Bill Carr was born in South Pass Sept. 5, 1895, one of thirteen
children of William and Ella Potter Carr.. His grandfather, James
Carr, came there in 1885 from the gold fields in California. His
father was William Carr, the youngest son of James. William owned
a saloon and meat market as well as being deputy sheriff. Patrons
of his bar included Calamity Jane, Cattle Kate, Wild Bill Hickok and Butch
Cassidy and his gang. Residents of South Pass could always tell when
Butch had pulled a robbery in Utah or Idaho as he would come through South
Pass to party for a day or two on his way to Wind River and throw money
to the kids as he went down the street. Pat McCann's horse ranch
on Dry Sandy was a regular stop for him where he would get fresh horses.
At 15 years old, Bill left home with $2.70, a bedroll, dutch
oven, coffee pot and a gold pan, and headed for Pinedale where he worked
on the Green River Lakes road until haying time. After haying he
worked at a logging camp then went to Big Piney that next spring.
He worked for A. W. Smith at the 67 ranch and the roundup association in
the fall. For the next few years he had many cowboying jobs.
Cattle were trailed to the railroad at Opal at that time which took about
five days and he made the trip many times. He broke horses for Harry
Munn and ran wild horses on the Colorado Desert. He was in the service
during World War I, first in the calvary then the infantry as a sharpshooter.
He saw action at Flanders and was on the front lines at the Battle of Aragon
Woods for two and a half months straight. After the war he
was a cattle foreman, then brand inspector and undersheriff in Cokeville.
While working for Charlie Noble, he met Reta Whitman who was teaching school
on the east side of Green River near Big Piney. They were married
June 19, 1928.
Reta Whitman Carr was born June 22, 1903, to Nelson Henry and
Ethel DeGraw Whitman at Viola, Wyoming, the fourth of thirteen children.
She grew up on her parents' ranch on LaBarge Creek and attended high school
in Kemmerer. She obtained a teaching certificate and met Bill during
her first winter of teaching in a log schoolhouse. They were married
They went to work for Bob
Gunter in his service station and coffee shop, then bought a station
of their own. When gas was rationed during World War II, they closed
the station and Bill went to work for the county as brand inspector and
deputy sheriff. He sold the station to Marvis Howerton in 1948 and
bought 160 acres from Jasper McWilliams about a mile north of town where
he had horses. He sold it to his nephew, Allen Bradley, in 1977.
He spent a good share of his life as deputy sheriff and brand inspector.
He preferred being deputy rather than Sheriff so he could continue to live
in Big Piney. Bill would take his sheepwagon and camp out at Opal
during shipping time for several weeks in September and October.
He was familiar with all the brands and liked to help the ranchers in with
their beef, taking a personal interest in each bunch and supervising the
loading. He retired in 1973.
Reta was very active as a 4-H leader throughout
her adult life. She started the first preschool in Big Piney in the
basement of the legion hall. She was the first librarian
and continued with that for many years. Bill had developed a love
for the desert and joined the Lincoln County Historical Society so he could
go on treks to the desert. Both Bill and Reta have written much about
the early history of the area, and their work has been an invaluable source
for this site.
In 1977 Bill had a stroke and was confined to his home.
He handled this adversity with the strength and courage he had displayed
all his life. Reta devoted herself to taking care of him. Toni
David remembers seeing him driving his truck near Bill Carr Hill one day
and she was surprised since he wasn't supposed to be doing that.
A couple of days later she went to visit them. Reta told her she
was worried about Bill's mind because he thought he had been out driving.
Toni never told on him. He died June 9, 1983. Reta died June
Reta and Bill never had any children of their own but developed
a close relationship with her sister Lucy's children, Joie, Allen, Nedra
and Arden Bradley. Allen lived at their home during high school because
his parents' place was too far out of town for him to participate in sports
otherwise. He continued living at their home until he was married.
Allen married Deanne Fear and they stayed in the Big Piney area so this
relationship was extended to their children. Even with all the other
family in the area, Allen and Deanne spent every Christmas Eve with Reta