Here, gathered in our beloved South Dakota, are a few members of our Williamson / Mattson Clan. Charles and Luella are to be blamed (be kind, they didn't know what they were doing). We're generally a happy bunch and somewhat intelligent (notwithstanding our tenuous grasp on reality). I'm also proud to say that most of us still have our teeth.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Williamson's Gather for Thanksgiving and Life in a Wyoming Ranch House.

The Williamsons gathered for Thanksgiving Dinner. This picture was taken at Alfred and Inez Mauch's ranch in Sundance Wyoming in 1942, 43 or 44.
From Left to Right the feasters are
  • Walt Williamson (Dad's Uncle partially blurred)
  • Gene Madison
  • Lester Mauch is next. He was dad's first cousin and son of Inez and Alfred. (The baby in Lester's arms is Pat Williamson, Walt and Francis's girl).
  • Francis Williamson, Walt's Wife.
  • Inez Mauch.
  • Teresa Madison.
  • Grandma Plato (Francis's mother)
  • Woody Williamson (little boy in front of Grandma Plato). Woody is Walt and Francis's son.
  • Elda Williamson (Dad's mother)
  • Esther Mauch
  • Mystery Woman
  • Tracy Martin (man in the back. He is Vinny Martin's son. Dad's first cousin)
  • Vinny Martin (Dad's aunt)
  • Alfred Mauch
  • Charles Williamson (Dad's dad).
  • Dad, in the very front standing in front of Vinny.
  • Mystery man in the suit and glasses.
  • Grandma Williamson (Dad's grandma. Effie Helen Victor Williamson)
  • Gayle Williamson (in front of the suited man. Daughter of Walt and Francis)
  • Finally, Maurice Williamson. He is wearing his Conoco Service Station Uniform. Their station was closed just for Thanksgiving Dinner.
The home had no electricity, no running water and used wood to heat the home. There was no bathroom. They used an outhouse. It was a two holer, the holes were side by side. Only the high up ranch homes had two holers. There was no toilet paper. You used the Sear's Roebuck Catalog. Or there was always the corn cob. Every bed in the home had a chamber pot for nighttime peeing. In the morning you threw it out. They had a pot to pee in and a window to throw it out of. The outhouse was 50 feet or so from the house. In the winter you didn't stay too long.

The fire was always going in the cook stove. Not only did they cook in the stove but they used it to heat the iron for ironing. There were always two irons on the stove. The well was inside the house. They had a pump in the kitchen. You pumped your water. Nice ice cold water dad remembers.

Clothes were washed by hand. Once a week they made butter using an old churn. What was left on top was sweet cream. Once in a very great while they made ice cream. They'd go to town to buy ice and rock salt.

Dad stayed there one summer in 1945. He rode their horse all summer. He remembers they drank raw milk. Dad had a room all to himself upstairs. You went to bed at sundown. If you wanted to read you needed the kerosene lamp. In the winter you went to bed early. They had an old Victrola record player that had to be cranked to work. As the spring unwound the music played slower and slower so you'd have to recrank the machine.

Thanks for the memories. Inez and Alfred's home didn't change from the 1940's to the 1950's. I recall the chamber pots under the beds and the hand pump in the kitchen as a child. We loved to spend the night at Grandma's (Inez) in the early l950's. A note of correction: Their ranch was not "sold", it was divided amongst their children, Esther, William, and Lester. The property is still owned by their descendants.

Posted by Cheryl (Mauch) Bullock, Lester's daughter

I have a house, about a 135 ft, from the old house, where my grand parents, Alfred, and Inez lived. My brother Dennis, has a house on the old Hoffer homestead, that my great grand father, Lorenz, had purchased for pasture, and has been a part of the place since the early 1900's. The only part we don't still have in the family, is the acre, that Aunt Mary sold, with the house she and Bill built, in the old corral spot. Everything else is still in tact, it just has several of us owning smaller parts.
A Post Update from Steve Mauch