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Farthing, Merrill

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Merrill Farthing was born in Cheyenne, WY on December 23, 1903 and moved immediately with his parents and older brother Tom to the Farthing Ranch located 45 miles northwest of Cheyenne. The ranch had been purchased that same year and he never left. It was his home for his entire life. He was raised here with his brother and later with 2 sisters, Helen and Betty.

He attended school in a one-room school house on the ranch until he and Tom were old enough to board in Cheyenne to attend High School, completing their education. He started to work at a very young age on the ranch as everything was done by hand and by horses.

At age 30, Merrill married the local school teacher from the Iron Mountain School, Grayce Moore. They were married for over 50 years and had 2 daughters, Elizabeth and Merrilyn and one son, Charlie.

Times were tough for Grayce and Merrill. Besides working on the family ranch, Merrill worked for the county maintaining, the roads with a team of horses and road drag, was a brand inspector and worked for the neighboring Whitaker Ranch.

Merrill and family went through the Great Depression and that experience influenced his entire life. He was a frugal and hardworking man who never forgot the importance of being conservative and prepared.

After the death of his parents, Merrill and family grew the small ranch adding land whenever it became available. All the haying and cattle work continued to be done with horses.

Merrill was a tough man living in tough times. He rode horse nearly daily until he was around 86 years old. He would have ridden longer if he could have gotten on and off. Horses were a way of life for Merrill and his life revolved around them, for work and for play. When not working with them, he and his brother played polo with them. The not so entertaining part of horses involved his sustaining numerous injuries including broken legs, ribs and nose several times.

Merrill was shy by nature but loved people and they loved him. He enjoyed his neighbors, had lots of friends and belonged to numerous organizations. He was a Mason, belonged to the Westerners Group, National Cattlemen’s Association, Wyoming Stockgrowers Association, Cheyenne Country Club, First Presbyterian Church, the Newcomen Society and the Laramie County Predator Board. He received several recognitions of which he was especially proud including being honored by the Laramie County Chamber of Commerce and the Cheyenne Rotary as Rancher of the Year as well as being recognized as a Wyoming Centennial Ranch.

He loved a great party, had a quick wit and infectious laugh. He had a wonderful sense of humor and a reputation as a terrific story teller. His green boots and distinctive laugh were his trademarks.

When asked about his long life as a cowboy, Merrill replied: “I’ve had 3 broken legs, ribs broke 3 times, nose broke 3 times, been battered and bruised, had my feet froze and been burned. I can’t imagine having any more fun in my life. I’ve had about everything happen to me but I wouldn’t have changed a thing. So I’m lucky.”