Big Sheep Loss
By Dick Perue
Thus reads the headline in the March 30, 1906 issue of the “Wind River Mountaineer,” accompanied by the following news item.
Perhaps what will prove to be one of the heaviest losses ever had by a sheepman in this section will be this of Charlie Souter, who has lost between 3,000 and 4,000 head of ewes and lambs from drowning.
Mr. Souter has large sheds built for early lambing purposes at his ranch on the Little Popo Agie, east of Lander. The ewes have now been lambing several weeks, and in a single night over 1,600 head of ewes with their lambs were drowned, and the water destroyed 160 tons of hay, thus making a loss of between $16,000 and $20,000.
The water ran through the sheds in a swift current, between three and four feet deep, and several hundred head of ewes were drowned in the sheds, but the sudden volume of water caught most of the animals on the creek bottoms. One thousand head were saved by being driven on the tops of the sheds and several hundred got on the hay stacks.
Mr. Souter so far had a very successful lambing, as he had an average of over 90 percent notwithstanding the severe weather we have been having.
While the Little Popo Agie drains a large country, it was not imagined it could get so high as to carry down the stream the huge blocks of ice which can now be found high up on the flats.
The Souter bridge went out about sundown Wednesday evening, it being the last bridge on the Little Popo Agie. Mr. Souter and his band of about a dozen men who had spent days in the water endeavoring to save what sheep they could, had driven what was left to within a short distance of the bridge on the way to higher ground, when the bridge went out. His oldest lambs, fine, big fellows, would have been turned out by the fifth of April, and would have been ready for the market in May and would have brought a mint of money.