History of the Triple–T Ranch
By Elias Tobias
Editor’s Note: The following is a fictitious account of a ranch and community that do exist in Wyoming, but have nothing to do with each other or this story. Violent subject matter may be offense.
Framed as a an ancestry research project, Kelsey Pope, a high school student from Garrett, Wyoming, tells stories from her family’s past and how the Triple-T brand has stayed with the Dawson family for more than 150 years. She is a fifth generation Dawson.
In 1850’s, one of the first ranchers in the North Laramie River area was Forrest Talbot, and he started a 50-acre ranch he called the Triple T, a brand with the cross of the T connecting halfway down the other two T’s. He and his wife, Jessica Eleanor, ran the ranch and made it grow, clearing the land for homes, barns and other buildings. They hired ranch hands, as other ranches did. Jessie, as she liked to be called, was pregnant with her first child in 1863, but was riding with Forrest one day when her horse was startled by a rattle snake. Forrest shot the snake before any fangs were used, but his bride was thrown off the horse, and soon had a miscarriage. She was then unable to have any more children afterwards, but loved her husband so much and helped run the operation.
One of the other ranches was the Star-B, owned by Jason Pratt. One of the ranch hands was called “Roper,” since he was especially good using ropes as a cowboy, but his real name was Jacob Dawson.
Like other ranch hands, this wasn’t his first place to work. And he liked to have a few drinks at the local saloons, and he like to women at the saloons, too. In Laramie, there were several places to go, but Roper liked the Golden Spur the best. Several of the others from the ranch also went there. He liked, Martina, of the saloon girls the best of all the women there. Martina’s last name could only be found in an old family Bible owned by Jacob, dating the birth of his children and the death of his bride. It was Samuels. Not much was known about her other than that, at least before she met Jacob.
One day at the Golden Spur, another man, John Osborne, fresh from the end of a cattle drive, had the attention of Martina, as it was her business, and Roper came into the bar with other hands from the Star-B. She looked at Roper in a way the new guy in town didn’t like very well, and Osborne asked if Roper liked Martina. He said yes, and Osborne said she was his, at least for the night, like any whore would be. Cool tempered, Roper didn’t want to start any trouble, but he would not back down if threatened, either. He responded at she wasn’t a whore. He said he was a woman, to be respected, and Osborne should treat her like a woman. This was a challenge to the trail duster.
Osborne said he’d respect the woman, the only way he knew how, as a whore, and put his hand near his gun in anticipation of a gunfight. Roper just took a drink of his beer. Then he said that they have different points of view, and it was up to Martina to decide if she wanted to be treated like a lady or not. The trail duster said she would have to get married to be a lady and he would not marry a whore. Martina tried to move away from the man, who was holding her by the waist.
Roper said he would marry her, and treat her like a lady. Martina smiled and tried to get away from the man holding her, but the more she resisted, the more Osborne pulled her back. Then he pulled the gun from the holster and said. “If that is the way you feel, nobody will get her,” and put the weapon to her head. About that time, Sheriff Adams, being warned of trouble at the Golden Spur, walked in with a rifle and surprised Osborne. He quickly warned the man to put the gun away. As the hold on her was loosened, Martina moved away from Osborne. At the same time, Osborne started to aim the gun at the sheriff, but was too slow. The rifle bullet was in Osborne’s heart before he could fire a single round. Marina ran to Roper. This was taken from a newspaper article.
As promised from this incident, Jacob Dawson married Martina a few months later in 1870 in an elaborate wedding for the time. No longer just another hand, the owner of the Star-B said he could still work on the ranch, but things would be different. He had a spare cabin he would rent them, and the rent would come from his pay, which would be slightly increased. Martina would also work, for pay, around the main ranch house with cooking and housekeeping duties. One of the visitors who came to visit was Jessie, from the Triple T, who just lost her husband to a heart attack in 1867. She continued to run the ranch, and the two women became good friends. Also, within a few months of marriage, Martina became pregnant, and was due around the Spring Round-up.
The owner of the Star-B said while he really wanted Roper to go along, the best thing he could do was to stay home and be with his wife, who was discovered to have twins by then. There was enough work for him to do around the ranch while they were gone. So Roper stayed back.
One day, Martina went into Laramie to get supplies while Roper was away from the main ranch house. She walked into the general store, and a strange man stared at her, which made her uncomfortable. Conversation with the storekeeper indicated she was Martina Dawson, and the man became more interested in her. Before she left, the man said he knew her. She responded she didn’t know him.
He said she was the whore that got his brother, John, killed, and accused her of still being a one, a married whore. The wife of the shopkeeper, slipped out the back to go to Sheriff Adams, and the owner asked the man to leave and that the woman was a respectable part of the community. With that warning, he man walked out without buying anything and with a smirk on his face. He was Terry Osborne, according to the newspaper article, and he and his two brother Jerry, and Joe were in town.
When Martina got back to the Star-B, Roper was back from his work and she related the incident to him. This got him upset, and told her this would not happen again. He had to finish the work he started the next day, but the day after that, he went to the Golden Spur with other ranch hands from the Star-B. By then the incident at the general store had made him real angry.
The Osborne brothers were there, too, and heard others call Jacob Dawson, “Roper.” At one table with drinks on the table were the three brothers and Roper was at the bar. Terry Osborne asked, “Hey Roper, How’s your whore?” from across the room. Jacob set his beer down, but could not ignore them. Someone near him said they were the Osborne brothers. He turned round and said “I guess you Osborne’s never learn, there is a difference between a lady and a whore. Your brother sure couldn’t tell the difference.”
“You killed my brother!“ Terry yelled.
“No, Sheriff Adams did, because your brother didn’t know when to keep his mouth shut,” Jacob said. The room cleared as the three stood up. The room was silent. The bartender got his shotgun, and said. There would not be any gun play in his bar, and the owner said they should take any disagreements to the street. The three brothers walked out and the room started buzzing again with piano music in the background. Roper stayed at the bar for the rest of his beer, as others asked what he was going to do.
By then, Sheriff Adams walked into the bar, and said he would go to the Osborne’s to tell them to leave town before the night or face jail time. He didn’t want another gunfight in town. Jacob agreed and walked out of the bar after the sheriff left. On the way back to the ranch, Roper was watching every rock and hiding place for trouble. He didn’t know what was going to happen, and way ready for whatever was going to happen. Other hands from the Star-B were with him. Then three horsemen appeared, silhouetted against the fading sunlight. In the next few minutes, there were several gunshots which echoed in the rocks and the three Osborne brothers were dead. Jacob was wounded in the shoulder. He went onto the ranch while one of the other hands, who was unhurt, went to town to get Sheriff Adams. The news article said no charges were filed against the ranch hands, including Jacob who recovered from his wound.
The report continued later to include the birth of twins in the cabin at the Star-B with Jessie Talbot assisting with birth, and two girls were born without any complications or problems. They were named Sharon and Karen, Kelsey’s great, great grandmother. A few weeks after birth of the twins, Martina had a high fever and became weaker by the day with complications with breathing. Doctors were available, but in the end, Martina died in 1871. By then, Jessie had become good friends with Jacob, and after burial and an extended mourning, Jacob was faced with the reality raising the girls alone. He had a nurse help him during his bereavement, but had to find a permanent solution. He decided to marry a window, Jessie, and Roper was promoted to ranch owner. As the western way of life changed, ranches either expanded or were bought out and incorporated. Owners changed, too. By 1880, The Triple-T ranch bought the Star-B ranch, along with other properties, and the Triple-T grew to over 150,000 acres of ranch and farm land with timber interests and a mill. Current family interests include real estate, various service businesses, banking and mineral rights, too. There is even a ghost town, named Rock Creek, on the ranch property.
Along local roads north of Laramie, Garrett became a community in northern Albany County in Wyoming. Garrett is the county seat of Albany County. Although Garrett is unincorporated, it once had a post office, with the ZIP code of 82058. The building remains, though is no longer in use. Garrett is also home to River Bridge School, a one room schoolhouse that is part of Albany County School District #1. Aside from the schoolhouse, the land is privately owned.
The Dawson family also grew around Garrett. The twins married and had families of their own. Karen Dawson, Kelsey’s great aunt, married a rancher with the last name of Rogers and had six children, three boys and two girls. Sharon married a man with Masters as a last name and had two boys and three girls, one of which was named Martina, Kelsey’s grandmother. Martina Masters married Douglas Pope, a marriage which has lasted 45 years. Kelsey’s father, Darrell Pope, is one of five brothers, all of which have families of their own and own part of the stock in the Triple-T Ranch holdings along with relatives from Karen Dawson’s relatives. It takes a ranch the size of the Triple-T to have a family reunion of the Dawson clan.
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Did you know that Elias Tobias has published two books, and one is an anthology of 145 poems, and the other a short story murder mystery? For complete information about these books and how to purchase them, click here.. #etpoetry
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