Wyoming Cowboy Hall Of Fame

The Real Cowboys of the "Cowboy State"

Scoon, William A. “Bill”

Scoon, Billy

Scoon, Billy1

Scoon, Billy2William (Bill) (Billy) A. Scoon 1900-1989

A cowboy’s cowboy—that was Bill Scoon.
Who was this cowboy, and what made him special?

Bill Scoon was (as was his father Alfred F. Scoon, a 2015 WCHF Inducee) foreman of the JG (Little Horse Creek Cattle Company—the Hunter Ranch). Between Colin Hunter and Johnny Gordon, this historic ranch near Meriden, WY began taking shape in 1872 and is one of the state’s oldest and continually-held ranches. In its prime, these 30,000 plus deeded acres were considered the hallmark of the finest ranches in the country.

Bill, or Billy as his friends knew him, gave 40 years of his life to the JG and more besides to his own place. His attention to duty and his ability to address any situation not only shaped a ranch, but men, and the very country he, his dad and others like them were instrumental in settling.
Most of us cannot comprehend the manner in which Bill Scoon and his generation lived. It is beyond the vigilant care of cattle. Survival could easily be called the priority.

There were no hydraulics, no pivot circles or motorized vehicles with constantly turning wheels. These were the days of teams of horses and broken backs of men who shaped the meadows’ ditches with slips and shovels in-hand. The only weather report was between you, the sky and the barometer, and the lives of livestock and men depended on a wise man’s watchfulness. It was the ever-present reality of harmonizing a ranch’s true needs with the man power, horse power, and cook power to bring success to not only the ranch and its owners but to those who worked it. Success included the reality of matching true necessities such as food, shelter and clothing with hard currency.

Bill Scoon lived this life. He could ride, rope and shoot. He could bring one steer from the pasture, away from the herd, into the corral, all at a walk to meet its fate as beef. If a hired man failed to mortally wound that beef, Bill Scoon’s well-known prowess with a gun brought a quick and decisive end to the matter from horseback across the ranch yard.

That same decisiveness and good judgment earned him the badge of Deputy Sheriff to keep the peace in his area—a duty often called upon. He knew how to be “tough” and he knew how to be a gentleman. Family and friends knew they could always count on him because Bill Scoon was their “911”.

Those who knew and worked for him remember him as a good boss and fellow cowboy who readily imparted wisdom to them. He was emphatic to never sell any hay from the place because drought and blizzards were too common and the hay would ensure survival, thus allowing a thriving continuance for the ranch and the generations to come.

Bill saw this prairie as open range and with fences. He saw the remnants of buffalo and native Indians. He and his wife Mollie Sawyer (she from Indian Territory, now Oklahoma), sent their only child (Norma Jean) to country school at age five on an Indian pony that would do its best to escape her at any gate. Norma Jean would not have traded her idyllic Horse Creek childhood for anything.

Bill and Mollie had their own place—the Quarter Circle C (formerly his parents’–Al and Agnes {Brown} Scoon) which was down the creek from the JG and C.B. Irwin’s Y6. Those early 1900’s were a cowboy’s fancy and the days of which we later generations dream. From gate sorting 6000 head of horses in a day at the PO to being the guardian of Tom Horn’s rifle, Bill Scoon’s stories (and those like him) are fast vanishing.

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