Slowly, I am making progress through my family photos. There is one album among them that belonged to Ella Byrd Brown as a teen. It has some pretty amazing photos. I think I need to get through it first in case there is anyone, still alive, who remembers any of these people. This album has notes and pictures drawn onto some of the photos, which is an interesting look into her life. The first photo I’m going to share has this written on the back:
“Class in ’24 Mrs. Eldred teacher”
written in childish handwriting I am not familiar with. I think it is Ella Byrd‘s, but her child style. Ella Byrd would have been about 11/12 in this photo. She is the tall girl, second from left. Her sister, Mary Brown (later Mcintyre) would have been around 6/7. I can’t tell if she appears in this photo. The girl in the front row, with the bob, and white collar, looking toward Ella Bryd, does resemble her.
Class in ’24 Mrs. Eldred teacher
I know, because of the 1920’s census, Ella Byrd and Mary’s Parents were still in Lassen County, California. But by 1924, I believe Sam had bought and moved our family to the Pony Hill Ranch in Indian Valley, Plumas County. The photos in this album tend to confirm that. However, since there are no buildings in the background, it is hard to say where this was taken.
I know many of the same families who lived in Indian Valley in 1924 are still there today. So readers, do any of these kids look familiar? Do you remember any tidbit about Mrs. Eldred?
Change is hard for some of us. Especially in agriculture where we tend to be proud of the fact ‘we’ve always done it this way”. But when we resist change in such a way that we hurt or dehumanize other people, we need to stop being proud of that heritage. We need to realize we are part of the problem.
The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association mission statement is this: Advance and protect the interests of all cattlemen by enhancing profitability through representation, promotion and information sharing. Imagine my surprise when I saw Steve Ollerich, the President of the South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association, opinion piece in their magazine. He goes on a tirade that does nothing to enhance the beef industry in any way. In fact, I wager it reenforces negative stereotypes our urban peers have about us. I am going to put a screenshot here because we need to talk about it.
When a leader of an agriculture organizations jokes about killing transgender people, and the whole industry doesn’t stop, and go, ‘NOT OK!’ we have a problem. I’m hoping by drawing attention to it, my industry can grow, learn and improve.
When jokes are funny, we all laugh. When jokes dehumanize, it’s a gateway to violence, it normalizes aggressive, and violent policing. Dehumanizing language has long been used to justify violence and destruction of minorities. I am not willing to perpetuate this.
I see the beef industry asking again and again, how we can connect with consumers. Here is our chance. Here is a glorious, wonderful chance for us to step up, in our white cowboy hats, and do some good. We need to talk about this harmful language and attitude. This isn’t about being politically correct, or call out culture, this is about treating all human beings with respect. Something we, in agriculture, demand constantly. It’s about doing the right thing. I look forward to both The South Dakota Cattlemen’s Association and the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association addressing this in a mature and professional manner we can all learn from.
I spent last Thursday driving around North Eastern California with my Dad. This is interesting because this is the first time we’ve done this in my adult life. The Brown side my my family has history in this area of California. Driving around this area prompted my Dad to tell some family lore, which I love. This got me thinking about all the pictures I inherited and how I need to continue to Throwback Thursday them before I lose all the people who have memories of this time.
On the back of this photo, in perfect script, are the names of these fine folk. They are family members of mine, one I actually met. Many of the people in this photo appear in other photos I have. Hopefully this winter I’ll post all the ones I can find. In the meantime please enjoy…
Paul Bagley is the gentleman on the horse. From left to right we have Ella Bryd Lutz, Nell Smith, May Brown and Alice Bagley. September 3, 1945
I think this photo is taken in front of the Doherty Ranch on Stampfli Lane in Indian Valley.
Do you remember these people? Have a memory you’d like to share? Feel free to leave a comment.