Murdo Girl…The rhythm of life..a pioneer marriage

In their ranching career, E.W. and Lois McNinch considered themselves to be a self-supporting ranching unit, and they knew they could take care of themselves. In the throes of it all, it took both of them to resolve the problems at hand. E.W. is quoted as saying. “Harsh words were never involved in reaching a decision.”

E.W. considered himself to be a peculiar human being, and always had a word or two that he nursed along. The word “privilege” was one he referred to occassionally. He thought one of the biggest privileges of all was to be an American. He said the word “why” was an adverb. A Marine Sargeant told him one time that if an officer told him to do something, to go and do it and don’t ask why because there was no such word as why in the Marine Corps.

In twenty years, Lois and Elba had accumulated 3,200 acres of deeded land with water for irrigation and a herd of 450 of some of the best cattle in Sublette County. They had several tons of carryover hay each year.

Elba wrote, “The challenge we had faced was put to rest by the trust and faith we had in each other, and Lois added some prayers. We always knew we had given it our very best.”

Elba said when they looked over the past, their marriage seemed like a miracle to them both. They were able to commence each morning where they had left off the evening before. Their bank account was joint and their business papers included both of their names. Lois was complimented on her excellent bookkeeping and was always greeted with a smile at the bank.

**Kip and I visited his Grandpa McNinch at the ranch when he was well into his 90s. We asked if we could interview him. I think we asked one or two questions before he told us his story without our prompting him. I remember he had notes written on a yellow tablet. Whenever he mentioned “Mother” as he called his dear wife, he got tears in his eyes.

At the end of our visit, he said, “If our ranching career was to be lived over again, there would be very few changes. We were happy. What more could anyone ask for.”


There is a new book out called The Pioneer Marriage. It discusses three factors that made marriages work back then and could help some couples now. They are, 1) A commitment to grow, 2) Establish an effective communication system which includes respect, talking, and listening, and 3) The ability to make creative use of conflict. In other words, communicate without pushing each other’s buttons…learn about each other by using positives.

It seems to me that Lois and E W. McNinch could have written that book.

The rhythm of life weaves its threads and new generations are created from the hearts and souls of the families that came before us. On Memorial Day, remember those who served and those who pioneered this great country of ours. God bless them all…