by Sublette County Artist Guild
February 7, 2019
Pinedale Online is proud to begin presenting writings by the Sublette County Artist Guild. The Sublette County Artists’ Guild, originally called the Writer's Club, was organized in 1928 by six ranch women in Sublette County, Wyoming, who had a common desire for self-expression and good company. The only requirement was that each member must present something original at each meeting. The women reached their meetings at homes and ranches in the area by slow travel on very poor roads, necessitating a long tradition of convening only in the summer. Some members created original drawings and paintings, while others wrote poetry, short stories, histories, and reminiscences, producing a trove of imaginative work and first-hand accounts of early Sublette County life. Click on this link for more information about their writings: Sublette County Artists’ Guild
By Caryn Murdock Bing
My memories go back to the early day meetings of the Sublette County Artists’ Guild. In the early days, the club was simply known as the Writer’s Club. I well remember my mother’s visits at the Jewett ranch in the early days of 1928 and 1929.
Mrs. Jewett was one of my mother’s best friends. We would visit with Mrs. Jewett quite often at the Jewett ranch on Cottonwood. My mother and Mrs. Jewett wanted to meet with other women and share their early day stories and memories.
The Artists’ Guild was organized in 1928 by six ranch women of the county who had a common desire for self expression and to share memories. Soon, other women in the county became interested and the membership grew to twenty-four.
The six women of the county who organized the club were Lora Neal Jewett, May McAlister Sommers, Marie Meyer, Mary Annette Murdock, Mrs. Bert Rathbun and Mrs. Josephine Jons.
I well remember some of the early day meetings of the Club. The women had to travel long distances enduring poor roads and slow transportation to attend these meetings. It was 1928. I had finished my first year in college and was always interested in attending the meetings. Of course, it always gave me the opportunity to drive our Model T. Ford. After sixty-eight years of meetings, I still have memories of these early meetings.
As I remember, one of the first meetings was held at the Marie Meyer’s ranch. I drove my mother there and had a terrible time. After the car became stuck in the mud, Johnnie Meyer came and pulled us out. In those day, you never went anywhere unless you wore gloves, a fancy hat and high heeled shoes. I had mud up to my knees. I well remember the meeting at Marie’s neat little ranch home in the willows.
Another meeting, I well remember was at the Sommers ranch. The ranch was hard to reach in those early days, and I remember cutting across a road out on the Alkali Flats north of the Jewett ranch. Again, I managed to get stuck, but I was able to go on our way.
When we reached the Sommers ranch, some of the other ladies were already there. Mrs. Sommers was so busy doing ranch work she forgot she was having the meeting. There was quite a group gathered, but the party and meeting soon started. Mrs. Sommers had a lot of chickens and what was better than fried chicken. Soon, Mrs. Sommers had butchered about four chickens, gathered vegetables from her garden, and we all helped prepare the meal. The delicious meal was soon ready. The day went smoothly, and our meeting was held.
I remember a meeting at our ranch. You couldn’t drive to our ranch by car, so all the ladies had to drive to the west side of the river. To reach our ranch, we had a ferry boat crossing the river. The ferry was suspended by cables and four women at a time would get into the box and go across the river and then walk to our ranch house.
My mother usually entertained with Sadie Osterhout. Our plans were made. We were to furnish the meal. Great preparation was made. At this time, my sister Pat and I had to take the food across the river to the car. This was rather difficult and required a lot of effort. We did have a very nice meeting at Sadie’s. When it was time to wash the dishes after the meeting, the dishes were all washed by hand. I asked Sadie for some soap. Her response was "that was too expensive." Anyway, the dishes were all washed.
This group of women all had one thing in common - a desire for self expression, so the club was organized and named "The Writer’s Club." At that time, the club had no officers and no dues. The only requirement was that each member must present something original at each meeting. Other women became interested in the group. The next ladies taken into the club were Mrs. Mae Mickelson and Ada Budd. The Writer’s Club lived and thrived, so it is now the Artists’ Guild with 24 members.