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Volume 3668

The Edgar Rice Burroughs Exhibit
Bannock County Historical Museum
The Museum Staff Welcome the Burroughs Bibliophiles

John Tyner and Jerry Spanraft admire the ERB displays

Joan Bledig presents the curator with a special edition of The Mucker
When a grippe (flu) epidemic swept Chicago, young Ed's very protective parents sent him to his brothers' ranch in the spring of 1891. He took  the Northern Pacific to Pocatello and transferred to the Oregon Short Line for American Falls where he was met by his brothers. Life in Idaho range country was a rather rude awakening for a 15-year-old teenage city greenhorn, who was soon introduced to the "Wild West": saloons, cowboys, outlaws, wild horses, and wilder desperadoes.

"I did chores, grubbed sage brush and drove a team of broncos to a sulky plow. I recall that once, after I unhooked them, they ran away and evidently,, not being endowed with any too much intelligence, I hung onto the lines after tripping over a sage brush and was dragged around the country three times on  my face. . . " "The team that I drove consisted of two outlawed broncos;" "one was locoed and the other was too mean to ride. One day the wagon went through a bridge and I had to go about five miles to a ranch house to borrow the necessary tools to get it out. Being a tenderfoot, a horse to me was a horse and not knowing anything about the past lives or reputations of either of the team I naturally climbed aboard the bad one and rode him bareback five miles to the ranch. Here I loaded up with shovels, picks and crowbars and climbed back onto the bronco, riding the five miles back to the stalled wagon with assorted hardware bumping him on all his corners, which goes to show that Providence really does look after a certain class of people."

Later he described riding a horse that was considered too mean to ride. The owner, told Edgar that if he cold ride the horse, it would be his. He managed to ride him and "stayed on him all that day because I was afraid if I got off I could never get back on again."

Edgar lived at his brothers' ranch for only about six months, but he remembered those days with fondness. "I slept on the floor of a log cabin,"  "and in the winter time the snow drifted in under the door. When I got up at four o'clock in the morning to do the chores, I had only two garments to put on, my had and my boots. The hat went on easy enough, but the boots were always frozen. I wonder why we recall such hardships as among the happiest experiences of our lives."

Ed's main task was to make a daily mail/supplies round-trip run to American Falls via horseback or wagon. The experiences from this summer would prove invaluable in later years -- especially his skill in horsemanship and the local color which influenced much of his writing twenty years later. Indeed, the names of many of the colorful characters he met found their way into his Western novels. Texas Pete, Blanco, Hank (Monk), Sam (Lands), Sheriff Gum Brown (Smith), Idaho, etc.

A friend of the Burroughs family, after visiting the ranch, took back some of the wild tales that Ed had told him about the rogues he had met. This resulted in his father ordering him back to Chicago immediately.

"ERB returned to Idaho in spring of 1898 to help his brothers in spring roundup. That fall he used a loan from brother harry to purchase a stationery/photo business from a Mr. Roeder at 233 West Center Street in Pocatello. The store was not a success and by spring of 1899 he had sold it and had returned to Bar-Y to help with the roundup."

It was during this time that a blow on the head from a billy club in a bar fight left him with life-long hallucinations and nightmares which many attribute to the boundless imagination in his novels.

The Amazing Story of Edgar Rice Burroughs in Pocatello
By Albert W. Strickland
For the Journal
Sunday, July 26, 2009
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The BBs Mingle Among the Displays


Now Join Us for a
Walk Through of the Rest of the Museum


ERBzine 3668
Tour I: ERB Displays
ERBzine 3668a
Virtual Tour II
ERBzine 3668b
Virtual Tour III
ERBzine 3668c
Virtual Tour IV

Burroughs Bibliophiles 2011 
Visit to ERB Idaho Country


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