1841 - 1944
(Photo courtesy of the GRVM)
The Dan and Josephine Budd family
   The history of any state may be interpreted through the lives of its pioneers.  Mrs. Josephine Budd plays a prominent part in the development of western Wyoming.  She has lived on the old homestead in Big Piney for over fifty years.

   It is by means of three small black diaries which Mrs.  Budd takes from an old trunk that we learn why she came to Wyoming.  These frayed and worn diaries are among Mrs. Budd's most prized possessions for they record many of the thoughts and experiences of her husband, Daniel Budd, who passed away in 1902.

 We read of Josephine Boyer in Daniel Budd's firm handwriting:

November 1, 1867
 "I went to Atchison (Kansas) with Hen Boyer.  Asked Mr. and Mrs. Boyer for their daughter Josephine to be my wife."
Friday, January 8, 1871
 "D. B. Budd was married to Josephine Boyer on the 8th day of January, 1871."

    The first nine years which follow this happy marriage are spent on a farm near Atchinson, Kansas.  Here are born four children: Sarah, Charles, Jesse and John.

   In 1879, Daniel Budd goes to Nevada to settle the estate of a brother.  Josephine assumes a double responsibility in caring for her family and home.  She is not the only one who carries a heavy burden.  Daniel has the task of rounding up and branding cattle belonging to his brother, the late owner of the Empire Ranch.  His service of three years in the cavalry, during the Civil War, proves to be good training for this work.

   The regularity with which letters are received from Josephine shows that she does her part to lighten his burdens with encouraging words.  Her stories of the children and home do much to shorten the distance between them.  After six months of hard riding the cattle are gathered and ready to be sold.  Daniel writes in his diary:

 Sunday, August 10, 1879
 "Started for Omaha (Nebraska) with 777 head of cattle"

   A journey of hundreds of miles which followed the streams of Nevada and Idaho through mountains and across plains brings Daniel Budd, with his partner, Hugh McKay, and several cowboys to Ham's Fork of the Green River in Wyoming.

   On October 16, four inches of snow falls on the camp and though it melts quickly, the hills in all directions remain white.  This leads the men to face the necessity of winter- ing the herd.  They find abundant feed for the cattle, plenty of deer and antelope, and good fishing at the Fork.  They decide to remain here for a few days while Hugh McKay goes to Fontenelle to look for a winter range.

   The days which follow bring a much needed rest to men aud beasts alike.  The cattle graze at leisure on the sage covered prairie and among the willows which border the stream.  Near sunset, sage hens, like grey shadows, stalk down to the creek for water.  Antelope and deer come out of the quaking aspen grove further up the slope.  Their curious gaze is directed to the scene before them:  a covered wagon, men lounging about, and a fire sending lazy columns of smoke into the fast chilling air.  Two men ride out to bed down the herd and take the first shift of the night at standing guard.  The "Hey, hey!" of the riders mingles with the crackling of brush.  The bawling of calves and the low mooing of cows floats back to camp.  A cold starry night settles over all.  The only sound to break the stillness is the far off cry of the coyote.  The flickering of the sage brush fire casts a ruddy glow on the sun-bronzed faces of the men gathered around it.  As they rest, the power of this land so old and yet so new challenges their spirit of adventure.

   For the next five days they hold the cattle here.  On the sixth day Hugh McKay returns with information which causes the herd to be started on the move again.  A forced drive of eighteen miles is made across sage covered hills to Little Muddy where sixty head of thirsty cattle become mired.  It is only by working all night that the riders are able to save fifty of the tired animals.  Shortly after this they come to Green River and begin the drive up the river towards Big Piney.  Cold wind and blowing snow make it necessary for the men to push the cattle hard for the next few days.  On November 12, they come to the place where the South, Middle and North Piney creeks empty into Green River.

   A large valley surrounded by mountains lies before them. The sun going down between Lander Peak and Bald Mountain is reflected in a rose glow from the jagged  snow covered peaks of the Wind River Range, a mountain wall rising two thousand feet above the plains.  The smaller valleys of each of these willow bordered creeks are covered with sage brush, rye grass, and patches of rich wild hay, truly a haven of rest at the end of a journey of three months.  Winter quarters are established four miles north of the present town of Big Piney.

   After a few weeks Daniel returns to Kansas for a short visit with Josephine and the children.  He is filled with a desire to file on a homestead in Wyoming.  His description of this rugged country nearly a hundred miles from the newly built railroad would have caused a woman of less courage to doubt the wisdom of this plan.  In spite of the fact that only a few pioneers, the Ed Swans, Otto Leifers and A.W. Smiths, have settled there, Josephine feels that her place is beside her husband where they can work together for the future of their children.  Their plans for the trip to Wyoming are completed before Daniel returns to Wyoming.

   In October of 1880 Josephine and her four small children go by train to Green River, Wyoming.  A son, Henry, is born early in November.  Mrs. Budd and her family live  here until after the birth of another son, Daniel, in 1 882.  She then goes with her husband in a covered wagon to her future home in Big Piney.  The trip takes five days and although they stop overnight at ranches along the way, the children ranging in age from the baby in arms to eleven year old Sadie grew very tired of the long dusty road.

   The first home of the family at Big Piney is a small log cabin on the present site of the 67 ranch. The old Lander Trail runs close by the door.  Many wagon trains go over the road and Indians travel it on their way between Wind River Reservation and Pocatello, Idaho.  The Indians are living on the reservation at this time, but do much traveling about the country and are friendly to the settlers.  It is the custom of the various tribes to set up a village of about five hundred teepees on Horse Creek each year.  Their horses number nearly two thousand head.  They have horse races, games and ceremonial dances.

   Mr. and Mrs. Budd sell their interest in the first ranch to Hugh McKay and in 1885 take up, as a homestead, the present site of Big Piney.  On the bank of the North Piney Creek, they build the characteristic home of the pioneer, a log cabin with a sod roof.  A government post office is established in one room of the cabin to meet the needs of the rapidly growing community.  Mail is brought in from Opal once a week.

   In the same year more logs are hauled from the mountains and a general store is erected.  The post office becomes a part of the store of Budd and Sons.  Across the road is built the blacksmith shop.  Many pioneers traveling the Lander Trail are grateful for the use of the forge and anvil in mending their wagons and shoeing their horses.  Log corrals and barns below the store complete the ranch.  The courtesies of true western hospitality are extended to all who ride into this place.

   Josephine scarcely finds the days long enough to do all the work involved in maintaining a ranch home, and in rearing a family of six children.  She is a good manager and when unexpected guests appear at meal times she makes them welcome with her cordial manner and quiet smile.  Her abundant energy and perserverance and the enjoyment with which she works is reflected in an orderly and happy home.

   As the children grow older they are wisely given their share of responsibilities.  The boys milk and take care of the stock.  They keep the woodbox by the kitchen stove filled and carry water from the creek below the house.  The older boys help their father in the store and with the work of the ranch.  Sadie helps with the cooking, churning, dish washing and cleaning.  She also performs such tasks as filling the lamps with kerosene, washing the lamp chimneys, and trimming the wicks.

   Josephine finds time to mend and to make shirts and underwear for the boys and Daniel.  She does all of the sewing for Sadie and herself and makes many rag rugs and quilts.  She fills her pillows and bed tickings with feathers from the wild ducks and geese.  She likes to bake and her bread, pies and cakes win her the reputation of being one of the best cooks in the country.

   Although Josephine's home and family are her chief interests, she does her full share in the community.  She is charitable and generous and when a visiting minister comes into the country the Budd home becomes the meeting place.  Josephine is never too busy to minister her home remedies to a sick friend, sitting up all night if necessary.  Her sympathy and faith in God is a comfort to many in their hour of bereavement.

   The first school built in 1881, a one room log cabin, stands a half mile north of the Budd ranch.  Mr. Budd is a member of the school board and Mrs. Budd boards the teacher. She is grateful that her children have the opportunity to secure an education. With the completion of the work which this little pioneer school has to offer, each of the Budd children is sent to St. Joseph, Missouri, to take a business course, a privilege denied to many of their companions.

  The settlers in the valley are friendy and helpful neighbors.  The men help one another in branding and dehorning the calves while the women cooperate in getting the dinner for the occasion.  These pioneers play as well as work together.  They often meet at one of the ranch homes and play games or dance.  Frequently dances are held in the hall above the Budd store.  Families come in their wagons from miles around.  The women bring sandwiches and cake for the midnight supper.  The children are put to bed in Josephine's neat little cabin.  When the beds are filled, the floor serves as a cradle.

(Photo from GRVM courtesy of Nancy Espenscheid)
  The strains of the Irish Washerwoman, the Arkansas Traveler and other favorites mingle with the calling of the square dances and the sound of fun and laughter are heard until the sun streaks the east with light.  The older children are awakened.  Others still asleep are carried to the wagons wrapped in patchwork quilts.  The horses are untied from the hitching posts, and wagons and buggies drive away in the frosty morning air.  Josephine gets breakfast and a new day begins.

   Some of the ranchers have built fences around their homesteads and cut the wild hay.  For the most part, hovever, the cattle graze on the range in winter as well as in the summer.  They are able to dig through the snow for the hearty bunch grass.  The willows and cottonwoods along the streams provide good shelter from the storms.

   The winter of 1889, known as "the hard winter," brings with it an unusual amount of snow and extremely cold weather.  Bands of elk are found frozen to death.  Many wild animals perish, and thousands of cattle in the valley die.  This trick of Mother Nature is a warning for future preparation which the ranchers are quick to heed.  Irrigation ditches are surveyed and plowed.  More seed is sown in the natural grass meadows.  Men grub sage brush and clear former grazing lands.  Fences begin to appear everywhere.

  The cattle are driven farther back into the mountains in summer.  The cattle and sheep men agree on a boundary line after the encroachment of sheep on the cattle grazing districts is the cause of several quarrels.  The last of these open disputes occurs in 1898 when seventy-five men meet on Cottonwood and ride to Gray's River.  Here a few sheep are killed killed and the cattlemen's determination to hold the range is made plain to the sheepmen.  Peace settles over the valley and cattle raising becomes a profitable industry.

   Josephine's five sons and her daughter marry and settle on ranches of their own, all within a radius of fifteen miles surrounding the old homestead.  One of the boys takes his father's place as postmaster and has served in this capacity for the past thirty-five years.

   Several of Mrs. Budd's children have followed their parents's example by making their homes in the valley. Here is growing up a fourth generation, all decendants of the little pioneer woman who has paved the way for them.  Mrs. Budd's high ideals, her life full of charity and love, and her service to humanity make her a pioneer in the truest sense of the word.

(Photo courtesy of Nancy Espenscheid)
Triangle Club meeting at Budds' about 1905
   As the country becomes more thickly populatcd and as other phaces of business and recreation are established, Mrs. Budd sells part of the homestead for the townsite of Big Piney.  Lots are staked out, streets are surveyed, and homes are built.  The little log cabin becomes the nucleus around which a quiet little western town grows up.  Josephine's home becomes modernized.  The sod roof is replaced by one of shingles.  A wide porch is built across the front.  The store has been empty for many years but still stands, a landmark, as strong and rugged as the day on which it was completed.

   Mrs. Budd who is scarcely five feet tall and weighs not more than ninety pounds sits in a low rocking chair beside a window of her home.  Her gray hair is parted in the center and neatly pinned at the back of her neck.  The serene expression on her face denotes that peace which comes with the fulfillment of life's richest promises.  She watches the lane which goes by the house.  It is Sunday and the children will be coming.

   She smiles in happy anticipation of the visit.  There will be letters from the grandchildren who are away.  Others may bring the new babies for her to see.  She must ask her boys about their hay crops and the prices which they expect for their beef.  She hopes that the present administration will aid the cattlemen as well as the Midwestern farmers.  The gate clicks and footsteps are heard on the porch.  Thus we leave one who is lovingly known not only to her fourteen grandchildren and twelve great grandchildren but to all of the Green River Valley as "Grandma Budd."

 Written by Pearl Budd Jones
 Big Piney, Wyoming
Pioneer Biographies, p 19-28