by George E. Marsh
George E. Marsh (himself)
Rock Springs Observations
At the Survey station near Rock Springs, Montana, (one house
functions as home, store and post office) I was visited by Mr.
Yates, a ranchman, who lives less than a mile distant and who
asked me to dinner. I accepted pronto, you bet. That’s
Spanish for alacrity. He came out here twenty-one years ago
from Little Falls, N.Y., where Crosbys and Sibleys still reside.
And Mrs. Yates has an aunt named Marsh, which was more interesting,
but as she was short on Mr. Marsh’s antecedents, I could
not determine any relationship.
He has 1,500 sheep, no mortgage, 70 tons of hay from two years
ago and money in the bank, quite a phenomenon for these times.
we attended to the pleasure of eating, a violent but short-lived
windstorm came over the hill and filled the air with dust until
you could not see across the yard and the three of us rushed
to close the windows. On looking toward the station where I
was camped, I saw a truck and explained that I would have to
leave at once, thinking that instructions from the office had
arrived. Mr. Yates brought me back in his Ford and as we neared
the truck, I saw that my tent was down. Inspection showed that
some of the guy ropes had broken; the cot and its load of clothes
were upside down, my ten-gallon milk can, that had been half
full, was overturned and the water gone but nothing was wet
in the slightest, and the lid was off the carton in which I
had the thirty-two eggs that Ari, the horned toad from Texas,
had laid a few days previously, and the contents dispersed over
Daily, the truck-driver, who came to move me on the morrow,
helped to reestablish camp. A large piece of canvas was found
in the ravine on the other side of the hill and there was nothing
missing save Ari’s potential youngsters and a piece of
burlap in which the tent pins had been wrapped.
Grasshoppers? Hell, yes and then some. Everywhere in this desiccated
country from Texas to Montana. And so thick in some sections.
And lots of varieties. Sometimes when the truck is going at
a good speed they will come into the cab en masse and their
rough chitinous bodies will deliver stinging smacks on one’s
face and bring anathemas damning the whole tribe of Orthoptera.
The abundance of these varmints makes feeding my lizard pensioners
an easy matter.
When I was in South Dakota, a farmer said the hoppers had peeled
the fence posts, they were just that bad. I thought it an exaggeration.
I have since been told that it is as true as gospel. When food
is scarce, they will strip off the outer layers in order to
get down to the less weathered wood!
remains of a cornfield after grasshoppers had completed
destruction begun by drought. 90% of crops surviving the
were destroyed by grasshoppers in an 11,000 square mile
area. In: "The Drought of 1931-1932 in Montana, North
Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Washington,"
The American Red Cross, 1932.
A man in Miles City told me that Jordan, Montana, is the most
inland place in the whole country. I asked, “What do you
mean by inland?” “Farthest from a railroad. Jordan
is 95 miles,” he replied.
Later another informant said that Rock Springs, Wyo., claims
the distinction and honor (if honor there be.) It is 125 miles
off the R.R.
In the Rock Springs P.O. I saw a tiger cat sans ears and sans
tail. The feline got them frozen and that was the end of them.
There was also a large hound dog for whom the cat had only animosity
and indoors completely dominated him. If he lay down, the cat
made him get up, and if he were outdoors, he could only enter
The dog in turn endeavored to tree the cat whenever it came
Oh, yes, and this is good; the cat dearly loves to be the third
party in a dog-fight and it will go running up or down the road
in order to mix in the fracas. Wonder what the dogs think about