Charles Leonard Priebe was born Feb. 5, 1906 in Wichita, Texas and died July 8, 1984 at their ranch in Boulder, Wyoming. In 1936, he met Verna Belle Steele from Boulder at a dance held at the Bronx School. Cye needed cowboys and a cook at the Kelley Ranch near Daniel. So Leonard, Lester and sister Mary said they could get the job done. Cye sent Leonard to the Green River Drift each summer and he stayed until the cattle came down in the fall. In 1938 he worked for John Vible and lived on the Lovatt Place awhile. They moved to the Steele homestead to help care for E.P. and raise their family while still working for John. He always told us that his true love was training horses. Leonard was also an extremely good roper and roped at Boulder area brandings. The herd was always quiet and easy to handle. He could keep four sets of wrestlers busy all day, even waiting on them sometimes. He broke his last horse Spider at 72. Leonard was a brand inspector in Sublette County and owned a shoe/harness repair shop in Pinedale. He made several saddles and did a lot of braiding of hackamores, bridles and reins for his family and for the community.
Milford Byron “Mike” Steele was born on April 17, 1902 at the Ed P. Steele Ranch in Boulder. Mike married Hannah Ellen Allen. They had three children : Margaret Steele Stoll, Ellen Steele Lozier and Ralph Allen (Bud) Steele. The family’s first recorded beef drive took place November 1922 from Boulder to Rock Springs, around 100 miles, to the railroad to ship to Denver. Mike rode for the Desert Horse Growers Association around 1917. In springtime Mike RODE with cowboys to gather horses at Pacific Springs and drive them toward the East Fork River. His mother put his bedroll in the wagon when it came by their ranch. All of the wild horses were gathered and sorted to brand colts and choose certain horses to break and sell. After calving and branding the cattle were trailed to the BLM allotment, which then went south almost to Farson. Cattle were gathered and trailed to the Lower Ranch to rest before heading to the Forest allotment located around Boulder, Burnt, Blue Berry and Meadow lakes. Late fall they were gathered and trailed down to the Lower Place until all were accounted for and driven to the Upper Ranch for the winter. He was foreman and wagon boss of East Fork Roundup Wagon, 1929-1930, and brand inspector, 1962-1983. Milford passed away July 25, 1986.
Ivan Samuel “Pete” Hoagland was born March 3, 1910 in Benkelman, Nebraska, on the family farm. He and an old carpenter decided to go to Wyoming and wound up in Pinedale. Pete stayed in Sublette County and cowboyed. He moved to the Big Piney area where he first worked for Bob Springman. He later worked for Charlie Noble. While working for Noble he trailed cows to the Hoback Basin, where they summered and he worked as the association rider. When Pete returned to Big Piney, he worked for Al and Sadie Osterhout. and spent the rest of his life on this ranch. It was here he met and married Edna Whitman Pope on Dec. 27, 1943. She had two children by a previous marriage, Donnie and Neva. Pete raised them like they were his own. Pete and Edna had one child, Andrea, but everyone called her Andy. Pete was an excellent horseman, not only working with saddle horses but horses in the harness as well. When he first ran cutter horses he used his saddle horses, but as races got more competitive, he and Ken Guio acquired quarter horses bred to run. Pete and several cowboys would take 600 to 800 head of cattle from Big Piney to Opal, roughly 60 miles, staying at ranches along the way. When they got to Opal, Al Osterhout would buy Pete a fifth of whiskey and he would trail the horses back to Big Piney. Pete did this four or five times each year. Pete Hoagland died on March 8, 1996.
Carl Philip Mathisen, born Sept. 1, 1912, was known to everyone in Sublette and Fremont counties as “Red” because of his hair. He was truly a cowboy in the basic sense of the word. He knew cows! “Cowboying” to Red was done on the back of a horse, period, no excuses. For 63 years he cared for other ranchers’ herds from the back of a horse. If it couldn’t be done on a horse, then someone else probably got assigned the job. These cowboy days usually started before 5 a.m. By 15, he joined his brother Walter on Twin Creek and worked for the Cattlemen’s Association about 15 years. His lifetime partnership began on Jan. 1, 1941, when he jumped the broom handle with the love of his life, Maxine Feery. He swept her off to a lovely sheep wagon in the middle of nowhere for the winter. Red and Maxine moved cattle herds and that sheep wagon around Fremont County before moving to Boulder in the winter of 1948-49 and getting snowed in. Maxine was finally out of the sheep wagon. Johnny and Red would ride out on horseback, halfway each, and meet once a week to touch base. All survived the winter of ‘49! The Mathisens raised two children, Gary and Kathleen (Seeley). Red cowboyed at the Bar Cross for 20 years, Upper Green River Cattle Association’s The Drift for 12 years and Johnny Vible’s ranch seven years. Red passed away on Nov. 29, 1998.
Kent Snidecor was born June 30, 1943 outside of San Bernardino, California. Kent left California at 17, the day he graduated from high school. He stayed in New Mexico with the Mescalero Cattle Association until November 1963 at 20 and came to Sublette County where he met Cheryl Stone. In the spring of 1972, Kent and Cheryl went to work for the Hoback association. Kent spent 10 years there, taking some colts to break and outside horses to shoe. Winters of 1972 to 1978, he worked on the James ranch near Daniel, helping Steve feed with a horse team and calve in the spring. Kent and Cheryl’s son, Boone was born in 1976.
Kent has always strived to improve his ability to put a good handle on the horses that he rides. He had the opportunity to work with horse trainer Dick Hardy in California for a time. He spent two years with the Little Jennie. The summers cowboying on Granite and the winters feeding with a team of horses until calving started, then tending to night calving. In the fall after roundup and in between back-riding, Kent helped Pfisterers with fall cow work and shipping yearlings. He worked for Fish Creek Cattle Association for four years.
Kent next cowboyed for Larry Braun on top of the Hoback Rim. In 2003, Kent went to work for the Grindstone Cattle Company near Daniel as the cow boss on the Duke Place for the next 10 summers. Those winters Kent cowboyed for Tom Kay of the Las Juaritas Ranch near Arvaca, Arizona, dodging drug-runners and starting young horses. After leaving the Grindstone, Kent dedicated his time to helping Boone with a large herd of cattle he contracted to keep on Cottonwood Creek. Kent returned to the Hoback Basin in the falls for the Saunders’ Riverbend Ranch roundups, bringing their cattle home and also helping ship.
Thomas Daniel “T.D.” O’Neil, Sr. was born July 5, 1867 in Pomeroy, Ohio to John and Margaret Curtis O'Neil. T.D. was well known for wearing a suit and tie during all ranch operations whether moving cattle, branding, haying or attending cattle auctions. T.D. married Mary Ellen Searcy, a schoolteacher from Cheyenne, and had seven children: Cornelia Louise O’Neil Fear, John Curtis O’Neil, Margaret O’Neil Conwell, Thomas Daniel O’Neil Jr., Ruth O’Neil Witherspoon, Mary Kelly O’Neil Meeks and Charles Robert (C.R.) O’Neil. In the late 1890s, T.D. and Mary began raising and selling horses in Cheyenne. In 1904, T.D. bought the N.R. Davis horse ranch, the Lazy D, operating in Wyoming and Colorado. The Frontier Days committee awarded T.D. a contract to furnish wild horses for the bucking and pitching contests. In 1905, he sold his entire band of horses and turned to cattle ranching. In 1907, he sold the ranch to Warren Livestock Company. In 1909, T.D. moved to Big Piney, buying several ranches including the Allen place, the Johnson-Bentley and the Rich and Birch places to create T.D.’s legacy Hereford ranch, Cottonwood. T.D.’s favorite time of year was spring branding. He got up earlier than everyone else, put on his suit and tie and went to the corral to catch and saddle his favorite horse, Big Red. Once calves were separated and ready for branding, he always branded them. No one worked harder than he did. He loved horses and taught all those around him to respect and treat them with care. He looked forward to moving cattle up to the Wyoming Range in the spring. He could really crack the whip to get the cattle moving or a crew member’s attention. Every fall T.D. rode in the cattle drive from Big Piney to Opal to buyers who shipped them by train. The last few years, T.D. and Mary lived near Salt Lake City, where T.D. passed away on Feb. 23, 1955.