ROY LEWIS GRIFFIN
From 'Echoing Footsteps', published 1967, Powder River County Extension Homemakers Council
By Roy Griffin
(Roy Lewis Griffin, oldest son of Lewis M. Griffin, homesteaded on Little Pumpkin Creek near his father. He is married to the former Eddas McKenzie of Quietus and lives in Sheridan, Wyoming. They have four daughters: Allene, Shirley, Billie, and Pauline.) Fifty-five years is a long way to go back. I have worked with lots of cowboys from 1907 in Montana and Wyoming. In the year 1902 a small crew of men gathered about 1500 head of beef cattle, trailed and grazed them to Lariet, Wyoming, near Arvada, and loaded them on the cars. The route we went up Little Pumpkin Creek and through the Griffin Pass, down to the Big Pumpkin and up that creek to its head, and then up the divide between Powder River and Otter Creek to the head of Fence Creek or Black Eagle, down on the river and up to the LX ranch owned by the Collins Brothers, Tom and Bob. We were short handed so they hired Bob to go along with us. When we got in about two miles of Arvada a tall slender man rode into our camp. He was well fixed with hardware, a Colt 45 on his right hip, a belt of cartridges, and a rifle on his saddle. He ate supper with us. They asked him to stay all night. He said, "Thanks, men, but it has cooled off some. I will move on up the river." I was just a 10-year-old kid and I was told by the older men not to ask him what his name was, where he came from or where he might be going. There was a lot of men in the country at that time with a reward for them. The men of the crew was Chris Nelson, the cook, my father, Lew Griffin, the boss, Dan Gaskill, Ed Kimball, Charlie Decker, and Bob Collins, and two more -- I don't remember their names. After the cattle was loaded we came back about six to a store built out of logs. A man by the name of Barber owned the store. They bought some grub there. He treated the men to some cigars and gave me what was called 25c candy that would cost $1.50 now. He was shot and killed the next year. Coming back home we came down Otter Creek and up the East Fork. There was a crowd of people at the old Walter Shy place on the head of East Fork. They were burying Mrs. Shy. As we come up East Fork we stopped for noon at the old Chris Shy place -Martha Gaskill's place now. Sam May and some other men were putting up some hay there. They came to the house with the pitch forks and a rifle to run us off. They thought we were Indians. Quite a joke on them and us too. They had a big laugh. 1903 was a dry year. They rounded up the cattle and moved them to Wibaux, Montana. My father, Dan Gaskill, Charley Decker, Arthur Kelsey, George Charles, Swen Swenson, and a man by the name of Spencer, also my brother Elmer, and trailed them back the next year. I was to go with the horse herd later on that fall, but they did not take them. I lost out on that trip. In '07 1 worked for the Irion Brothers on Mizpah punching cows. I was with the Pumpkin Creek Pool wagon a few days, then the LO outfit, and back to the ranch to ride line on a bunch of cattle for 30 days or more. From 1908 until 1911 1 worked for John Gold, Dan Gaskill, Swen Swenson, and my father with the pool wagon. I started work for George Horkan the fall of 1911, Billie Glenn, Foreman. In 1919 1 was with the Laurel Leaf outfit north of Moorcroft and Gillette, Wyoming. There were about 50 men with the wagon that year. 1919, a dry year, they shipped out 22,000 steers and eight or nine thousand back on the range in 1920. I have rode the range from the mouth of Powder River to the C. B. & Q. Railroad back and forth year after year. I rode lots of horses and helped show them to the Government; also broke a lot of them for cow and horse outfits. They give me first money at the Stacey rodeo in 1916 or 1917. I remember Jay Bryan cooking for the SL wagon 1902 or 1903. No tent, no stove, a Dutch oven outfit. The Pumpkin Creek Pool and the Tongue River Pool started in 1904. Charley Tabor was the cook for the first 3 or 4 years. Jack Morris, known as Sourdough Jack, Ernest McConnel Friday, one year, Lee Warren in 1911, Bert Collinge the last year. Some of them I do not remember. Billie Glenn was the wagon boss from 1904 until 1912. Then Fred Hitzfeldt, Lee Warren the last year it run. I guess them old cowboys will have the camp set up, saddle horses wrangled, and breakfast ready when the rest of us get there.