Charlie Budd
Sept. 30, 1873 - April 18, 1949

by Barbara Budd
                                           (Photo from GRVM courtesy of  Nancy Espenscheid)
Charlie Budd in the early 1890's
     Charles Philip Budd was born in 1873 to Daniel and Josephine Budd, founders of Big Piney.  He was the second child and oldest son of the couple.  He had four younger brothers, Jess, John, Henry and Daniel.  They all had ranches in this Piney country except Jess who was Post Master when the Republicans were in power and his wife was appointed to the job when the Democrats took over.
     Charles Philip was better known as Charlie.  He married Stella Sellon in 1898.  After starting married life in a couple of rooms at the back of the Budd house, they moved to Middle Piney.  They acquired the ranches of surrounding homesteaders, Downer and Corder, two Fish Creek places and the Dryer place on Cottonwood.  For whatever reason, these people had decided to sell out and move.
     Charlie's in-laws, who lived nearby on Fish Creek, helped him build a big, lovely home.  Stella enjoyed the space after living so many years in cramped, dirt-floor housing.  However, Charlie was restless and for a long time an idea had been germinating in his mind to build a town.  He had conquered the ranching field and the desire to become an empire builder was next.  Some people considered Big Piney unsuitable for a town.  The ground subirrigated and the streets were spongy for weeks in the spring when cars could not drive on the streets.
     In the spring of 1912 there was no holding Charlie back any more.  He bought 160 acres of land on the hill east of Piney from his brother Dan and started to lay out a town which he named Marbleton for the cashier of a bank in Cheyenne.  Stella gave up her home and moved into a small house built in Marbleton to house the family until the hotel and store were built.  George was not quite one year old.
     Charlie did not spare the money.  Everything was of the best.  The store was of solid concrete blocks plastered on the inside.  Upstairs was a dance hall the entire size of the building with the best hardwood floor.  Dances were held every Saturday night and Sundays it was open for skating.  Charlie supplied the skates.  Any child without the price had a pair strapped on anyway.
     The hotel had a large lobby, kitchen, dining room and living quarters on the downstairs floor.  Bedrooms upstairs were each equipped with wash stands and bowl and pitcher and a little chamber pot under the bed.  Later a bathroom was installed.  Beside the hotel stood the bank and who else but Charlie was president!
     About that time the Uinta County Investment Co. had started an irrigation district.  They were to build a canal to supply water for irrigation for homesteads they were promoting east of Big Piney.  They had advertised extensively and many families began to move in and file on land and build cabins.  Word of the new town began to spread and many boomers moved in.
     Soon a tent was put up for a saloon;  two barrels were set up at the back with a board between for a bar.  The liquor was set behind still in the boxes.  A few boxes set on the other side became bar stools and the saloon was open for business.  For a while Marbleton appeared to be a tent and shack boom town.  Later there were several more convenient bar buildings erected:  Mike's Place and one owned by Clate Stacy called the Dew Drop Inn.
     Perhaps the most famous site in Marbleton was the rodeo grounds.  They were located near the area of the Senior Citizens' Center.  There was a very good grandstands with many seats and a roof in case of rain.  There were lots of activities.  Caryn Bing writes that she got acquainted with cotton candy and confetti and that the events were great.  The highlight was the chariot races which was the last event of the day.  They were really exciting, too.  The ones who took part in that event mounted their horses and ran them for quite a distance to the boxes which were packed with such bits of clothing as corsets, long dresses, lace up shoes and hats.  As the riders got to the boxes, they had to grab a box, get dressed, and head back to the starting line.  Of course, the rodeo was followed by a dance at the Charlie Budd dance hall.  In 1927 the rodeo grandstands mysteriously burned just before the rodeo.  Some thought that the fire had been set.
      About this time Charlie also decided to play his hunch that there was oil in the country  The people were evenly divided, pro and con, on the subject but Charlie was sold all the way.  Like the urge to build a town, the idea that there was oil was an obsession with him.  Finally he found enough backers and by forming oil companies and leasing land and selling stock, he was finally able to start drilling in the area.  He remained faithful to his obsession to the end and managed one way or another to keep a rig going, sometimes only by giving shares in the hoped for royalties.  He exhaused every possibility of getting large oil companies interested, so he did it himself.  Charlie was spreading himself and the money he could borrow too thin.
     Running the ranches was one man's full time job.  No one was supervising and the men he had were not ding much of a job.  Operating the store was a business in itself but Charlie extended credit regardless of whether a payment was made or not.  Stella was running the hotel and dining room and this business was doing well enough, but when the bank was added, it was a job for superman, and becoming overnight an oil company executive was adding coals to the fire already out of control.  Besides all these responsibilities, Charlie also owned and operated the Marbleton school, hired the teachers and paid their salaries, bought all the supplies, all books, paper, pencils, chalk, all the desks and furnishings and fuel and provided janitor service.
     By that time a hot feud had developed between Piney and Marbleton, and the people of one town would not be seen in the other town.  Then the canal project failed and the homesteaders moved into town and got jobs at low pay.  Many people did not pay their grocery bills.  When Charlie died in 1949 he had a trunk full of unpaid bills and Marbleton was practically a ghost town.  He would be proud if he could see it now.
Family Pictures
Rodeo Pictures
Oil Well Pictures
Sources: Barbara Budd 
Maicille Carr 
More Tales of the Seeds-Ke-Dee, p. 104-106