FRED GREET

1885 -1974

 

Fred and Dora Greet

 

 

Fred Greet was born on Oct. I, 1885, in Knightsville, Ind.  He and his twin brother, Frank, were the youngest children in the family.  Their parents originally came from England to Indiana, later moving to Red Lodge, Mont.  In 1890, their father and older brother, Ernest, filed on homesteads at the mouth of Spring Creek, about 7 miles south of the present town of Ten Sleep.  The Wyman and Douglas families were with them, traveling in covered wagons pulled my teams of four horses.  Early in 1891, they started work on their new homes, but Mrs. Greet and her son Will remained with the twins in Red Lodge until Fred and Frank finished first grade in May.  Then they came to their new home in Wyoming.  Of the eight children in the Greet family, only 4 came to Wyoming at that time --- the twins, and the 2 older brothers, Ernest and Will, who were in their twenties.

     Once a year, their older brother would go to Sheridan or Buffalo to get supplies, and the twins usually went along.  They went in a covered wagon and slept on the ground wherever night overtook them.  They traveled by Monument Springs, Billy Flats, through Hazelton and on to Buffalo or Sheridan.  The excursion, usually in the fall, lasted about two weeks.

     The Greet cattle industry started with one dogie heifer calf.  When it matured, it lost its first calf, but soon the herd grew to thirty.  Blackleg later wiped out on third of the herd.

     The family's home was a typical homesteader's cabin, made of rough logs, mud daubing, and a dirt floor.  Greet remembers his mother laying burlap strips on the floor for a rug,  Money crops on the Greet ranch were cattle, hay, and small grain.  The irrigation ditch was dug by pick and shovel, and the hay was cut by scythes.  Grain was cut with a cradle, bound by hand, and threshed with a flail.  They waited for a windy day to clean it, then spread a wagon sheet on the ground, and pour grain from a dish pan held high above it.  The wind blew the chaff away, and the heavier grain fell on the sheet.

     Once when the boys were still quite young, they and their mother had an experience with some Indians. Their father and Ernest were hauling poles from the Big Horns to fence the homestead.  Mrs. Greet, expecting the men home soon, had prepared dinner, including some fried fish the boys had caught.  Suddenly they saw a band of Indians coming from the south. The bucks rode up to the cabin door, carrying knives and waving them around.  This scared the twins and Mrs. Greet, so they left the cabin and walked to meet their father and Ernest.  When the family got back to the cabin the Indians had all left.  There was evidence that the Indians had sharpened their knives.

     Another incident concerns a Christmas party at Ten Sleep, complete with Santa Clause and Christmas Tree.  Santa came in, carrying a big bag over his shoulder.  Jokingly, Fred asked an older boy, Birch Warner, beside him, who he thought Santa was this time.  "Oh, that's Milo Burke," came the reply.  Fred almost fell off his chair because he had always thought Santa was a real person.  Christmas was never quite the same for him after that.

     Dances were the main type of social life.  Since families were scattered over a wide area, they came to a party and stayed all night.  Mr. Greet can remember neighbors who were giving a party hitching up their sleigh, coming after his family, and taking them home the next day.

     In 1891, when they came, Mr. Greet says their were lots of deer, elk, antelope, fish and sage hens.  The buffalo were gone, but timber wolves and bears remained.  One day when Greet was riding in the juniper hills north of Spring Creek, looking for their work horses, he suddenly saw a mother wolf and her family of half-grown whelps just below him.  After giving a mournful howl, she and the whelps disappeared into  the breaks below.  Since he had his gun with him, he followed them, and upon spotting on of the young ones, killed it.  He skinned and took the pelt home.  The next day he took the pelt and went to see Bob Waln, who was treasurer of the Cattleman's Association, and as such was authorized to pay the bounty of $25.  To Greet's disappointment, Mr. Waln said it was a coyote hide, so he left it and returned home.  In a few days another man by the name of Ike Lewis (Alkali Ike) stopped at Mr. Waln's office and said the hide was that of a wolf.  Mr. Waln sent for Greet and paid the bounty.  Ike Lewis then told him that if he could kill the mother wolf, he would pay him $50 from his own pocket.  Unfortunately, he found no evidence of the wolf, and never collected. 

     The twins father died in 1904, and their mother in 1906.  Their father was buried in the cemetery at the church in Ten Sleep.  Families who helped build the church in 1901 had each received a plot in the graveyard.  Their mother died in Indiana and was buried there.

     The boys worked the ranch until 1909 when they sold to Porter Lamb and bought the Joe Henry place --- 19 miles south of Ten Sleep on the Nowood river.  The last wagon had been loaded to take to the new ranch the following morning.  On this evening of April 2, 1909, Joe Emge and Joe Allemand came over to ask if they might pasture their horses overnight  on Greet's land before going on to their ranches at the head of Spring Creek the next day.  They were bringing the first sheep to cross the deadline, making them decidedly unpopular with many cattlemen.  Greet's said yeas to their request and told them they would invite them for supper except that they loaded all their food,  The sheepmen invited them to eat at the sheep wagon and the twins did so.  They might have become involved in the Spring Creek raid, but for the timely arrival of Porter Lamb and his brother-in-law, Meredith, with their first wagon load of goods for their new home.

     Lamb and Meredith bedded down outside the cabin, the Greet's inside and the sheepmen on the hill across the creek.  They were awakened by a  single shot, which was followed by a volley.  Lamb and Meredith hurriedly picked up their bedrolls and dashed into the cabin, later to come out and stand in its shadow.  They heard the sound of a wire breaking and supposed the horses were breading the barbed wire fence.  As they stepped out from the shadows, a warning shot was fired over their heads and they quickly retreated.  They heard more shots, and saw flames from a burning wagon. As the heat became too intense, Allemand came out of the wagon with his hands up and was shot by one of the raiders. 

     When daylight came, Fred Greet persuaded the others to go with him to the hill in case someone was still alive.  They found the three men dead and two of them partially burned.  The third, Allemand, was some distance away.  As they returned, they found the telephone wire cut, instead of the fence, as they had supposed.  They spliced the ends together and called Walter Fiscus at Ten Sleep to report the raid.  He relayed the message to authorities at Basin, the county seat. Because of the investigation, the twins had to remain at their old home for several days.

     The Henry place consisted of 320 acres of deeded land and a section of leased land when the Greet brothers moved to it.  Their new home, which had a good location, was better for raising cattle.  The ranch came to be known as Greetsville as it expanded to its present size of 5,000 deeded acres, and 12 sections of Taylor grazing land, and some state leased land.  Of course, they had the usual problems

in building up a herd.  There were dry years when the feed was scarce, years when blackleg hit the herd, or blizzards buried both the cattle and their feed.  Many calves were lost in early spring storms.  At the present time, the ranch supports about 300 cows, not including yearlings.  In earlier years they trailed their cattle from the ranch over Cottonwood pass to Lysite, where they could ship by rail to Omaha.  The drive usually started on a Monday morning and reached Lysite in time to load the cattle on Friday.

     Fred Greet married Dora Wallen on June 18, 1929.  They met at a party, given by the Young People's Society of the Methodist Church in Casper, to welcome new teachers and other new members to their group.  Miss Wallen had arrived in Casper to teach school.  Fred had come with his niece who lived in Casper.  As a result of a game, they became partners for the refreshments, and later for life.  His twin brother and his bride had been issued the first marriage license in Washakie county several years before, on February of 1913.

 

DORA WALLEN

 

     Dora Wallen was born at Portland, N.D. Nov. 8, 1889 to Belle Pederson and Erick O. Wallen.

     her elementary and High School education as in Wisconsin; University of South Dakota; and summer school at University of Minnesota and Miller Hospital at St. Paul where she had training as a hospital laboratory technician.

     Both families operated the ranch until 1949 when the Fred Greets moved to 'Worland, where they still reside.  Mr. and Mrs. Frank Greet moved to Ten Sleep where they are now living.  The ranch is presently run by Frank's three sons.

     Mr. Greet is a long time member of the Wyoming Stockgrowers Association, and his wife if a member of the women's auxiliary, the Cowbells.  Mr. and Mrs. Greet are charter members of the Washakie County Chapter of the Wyoming Historical Society.

     This information was obtained from an interview with Mr. and Mrs. Fred Greet.

     Reprint from The History of Washakie County, Wyoming, A bicentennial Project 1975.  Source: CAME-GREET & DUNN-SACKETT GENEALOGIES, Researched & Compiled by Anna E. Dunn Snyder Bajoras, 1977, following page XVI.