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Bob Ward
Bob Ward
Robert (Bob) Ward

Bob Ward (18xx-1935)

Robert Ward, or Bob, as he was known to all his friends and family, was born in Northern California. His parents were Elisha and Sarah Ann (Price) Ward. Elisha was a young Teamster, born in Illinois, who came west from Texas. Where his parents, Jeremiah and Nancy Freeman Ward, had homesteaded on Ward Creek, in Fannin County.

Bob was one of a large family. His family moved to Oregon in 1878 or 79 living on a homestead in Lake County for several years until they moved to Harney County in Eastern Oregon, where they lived on a Ranch at Calamity, or Van, as it was known later, which is close to Burns, Oregon.

After a dispute with his step-mother over chopping and packing firewood, Bob saddled his pony and left, rode to Lake County, Oregon, where he got his first job wrangling horses. One winter he stayed with a couple of Buckaroos who were living in Klamath County, George Lamb and George Durkee. Soon great stories of Bob’s success were coming back to the family. He learned to handle horses like an expert. He had grown into a very tall, slim young man, and carried himself straight and tall, all of 6 foot, 1 in., very agile and graceful.

Around 1912, Bob was back in Harney County, Oregon staying with his brother, Charlie, who had taken up a homestead on Black Creek. He Buckarooed for several different outfits, among them, Pacific Livestock, Co. (Miller and Lux outfit), who had a division in Winnemucca, Nevada. At this time, Bob met a young lady, Maude (Street) Hart, and they were married September 11, 1912. The marriage didn’t last, and, Bob ended up in Nevada. In Nevada, his reputation as a top-notch Buckaroo grew, working for many outfits, but seemed to stay with Able and Curtner (Circle A Ranch). Bill Able, a partner in the ranch said Bob Ward was, in his opinion, the best horseman and cattleman they had ever hired on. Bob was sometimes “cantankerous,” but Art Able remembered a time when they sent Bob on a week-long cattle drive, with just Art and his brothers, who were all pretty young, and when they complained of being cold, Bob would get off and build them a big fire.

Bob was a “salty” old Buckaroo, but evidently knew his trade well, and worked hard and played hard. Bob worked with another Buckaroo for many years, Tom Pedroli. Tom said, Bob taught him everything he knew. Tom also said Bob could lay a horse down on its side and step away just as spry as a young Buckaroo. “Bob could be darn ornery.” said Tom. Bob like to pull pranks and one time when he was breaking horses for the Pitchfork Ranch, he used a workhorse bridle with blinders to break them, and then when the other Buckaroos tried to get on his horses without blinds, they were all thrown because the horses could see them.

Not long before Bob died, he and Tom Pedroli were riding on the desert, out in the Tom Creek area, when they saw a big rattle snake. Tom asked Bob if he was going to shoot it? “No, let it go--I’m not going to be around much longer anyway, so he’s not going to bother me.”

Bob Ward passed away in Winnemucca, Nevada on December 2, 1935.

Bob was inducted into the Buckaroo Hall of Fame in September 1993.


Bob Ward