From a Pioneer Album - Jim and Nellie Christian
by June Willson
Mr. and Mrs. Jim Christian are two pioneers who grew up here in the west. Their families were neighbors at Kirtley, Wyo.
Nellie Zumbrunnen was the first child born at Kirtley. Jim Christian was 4 years old when his family arrived. Both families came out at the same time from Iowa.
An outstanding event in Nellie Zumbrunnen's life was when her cousin shot her in the arm. She was about 5 years old. The men folk were all in Douglas on business. The children were "playing house" and the cousin was "going hunting" with a gun he found behind a door. The shot from the high-powered rifle left only a flesh wound, but the women were all very frightened and sent the cousin to a nearby ranch. A doctor was sent for from there.
One evening which Jim won't forget, was during an Indian scare, several families had gone to Harrison for safety, but his stayed at home. Bullets were hard to get so one night they sat up late molding lead bullets.
At the time when the Post Office was registered, Kirtley was more often called Pleasant Ridge. But for some unknown reason, Kirtley was accepted as its official name.
Pioneer life is a busy one and especially hard on women. The first grave in the Kirtley cemetery was Jim's mother, Mrs. Christian, and the second was Nellie's mother, Mrs. Zumbrunnen. The third one was occupied by another woman. These first three were all under 35 years.
In the winter time when the snow was deep, the children went to school in bobsleds. One blizzard was very frightening to the Zumbrunnen family. The teacher was an older Christian girl. All the families had come for their children except two. It was getting late, so the teacher decided to stay with the rest all night, if necessary. They gathered wood and settled down for the evening, when the Zumbrunnen bobsled arrived and also horseback riders for their children. All the children were tucked into the bobsled, with the riders to lead them. If it hadn't been for the riders, they might not have found their way home.
Being terribly busy, becoming anxious, working very hard and living a long happy life has been the life of Mr. and Mrs. Jim Christian.