|Birth: ||Dec. 25, 1885|
North Dakota, USA
|Death: ||Dec. 16, 1978|
The following was written by William's daughter, Agnes Evelina "Bobbe" Yates.
Leaving Medicine Bow and his father's grave, he was fast asleep in the front seat, his mission accomplished and his mind finally at peace.
My father had told me of his dream of finding his father's grave from the time I was a toddler. In 1890, his father, Jesse Gillespie and wife and three children were traveling by covered wagon to Medicine Lodge, Idaho. They camped along a creek at the Small Ranch near Medicine Lodge. My father's first memory as told me, was: "We were camped along a creek at the Small Ranch near Medicine Lodge, Idaho. My dad had been sick for several weeks and Mom, who weighed under 100 pounds, had been harnessing and driving the horses plus taking care of the family. My father died in the Small ranch house and was buried in a private cemetery on the ranch."
After his fathers death, the Smalls helped the rest of the family get back to Great Falls, Montana where they had relatives, but times were poor. His mother had to farm out her children, visiting them only once in 1900 (in Minnesota). There after they lost contact with each other for forty-eight years. My father had little but memories of a family life.
On Memorial Day my husband and I decided it was time to fulfill Pop's dream of finding his father's grave, so we set off for Idaho. My dad, usually a quite reserved man, was so very nervous and keyed up that he made us all feel like there was an urgency to this trip that we had not imagined. He talked nonstop about the ranch and how he had stood on the fence when he was five years old and watched as they branded cattle. I was awakened a 3:00 A.M. by Dad's pacing back and forth in front of the Motel room and when I opened the door he said, with the anticipation of ten year old: "I didn't think this morning would ever come. Let's go!" So without breakfast and our hearts in our mouths, we took off for the last leg of our journey to Medicine Bow. It was a beautiful day with the slight breeze blowing across the wide prairies, alive with the prairie dogs cavorting over the hills and buttercups turning the country gold.
On arrival we met the Smalls and they showed us pictures and offered us coffee but Pop asked, "Could we see the ranch first?"
In the yard he jumped up on the third rail of the corral fence frightening me as he was 81 years old and not usually that spry. "This is where we stood on the fence; this is were we played; that's where the garden was and the creek is just like I remember. I can't believe I'm really here... I remember exactly how my Mother looked..." At this point he turned and walked down the creek, brushing his hand across his eyes and coughing to cover his feelings. I must admit that at this point we were all a little teary eyed.
The Smalls, who were the grandchildren of the Smalls that had taken my father and family in, then took us to the graveyard. It
was fenced in and all twenty-four graves were decorated with flowers for Memorial Day. They had put up a marker for Jesse Gillespie with the inscription "Rest in Peace". We left Pop there for a bit and when he came back to the ranch house he said gruffly: "I guess we'd better get going toward home". We thanked the Smalls and have kept in touch with them ever since.
Five miles down the road I glanced over and he was sleeping peacefully, exhausted and content. Eighty-one years he had dreamed of this historic moment and as he nestled down in the front seat for the long ride home, he was a peace with the world. He had finally laid his father to rest.
Around midnight that evening I heard the tap, tap of the typewriter and in the morning this verse was on my desk.
Of the duties inherent to man,
the love of his family comes first
You will walk through the shadow of the valley of grief,
though it leaves you with hunger and thirst,
you'll not count it lost, be you nailed to the cross'
or hung from the limb of a tree.
If it makes them secure, you're glad to endure.
Whatever the cost may be.
William Gillespie, 92, Benton City, died Saturday at the Hawthorne House nursing home, Kennewick.
Born in Grand Forks, N.D., the former rancher had been a resident of the Mid-Columbia for about eight years.
He was a member of Opportunity Presbyterian Church, Opportunity.
Survivors include two daughters, Bobbe Yates, Benton City, and Myrtle Primm, Havre, Mont.; a son, Bill, San Antonio, Texas; half-brother, Norval Orr, Springfield, Ore.; a half-sister, Jewell Howell, Harrisburg, Ore.; nine grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren; and one great-great-grandchild.
Services and interment will be Monday at 10 a.m., Pines Cemetery, Opportunity, with the Rev. Claude V. Ponting officiating.
Jesse F Gillespie (1861 - 1890)
Ida Marie Wright Roden (1864 - 1962)
Agnes Hildegaard Sundberg Gillespie (1892 - 1968)*
Myrtle Eleanor Gillespie Primm (1913 - 2009)*
Agnes Evelina Gillespie Yates (1915 - 2009)*
Bill Reynold Gillespie (1921 - 2002)*
Grace Gillespie McClurg (1882 - 1974)*
William Gillespie (1885 - 1978)
Richard Elmer Gillespie (1887 - 1976)*
Viola May Orr Irwin (1894 - 1950)**
Myrtle Orr Walden (1894 - 1957)**
Norval William Orr (1899 - 1980)**
Jewel Augusta Roden Howell (1907 - 2009)**
Plot: Lot 5, Plot 12, Block 15, 3rd Addition
Created by: Loretta
Record added: Oct 31, 2010
Find A Grave Memorial# 60937355