Thursday, April 12, 2012

1940 Census Happy Dance!

I found dad in the 1940 census! I had a hunch he was working in Wyoming for the Elsom or Patch families. I looked at the 1930 census and found that the Elsom's lived in Election District 5, so I looked in that district in the 1940 census. They are on the first page with the Charles W. and Maude A. Patch family. Dad (Hugh B. Russell) is a hired hand, 27 and single. He completed the 8th grade and in 1935 was living in Sargent, Nebraska. He is listed as seeking for work in column 23 but is listed as a ranch laborer. Dad's brother Wayne R. Russell is listed after dad with the same details except his age, 25, and the number of weeks worked and income.

Dad liked to talk about his years in Wyoming. He helped the Patch family and the Elsoms do various ranch work, including herding sheep. I don't think he enjoyed that part too much doing it only one season. I remember him saying he thought a lot of the sheep dogs - border collies, I think - and how smart they were. He said in the hottest days of summer, the male sheep dogs would find the shade and the females would keep working. He also talked about mules skidding timber down the mountain.

I remember visiting the Elsom ranch in the late 60s, I suppose it was. Mrs. Elsom had a huge Christmas cactus in her living room, blooming, in an old wringer washer. They raised goats for milk and that was the first time I tasted goats milk. I liked it! Dad always thought a lot of the Elsoms and Patches. We visited a Patch family in Buffalo in the 1980s.

The Patches were relatives of dad's mom's first husband, Louis Patch.

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