Dear Bertha and Clyde,
Yes, the sad demise of Antone Jacobs makes an interesting (though sad) story.
I don't do a lot of horseback riding, but have gone with Lulu (Mrs. Ad) Keller on a couple pack trips to the high (Mad Creek) Lakes, and have gone with Fred on a couple of the shorter "circles" in the "Fall Roundup." Fred was largely responsible for organizing the Big Creek Cattle Association and as soon as the association was formed, Verg Drake was elected secretary, Ben Savage and Fred were elected, jointly, Range Boss -- and these officers have been reelected to these posts every year since.
Well, the first time I went to Cow Camp, I saw the bleached horse bones under the sheltering branches of a big pine tree where Antone Jacobs died.
Lulu told me that her husband (Adison Keller) died at a young age, and that she thought his death was the eventual result of being struck by lightning along with Antone Jacobs and Ben Savage. So far as I know, Ben Savage suffered no ill result of that experience (except for the print of a pine twig branded into his back).
Lulu and I make a good pair on those pack trips to the high lakes; she likes to fish, I don't care to do much fishing -- but really enjoy just "tending camp." I watch our three horses graze (on picket ropes) to make sure they don't get in trouble, fry fish that Lulu catches, make huckleberry dumplings (with the wild huckleberries I pick around the lakes), and just spend my time enjoying nature in general.
Lulu teaches rural schools -- sometimes summer school, sometimes winter school. When she teaches a winter school, she usually takes the following summer "off" (to make pack trips to the lakes and fish).
One year when Lulu elected to teach a summer school (the Collum Creek School, near Axiel Basin in Moffat County) I agreed to spend a month with her at that school (sort of like another pack trip -- except without any horses to look after). Lulu had signed the teacher's contract without seeing the school, although the school board's secretary had described the living accommodations as "primitive" (an old tent and "sheep herder" camp stove); no mention of the "school house" -- a decrepit shack full of park rats. The secretary had included a good set of directions as to locating the school; the last couple of miles being over a poor wagon trail (used by two or three homesteader families).
Lulu's son Bill took us to Collum Creek, in our '25 Dodge touring car (together with our camp clothes and bedding grub), and a scant supply of school materials provided by the Moffat County superintendent of schools. Lulu had picked up the school materials in Craig, on our way down.
By the time we were unloaded and had a bite to eat, it was evening. It had been a long, hard day's trip to Collum Creek -- and Bill was looking at the long trip home, in the dark.
Having (rather wistfully) said our good-byes, we watched the old Dodge go bouncing down that dusty wagon trail, leaving us alone (and afoot) in the wiles of Moffat County. As we started exploring our new environment, we were dismayed to discover that our only source of water was a spring, which had been so tromped by cattle that it was impossible to fill a water bucket.
It was a big relief when two cowboys (with shovels) came early the next morning and did a dandy job of cleaning out the spring. The cowboys informed Lulu that her pupils would be along in a day or two.
When I started this letter, I meant to transcribe some of Fred's stories; but Fred escaped, and I just ramble on! So, maybe next time. Until then, best wishes from the Mays to the Haldens.