A Story of an Old Time Sheepherder

It was a lonely life on the range.  “Even if a herder does not particularly care for reading, he will be driven to it in self-defense.”  I wanted to re-share a good story about sheepherding life.  Gilfillan was a shepherd for 20 years and went on to become a well-known humorist, author, and speaker.

Archie Gilfillan was South Dakota’s sagebrush philosopher. His prairie wit en­tertained people in the ranching areas of Montana, North Dakota, Wyoming and South Dakota through the Great Depression.”

As to why he never married,

“You profess sincere and unbounded admiration for the beauties of the opposite sex and you practically lay your heart at their collective feet; and then you meet some individual who combines the poorer qualities of a mama wildcat and a bitch wolf, with a voice like a buzz saw, the temper of a slapped hornet, and a dis­position that would curdle the milk in four adjoining counties. And then you have to revise your opinion of the sex all over again –– and downward.” In short, he never met a woman he liked who would have him as a husband.

The full article can be found here in South Dakota magazine.

 

Growing Up on the Range…

(from the Paleotool vault)

Here’s a great story I read years ago about being raised in a family of six in a sheep camp measuring about 7 x 8′! (I think that’s the floor space).  I recently relocated the article in Mother Earth News.

Nice layout sketch of a sheep camp.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The canvas-covered sheep wagon was roughly about seven feet wide by eight feet long. On the front end a door opened out of the middle and you stepped down onto the wagon tongue and thence to the ground. From the inside looking out, the stove was on the left of the door. On the right was a small wash stand with several wooden drawers for storage of linens, towels and socks. A bucket of water and washbasin were on the oil cloth covered top and a small mirror hung above the basin for shaving. Soap, toothbrush, razor and essentials rested on top of the stand when in location or were stowed in a drawer when moving.”

Read more here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-community/sheepherders-wagon-zmaz70mjzkin.aspx

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A Story of Growing Up in a Sheep Wagon

Greasing the axles of a sheep camp n Taos County, New Mexico ca. 1941.

Greasing the axles of a sheep camp in Taos County, New Mexico ca. 1941.

“Victor Croley grew up with a sheepherder father, his family of six lived happily in a wagon like this, entertained by the outdoors and a fiddle.”

Victor Croley describes growing up in a nomadic family of six with a sheepherder wagon for home and how years down the road he felt the urge to build a wagon of his own.
Mother Earth News, May/June 1970

Here is great story I read years ago about being raised in a family of six in a sheep camp measuring about 7 x 8′! (I think that’s the floor space).  I recently relocated the article in Mother Earth News.

Croley’s Wagon.

Schematic of a typical sheep camp.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The canvas-covered sheep wagon was roughly about seven feet wide by eight feet long. On the front end a door opened out of the middle and you stepped down onto the wagon tongue and thence to the ground. From the inside looking out, the stove was on the left of the door. On the right was a small wash stand with several wooden drawers for storage of linens, towels and socks. A bucket of water and washbasin were on the oil cloth covered top and a small mirror hung above the basin for shaving. Soap, toothbrush, razor and essentials rested on top of the stand when in location or were stowed in a drawer when moving.”

Download the print article here: CroleysSheepCamp.

Growing Up on the Range

A great story I read years ago about being raised in a family of six in a sheep camp measuring about 7 x 8′! (I think that’s the floor space).  I recently relocated the article in Mother Earth News.

Nice layout sketch of a sheep camp.

Here’s an excerpt:

“The canvas-covered sheep wagon was roughly about seven feet wide by eight feet long. On the front end a door opened out of the middle and you stepped down onto the wagon tongue and thence to the ground. From the inside looking out, the stove was on the left of the door. On the right was a small wash stand with several wooden drawers for storage of linens, towels and socks. A bucket of water and washbasin were on the oil cloth covered top and a small mirror hung above the basin for shaving. Soap, toothbrush, razor and essentials rested on top of the stand when in location or were stowed in a drawer when moving.”

Read more here: http://www.motherearthnews.com/nature-community/sheepherders-wagon-zmaz70mjzkin.aspx