Walter Wetzel, Red Lodge, Montana, 1922

Old photo. August 8, 1922, Red Lodge, Carbon County, Montana.

Price:  $15.00       Size:  4 and 1/8 x 2 and 3/8″

Here’s a beautiful photo of a man in jeans and cowboy hat, standing, holding the reins of two horses. On the back we have the i.d. showing,  “Aug 8/22. Walter Wetzel. Red Lodge, Montana.”  To our right, in the photo, is a rudimentary-looking log cabin (no windows) and in the background, snow covered mountains of the (assuming) Beartooth Mountain Range. In searching records for a Walter Wetzel that might fit this photo we find a Walter W. Wetzel (1902 – 1953) a well-known forester, who married Elva Ellis. A newspaper clipping from 1927 that announced the couple’s marriage license, stated Elva was a resident of Red Lodge. But how old is the man in the photo? My first impression was of someone about age fifty, albeit a very fit age fifty. But he could certainly be much younger. It’s hard to tell because of the lighting and the distance the photo was taken from.

Old Matt’s Cabin

Old Matts Cabin pc1Old Matts Cabin pc2

“Old Matt’s Cabin In The Shepherd Of The Hills Country. On Highway 79 west of Branson, Mo., Old Matt and Aunt Molly, two real-life characters in Harold Bell Wright’s famous book, ‘The Shepherd of the Hills’ lived here.”

The characters of Old Matt and Aunt Molly were based on real people. They were John K. Ross and his wife Anna, who Harold Bell Wright summered with for eight seasons. Wright had contracted tuberculosis and on doctor’s advise had gone to the Ozarks to improve his health. See Branson.com for details, including the history of the cabin in the postcard photo.

Back in an earlier post that I put up entitled Posing Pioneer Woman, I was referencing Wright’s book. I came across this postcard of Old Matt’s Cabin later on. I think the woman’s pose seems almost theatrical and it somehow reminded me of the book, the cabin, the area’s fame, etc., as we used to vacation for awhile in Eureka Springs, Arkansas, in the Ozarks, and had visited Branson at some point probably in 1970 or ’71.

Divided back, unused postcard, circa 1960s – 1970s. Publisher:  Panorama Publishers, Inc., 811 Cherry, Springfield, Mo. Series or number 52,142F.

Price:  $3.00

Source:  Our History. n.d. http://www.branson.com/branson/shepherd/history.htm (accessed October 06, 2014.)