after a few days, when the cows would leave the calves, we continued on to Interior.
The crew consisted of Byron Brewster, Butch Wilson, Don Jones and Gus Frahm. We had a lot of feed handy so wintered real well. Going down it took us 17 days. The fall of 1925 we trailed the cows and calves back to Lance Creek. This trip took us 22 days. On the way down I had a cook as far as Hot Springs, where I let him go, as the men could not eat the food. From there on I did the cooking with the help of the boys - whoever was around. I cooked all the way back. The crew on the way back was Ed Ferguson, Earl Dunham, and Bill Smith. That winter, since we had not been home to put up hay, we fed cake and bought hay from Chris Faye, a neighbor, to feed through storms. Was an easy winter with food grass on the ground.
The 1930's were the years of the grasshoppers and a long drought. Some days when it was very hot the hoppers would be so thick on the shady side of the fence posts that one could not see the posts.
Some years they would be so thick that they ate the juice out of the alfalfa plants so that no seed would form. Some years they were restless. They would fly in, stay a few days, then leave. This would happen several times through the summer. The State set up poison mixing stations around the country. The ranchers would mow a field, and then what little hay there was off, they would then mix a batch of poison bran and cover the field. Due to a small kill, it was very slow process. So Albert Glasby, our son, Bud, and I sent for a barrel of liquid Chlordane to use for spray. This had not at that time been thoroughly tested by the Government, so we used it at our own discretion. It worked wonders. We got al most 100% kill. Since we were through with haying and this alfalfa was for seed, we decided if we could not feed the straw we could burn it, but after being in the field for several weeks and standing in straw piles for awhile, it did not hurt the cattle that winter.
By 1921 we had our family of three children. Margaret, now Mrs. Leonard McCullough, living on their ranch near Moorcroft, Wyo. and the mother of three children -- the oldest, Curtis, married with two children, (Brenden and Tawny) teaches school in Gillette. He is a graduate of the University of Wyoming. They have two daughters - Sandra, a junior in college and Roxanne, a Junior in Moorcroft high school.
Our daughter, Doris, now Mrs. Fritz Thoelcke, owns a resale store and live in Kennewick, Wash. She, too, is the mother of three. Linnie Rae (Mrs. Lee Tallman) living in Los Angeles where she is employed by the airlines and is the mother of one son; Diane, now Mrs. Tom Schell, both teaching school; Dana Jill, a sophomore in Kennewick, Washington High School.
Our son, Donal Ray DeGering, with one daughter -- a junior in Laurel, Mont. high school -- operates a motel, trailer parking, filling station, and Bud manages a cement plant in Laurel.
Donal Ray spent 5 1/2 years in the Air Force during the second World War, and was stationed at Lowry Field at Denver as home base. He was a member of an instructor mobile unit. They spent a year overseas in England instructing the boys in bomb sight, on the ground and in the air.
All three children graduated from high school in the late 1930's and all were married in the late 1930's and early 1940's.
On New Year's night in 1949, the vicinity was hit by one of the worst blizzards we ever suffered. It was much worse on the Lusk Divide than it was at our ranch on Lance Creek. It caught many people away from home and the only reason it did not catch the school buses was that the storm was too bad for the buses to start. Much livestock was lost in this storm and even a few milk cows. Many antelope also perished, as the drifts were huge. After this storm we could get to Edgemont S.D. but not to Lusk for several weeks.
In 1956, due to my arthritis getting worse, we sold out our cattle and ranch and had our home built in Lusk, where we still reside.
On July 22nd in 1964 we celebrated our 50th anniversary with open house and a beautiful five-tiered cake baked by our neighbor's friend, Mrs. Harry Baker. There were around 250 friends and relatives attending. This was sponsored by our three children and families and all three were home. It was a very wonderful day.
Ray DeGering passed away on Nov. 7, 1972 with a heart attack. He rests in the Lusk, Wyo. Cemetery, the only State he ever lived in or wanted to live in.
Mrs. Ray DeGering (Linnie) passed away Sept. 14, 1975.
Images & Attachments
|Obituary||DeGering, Linnie (07/23/1892 - 09/14/1975)||View Record||Obituary||DeGering, Ray (05/15/1890 - 11/07/1972)||View Record|