Oral History – Duley Canterbury


(Interviewer unknown)

June 4, 2002

Interview with Duley Canterbury, his house in Hartsel on Tuesday June 4, 2002

That cabin belonged to the Buckleys, I guess it was their granddaughter.

Which building are you talking about now?

This one right here (points to building out window towards south).  That log building, and it was moved up here.  When I came here it was called the Buckley cabin.

Was that on the ranch at that time?

It belonged to the older Buckley’s granddaughter.  She married Murray Peterson.  Theylived in California.  They used to come out here to live in the summertime.  And that’s her cabin.  The last time she didn’t come out.  She hated it here.  We visited with Murray.   He and I went fishing one day—had a lot of fun, caught fish.  Dorothy cooked the fish and he ate it with us.  Finally he decided his wife wasn’t coming back, and that’s when he sold it, sold the cabin.  They really didn’t like to sell it at that time.  But it was best, you know.

Did she stay in California, or did she just never come back?

As far as I know they are still in California.  Murray was a younger man than I was.  It was called the Buckley cabin; that’s what it was called.

What was her first name?

I don’t know—I can’t remember what her name was.  Dorothy could tell you if she was still around.  She didn’t move around much, she just stayed in the cabin.  She just didn’t like it here.  Murray, he enjoyed it, he liked it here.

When did they move the cabin up here? 

It was here before I came to Hartsel; I don’t know when they moved it.

Did you work out at the Buckley ranch.at one time?

We worked the place from March, 1963, until December of 1975.  Almost ten years.

That’s quite a few years.

It was a sheep ranch.  I had been asked how many sheep did Buckley have.  I guess there were 3 or 4 bands of sheep, about 1000 per band.   This is not even an educated guess.

All I know is that the corral down at the Buckley were sheep pens.  Terrible for cattle.  When the grazing association took it over in 1966, … (laughing).

Were the buildings falling down?

Well, the corrals were not corrals to work cattle in.  But, they should have had water to irrigate it.  That fall when we started getting cattle, working cattle, it was pretty inconvenient.  The livestock scales there were not good.   The scales that the railroad had were better.  But they hadn’t been tested or used legally, you know.  We did some work; we built a new, I guess you would say pen, where the scales were.  After that the scales were tested every year.  Then they were legal scales.  Then after the cattle we had in the fall of 1966 and the spring of 1967, we needed more pastures to store these cattle.  So there was three of us worked here building fences.  Not only on the Buckley, but down at the Witcher ranch, too.

Who else was there besides you—you said there were three of you.

Do I have to name them?

I guess you don’t have to, if you don’t want to.  Were they some people that you hired, or neighbors?  That’s ok, if you don’t remember.

One of them was my son-in-law.  His name was Bill Cundiff.  I can’t remember the other one.

You went out and built up the fences?

These were small pasture fences, with eight acres, on up—they were small pastures.  Of course, back then it was just part of the grazing association.  At the time they sold, they had 63 different pastures.  The largest pasture was, part of it was on the Buckley and part of it was the BLM scattered, we called it the big pasture—there was 16853 acres in that one pasture.

And you put cattle out there then?

Yeah, we ran cattle during the summertime.  The grazing association bought rough cut lumber from the sawmill at Guffey, that was run by, I can’t remember the first name – West.   I started to build corrals.  I started on an old barn that was on what they called the Sullivan Place.

Where is that from the Buckley buildings?

It is south and east of the dam, Eleven mile dam, way down there.   It was  21 miles from here to Witcher’s place.  It was a small homestead, down there.  A school section and a small homestead. That’s where  I started to build the corrals.  The next fall we had corrals we could work cattle in. They were, I don’t really know, but some of them belonged to members of the association, some belonged to people I knew.  After that they were called the Canterbury corrals.  There’s a story about it.  One day we worked 1265 cattle 7 different ways, members at that time, then we had to sort and ship in a few days.   We got a lot of help from the members of the association.  When you sort them so many different ways, you gotta have more help.

Well, you want to know about the Buckley place?

Did you live there?

Yah, I lived there, but not in the winter.  The water pipes were froze most of the time.  It was terrible.

So you came back here and lived in the winter time?

The pipes were under the house.  There was a crawl space, but it was built on a grid foundation and it was air tight underneath.  It didn’t take much to freeze water.  Every time it snowed.  We stayed out there in the summer time.  About every day, if it got a little cold, it would freeze.  We had a little stove to thaw water out, and I could keep it fired.  But sometimes, I neglected to have a fire.  It was just one of those things.

Was that in the big house that’s there still, or was it in this cabin out here?

I’m not sure where that cabin set before it was moved up here.  It was smaller, a frame house—well, one summer I had a hired man lived in there part of the time.  It was a frame building, a very small building, but it was big enough for one person.  Part of the  house was log, the original part.  In all of your interviews, I don’t know if you had been told, but pretty near all of these houses were two story houses.  I wonder if you noticed that.

Why did they go two stories?

The reason for that was, everybody could see.  You could see from one house to the other house.  Now the two story part of the Buckley used to set across the river from where the house is.  It was moved over and attached to the log part.

So it was moved over across the river?

Yah, they just took horses to pull it and put it on logs and pushed it over there.  I helped move houses that way.  But anyway, they always had a light burning in an upstairs window.  You could see ranch headquarters to the Buckley, Buckley to the Platte house and then there by the Donnerries, there’s an old two story white house that’s there.  And the Spinney.  If nobody has a light going, the neighbors could go see what was wrong.

You mentioned some of the neighbors—were some of the Spinneys still there?

Course there’s always somebody been somebody down there at the headquarters.  But they actually could see the Buckley.  This was actually before my time, but that was the reason for the two stories.

You mentioned the headquarters, which one was that?

The Hartsel ranch headquarters. But that was before my time.  They were two-story buildings and most of the houses had four or five stoves in them.  One of them was a wood stove.  Guys on the ranch would get and saw stacks of wood.  On the severe winters, if they kept a fire going they made it through the winter.

Did they get snowed in a lot?

I don’t know.   But Buckley, they probably had a milk cow, as well as cattle.  And of course, there was a lot of BLM.  I don’t know where he grazed his cattle.  And when the people that built the store down here—what did they call it?

Which store, the mercantile?

The cattle outfit, the South Park Livestock, or something like that.  I was always told that it was Swift and Company, which was a commission firm out of Denver, owned that at one time.

(Got a title abstract to look through.)

Side two

I guess the South Park Land and Cattle built the store down here.  That’s about three buildings put together, you know.  Of course that was in 1907 or something.

The government during World War I forced them to sell out because they had a monopoly on the sheep market.

Who was this—the South Park Land and Cattle?

What I was told was that it was Swift and Company.  They were in the Livestock Exchange building in Denver, a commission firm.  The government said they had a monopoly on the sheep market.  That’s when Locke bought the store.  There were still ranchers like the Buckleys and Spinneys there, some of them.  Before, the Buckley ranch was sold to McDannald.  When they sold it; I don’t know when they moved the cabin that came off the Buckley ranch., but it was some time about then.

Was it here when you moved here?

Oh yah.

You know, it’s really interesting how they moved buildings all over the place.  Were you there when they moved the house?

No.  My uncle moved a two-story frame house on the West place, when I was a kid.  It was moved with  a team of horses.   Jack it up and put logs under it.  It probably never took over four horses to move that one, but some of the bigger buildings took more teams.

So how did they jack it up?

I think my son has both of them now, but I used to have old house jacks.  It took a lot of people.  You jacked it up high enough to get logs under it.  Then put rollers under the logs.

Did they operate kind of like a car jack?

Yah.  You know they had similar jacks that they used on the railroad.  They fastened the logs together, then so they wouldn’t slide.  The one I had was hard wood and there was a place you could stick a wooden handle in it.  Those logs would get to rolling and you would have to make sure you got out of the way.

About when did they move the one across the river on the Buckley?

Before I moved there.  I think Mr. Klein was involved in that, I think he was here around that time.  You always knew what your neighbors were doing today or next week.  If somebody was moving a house, everybody in Hartsel knew it.  Everybody had teams.  When I moved small buildings, we had what we called skids, and used jeeps to move buildings.

That’s interesting.  So you built the corrals at the Buckley—did you just have cattle or did you run any sheep at all?

No, there were just cattle.  The guy that bought part of the sheep wanted to run them there the next summer.  When McDannald had his sale he divided the buffalo into 15-20 head bunches.  Ran a bunch of buffalo during the summer.

So you had buffalo?

McDannald had buffalo, we just had cattle.

You were there from 1966 to 1975, what happened then?

They sold the ranch in 1973, in November, and I worked for the guy from the time he bought it in 1973 until the fall of 1975, I was still on the Buckley.  That’s when Aurora bought the water.

So who bought it from McDannald that you worked for?

His name was Herb Williams.  He called it the High Chapparal Ranch.  The store down there is called the High Chapparal store or something.

How long has that store been there?

I don’t remember, about ten years ago.  It was after they built the Spinney Mountain reservoir.  They started that store then.  I think they started a riding stable or something down there.  They’ve got a campground there.

If you go down the road, there is a cluster of buildings down from the Buckley towards Eleven mile, what were those?

On the same side of the road?

No, on the other side of the road.

That was the old Harrington place.  The Harringtons were related to the Spinneys.

Were any of the Harrington’s still living there when you lived at the Buckley.

There was nobody living there since I’ve been there.  It was a pretty decent house.  We put in a cistern down by Eleven Mile.  Buckley’s had pretty good water, but we hauled water for the cistern down by Eleven mile.  The Donnerries always had somebody living down there. At the Buckley place we had pretty good water, except it froze up in the winter time.  There was a well down by Spinney, but it wasn’t good water.

When you lived at the Buckley, did it have water into the house—was there inside plumbing?  No outhouse or anything?

It was pretty modern.  But it was cold nights.  We had a wood stove.  I had a chance to get a coal furnace, with a thermostat.  It heated pretty good, but one day it almost caused a fire.  I got rid of that stove.  Then I put in a gas heater, so then we heated with gas.  We had a gas stove, too.

Of course we always had a milk cow at the Buckley.

So did you do the milking?

Yeah. (laughing).

How big was your family at that time?

There was five kids at home.  Marty went into the service after he graduated in 65, then went into the navy.  Our oldest daughter was married before we came here.

Anyway the milk cow was enough to feed your family?

Oh yeah.  We had a few chickens and a pig or two.

Did the kids go the Hartsel school?

No the schools closed down just before we came here.  The oldest boy was born out at Limon, the youngest boy was born in Durango.  And all six kids graduated from Fairplay.  But it was, I don’t know, at that time, I tried to be, wanted to be, more involved.  I was on the school board, served on the planning commission.

Dorothy did a lot too, didn’t she?

Yes, she worked for the post office.

She was on the cemetery board, too, wasn’t she?

Yeah, I was too.

About when was that?

(Laughing), I don’t remember.

Did you do anything about the Hartsel cemetery?

They tried to have somebody go around to all the old cemeteries.  I don’t know that they did anything.  Had a meeting once in a while.  I don’t think they do anything with it anymore.

It belongs to Outwest Resorts, now and their buffalo run over the graves.

That isn’t right either.  There was a lot of fools that started a ranch and were buried along the way, so the buffalo run over them.  I like buffalo, like to see ‘em, but don’t like to work them.  They’re terrible to work.

End of tape