Harold was born at his parents homestead south of Robertson. His mother passed away when he was 4 years old and while his dad wanted to keep his sons with him, he was frequently away from home to work. One day he saddled up his horse, stuck each boy in a pannier and headed to Mountain View to leave the boys with relatives. From then on, Harold said they went “pillar to post” being shuffled between family members. As a child he loved being horseback and learned a great deal from his Granddad and other area ranchers about ranching. At the age of 9, he was caring for and driving a team of work horses on the railroad grade at Carter, WY.
Once Harold finished the 8th grade, he decided it was time to leave school and be on his own. He spent a lot of time herding sheep in the Uinta Mountains or the Ballies as he liked to call them. He also did work for different ranches around Bridger Valley. He caught wild horses in the Red Desert and broke them to ride. When World War II began he tried to join the Army, but they wouldn’t take him as he was missing part of his thumb. He had lost it when a horse he had roped jumped a fence while the rope looped around his thumb. He wanted to help his country in some way, so he got a job guarding the railroads between Ogden and Evanston where troops and war supplies where being moved.
Harold married Bessie Hayward in December of 1941 and they raised two daughters, Kaye and Juanita. After their marriage he worked on the Wallace Johnson ranch until 1947 when they moved to a ranch west of Robertson to help Bessie’s sister after her husband died. They would later purchase the ranch and expand it over the years, building a legacy that they would pass on. The ranch is still in the family, owned by their daughter Kaye and worked by her and their grandson Bob.
While Harold was a cattle rancher, his true love lay with his horses. Shortly after moving to the ranch west of Robertson he bought a stud and began raising colts. He would train these colts himself and his wife and daughters and later his grandchildren all rode horses that you would consider “bomb proof”. No matter what needed to be done whether it was holding a bull out in the field to be doctored, roping calves in the branding corral, cutting a cow out of the herd or hauling sick calves across your saddle back to the house, Harold had his horses trained to take care of the job.
His family talked him into buying a snow machine to make his trip to the calving barn quicker. One day when he started the snow machine, it took off down through the meadow with a stuck throttle. He jumped on his horse, chased it down, roped it and drug it back to the barn. After that, he never used the snow machine again saying his horse was much more reliable. He also trained numerous draft work teams as he fed his cows each winter with a team and sled. He was always invited to brandings at friends and neighbors and the last time he roped calves to drag to the branding fire, he was 90 years old.
Harold was one of the original founders of the Bridger Valley Chariot Racing Association. Running chariots and training his teams gave him one more way to spend time with his beloved horses. Some of the first races were held in the meadow at the Harvey Ranch. Later Harold would race all over Wyoming and went to the World Championships twice in Elko, NV. Later as Harold and Bessie traveled around to chariot races, they always had a grandchild or two in tow passing on their love of the sport. Harold received many awards for his chariot teams but the one he was most proud of was the oldest driver trophy in Lander. He was 84 years old.
Harold was truly a cowboy in every sense of the word. He could always be counted on to lend a helping hand to family and friends. He was a 4-H leader in Robertson, drove the school bus back when it was pulled by a horse, served as a deacon in his church and was always there to help a neighbor who was going through a tough time. He made many a deal on only his hand shake and his word. He was a quiet man who had a gentle way about him whether it be with his family, his horses or his cattle.