Tuesday, June 2, 2009

A Little Family History

I always love the posts people do on their family history and finally got some of the old photos of my own family to share.

The place that I call the "river ranch" has been in my family since around 1866 and was settled by my great-grandfather. Origionally, there was a trading post on the place and it was one of the stops for one of the freightlines that ran from Ft. Pierre to Deadwood. My great-grandfather provided horses, mules and beef to the freightline and they brought the supplies he needed for the trading post. Those he sold or traded to the locals-white and indian alike.

I don't think anyone is still alive that knows exactly where the old trading post was located on the place though and there are no remnents left of it. However, the remains of the foundation of a general store that very nearly became a town on our riverbottom are still there.

Up until I got my hands on these photos, I had no idea where the "old" ranch house was on the property, but this is it...
And it is basically in the same spot as the ranch house that is there now. The current ranch house was built by my grandfather in either '52 or '54. And was considered quite the deal in those days. Funny how indoor plumbing and electricity did that.;-) Quite honestly, although the outside of the house is in serious need of repair-it still has the original asphalt shingle siding on it and needs new shingles badly, the inside is still quite beautiful.

This is my great-granfather(in the middle), John...
It is thought that after his father, Juel(possibly Jule) disappeared around Ft. Laramie that John's mother moved to the Rosebud reservation to be near family(?). There has always been contention as to whether John was actually of any Indian blood, but that fact is pretty hard to refute since his mother's name was Mary Bear Vest. I think he looks more Mexican than Native myself. MBV married another white rancher on the Round-Up Creek(where the ranch is) and he helped to raise John.

When John grew up he married Amelia and when she passed away he married Charlotte Giroux(the lady in the foreground in full Indian garb)...


This is my grandfather, Adolph...
He was one of John and Charlotte's many children and named after John's step-father, Adolph Schmidt. As was common in the day, Adolph Schmidt changed his name to Adam Smith when he came to "the new country". My grandfather was and is one of my greatest heroes. He was a cowboy's cowboy and when he passed away, he was buried with a rope in his hands. Since he lived his life with one in his hands, we figured he would like to have it with him on the other side as well.

And this is my father...
My dad, Bill was every inch a cowboy as well as a very colorful character. Unfortunately, my dad lived life fast and furious and drank himself to death at the very tender age of 51. He wasn't easy to be around in the last few years of his life, but I do love hearing all the stories about him from his youth.

There's a lot of family history and sentiment tied into our tiny little ranch on the river and I feel very fortunate to still have it in the family and be able to pass it on down to my daughter.

I'm slowly getting photos scanned and will hopefully be getting more from the family reunion that is coming up along with a refresher in some of the family "stories".

14 comments:

Laura said...

Wow - that is really neat! Love the old photos and the stories to go with it! Too bad about your Dad - I guess sometimes the good and the bad make us who we are today.

Our small family farm (no cowboys, sadly) is still in the family, even though our family hasn't farmed the land since my grandfather's days. (it is leased to a neighbour). My brother and cousin still live there, so I'm glad to have the ties to the property still, even thought is not mine to manage any more...

Adventures of a Horse Crazed Mind said...

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR POSTING THESE PICS!! They are incredible!!!! OMG, the clothes! And the expressions of your relatives!! Amazing! It is so special that you have that history and especially that your family still has the land. You come from some real genuine cowboys- the story of your grandfather being buried with a rope! Wow. Your father was a very handsome man, I am sorry that he did not live to find a different way of life. Thanks again for sharing.

C-ingspots said...

I loved this post! It's always so very interesting to hear about family history. Your dad was quite handsome, and has the look of someone roguish, sort of outlawish, but probably sexy to most women. You also look a lot like him, I think. Sorry to hear about his early death, but not everyone lives to a ripe old age sadly. It's cool that you have so many real cowboys in your past. You're just following family tradition.

Fantastyk Voyager said...

That is very cool! Thanks for sharing your family history. You should be proud!

Dusty Devoe said...

This is a great post. Love all the old pictures and history. Your Dad sure was a handsome cowboy. Can't wait to see more. Would love to see pictures of the inside of the old ranch!

cdncowgirl said...

I think part of the reason I am so interested in family histories is because I don't really know mine.
My dad adopted me when he married my mom, I was about 2, and shortly after that we moved out west. My mom very VERY rarely will talk about my birth father.

Stephanie said...

That is really neat - I love old pictures. Sorry that your met his end so soon - but I understand that come with a life of drinking.

Well the next post include a picture of you?

ezra_pandora said...

I LOVE old pictures!! That is so cool of you to share with us. Before my mom died, she did family tree books for both her side of our family and my dads. She could go back about 16 generations with her side and I think 12 with my dads. I love listening to my dad talk about stories. My grandpa came over from Austria when he was 9 and came with only the clothes and shoes he had on. Supposedly, they (my great-grandparents) could only bring over a couple kids at a time and they actually sold off one of their kids in Austria to bring more over!! I couldn't believe it when I heard that. Times were tough, that's for sure, but selling a kid off? I don't know. lol

You are so very lucky to have those pictures of the old house and your family members.

Vaquerogirl said...

Thanks for giving us that great history! I spend hours and hours researching my history too, but it is not nearly as colorful as yours. Your Dad looks indian, mine sort of does too. My dad did not drink himself to death- but he sure tried, until last year at the age of 75 he finally had to quit.
All I can say is MORE please!

Callie said...

Wow! That is an awesome family history! How cool is that? Give me more, I love hearing family history stories! Yours sound very interesting!

Carroll Farm said...

love the family history story.. thank you for sharing that with us. my Grandma has tons of old photos - I love them!!

Paint Girl said...

That is really cool to have all that history and pictures! Loved it! Can't wait to hear more!!

City girl turned Country Girl said...

Awesome!!! That is so great how much knowledge about your heritage!! Love the pictures and the stories!! I to lost my dad at the young age of 50 due to alcohol...He didn't live a fast life, he just live a lonely one after my brother and I were gone from home..Great post!! Can't wait till the next one!!

Nuzzling Muzzles said...

You are very fortunate to have those old photographs. Those are hard to find, because most people don't take care of them over the years and they get ruined. Not a lot of people had access to photography in those days either. Those are really wonderful pictures.