The Rest of Then and Now

The men 30 strong, had organized themselves in squads searching every canyon and ravine. Certain signals were agreed upon. So if any trace should be found they could soon be called together. They finally crossed his track followed it on and on and on – it seemed in creditable (sic) a child of seven could walk so far with out food nor water. Now a track: now a bit of clothing on the bushes on and on they went, their hopes rising with each new evidence that they might yet find the little fellow still alive. They heeded not the pangs of hunger nor the weary fatigue of their own bodies – on and on they wet as far as their horses could go. Still the tracks went on, they left their horses with tow of the party, took water and a little brandy, and crept along the ledge over precipices – down ledges they slid – till finally there they saw him on the very brink of a perpendicular ledge, his clothing torn from his little body, feet bleeding, flesh torn by the thorns of the underbrush. So crazed by fatigue, fright, thirst and hunger, they dared not disturb (sic) him lest he plunge over the brink and be lost forever.

Not a man spoke a word, not a sound dared they make. The father went back from the terrible scene and called the lads name ever so softly. He became conscious, turned saw his father with outstretched arms and sprang back and ran to the fond embrace. The men seeing him safely back from the brink rushed to him with water and with a few drops of brandy added to a few spoonsful of water in a baking powder can revived him sufficiently to be carried back to camp. They wrapped him in a Navajo blanket and took him on the horse. He seemed to be terribly frightened at this mode of travel. He squirmed loosed from the blanket, so he was placed in the saddle with his father behind and his arms around the terrified lad.

It was many days before he regained his sanity and became normal. Then they finally arrived at the Park all the men had heard the good news of his rescue and the whole party had assembled. The father asked the men how much he owed them for their efforts. They had put in six days and nights searching. They all answered as one man – “Nothing!”

That completes the story of the unknown sheepherder and his lost little boy.

Stay tuned for more stories coming this week.

Then and Now Continued

“The sheep were moved from one canyon to another according to feed conditions. At this particular time they were being driven down the canyon near Bright Angel, the herd split in two sections, father and son became separated, each following a different herd in different canyons. The boy wandered on and on – until he was out of gun shot.

“The father hunted for days not daring to give up the hunt long enough to go for help. Thinking of course he would run across the little fellow in each revine or on top of each ridge. He finally was obliged to give up the lonely hunt and send for help.

“He found the cowboys at VT ready and willing at a minute notice to mount their horses and ride in haste to rescue the lost child. As the word spread over the country that the boy was lost, men sprang in to their saddles and were off to join in the search. Word finally reached Kanab. A rescuing party was formed in a few hours. Women came from every direction with food and supplies for the hunters. When they were off they stood around in terrifeid groups too grief stricken to go back to their homes. The children felt the terror in the air. And every night in every home a prayer was offered to God that the little fellow would be found alive and brought home in safety to his grief stricken parents. The women of the little town took turns watching and waiting comforting the prostrate mother as best they could.”

Final installment tomorrow!

Guest Writer – Janice Bryson

A story written by Janice Bryson for the Arizona CattleLog, December 2013, about the Atkins Family tells ofa sheepman on the Arizona Strip. There were Atkins that had sheep on the Strip but I will relate their story later in future blogs. For now, we will just stick with this sheepman.

Joy illustrated the remoteness of the strip with the story of sheep man Wayne Gardner. He was a prominent St. George resident who grazed sheep on the Arizona strip. A fierce snowstorm hit the strip in January 1949, Gardner was worried about his sheep and his herder Ed Harrington. He left home early one morning and his family raised the alarm when he did not return. Due to the continuing storm, Maurice Miles and Rudger Atkin flew to the vicinity of the sheep camp and dropped a note to Harrington. Through signaled replies, they determined that Gardner had not arrived and Harrington needed help. No sign of Gardner could be located from the air. Two weeks after Gardner left home, a search party traveled three days through the snow to rescue Harrington and move the sheep to lower country. Gardner’s hat was located but no sign of the man. The Sheriff called off the search until the snow melted but was convinced to try again one more time. Searchers with hunting dogs traveled to the area and the body of Gardner was discovered 75 yards from the sheep camp. He had walked twelve miles from his pickup in snow up to his waist. His frozen body, covered with snow, was found leaning against a Cedar tree as he had apparently stopped to rest and froze to death.

A sad ending for just one of about twelve families that raised sheep on the Arizona Strip. Other sheepmen stories from Utah and Nevada will be posted soon.