Donald Jeakins: memories of Ogle Swingle
15-Oct-2013 email from Donald Jeakins to Christopher Brooks, used by permission
Yes I knew Ogle very well. He called him self a Laplander. He was from Arkansas, where Texas laps over in Arkansas, at Texarkana, Texas.thus is his reason for saying he is a lap lander, his sense of humor or telling a joke.
I started school in Gerlach in 1935, Was a chore boy for Sammy Parker in summer time and out at Ogles at Leadville Home Ranch in summers. I quit School in the middle of the School year in 1945. Because a School Teacher in High School was trying to teach me something besides Schooling, I quit and went to work for Ogle. Rode the wild bunch, unbroken horses, the rough string, run horses (wild) took care of the cattle. Ogle had a permit for a hundred head of horses, and two hundred head of cattle. I took care of them all. Ogle was a kind and hard working man, honest as they came. Except for horses, if I brought in a yearling unbranded, his brand went on it. The 7Z brand.. But with cattle even if they were a long yearling he would go all over to all the others running cattle in that area to see if it belonged to any of them, now that is hard to tell, but as I expected, some one would claim it, yeah!!.
I’ll get to your inquire in a moment.
One day a man showed up in Bib overalls, guess who he was. Ogle called me in and introduced me to one of his brothers whom he had not seen for 45 years. ?? I enlisted in the Navy March 28, 1948. Ogle wrote me a letter and gave me the address of his Sister in San Diego, California, he never mentioned her to me before. When he died, I meant another brother Archie from the Sacramento Valley, had a large holdings there, never ever mentioned him to me either.
In 1950 he called me, as he was sick and wanted me to come gather his cattle, it was winter, he couldn’t do it. Guess he thought one could just walk off the base and do his wishes. Well I had 30 days leave coming so I did as he wanted. Now I was raised in that country, but I forgot, living in California, I drove up there, in uniform had my pea coat, it was colder than hell, 30 degrees below zero. In the shed by the barn I had my saddle and gear hung up on the rafters in gunny sacks, lucky me I had levies, long handled under ware, boots every thing I needed hung up there. It took me 3 weeks to find and gather his cattle, took them down to High Rock Lake, he had 4 small ranches, or properties, Home ranch at Leadville or Hog Ranch, upper smoky and lower smoky, and High Rock Lake. I hadn’t been on a horse for 3 years, I was raw from my ankles to my crotch. Then I found out from Ogle that I was the only one one his will. Well when I got out of the Navy, I had no interest in his property, I figured I would become like him, a bachelor unmarried, so I refused his wishes. I could write a book about Ogle he was something else, they do not make them like him any more.
He told me that he had nothing to do about cutting the stump into. Some our fit from California was up there to remove the top half and transport it to California for the Worlds Fair. But couldn’t get any equipment out there to lift it on to the truck. Now in those days, the roads were not like today, cut and fill, the road followed the contour of the ground, only a narrow strip plowed through the country, boulders lined the sides of the road, if a car meant another, some one had to back up, sometime a mile to find a spot wide enough for the two to pass. Finally, it was an under standing that the loaded vehicle had the right of way, so the other vehicle had to back up,” a thought”, what if two loaded vehicles meant??? One other thing, when I got up to Ogles, he meant me down half way down Lead Ville Canyon with a team and bobsled. When we got to the Home Ranch I do not remember so much snow, the snow filled the corrals up over the corral fences, so the saddle horse just walked over out of the corrals and got the hell out of the deep snow and went down to High Rock Lake. The two Mares he had locked up in the Barn, so He had transportation, we rode in the Bob sled down to High Rock Lake. He wrote me and said it got down to 54 degrees that year, lost over twenty head of cattle froze to death. That Bob sled laid around there for many years, today if you drive past his home Ranch you would never know a ranch and hay fields were ever there.
My wife and I came along there several years ago, and at the location of the Petrified Tree the BLM had installed chain link fencing around the tree, some one had cut the side out and was going to blast it apart they took off, I called the BLM in Reno, but the BLM Office that was in control of that are was in Susanville California, they came and repaired the fencing. He had photos of the out fit that was cutting the Tree into, I don’t know what happened to them, or who got them. But as I said he had nothing to do with cutting the tree into, that is what he told me.
He told me a lot of things about the area there when he first came there, He was the cook for the Leadville Mine, He was in my time the owner of the Leadville mine, never did any thing with it. He was a strong man, had great strength. He had in his black smith shop a machine that when you heated a iron tire and placed it on the Wagon wooden wheel, you used it to shrink the red hot tire tight onto the wagon wheel, it had a long handle and three sets of jaws one in the center held the tire and wheel the two others that were each side of the stationery jaw when you pulled all your power the two jaws clamped the tire and shrunk it to fit tight on the wagon wheel. Every rancher who came around or Buckaroo's he would challenge then to see if they could lift the machine, I never ever saw any one lift it, could only life one end up about 2 inches, Ogle would straddle it and lift it up about 6 inches and he had to set it down quickly, I don’t know what it weighed, but I couldn’t wiggle it. I forgot about the cattle and his horses. During the Depression he shipped three car loads of cattle down to California on the Western Pacific Rail Road, he didn’t make enough off them to pay the freight and the Rail Road was going to sue him. Well he was saved, no matter how bad thing get in life, an Angle appears, some one in Tennessee heard that Ogle had Pinto Horses, came out and purchased 40 head. and paid good money for them, He got out from under the Rail Road. So that is why he favored the horses and not the cattle, I tried to get him to keep just enough horses for saddle stock, then he told me the story, I just told you, he would never ever get rid of the horses, and at that time cattle was getting excellent price per pound, and you could not give a horse away. They saved him once, so that was that! I guess you didn’t want to hear all this bull shit, but I was real fond of Ogle Swingle, He was a true and loyal Friend. a genuine Pioneer, self made man, one in a million.
My Grand Father homestead in Squaw Valley, about 15 miles North West from Gerlach in 1890, before Gerlach was even though, the WP came through in 1914, Grand Dad sold out to Fred Gerlach and moved into Gerlach about 1913, Gary Horton my cousin his Mother Mary Jeakins was born at home in Squaw Valley. My Father was born in Winnemucca, Uncle Bill, Aunt Tiny and Glen and two others were born in Lovelock, Humboldt County, Pershing County did not come into being until 1920. Something I was never taught in School our State History, When Austin was first started and was located on the falt, not where it sets now, The Schmitline Brothers came to Nevada in that time took three Months and one week with an oxen team to Reach Nevada. They stopped in a small mining town in what near Ely, what county was he in? He was in Lander County, which was fromed out of Humboldt County, then there was no Elko, Eureka Countys, later Elko was formed out of Lander, as was Eureka, and a small part into White Pine. A family in Iowa , as I do genealogy they saw my site and asked if I knew of the Schmitline Family, I was working a North Unberland Mine in Big Smoky Valley in the Toquima Mountain Range, I found them all in the Grave Yard in Austin, and that Family has a great history in Nevada.