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Wilford Woodruff "Will" Luce. Given Name: Wilford Woodruff "Will". Surname: Luce. Nickname: Will.  A Given name was found in addition to a first name in the NAME tag.
Buried 15 Oct 1948. Plainview Cemetery, Big Piney, Sublette County, Wyoming. 
Census: 1880 South Cottonwood, Salt Lake County, Utah.  Jun 1900. Abbey Pct, Fremont County, Wyoming.  27 Apr 1910. New Fork, Fremont County, Wyoming.  30 Jan 1920. Election District 13, Fremont County, Wyoming.  9 Apr 1930. Election District 4, Sublette County, Wyoming. 1 Apr 1940. Election District 4, Sublette County, Wyoming.
Husband Wilford Woodruff "Will" Luce. Wife Ann (Anna, Annie" Quarmby. Marriage 1862 Salt Lake City, Salt Lake County, Utah.  Child: Clara Emma Luce. Child: Wilford Woodruff "Will" Luce. Child: Frank Luce. Child: Ann Eliza "Nan" Luce. Child: Mary Elizabeth Luce. Child: David Wheeler Luce. Child: Harriet Marie "Hat" Luce. Child: Louisa "Lola" Luce.
Note BI288age 35 in 1900, 55 in 1920, 66 in 1930, 76 in 1940.
Note DI288of heart failure following a broken hip.
Note NI288His date of birth is also given as 4 January 1864 (Gravestone). His date of death is also given as 12 October 1948 (Gravestone, Cemetery Record). 1
His name was Wilford Woodruff Luce, although some land records show his name as Wilfred Luce and his wife called him William. The 1916 obituary notice for his daughter Elizabeth calls him William. His gravestone shows his name as Wilford W. Luce, but his burial record calls him Wilford William. 1
He was baptized 25 January 1876 in Holladay, Utah, and was raised in the LDS Church, but left the church when he got older. He left home when he was 12, about 1876. 1 moved to Idaho about 1878. In 1878 he was employed measuring cordwood in Butte, Montana Territory. Afterwards he moved back to Utah and drove a team in Cottonwood Canyon, as his father had done. He worked one winter in a mine. He was living in his father's household in Utah at the 1880 census. 1 worked for a time on the Oregon Short Line Railroad during the construction through French Woman's Ranch in Montana Territory, and near the confluence of the Columbia and Snake Rivers (Kennewick, Washington Territory). Construction on the Oregon Short Line Railroad began at Granger, Wyoming on 11 July 1881 and roughly followed the route of the Oregon Trail. It crossed the Idaho line on 16 June 1882. Construction was at Shoshone, Idaho on 7 June 1883. After crossing the Snake River four times, the line arrived at Huntingdon, Oregon in February 1883. 1
Will's ambition was to be a rancher. To fulfill that ambition, he settled on the Green River in Wyoming Territory about 1882. Southwestern Wyoming had been part of the Mormon sphere of influence from the 1850s. Will was probably familiar with the area from his father's activities there. Many of the settlers in this part of Wyoming, like Will Luce, came from Utah in the 1880s. The Green River Valley is over 6,000 feet above sea level and about 40 miles from Jackson Hole and the Tetons. 1
In his own words, he worked for A. W. Smith on the Mule Shoe Ranch near Big Piney, Wyoming until he "had a rope and a good horse." He cooked four years for round-ups and broke 50 broncos one winter. 1
Big Piney was established in 1878. Amos W. Smith, a miner from Nevada and Idaho, homesteaded 640 acres there in 1879, eventually owning some 2,800 acres. His Mule Shoe Ranch was located at the confluence of North Piney, Middle Piney and South Piney Creeks, where they become the Green River. Fremont County was created from Sweetwater in 1884. Much later in life Smith spent his winters living at the Hotel Utah in Salt Lake City, where he owned one of the two Pierce-Arrows west of the Mississippi, and a chauffeur. When visitors came from Wyoming, Smith would set them up at the bar for cards and drinks. Smith's wife was then in an insane assylum in St. Louis. 1
W. W. Luce does not appear in the 1884-1885 State Directory at Big Piney. Those who do are: James Calhoun, Richard Fagan, Otto Leifer, Richard Leighmar, McKay and Budd, A. W. Smith (in bold), Smith and Rathbun, and E. Swan -- all stock breeders. The main cattle crop of the area was white-faced Herefords. The population in the vicinity was then 100; a figure which obviously includes all the employees of the foregoing, but who were not included in the directory. 1
Will Luce himself homesteaded near Big Piney in 1886 when he was 27 (or perhaps 1888). By this time the Wyoming Range Wars were over, and the range had been fenced following the disastrous blizzards of the 1880s. Cattle were still driven to market in Texas during the winter. Will's ranch, the LU Quarter Circle, was the first ranch on the Green River in that area, north of the cutoff on the Green River. He lived first in a dugout or "soddie, " but afterward built a cabin with buffalo hides over sod for the floor. This cabin and those he subsequently built were all in the shape of an "L" for "Luce." After the Big Piney Post Office was established in 1888, Will Luce carried the weekly mail between Big Piney and Opal. Early mail carriers worked under private contracts. The mail moved from the railhead in Opal via Big Piney, to the end of the line in Cora. Any settlement could have a post office if it had ten people who would get their mail there. [Note that there was a town of Luce in Park County, Wyoming, but its post office has been discontinued.] Wyoming became a state in 1890. 1
In 1891 Will Luce married Dorothy Sharp, and had a daughter Mabel. They later divorced, after he came home and caught her in bed with another man. I have not been able to find a record of their divorce. They were not divorced in Fremont County, Lincoln County, or in Sweetwater County 1869-1909. 1 1898 he married Essie Wilson in Champaign, Illinois. They met in Chicago, a major center for the cattle market, when he was there selling cattle. 1 1903, he owned 960 acres outright. He was President and one of the founders of Marbleton State Bank at Marbleton, Wyoming in 1913. The bank lost money and when it closed in 1925 Will Luce had lost 0,000. 1
Bill Carr told a story from the early days of ranching in the area. "One time shortly after the railroad went into Lander , a group of cattlemen from the Piney Country drove their cattle over to ship from Hudson. They were Bill Luce, Stan Murdock, Alex Price and Billie Woods. They were at South Pass on October 19 with about 1500 head of cattle. That night a blizzard started and probably three feet of snow fell. The cattle drifted into the willows and a good many of them were buried alive. The next morning I was one of several boys on skiis locating them. Where the live ones were there would be a hole in the snowbank and steam rising. The cowboys shoveled out cattle all that day and the next spring the natives were dragging away the carcasses of the dead ones. I never knew how many were lost." («i»Tales of the Seeds-Ke-Dee«/i», pages 173-186.). 1
Will Luce and his father entered various tracts of land in Sublette County. Because of the confusion between their names, it is not clear which entry belongs to which person. Wilfred W. Luce entered 157.25 acres in Sublette County under the Homestead Act on 5 August 1905 (the Northeast one-quarter of the Southwest one-quarter of Section 3; Lot 9 in the Southeast one-quarter of the Southwest one-quarter of Section 3; the Northeast one-quarter of the Northwest one-quarter of Section 10; and Lot 1 in the Northwest one-quarter of the Northwest one-quarter of Section 10, all in Township 30 North, Range 110 West). Wilford W. Luce entered an additional 141.19 acres on 31 March 1906 (the West one-half of the Southeast one-quarter and Lots 6 and 7 in Southeast one-quarter of the Southeast one-quarter, Section 9, Township 30 North, Range 110 West). Under the Desert Land Act, he entered 144.2 acres on 8 August 1907 (the East one-half of the Southeast one-quareter of Section 33; Lot 6 in Northwest one-quarter ofthe Southwest one-quarter of Section 34; and Lot 7 in the Southwest one-quarter of the Southwest one-quarter of Section 34, all in Township 31 North, Range 110 West. Wilfred W. Luce entered an additional 161.25 acres under the same Act on 31 August 1907 (Lot 8 in the West one-half of the Southwest one-quarter of Section 3; Lot 1 in the Northeast one-quarter of the Northeast one-quarter of Section 4; Lot 5 in the Southeast one-quarter of the Northeast one-quarter of Section 4; Lot 6 in the Northeast one-quarter of the Southwest one-quarter of Section 4; and Lot 7 in the Southeast one-quarter of the Southeast one-quarter of Section 4, all in Township 30 North, Range 110 West). With William B. Remey, Wilford W. Luce entered 40 acres under the Homestead Act on 17 February 1914 (the Southeast one-quarter of the Northwest one-quarter of Section 3, Township 30 North, Range 110 West). 1
His brand, the Circle Dot, along with other local brands, was regularly published in the local newspaper in the early 1900s. State registration of cattle brands began in 1909. In 1918 Will Luce recorded the LU Quarter Circle and Flying Heart brands with the state. These brands had probably been recorded with the county and when they came up for renewal had to be re-recorded with the state. The following interview is from the Early Sublette County Brands Project: 1
Jonita- So how did they know which calf went with what person?. 1
Bud- Well, at that time old Rex Wardell was foreman and he'd ride in the heard and mother a calf up with the cow and when he saw what calf belonged with each cow he'd rope it and drag it in and tell who it belonged to and they'd put the brand on. 1
Jonita- And what would he say?. 1
Bud- Well, he was kind of comical far as that goes. He'd bring it in if it was old Bill Luce's brand he'd say, "Red Willie" and if it was Olson's brand, old Charlie Olson, he'd say, "3 Bar Charlie" and he had, oh, a lot of different. . . oh, Nels Jorgesen, who was Diamond Bar -- and he'd drag one in and he'd say Diamond Bar -- always the point down," and it was interesting to listen to him. 1
The area of Fremont County where he lived became Sublette County in 1921. 1 Luce family raised both horses and cattle. There was an annual horse race locally, and the Luce horses were thought to be among the best. Will's daughter Vivian remembered that one year someone hamstrung their prize horse the night before the race. 1
Most luxuries had to be specially brought into the area, as the local store carried only staples. Will had a favorite brandy, which he had brought for him from San Francisco. On special occasions he would mix a little with water and let his daughter Vivian have a taste. As a cattleman, Will would only eat beef, never lamb or mutton. His usual breakfast was steak and eggs. 1
In 1933 Bill Luce owned outright some 2,200 acres in Sublette County, including ranches at New Fork, Horse Creek, his home ranch on the Green River at Big Piney, and another four miles (north?) from the home ranch. He also owned a house in Big Piney. He built a one-quarter mile canal for irrigation on the home ranch and an eight mile canal on the horse ranch near his home ranch. 1
Jonita Somers tells the following story. "Bill Luce was a character. One story I love was it was haying time. It had been raining for days so of coarse the hay crew got drunk. When it finally dried out, the hay crew went on strike. Bill Luce had this foreman, Henry Hands, who was big and strong and liked to fight. He went into the bunkhouse and through each man out. As Hands through them out of the bunkhouse Bill took a swing at them with a mowing sickle. That ended the strike and Bill started over with a new haycrew.". 1
He appears on the 1940 census in Election District 4 at Big Piney: William W. Luce (76), born in Utah, and wife Amanda (58), born in Idaho. His occupation was listed as Owner, Stock Ranch. The value of his home was ,000, considerably higher than most of his neighbors. They were living the same place they had lived in 1935. 1 retired from ranching in 1941 or 1942, selling his ranch and brands to Phil Marincic, of the Mule Shoe Ranch. He moved to Kemmerer, Wyoming. On 28 August 1942, he was sued in District Court by W. E. Baehr: "The plaintiff and present appellant, a real estate broker of Kemmerer, Wyoming, brought his action against W. W. Luce and Mrs. W. W. Luce, his wife, as defendants and present respondents claiming to have earned a broker's commission relative to some ranch property owned by defendants and listed with him and George W. Smith, a Utah real estate broker, for sale. Plaintiff's petition was amended several times and to his third amended pleading the defendants interposed a demurrer which was sustained by the court, and plaintiff declined to further plead. The court thereupon entered a judgment of dismissal of the action against him, and he has attempted to bring that judgment here for review by a direct appeal." Will Luce won against Baehr on a technicality -- Baehr's appeal was not filed in time. 1
On 23 September 1948 he fell from the front porch, breaking his leg. He was transferred to LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City and died two weeks later. He was buried at Big Piney, Wyoming. His gravestone calls him Wilford William Luce. 1
He was a Progressive Democrat and a member of the Wyoming Stock Grower's Association. According to one tradition, he was also a member of the Cheyenne Club, an exclusive European-style men's club to which a selected number of wealthy ranchers belonged. However, his name does not appear in any of the records of that organization. The Cheyenne Club is now the Cheyenne Chamber of Commerce. 1
Bill Luce had bright red hair and a red handlebar moustache. His portrait appears in «i»Prominent Men of the State of the Wyoming «/i»(Chicago, 1903). 1 Luce's descendants held a reunion on 6 September 1981 at the Kearns, Utah home of his granddaughter Lois Luce Heaps. His house is now (2010) owned by Dr. Burnett and the Millers own the rest (Sommers, 2010). Jonita Sommers lives about 10 miles upriver from Bill Luce's place. 1
«u»Newspaper Articles «/u». 1
Old Timer Narrates Progress of Civilization in Upper Green River Valley. 1
(By Wm. R. Malonek, Sr.). 1
. . . A few miles north of here we come to Marbleton, built in the progressive spirit of Charlie Budd, eldest son of our esteemed D. B. Budd. Charlie conducts a general merchandise business and is also owner of the Mableton hotel. A number of families reside here, a good many sending their children to school here as there is north of the town a colony of farmers located under a big irrigation project. About ten miles east of here, on Green River, is the big holding of the old-timer W. Luce, a hard-working and industrious pioneer. A few miles up the river, at the mouth of Cottonwood, was the first store with goods to take the eye of the Indian. There were Indians and their camps all along the river at that time. This store was owned by Cleophas, an old French trader who turned his stock of goods to the Redman for antelope and other wild game hides. (Pinedale Roundup, Pinedale, Wyo., March 4, 1926.).
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