Oral Histories

Kent & Fern Frost

b.1917

Kent & Fern Frost

F: Well they went to Bluff after. They weren’t born and rtaised down there.

K: We just lived down there one winter in Bluff. I was raised on this homestead on Dodge Point, ten miles south of here.

F: He was born in Snowflake.

Q2: Oh, okay.

F: Me, I been here 45 years now. I was born and raised in American Fork.

Q2: Oh, Okay. Every year they get together. It used to be that Crampton would be down at Wahweap and then Crabtree would come to Bullfrog. And they’d talk about the Hole in the Rock and then they would take a tour boat from each of the marinas and go over to Cottonwood Canyon and actually hike up there and talk about the history. They’d do that every year. I guess Crampton doesn’t do it anymore. He retired in St. George but I think he’s now down in Sun City.

Q1: Did you ever hear anything about Ernie, Ernie Larson? That country’s named Ernie’s country. Did you ever hear any stories about him?

K: About who’s that?

Q1: Ernie, Ernie Larson.

K: Ernie’s Country? No.

Q1: I can’t find anybody that knows anything about him. Well that’s the name I’ve heard but you know the old maps show that whole area – the Maze, Standing Rocks, all the way up to Anderson Bottoms-as being Ernie, Ernie Country, not Ernie’s Country. I’ve often wondered who this Ernie was. I thnk I got the name Larson from Pearl Baker from some of the stuff I’d read that she’d written but she didn’t know much about him either. [New addition: Refer to Ned Chaffin Oral History account of Under the Ledge Country. K.F.]

Q2: In your book, you talk about a cowboy that you admire. I think Turk was his name?

K: Curt

Q2: Curt?

F: Curt? Cowboy?

K: Curt who?

Q2: I was thinking it was Turk. I was wondering if Turk sounded right.

K:[New Addition: While living at Old La Sal Ranch about 1927 an old man named Joe Turk had a cabin nearby and Joe was bnald headed and had a large and a small lump on his head. Well, I asked one of the cowboys, “Why the lumps?” The cowboy said Joe was fighting with another man and was hit on the head with a club which had a large and a small knot which caused the two lumps. K.F.]

F: Some of the cowboys Kent should know. Some of the cowboys you knew down at Dugout.

K: Down at Dugout Ranch? There was Doyle Perkins, they call him Perk.

Q2: I just thought it said Turk and I was wondering if Turk’s Head might have been named for him or something.

K: Oh there’s one called Kirk’s cabin down there in Salt Creek, way up at the upper end of Salt Creek. That’s K-i-r-k, I believe, Kirk’s cabin.

Q2: Okay

F: Then there was the guy…Musselman.

K: Musselman? Oh yeah, Ross or Roy Musselman was an old trapper that used to be in the country around here.

Q1: Did you know him?

K: Yeah, I’ve talked to old Roy quite a bit. And I camped with him that one night down in Lost Canyon, right down near Cave Spring Camp. I camped all night with him there. I hiked all the way through the Needles country and across Beef Basin and Fable Valley and up on Dark Canyon Mesa. And that’s where the coyotes come up to my camp and howled around my camp in the middle of the night. I was about scared to death. I thought they was gonna eat me up. They didn’t. So anyway I went back out. I was just livin’ off the country down there too mostly and sleeping by a campfire. And so, when I got back down there I stopped to have lunch at the east side of Elephant Hill. There’s a little spring there. So I was drinkin’ water out of the trough and eatin’ some dried corn meal and some nuts that I had. And I was walkin’ on down the trail and I was half asleep. And just a little ways down from the Elephant Hill, why this guy, a coyote, howled right beside of me. I was goin’ along half asleep because it was a warm sunny afternoon and I was tired. And this coyote howled and I grabbed my pistol. And this ol’ Roy Musselman standin’ there, about fifty feet away by the horse there he was right just behind a tree. And he was just laughin’ and laughin’. He thought that was the best joke he’d had all winter I guess. Scared me to death. And so he invited me to come and stay at his camp that night. I said, yeah, I’d like to do that ‘cause I didn’t have any groceries left. I was a long ways from the Dugout Ranch. So I went and camped overnight with him. And then the next day I walked up to the Dugout Ranch.

Q2: Was he a governmenmt trapper?

K: Well, no he worked for the Scorup-Somerville Cattle Co. And they would pay him, I think, a dollar a piece for the coyote bounty. And then he could have the fur and sell that where he wanted to. And so it kept him goin’ and he was happy doing that, you know. So he’d live down in the low country in the winter and then up in the mountains in the summertime. If a bear or lion that had bothered any of the livestock, why then he’d go catch them.

Q1: Did he ever get over in the Maze country?

K: I don’t think he did. No, he just stayed on this side. He came from Washington or Oregon, up in that country. And he come to this area because there was about ten wolves down here around Bluff to Mexican Hat and Moab country south of here that was eatin’ their livestock. And nobody could catch this here one wolf that they called Big Foot. And so Roy Musselman, he came here and they were supposed to pay him a thousand dollars if he caught Big Foot. So he caught all the wolves and then Big Foot was the last one he caught. And, anyway, there was some of the judges that tried to determine if that Big Foot was the right one or not. And I don’t know, there was some kind of trouble with the settlement and I don’t think he ever got his full payment for catchin’ Big Foot. But there weren’t any more wolves after that except one female wolf. And when I camped with Roy that night he said, “Well there was this one female wolf that I never could catch along in the late ‘20s, I mean the early 20s when he was trappin’ ‘em. But she mixed with the coyotes and she had a whole lot of coyote pups and he says, “That’s why these coyotes around in this part of the country, especially from Indian Creek on southward, have much bigger tracks than the ones on the surrounding country. And he says they’re halfbreeds from that there one female wolf that he never could catch. And I always noticed how big the coyote tracks were, they were so much bigger than the ones on the other side of the Green River and the Colorado River and he said that was the reason. But now you don’t notice so much difference in the tracks anymore as you did there in for along through the ‘30s and ‘40s, early 50s, I guess.

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