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Darlington, Oley

 

 

Oley Darlington was born July 17, 1897 the oldest child to David & Sarah Edna Darlington, in Cedar County Missouri. Seven siblings to follow; Mamie, Walter, Mina, Georgia, Gordon (Bill), Russell and Drusilla (Sid).

The family possessions of horses, cattle, chickens, machinery, household furniture, home-canned food and the dog, Trip, were loaded onto railroad cars headed to Wyoming. They all arrived in Upton, Wyoming on April Fool’s day 1909.
Oley being the oldest son went to work to help support the family. He helped work construction for the Watt Brothers Construction Company and worked for Valentine Kirk herding and shearing sheep.

In 1918 he heard the call like so many young men did and signed up to join the army. Luck was on his side as the very next day the treaty to end WWI was signed. For his 1 day of service he received a check for $1.00 which he chose not to cash. The year of 1918 was a big year, as Oley filed on a homestead of his own. The homestead consisted of 640 acres East of Clareton where the Little Thunder and Piney creeks meet on Rock Creek.

On June 7, 1919 he married the lovely Gail Cumming, they moved to the homestead and raised 5 children, Mae (Christenson), Wayne, George, Glen, and Bette (Neal)

During depression years mid 1930’s Oley worked for the State Veterinarian inspecting cattle for Scabies. Most of this work was done on horseback riding from ranch to ranch in the Weston, northern Converse and southern Campbell counties area. When anything was found with scabies he and area ranchers would trail the entire herd to one of the area dipping vats to run them all through. Spending lots of miles and time in the saddle sure made some good horses. Some of these were wild horses that Oley and his neighbor Ebin Spencer had caught and the boys broke. They would take these horses into watch the local rodeo or the shopping trip to Upton 30 miles away or the 40-mile trip to Newcastle.

The meadows on Rock Creek grew nice hay which was cut and stacked using horse drawn equipment and fed to the Hereford cattle that were raised on the Darlington ranch. When it was time to sell some the cattle it involved trailing them to the Upton Stockyards where they were loaded onto the railroad cars bound for the feed-yards to help feed America.

Oley’s early years of schooling is somewhat sparse. Often school would only be 3 to 4 months long. He wanted more for the next generations, so he became a member of the school board and stayed for 25 years. Oley was also a member of Newcastle Methodist Church, Past Master of Newcastle Masonic Lodge #13, Scottish Rite Bodies & Khalif Shrine of Sheridan, Member of Wyoming Stock growers, Wyoming Farm Bureau, and the Hospital board for 8 years.

He killed one of the last 3 wolves in the area and is fondly remembered for his big infectious knee slapping laugh, being a good friend and being a worthy cowboy to have around. He passed on his love of the land and hard work ethic to his children and grandchildren.

Oley passed from this adventurous and successful life on March 14, 1964