Leonard Wayne Larson was born August 7, 1921 in Medicine Hat, the eldest child born to Walter and Marjorie Larson. He was raised as a child south of Val Marie. He grew up a cowboy and spent most of his years riding and roping. He married Dorothy Ruth Walker from Coriander, Saskatchewan in 1943. They lived for a short period down on the ranch with Walt and Marjorie but later moved over to the ranch south of Mankota. Even though Len was a good hand and had many wonderful traits being responsible was not one of them. He began drinking at a young age and began slacking off his family after they moved to Mankota. He would be gone for days drinking and rodeoing and the Kohls, our closest neighbors would have to bring food down to Dorothy and the kids. Dorothy’s father, Ural came and got her and the children in 1956 and took her back to Val Marie where she lived three miles north of town. Len never again worked a regular job or supported the family. He did work at times for Bob after Bob had the ranch in Mankato. He was killed after being hit by a pickup when he was walking on the grid road south Mankota on June 21, 1969. He is buried in Val Marie.
The following notes were written from a conversation with Dorothy several years before she passed away.
In 1944 Grandpa Walt Larson bought the Hazelwood place for $4500. From then on Dorothy and Len bounced back and forth between Hazelwood and the Larson Ranch on the Frenchman River. Both of them were born in 1921 so they would have been 23 years old. They had been married the year before in 1943 and Bobby was not yet born. When Jack and Sue headed south to Montana in 1951 Mom and Dad pretty much were settled on the Hazelwood Place. They lived there until 1957 when Mom and us kids moved back to Val Marie.
Bobby was born in 1945 and attended school in Wideview. Wally was born three years later in 1948 and when he turned 6 he attended school in Aloha, near Cardineers, about 3 ½ miles from the ranch. Dad and Joker Kohl held two rodeos by the Hefner Place.
We were living on the ranch when Grandma Marjorie died in 1950. Ambrose Walters, who had been a hired man for Grandpa and later Francis Walker, Mom’s brother for many years. He and my mother were married in 1972, 3 years after my father was killed.
There was a big flood in 1952, a year after I was born. Bob had just started school and was staying in Val Marie at Stavs. Matt Rieder was working for us in 1955. Aunt Bud, Dad’s youngest sister and mom worked on the house and got rid of the bed bugs when Bobby was a baby. They built a bunk house in 1949 for Jack and sue to live in and two years later they went to Phillips County Montana.
Grandpa Walker came to see Mom in December of 1956 and got stuck in the snow. Dad was gone and there was no food in the house. Grandpa told Mom that he was taking her home and that process began in the spring of 1957. I was 6 years old. One of my earliest memories at the Ranch was Mom and my brothers harnessing Old Blue. Apparently a burr got stuck under the harness and Mom was going to take the team up to Kohls to get food. I use to call Mrs. Vicker on the phone to talk about receipts.
The ranch consisted of the Old Rivet Place by Pete Gweese Place, – grandpa Walker’s Place. Little Breed Creek – Main Creek, East Fork, Anderson Coulie. – All together was 9 ½ sections of land that Walt Larson bought. The house came from Kincade. Henry Mercer homesteaded there. He had it before the Hazelwoods. In the mid 2000’s there were still remains of the house, although it had been used as a shed, the wells was still there – an old fencing wagon that I took Bobby’s picture infront the last time we were down there together, remains of the fences, granier, chicken house, blacksmith shop and bars, as well as bones, poles, wire, nails and old equipment. But by 2012 the walls had fallen and there is very little evidence of the home in 2017.
Not sure what this means but I wrote Canner horses, saurebrot, Bob Eagle, Book, winter of ’29. Green hillds, birth trees. No gravel roads- no 4-wheel drives. The end of October through the end of May we were stuck on the ranch, with only riding horses and teams to get our. Jordetts were the nearest neighbors.
However Jocker and Agnes Kohl lived up the coulie about 10 miles north. Agnes was a central operator for 47 families with 4 different telephone lines. When Bobby was staying with Kohls he went to Wideview school.
Dad was gone a lot. Mom would take the three kids up to the Kohls to stay with them, especially when she was running low on food.
Dad headed to British Columbia in 1958. Francis ran the cattle down here until he abought McNabbs in 1960. Francis hired Dad to winter. I was in the 4th grade and we took correspondence courses. Wally was in the 6th grade. From fall to the end of school. After we left, Bobby left Grandpa and Wally moved to St. Ignatius with Grandpa and Grandma Walker and took his 7th and 8th grades in Montana.
They had moved to the Mission Valley in 1959.
Since Mom and I moved back to Val Marie in 1961. Started ranch in 68 because dad ran out of cows. Between 1961 and 1967 Mom and I lived on the hill north of Val Marie, but spent a couple summers back and forth between Corbetts and the north place. Francis lived on the North place before we did.
Lloyd Penna, who was a drinking bud of dads had been drinking with dad all day on June 21. I had just graduated from high school in St. Ignatius and they were in the Mankota bar most of the afternoon. He was taking a load of chickens to Francis Walker’s place and had only one light on his truck. Bob had been branding at Barkers and stopped at the bar to try and bring dad home but he wanted to take the tractor and bailer to the south place from Mankota. He ran out of gas and Penna came over the hill, hit him and he died later that evening.
Mom and I spent about 10 years gardening, pigs, cheickens, milk cows, baby calves and selling cream.
Some of her cows were Goalt Horn, Sally, Pearl, Apple Mary, Petunia, Faline, Caralalita, Esterm Little Ester, Pet, Sally, Henrietta, Benny and Benny, Shelly.