Byron E. Wollen

Byron E. Wollen was born in 1898, in Ceresco Nebraska,the eldest of 6 children. He was raised on his

parents farm. As a young man he worked on the family farm. They used a lot of work mules. He didn't like them very well, much preferring horses. That is where his love of horses began.


He was drafted into the Army in 1918, but was soon discharged, upon the signing of the Armistice ending WWI. After the war he came to Wyoming to work for some relatives near Slater, north of Chugwater. He fell in love with Wyoming. He and his future brother-in-law homesteaded north of Douglas, in Converse County, near the Bill WY Post Office.


He returned to Nebraska and married Flora Boydston. They returned to the homestead to make their

home, next to the homestead of her brother and his wife. The in-laws only stayed on their homestead for about a year. When they decided to return to Nebraska, Byron and Flora bought their homestead too. They ran good hereford cattle and good horses. Flora taught school to help make a living. Byron worked on various ranch's in the area, including Mortons Inc. Herman Werner, Lee Moore, Ty Moore to name a few.


He did whatever needed to be done. But he was glad if it could be done using horses. He always kept a stud horse, so he could breed and raise the kind of good horses that he wanted to ride and for his work team. One of the studs he owned was a son of Sir Barton, who was the first winner, of what was to become horse racing's Triple Crown. Sir Barton is buried in Washington Park in Douglas. He got some good colts from this stud.


For many years, during the summer, he was the cowboy at the Thunder Basin Grazing Association's Community Pasture. Duties there were varied, but included moving cattle to various pastures as needed, to keep them on fresh feed, building and repairing stock corrals, fixing fences, doctoring livestock, repairing and servicing windmills, putting out salt. Whatever needed doing. On his own ranch he used his teams, sometimes four abreast and a fresno scraper to build reservoirs, dams and ditches to catch water for livestock, and to spread water for grass in the pastures. He sold and traded many good horses, mostly saddle horses to other ranchers and cowboys. His horses were well trained to do whatever job was expected of them. When he needed to shoe them, he just poked them in the shoulder or hip with his thumb and they would pickup their feet for him. He also trained them to go to the closest place they had been grained. He grained them when he stopped at another ranch or to eat lunch with a sheepherder, especially in the winter. So, if he got caught in a bad snowstorm, his horses would take him safely to the barn or closest place they had been fed.


He had many good and some bad experiences, as he cowboyed for other ranches as well as his own. At one time he and a couple of other cowboys, were moving a herd of unbroken horses across country to a different pasture. Byron's horse went lame, so they roped one of the unbroken horses out of the herd. Byron saddled him and got on. The other cowboys hazed them right along with the herd. By the time they got to the new pasture, Byron had the bronc turned into a green broke horse. He was always willing to help anyone who needed help. He even planted rhubarb around his windmill, so

that anyone riding by could have a cool drink and some rhubarb to eat. He always wanted the best for his horses and treated them well. At one time someone wanted to use one of his horse's in an endurance race. Byron said no because he thought it would be too hard on the horse. The story of the race was in the newspapers many years ago.


He had many fine teams of horses over the years. He enjoyed training them for whatever job he had for

them. He won many blue ribbons for them at the State Fair's in Douglas. He used a four up of his teams to pull the State Fair wagon in the State Fair parade for many years. He loved using his horses and even when he gave in and bought a tractor, he still preferred his horses and used them as often as he could.


Right up to the time of his death in 1965. He was a true Wyoming rancher and cowboy, and raised his son to be one too.

 

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