Great-great Grandpa Wells' Harness Shop
Supplies are in details (I found out with this LO that I really need Christy's scripts! )
CC is welcome; my kids say this page is "too brown" -- what do you think?
Charles’ son John wrote a memoir of Belle Fourche’s early days which reads like an old Western. C.R. Wells, my great-great grandfather, was an early settler in Belle. He learned harness-making back in Wisconsin from his mother’s brother. Later, when the family moved to the Black Hills, although his brothers had filed on 160 acres for him to farm, it was as a harness maker that he established himself. He sold his 160 acres to brother Clarence and worked in, then eventually owned a harness shop in Whitewood. When the railroad extended its line to Belle Fourche and that town became the central round-up and shipping point for the region, he opened another shop there. C.R. moved his family to Belle Fourche in 1872 very reluctantly. Belle at that time was a wide open frontier town with seven saloons and no sheriff -- no city government at all. The shop in Belle had family living quarters on the second floor and was right across the street from one of the saloons. John wrote that the family often opened their door to better hear the music from saloon as Lola, a saloon gal would sing to the accompaniment of a piano played by a professional gambler with a little musical training.John also wrote of the town swarming with cowboys during the great round-ups. The town became lively then, the cowbys riding through the streets shooting their guns in the air & riding horses right up to the bar to order their drinks. It sounds like the worst cliche-ridden old movie, but it all really happened!