Chronicler: Paul Etchepare

Interviewer: William Douglass

Glasgow, MT or Wyoming

 

Subject:

 

Side 1

00:03- Father came to Deer Lodge, Montana in 1890. First job was cutting timber (or hardwood) on west slope of continental divide for a Frenchman. Was cutting one day and heard sheep bells. Dropped his axe and went towards the sheep. Trip to U.S. his father only had $25. Father was 17 at the time of the trip. First job he took a trip to Colorado and found a job working on a ranch; decided he didn't want it so he found his way to Deer Lodge (MT). Then, worked for Peter Pawley as a camp tender/range boss. First bank in Montana was founded in Deer Lodge. In the first season of herding, trailed up to the NE corner of Montana. Next spring, moved to Etchepare Cooley. Then moved to Glasgow where he lived until he died.

 

10:41- A little more about his father, some other people (cut out). Around WWI, started hiring Romanians and turned out to be good ranch hands. Difference between Romanian and Basque herding techniques. Scotch & Basque will herd the same way; loose herders. Romanian and Yugoslavs are tight herders. Also, Basques give sheep a direction and let them decide, instead Romanians always lead. With exception of 2 outfits in Montana, all herders were taught by his father. Often several herding camps were watched over by one camp tender. Basques often banded together. Difference between Mexicans and Basques. Basques are hard on the Mexicans. Work situation between Basques and the temporary workers. Criticisms by Basques of Scotches, vice versa.

 

31:15- Basques that father brought over from Europe. Recruiting methods; trips back to France (contacts). Another method would be relatives of guys in the camps. Or, send money over in exchange for a contract. Had a man in NYC that would prepare the kids and send them out with a tag to Glasgow. Glasgow was small Basque community.

 

41:00- He was born and spent (kindergarten and 1st grade) 2 years in Long Beach, CA. His parents vacationed a lot. Often Basques would meet at Ogden, UT. His parents would stop there on the way to Long Beach. Also, would stop at Bakersfield, Chino, Puente. About the livestock business; keep sheep under herd all the time (not out to pasture), operate on both sides of wyo/colo line. Need to watch herd closely, problems with dogs and poachers. Differences between wyo/colo area and N.E. Nevada, central wyo. Run a large outfit, now having problems finding good Basque help.

 

50:05- Have approx. 32-33 Basque help working for him right now. One Peruvian herder, likes him quite a bit. In cattle operation, only 4-5 workers. During branding, however, lambing is usually dwindling down so pulls some Basques off lambing duty to do branding. Day's events during branding, a festive affair. Ideal combination to run sheep and cattle both. Has found that it is the best way to utilize the forage. How they run the different animals. Certain plants toxic to different animals, so run them at different times. Where they summer their sheep, areas they are running animals.

 

1:00:19- About Mr. Warren (rancher). Paul runs the ranch (300,000 acres deeded and owned). Paul took a trip with another guy to check out a ranch in Nevada. Ends 1:02:20