Everett M and Leah Cranney Fuller

Everett and Leah Fuller

Everett and Leah Fuller

Most Burley people don’t recognize “Fuller” as a pioneer name but those who raise cattle, hunt or picnic in the South Hills have seen “Fuller Pasture” for over a century.Everett M Fuller was born to Andrew Jackson Fuller(1852-1925) and Valeria Iduma Hamilton Fuller (1882-1975) on April 10, 1908 in Murtaugh, Idaho. He,long with siblings Ida Ola, Roy(Pete), George Warren, Margaret and Elva Irene (Shep) were the 2nd generation of Fullers to live at the ranch on Dry Creek.

Excerpts from an early HISTORY OF IDAHO tells that Andrew was a native of Maine, voted Democrat since the 1870’s and bought squatters’ rights on part of the ranch for $500. He held the post of Justice of the Peace in 1905 and was deputy sheriff (1883-1902) when Diamondfield Jack was in jail in Albion. He married a woman from England, Bertha Davis, who lived in Albion and they had 2 daughters. No information on what happened to the marriage but Andrew then married a much younger, Valeria born in Utah but living in Albion at the time.

Valeria was an unsmiling, serious woman. She had 5 children, Ola, Margaret, Roy (Pete), Everett (Brig or E.M.) and George (Deacon). She did not appreciate Andrew’s long trips to Elko where he was active in the Masonic lodge. She once threw her ring at him after such a trip. Andrew died when Everett was 17. This left E.M. and George to run the ranch and Pete moved 2 miles to Artesion to run the Natatorium. Prior to his death, Pete, EM and their Dad had put their beef check for the year in a Burley bank where Andrew was a director and the bank failed. They gathered up the remaining cattle and sold them in Omaha to raise the $5000 needed to keep the ranch going.

Running cattle meant branding and vaccinating and dehorning and castrating. Everett’s son, Jack, told of trying to help and being given no instructions but learning by being kicked, dumped and bruised. Son in law, Glenn confirmed that working on the Fuller Ranch meant teaching by yelling. Brig had helped feed cattle behind a team since he was 5. In reading his memoir it was interesting to note he listed the name and personality of all his horses but rarely mentioned his wife.

Leah Cranney was the daughter of Wilbur T. and Rose Munk Cranney. They were a large family raised by a Mormon bishop/ missionary on Marion Street in Oakley. Leah was teaching school in Murtaugh and living with her oldest brother Clyde and his wife Retta Roberts Cranney. Leah’s siblings were Clyde, Ariel, Hyrum (Ken), Florence, Wilda, Claire, Gerald, Albert (Dean), Myrtle, and June.

After their wedding they moved to the ranch on Dry Creek. Grandpa Brig told of the first muffins Grandma made when they had company. She couldn’t get them out of the pan so threw pan and all into the willows by the creek. Daughter Mona remembers her Dad getting up in the night for some Vicks chest rub and getting a bottle of ink instead! Leah was sooo mad!

EM and George farmed hay ground and ran stock in the South Hills on BLM ground and some on their own land which their Dad bought in 1902. Fullers were the 2nd owners after the original Deed from President Calvin Coolidge. They built a small rough cabin in the hills which housed those working cattle and fixing fence. In 1931 the beef check wasn’t enough to cover the feed bill Son Everett Jack had joined the family so there were more to be fed in a depression economy. Cattle rustlers were also a problem but Grandpa and Oscar Iverson decided it wasn’t worth getting shot or burned out over a cow which they caught rustlers stealing. They were shaking so hard they couldn’t roll their cigarettes!

Daughter, Wynne, was born September 1932 and she lived her entire 80 years within 1 mile of the home place. Hay was $5/ton and beef sold for 4 1/2 cents per pound. It was a tough time. E.M broke his shoulder that year and later he broke a leg plus he was riding after a steer in 1949 and the horse fell on him while the steer continued to run. Grandpa was unconscious on the way to the doctor in Twin and had visions and conversations with his deceased father. The doctors wanted to amputate the arm but his family doctor said to leave it as it would “fill a shirt sleeve.” The arm healed but, ironically, his brother George and his son in law both lost their arms in accidents.

When E.M. and George and their mom split the ranch in the early 1950’s Everett kept just 35 Angus cows. He hired his son in law, Glenn Bessire, to work for $250 per month. The range grass was really beginning to decline as was Leah’s health. Their children, E. Jack Fuller (Beate),Wynne Fuller Bessire (Glenn) and Mona Fuller Clark (Robert) were all grown. As E.M. fought drought and broken bones Leah fought depression. She continued to ride the school bus to substitute teach at Murtaugh into the mid 1960’s. She even flagged down the school bus so all the kids could come in her house to watch John Glenn’s launch into outer space. She always had books available to any visiting kids. Her treadle sewing machine helped many a sewing project for Mona and the granddaughters who lived next door.

Leah’s garden was a tremendous source of joy to her. No visitor left without a tour of the garden and some produce or a bouquet of flowers. She and her sisters, (Claire, Florence and Wilda) were extremely artistic. Items of crochet, knitting, tatting, embroidery and netting are still in the family along with a set of china painted while Leah was at Utah State University. She obtained her teaching certificate from Albion Normal School.

After they sold the ranch to Joseph Tugaw, they retained a life estate in the house but eventually Leah grew too weak to live so far from medical care and she passed away in Kimberly Nov 28,1985. E.M moved to Twin Falls where he died September 22, 1992 in his own home of natural causes.

Their daughter, Wynne, and husband Glenn lived all their married life at the Dry Creek house which E.M. and Leah deeded to her. Four grandkids were raised there. Jack moved to New Jersey following a stint in the service. He and Beate and their 4 children lived in the same house in Gillette until Jack died in 2013. He worked for years for Dow Chemical and one of large oil companies, Esso, later known as Exxon then as a consultant in industrial chemistry. In his later years Jack became an “artist in wood carving.” Many years were devoted in service to the Episcopal church.. Mona and Bob and their 2 sons lived over 20 years in Alaska where she worked for the school district and Bob worked on the Valdez pipeline. They returned to Blackfoot, Idaho upon retirement where Mona worked as an office manager and Bob volunteers with the POW/MIA organization.

Wynne succumbed to cancer in 2012 and was the last of the Fuller family to live on any part of Fuller Ranches.