RECOLLECTIONS OF MY LIFE AT BROWN’S HOLE, AND OCCURRENCES THERE; THANK YOU FOR READING, AND FOR YOUR INTEREST IN THE HISTORICAL ACCOUNT OF THIS AREA, LOCATED IN SAN JUAN COUNTY, UT
My mother, the glamorous flapper, Neva Clark, and my father, the handsome Utah cowboy, Buck Kirk, were relative newlyweds, when they purchased land, range rights, and a broken down old cabin in Browns Hole, San Juan County, Utah. They must have been very excited to have survived the depression. (which my father accomplished by driving truck for the Moab Transportation Company.} They now had their own ranch and cattle, even though they had acquired Brown’s Hole with borrowed money. It is my understanding, that the borrowed money came from both my maternal Grandmother, Elberta Clark, (Mamo), and partly from the probably ill-gained finances of a former Texas Outlaw and Moab resident, John Jackson.
I remember my mother boiling the laundry over an open fire, and also making soap outside. (Guess they, or somebody must have butchered a pig, for the soap-making.) Neva was, at the time and I remember it well, boiling laundry and making soap like the true wife of a pioneer cowboy. We had a cow, milked by Grandad Kirk, and we had chickens for eating and for eggs. A PERFECT LIFE, YOU WOULD SAY???
THE END OF THE PERFECT LIFE
The coyotes got the chickens.
The worse thing that happened though, was that Grandad Kirk was killed when struck by a pick-up truck driven by a friend of ours. It was early in the morning, and he had come in from Brown’s Hole to spend a few days at the home of his son-in-law, Dr. I.W. Allen. It was his habit to get up early and walk down to the local Drug Store. I often ran into him there, and we always gave each other hugs. Grandad died the next day after being struck, and I was inconsolable. I knew it was the end of my life at Brown’s Hole, and it was. At this time, I was around 13 years old.
Neva did not seem inclined to spend much time at Brown’s Hole after these events. My sister, Dorothy, seemed to prefer staying in Moab, with Mamo. I really think my mother had had enough of the glamorous (?) life as a cowboy’s wife, and preferred playing bridge in Moab, with occasional trips to Salt Lake City to visit her sister, Ethel.
Buck persevered at Brown’s Hole, alone, in the cattle business, and he had the loans paid off in short order. He eventually became a large land owner in the area, and expanded his holdings into the North side of the La Sals. He sold Brown’s Hole, it is my understanding, to Charlie Redd, with whom he had a friendly rivalry for years. During the negotiations for the sale he was heard to say, “The only reason I would not want to move to the other side of the mountain, where my friends are, is that I WILL HAVE TO START EATING MY OWN BEEF”.
Excerpt partly from “Last of the Robber’s Roost Outlaws – Bill Tibbetts, by Tom McCourt. Published by Canyonlands Natural History Association. 2010
This book tells a true story. James William (Bill) Tibbetts was a real cowboy, a good man, and a real outlaw. His father, Bill Tibbetts Sr. Obtained land near Old LaSal, Utah. There was s spring of bubbling cold water, and he built a 2 room cabin there. He married a much younger woman, a teenager at the time, Amy Moore, and she was charmed by the handsome cowboy who owned his own spread. They had 2 sons, Bill and Joe.
On March 19, 1902, Bill Tibbetts, Sr. was shot and killed by Charles Booth, who was drunk and on a rampage, looking for his wife who was being hidden in the cabin at Brown’s Hole.
He drug his young wife from the cabin and also shot her. He was found guilty of the murders and sentenced to death by gunfire.
NOTE; This cabin was where I was raised as a child. There is a picture of the cabin on page 14 of the book, and I can confirm that this is where the murders took place. i checked with Kenny Allred, grandson of Amy, and he confirmed it. I went back to Brown’s Hole a few years ago with 2 of my grandchildren, Layla Murphy and Spencer Hawley. We had been to my cabin in Willow Basin, and we already had on our hiking boots.