Francis Kolego was born in Canada on July 7, 1914. Francis’s family moved from Canada to homestead in Wyoming in 1921. They arrived in Manville, Wyoming by train. Everything they owned was in the rail car, including the first piano brought into the area. The family spent the first winter in Manville and the kids went to school there. Francis would have been 7 years old and in the second grade. That spring the family moved out to the homestead (approximately 50 miles north). That next fall, Francis and his older brother and two sisters entered school in the country. The school was located on a ridge about the head of South Snyder Creek.
Francis’s father left the family in 1923 or 1924. Francis left school at the age of 11 in the 5th grade to help his mother feed the family. He went to work for the Hogg Brothers’ Ranch as a horse wrangler. It was his job to “jingle” the saddle horses for the days work. Francis also had the job of hauling fire wood and water for the ranch house.
By the time Francis was 16 years of age he was riding the rough string for Charlie Grieves along with his other cowboy duties for the ranch. He broke horses for a lot of folks throughout his career and became one of the best bronc riders anyone had ever seen. In my life I never saw a horse he could not ride.
As Francis was born in Canada, when WWII broke out, Francis was called to the draft. First he became an American citizen then enlisted in the U.S. Navy. He attended Boot Camp in Farrigut, Idaho and was sent directly to the Pacific Theatre. At first due to the limits of equipment available in the early stages of the war, he served on troop and tanker ships, between Sidney and Pearl Harbor. Their only armor were “clamp on” 30 caliber machine guns. They were fortunate not to be attacked during this time. Francis later served in the Battle of Coral Sea as well as the Invasion of Okinawa.
When the war was over Francis returned to Wyoming and went to work for the Bob Dixon Ranch ( 5 Box) north of Lance Creek, Wyoming. The original Kolego homestead was sold after the War and Francis later bought a ranch north of Shawnee in Converse County. He married Helen Goodin and together they raised five children: Kathy, Ann, James, John, and Mary. He continued ranching until shortly before his death.