Early Settlers of Union
Descendants...Their Stories...Their Achievements
Mists of History on Their Way of Life
By: Ethelene Dyer Jones
the saga of Vandiver's life in the West
On May 3 my column focused on
of John Joseph Vandiver who left Union County, Georgia with his
Floyd Edward Vandiver and Lucinda Souther Vandiver in 1895, making a
awhile in Drake's Creek, Arkansas, and then moving farther west.
By way of explanation, I wrote
family in February, 2005. This is not an effort to repeat that story,
this account written in exactly the same manner. Then, this column was
available online to many who have since "found" the weekly "Sentinel"
newspaper online. I have had numerous requests from descendants of the
family to repeat those stories. That is why, almost two and one-half
later, in modified format, the memoirs of John Joseph Vandiver again
Between 1895 and 1898, jobs were
a young man of nineteen in Drake's Creek, Arkansas. John Joseph Vandiver
worked on his
father's farm at the "Old
Lollard Place" and supplemented his farm
earnings by cutting railroad crossties and transporting them eight
a mountain to sell them for $1.10. In 1898, John Joseph's father bought
a ticket to Greeley,
Colorado. John's older
brother, Bill, was
already there. They worked for awhile at Charles Robinson's farm for
month. Then the brothers launched northward to Laramie, Wyoming,
where they heard "big game" was available for the hunting.
Circumstances turned them in another direction.
At the Kuster Hotel in Laramie, the
Vandiver brothers learned that a
Mr. Thornton had been in town looking for ranch hands. Traveling 60
the Thornton Ranch at Rock River, the
lads were hired and worked herding cattle and sheep.
Then it was off to become hands
Union Pacific Railroad survey party, where they worked the whole winter
1898-1899. In the spring of 1899, John Floyd Edward Vandiver sold out
and moved his
family to Rock Creek,
Wyoming. Prospects for
making a living
seemed better there. In 1900 the Vandivers moved again to Little
the John J. Burnett Ranch. John Joseph Vandiver wrote in his memoirs:
was hard going in those times. About all the work that could be had was
sheep. I spent two winters making railroad ties in southern Wyoming near
line in about three feet of snow. I
went down the Medicine Bow River on
tiedrive in the spring of 1902."
In June of 1902, John Joseph
to Seattle, Wash., where he found work in a
at Moran's Sawmill, and at a logging camp at Moon's Canal.
In the fall of 1902, when it was
to continue outside labor, John found a job at the Fry-Brulm Packing
driving a meat wagon, remaining there until spring.
In April, 1903, he made another
move to Yakima, Washington
where he signed on as a hand at the Bear Ranch. In the fall of 1903, he
John Joseph Vandiver's parents
sold out at
Little Medicine, Wyoming
and went to Okanogan, again joining
already there. The elder Vandiver paid $800 for some land in Pleasant Valley
near Malott, Washington. The family lived in a
on the land. In another log cabin, built for a schoolhouse, the
children still at home were enabled to attend school. One could wish
Joseph had written more in his memoirs about who taught the school. He
only that those younger siblings still at home at the time were Sarah,
Hartwell, Calla and Jess. In the fall and winter of 1903-1904, both
and Bill were at Pleasant
Valley with their
Then came "Last Chance." With a
name like that, one would think "desperation!"
John Joseph and Bill Vandiver
worked at the
Last Chance mine about ten miles from Pleasant Valley.
There they cut firewood for the mine, working about two months, a job
them about $3.00 per day.
When spring planting time came,
Vandiver brothers returned to Pleasant Valley.
They helped their
father on the ranch during 1904 and 1905, and got additional work at
neighbor's ranch (Mr. Malott) at hay harvest time.
By the spring of 1906, no doubt
that if he ever landed a significant career, he would certainly have to
out on his own, John Joseph Vandiver went back to Seattle, Washington.
The remainder of his story will be told in the next episode of this Union County
native's call to the west to live and work.
[Source: John Joseph Vandiver's
written in 1959 and published in Watson B. Dyer's "Souther Family
History," 1988, pages 266-268.]
Jones; published May 10, 2007 in The Union Sentinel, Blairsville,
Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
Jones is a retired educator, freelance wirter,
poet, and historian. She may be reached
at email email@example.com; phone 478-453-8751; or mail 1708
Road, Milledgeville, GA 31061-2411
Updated May 27,
Back To Union County, Georgia GenWeb Site