Autobiography of Orson Eli (Ott) Hall
My father Orson Hall was borne in Ogden Utah March 23rd 1851. Mother Eliza Ann Tracy was borne at Ft. Supply on Smiths (?) Fork near Ft. Bridger Wyoming in 1853 Feb 21st. I was borne Sept 15th 1877 in Huntsville Utah. In the spring of 78 my parents moved to the Ashley Valley 250 miles, and took a herd of cattle there for a man named Mosby. There was only a very few white settlers in that country but Indians everywhere. I remember hearing my mother tell of the Meker (Meeker) masacre by the Indians on White River in Colorado and after came through our country. Robed the people of their supplies and drove off their cattle or most of them. Then that winter was called the hard winter and the people nearly starved before supplies could be brought in, and what cattle were left by the Indians nearly all died. I was 3 years old when my people moved back to Huntsville where we lived until I was nine. Then moved back to Ashley again. When I was 16 I packed mail from a town called Old Ashley to Dry Fork where we lived making 30 miles three days a week. I had this job two years. From then on until 1901 I worked at diferent jobs freighting, driving stage, punching cows and many other jobs. I guess I had better tell of a little experience or rather a joke I played on my brother Dave and another young fellow that nearly cost my life. You know nearly every one on the range packed a gun. Well we heard of gold being found in the Battle Lake mountains in Wyoming it seemed from all talk all you had to do just pick it up there was an awful stampede. So we started with saddle horses, pack horses with bedding and grub. We tried to get in on the west side of the range but the snow was to deep. So we thought we could get around and come in from the other way which took us about two weeks in all by the time we got there we were a month so you can tell we were getting pretty short on grub and shorter on money. Well we made it around but when we got within about 25 or 30 miles of our fortune we met men by the hundreds coming out in worse shape than we were. Well we turned back, hungry and our horses pretty well faged. On our way we passed through a little town named Saratoga but nowing we had no money we didn't stop but noticed there was a store. We got about a quarter of a mile out when one of the boys said I have 15 cents it will buy a loaf of bread. So that started all three digging into our pockets, in all we had 30 cents. They said for me to go back to the store and get something so I did. When I got in the store I looked around and couldn't see anything I could buy with that amount so I spied a sack of old chum tobacco 25 cents so I told the clerk to give me that and a corn cob pipe. I hadn't had a smoke for a week and that tobacco looked the best of any thing to me. Well just before I got to the boys I filled up the corncob and started puffin. Neilson said to Dave see what that damed skunk has done and pulled out his gun said shall I shoot. If Dave had said yes there would have been a grave to dig. Well after a ways further on I saw a sheep camp. I told them to go on and I would fetch grub and I did. In 1901 I left home with 4 saddle horses and a pack horse headed for Montana or in that direction. I got as far as Idaho Falls when I met a man by the name of Vincelete who was on his way to Canada said he was waiting for a man named Frye with a band of horses which they were going to trail through and if I would wait for them they would give me a job. We waited about two weeks when he got word that Frye had taken sick and was in the hospital at Salt Lake and had sent the horses back home. So Mr Vincelete said he would pay two thirds for a car and we could ship through to Canada. I sold one horse and we loaded and was on our way. We got to Great Falls where we had to transfer on to the narrow gauge, called the Turkey Trail. Some road, two or three times they would stop and the train crew would go out to some little lake shooting ducks. Another time the train stopped and a lady in the coach asked whats the matter now. Mr. Vincelete said I think the breakie said the cow catcher had a calf and they had to wait until it could travel. In 1905 I got married went to B.C. lived for a while then came back on the prairie and in 1909 took a home stead 9 miles north east of Taber near the Belly River and have been farming ever since.