Louis William “Billy” Francis

1896 - 1981
Big Piney

Louis William “Billy” Francis

Billy Francis was born in Idaho but moved to Wyoming with his family in June of 1913 when his father purchased a ranch near Kelly. The family later traded for a ranch up the Gros Ventre River. Billy was inducted into the Army in 1917 and went with the Jackson contingent to serve in World War I. He saw several months of front-line fighting, won sharpshooter status, and was in
the trenches when the armistice was announced. He returned to the ranch work gladly. Life and the cattle business continued on as an even keel until the cataclysmic Gros Ventre flood took out all the ranch buildings and almost took their lives. They hurriedly hitched a team to a wagon. When the wave of flood water burst into view, they all piled into the wagon and whipped up the team to make a run for the higher ground. The team and wagon were splashing through water with one of the traces undone, but they made it to safety on the higher bench land. Billy continued to ranch in the Gros Ventre area until 1944 when he and wife Geraldine moved to Gunnison, Colorado, where they bought a new, bigger ranch.