Lloyd Wilson Interview

This young friend in Wyoming had this interview with Lloyd, just before he died in December 1998. It was a school project to interview an “old timer” in Wyoming.

Jan: Could you tell us some about your early days in Wyoming?..

Lloyd: Well, I guess they call me one of the "old timers", b'cause I was five 'n a half years old when my parents homesteaded on a 320 acre homestead about twenty-three miles southeast of Wheatland. And, they raised a family of eight of us. Four boys and four girls. I was the oldest boy. I had a sister four years older. 'N, we lived in an old ... we called it a dugout. It was a part frame an' part sod house. It was kind of dug down in the ground about four foot. Then, it was sort of boarded up on the inside and sodded-up on the outside. 'N, you see, the roof was made out of just pine boards on rafters. An', on top of that, they put tar paper. An', on top of that, layers of sod: no shingles. And, that made it warm in the winter time and cool in the summer time. 'N, we lived in that place three years...

Jan: How was the sod laid: grass-side out, along the walls, or grass-side up?

Lloyd: Laid it grass side up. Roots 'd go down, y' see, 'n hold it together. Grass on top gave some protection from the weather, so it wouldn't wash away so fast. It'd wash away, eventually, anyway. But. we lived there three years. An', us lads used t' have a lot of fun, running and playing and watching out fer rattlesnakes. An', stubbin' our toes agin' the cactus sometimes. But, one thing I never did get t' do. I wanted t get an antelope t' ride ' school! I figured I could hold onto his horns and I could get down t' school a lot quicker than the others! I never could catch one.

Jan: Did you try, Lloyd?

Lloyd: Oh, in a feeble sort of a way, but I never could make much impression. But, my sister and I had two 'n a half miles t' walk t' school ag'inst the wind. Now, you imagine two, little, old youngsters strugglin'ag'inst the wind. But, it wasnt always bad. On the better times. Dad' ud let us walk. On the worst times, he'd take us on a sled behind an old mule. They'd let us walk home. An', we's only "bout a half a mile from the Goshen Hole Canyons and sometimes it'd be sundown bfore we'd get home. And, 'bout that time the coyotes 'd come out of the canyons. An', we'd hear them howling. 'N, we thought they's coming after us! So, we hurried up to get home, 'fore the coyotes got us! 'N then, after three years, they built another house 'n they moved into that. An', that's the old house that's still standin'...

Jan: It's a frame house, is it?

Lloyd: Frame?

Jan: Wood.

Lloyd: Yes. made out o' wood, on a good cement foundation. An', a cellar underneath it. Mother would store cans of things. 'N, Mother was good about providing. 'N, Dad. Worked together, developed the farm, raised a family, and made go.

Jan: What year was it they came?..

Lloyd; Nineteen eleven. March of 1911...Jan: So. how did you come?

Lloyd: Come on the train...' Bordeaux. Used t' be a kind of a station there. Moved up on a train. Dad came first. Dad 'n a neighbor, an' built the house for us to live in. They came first.

Jan: Where did they come from?

Lloyd: Fairland, Oklahoma. Well, they moved from Fainand t' Centralia. Oklahoma. An', from Centralia they moved out t' Wyoming ... 'bout a thousand miles on the train...

Jan: Why did they move from Oklahoma to Wyoming?

Lloyd: Homesteading had opened up ... all this country was opened fer homesteading. An', you could get a 320 acre homestead that cost you maybe three dollars an' a half for filing. Then, you could move on your homestead an' develop t. You had t' fence t, had t' build some kind of a livable shack on t. An" a place fer your animals.I remember Dad used t' dig the post holes by hand around a 320 acre piece of land. So, he had t' put the posts about thirty feet apart, then dig 'cm with the spade, which amounted to quite a bit of work ... time you do that around 320. But, that was just a part of homesteading...We didn't have very much money. I heard Dad say one time, that when he landed in Wyoming he had three hundred dollars. Three hundred dollars o' cash, when he landed here t' go out 'n homestead. But just at that time, they's puttin' in his irrigation system 'round Wheatland. 'N. he got a job. He had a good team o'mules. 'N, he got a job with his mules workin' on this ditch ... 'round Wheatland. An,' I think they payed him five dollars a day. Three dollars fer himself, 'n dollar apiece fer his mules. 'N. I don't know ... he worked ... how long. Don't know just how long. But, anyway. He planted crops on his own place as fast as he could get the sod broken. Some neighbors 'd moved in by that time. An', in three years time, there was a family on every half-section of land through all that homestead country...

Jan: So then, did your dad use the irrigation system for his own homestead?

Lloyd: There never was an irrigation system developed where we were. The irrigation project was in the Wheatland area, 'n Dad just worked on it t' make a little money.

Jan: So, he must have dug a well? Was it for irrigation or only for the household and watering the stock?

Lloyd: Dad did not dig a well. Some well drillers came and put down our well: about a hundred 'n ten feet deep t' get enough water for the stock and fer household use.

Jan: Then, yours was a dry land farm? What sort of crops did he raise?

Lloyd: Yes, dry land. We mostly raised wheat fer cash crop and oats fer feed. Once, I recall, he had a field of flax, 'n usually raised millett fer horse feed. Dad usually raised a field o' sweet clover too, an' a small variety o' yellow flint corn. All 320 acres o' Dad's homestead was eventually put into winter wheat.

Jan: Did you have horse-drawn equipment for harvest, or did you use scythes and harvest by hand?

Lloyd: No. We did not cut anything by hand except maybe, some weeds! We used horse drawn machinery fer harvest and hay ... An', one day in the spring, one of our neighbors, they had a little girl 'bout three er four years old an' two older children, a boy and a girl, 'bout ten or twelve. 'N, the grandparents lived 'bout a half a mile ... no 'bout a mile ... over the hill. No roads 'n no fences. So, the mother got worried 'bout the grandparents, so she sent the older children over t' see 'bout the grandparents. Nice sunny day ... in April. An', while they were gone, there came up a sudden blizzard out o' the northwest. 'N, there's no telephone nor communication, so the mother thought, "Now, the older children may be on their way home, I'd better go t' meet 'em." So, she pulled on a little jacket on herself, 'n took the little one in her arms, 'n started out, hoping t' meet the other children on the way home...But, the grandparents had kept them in, which was the right thing t' do, when it started blowin' an' snowin'. Grandparents kept 'em in. She didn't know that. So. she wandered 'n drifted, 'n drifted with the snow. Drifted 'bout three miles 'n a half, 'N, became exhausted. An', there on the side of a bleak prairie hill, I can remember yet, there's where they found her dead body. She 'n the little one. 'N, they were the first ones buried in this cemetery down here south o' the convention place. First grave ... Mrs. Lee Warren an' her little girl...

Jan: Is that Iowa Flats Cemetery, just east of Chugwater?

Lloyd: Yes. An', that brought the community together. One good thing 'bout it, if y' could call't good, was it made the people stick together. 'N, everybody knew, 'I got t' have my neighbor's help ... 'n my neighbor needs my help. We gotta work t'gether, 'n stick t'gether." 'N, they did that...But another very sad thing happened t' one of our neighbors that lived just a mile west of us. Their name 'as Baker. They had older children that was gone to school. But, the little one was still at home. I think she was, maybe, 'bout three years old. Sunny afternoon 'n she was playin' 'round outside. She'd come in 'n ask' the mother t' tie her shoe string. 'N, the mother did that for the child. An', she went on out. The mother thought, "Just to play around." But when the older children came home from school, they said, "Where is Edith?" 'N, they called 'n they looked in the other buildings. Couldn't find Edith. Looked down the paths. There they could see her tracks goin' down the lane out t' the road 'n turnin' on a little. They could see her tracks. By that time it was night, soon gonna be dark. 'N, so they sent out ... alarm t'whoever they could: my folks'n others. 'N.they got out searchin'. 'N, they searched 'n a blizzard came up at night ... turned cold ... snowed ... froze. So, 'long in middle the night, they give up the search...Next day, or few days later, they found her body. The little girl's body. She had wandered 'n she had fallen over a little cliff, face down in a dump of cactus. 'N, there's where they found her. Dead. 'N, that put a very sad chill over everybody.

Jan: We know you've been a homeless minister of the gospel for nearly seventy years now. Could you tell us how that came to be?.

Lloyd: When I got into my late teen years, and 'bout twenty, one day Dad called us boys into the room. He wanted t' talk t' us. He said, 'Now you boys 're stayin' at home here, an' yer workin' fer us. We feed you, 'n we clothe you. We take care of you when you're sick, 'n we send you t' school. 'n pay your expenses. But, we don't pay you anything. But, when y' get t' be twenty-one years old. if y' want t' stay on 'n work at home, why we'll pay y'. Give y' part o' the crop.'..So, I was gettin' close t' twenty-one. An' I thought. "Now, I'm like a person standin' on the shore of a wide, deep, river. An', I have a little canoe. But, I don't have any power fer my canoe. An' I just know that I'll drift down this river, just like all the other things drift. I don't want t' go down, b'cause I can see myself, eventually, out there in the great, wide, deep, vast ocean t' be lost forever." An', it was a frightening thought t' me...'I want t' have a power in my canoe. An', if I have Jesus in my life, he'd be the power. An", he'd give me power t' go upstream an' ag'inst the current o' this world. An' I could cross over t' a safe landing on God's eternal shore.' But, I didnt have Jesus. An', I didn't know how to get him. An', so, I was gettin' more troubled all the time. An', there's one thing I thought that I could do. I could read the Bible. But, I didnt have a Bible. So, I had t' order one from the catalog. An', then, I begin t' read the Bible. Read t to try t' find out what the will of God is, so that I could DO 't...An' I read about Jesus, 'n about the apostles, 'n about the saints. An' I thought, "Now, seems like I've missed it. If I'd o' lived in that day and time. I could've seen Jesus, 'n I could've talked t' him 'n asked him questions. But, I've missed it. I don't have that privilege." But, wondered, now, if there's any like these apostles ever come into our part of the country...An', I 'as surprised t' find out that some years before this, two of God's servants HAD come. They didn't come into our community. But, they did come into the neighboring community ... 'bout five miles away. 'N. they got the school house. 'N. they preached the message in the school house. An’ quite a few people attended those meetings. That old school house is still standing there, 'bout a mile west of Sylvia Rhodes', where the first mission was worked...

Jan: Who were the messengers?

Lloyd: Ed Poole 'n, I think, 't was Warren Middlesworth. At that time, people attended the meetings b'cause they understood that the school house was not only fer school but fer any community purpose. So, this is something of the community. So, we gotta go see what t is. An', quite a few people attended those meetings that otherwise might not. 'N, they got t' hear the gospel...I was too young t' know anything about it. 'T was too far fer the folks t' drive in the wagon 'n didnt have a car back in those days. So, they didnt get t' go, but, maybe, once. But, anyway. Some people professed in that mission. 'N, a little church was established. It'd been goin' on fer 'bout ten years, or more, when I got old enough t" be interested...But, I kept readin' my Bible 'n tryin' 't find out what was right. I thought, "Now, maybe I could make m'self be good! Change my ways 'n try t' be different." But, that didn't help very much, b'cause I didn't have the power in m'self t' do it. But, I could read 'bout some in the Bible, what they had. An', I felt like, "Now, 'f I had lived in the time of Jesus, I could see 'im, 'n talk t' 'im, 'n he could help me. But, I don’t have that." But, when I found out that some had come into our next community over from where we were, "n a little church 'ad been established in the home, then I was glad 't hear 'bout that. An', I began t' seek him that way...In the meantime, I'd started goin't' church an' Sunday school. At that time, they had one down at Slater. So, I went t' church 'n Sunday school every Sunday fer one whole year. I'd study the lesson, 'n I'd try t' answer the questions that they might have. An", during that time I'd been readin' my Bible. 'N, I had some questions, m'self. I'd go t'church'n Sunday school. 'N. at the end of the session they'd leave it open fer questions. "Anybody got a question?' "Yes! I have a question...I would like t' know why you people don't do like the people did in the Bible?" Sunday school teacher said, "Well, times have changed. Can't do it that way now. Times have changed." I thought, "Has the will of God changed? God, that's the same yesterday, t'day, 'n forever, has HE changed? No! He's not changed. So, there's one of two things: either the Bible is wrong, 'n you're right; or you're wrong 'n the Bible's right." So, t wasnt so hard to decide that, when I read the BibleAn' I'd think about what they told me at the Sunday school. Sunday school told me, "Times 'ave changed. We're modern. We've improved. We're better than those you read 'bout in the Bible." So, they told me that...But, about that time I'd learned that some folks was havin’ a little meeting in their home. Some of our neighbors, they lived just four miles from us. Homesteaded 'bout the same time my folks did. So, then, I'd go on Sunday afternoon t' talk t' some that went there t' the home meeting. Go t' the Sunday school Sunday morn’ in. Go t' the saints Sunday afternoon' ask them the same questions I asked at Sunday school. 'N, they would give me a different answer. They'd tell me that, even though times have changed. God hasn’t. God's way's the same. God's will's the same. Means the same t' serve the Lord today as it did then. So, I thought, 'Now, here I am, I'm in b'tween two opposites. Both can't be right. Who's right? I don't know. But, one thing I can do, I c'n read my Bible.'..So, every time I could get a little bit o' spare time, I'd be readin' my Bible t' see who's right 'n what's right. 'N, every little bit I'd come t' somethin' the saints 'd told me. But, I never could find anything that the Sunday school 'd told me! So, that drew me away from the Sunday school. 'N, drew me closer t' the saints. Until, one Saturday, I saw the people of the home where the church met, when I was in the little town nearby their home. An' I asked 'em if they had a reg'lar Sunday morning meeting in their home. 'N, they said, "We do have." An' I got up the courage t' ask 'em if I could come t' their meeting. They said, 'If you're interested, you're welcome.' I thanked 'em, 'n I turned away. Went on my way home, sayin' t" myself, 'Well, I AM interested. Therefore, I will go."..Three weeks later, I got up the courage to go to my first Sunday momin' meeting, because another neighbor lady had found out about me goin' t' those folks 'N she made it her her business t' get me cornered-up 'n tell me what she thought was some good advice. She said, "Don't go 'round those people, because they're different. Better leave 'em alone. They're different.' So, I said t' m'self. "Lady, you could be mistaken!" So then, the Sunday came fer me t' go t' this meeting. An' I got the horse ready, after doin' chores, an' I started down the road thinkin' 'bout what this other lady had told me 'bout these folks. An', I was almost afraid t' go. But, I got up the courage t' face it, anyhow...So, everything I saw connected with those folks really impressed me. The mailbox was settin' straight 'n solid on the post. 'N, the gate was solid 'n easy t' open 'n close. 'N, the dog was a friendly dog; he came out t' meet me. The yard was all neat 'n in order, not a lot of junk 'n trash thrown 'round. "N, that impressed me b'fore I ever got 't the house. So, I said t' m'self, "Well, this IS different. But, it's the way it oughta be!" 'N then I went t' the door...'N, they received me pleasantly. "N, the missus gave me a chair in the meeting room. An", I was the first one there. I sat there, quietly, thinkin' things over. 'N, after a while, a car drove into the yard: a man 'n his wife 'n two er three children. Each one of 'em had their Bible 'n their hymn book. I'd noticed at the Sunday school that nobody had a Bible, but the teacher. But here, everybody had their Bible. Everyone. I thought, "Well now, that IS different. But, that's the way it oughta be!"..Little bit later, 'nother car pulled in. Two or three carloads came. 'N, by the time t' was ten, fifteen minutes til meeting started, they were all gathered there, quietly seated 'n in place. I said t' myself, "This IS different. But that's the way it oughta be!"..An', I got the thought, "These folks have come here fer no other reason but t' worship God. An', it just seems t' me like the fear of God is upon these people." So the meeting started just at the right time. 'N, they sang a couple o'hymns. 'N then, they got down on their knees t' pray! And I said t' myself, "Well! I'm not gonna get down on MY knees! A strong young fella like me? No! I'm not gonna do that!" I sat on my chair. An 'then, they began t' pray...The first one prayed: thankin' the Lord for havin' mercy on 'im; sparing their lives for another week; confessin how unworthy they were, how far short they felt they'd come from all they'd ought t' be; askin' the Lord if he'd forgive them where they'd failed 'n help 'em live better nex' week than they had the week b'fore. 'N, each one of 'em prayed in a similar way...'N, after one or two of 'em prayed. I thought, "Well, someday I may be one of these people. 'N, if that's part of it, I may as well learn 'rt now." So, I got down on my knees. Didn't pray. Just listened t' the others. An', it impressed me very much t' hear their sincerity and honesty...An', then, their testimonies were something along the same line. Simple thoughts from the scripture. expressed sincerely 'n honestly. 'N, after the meeting was over, some friendly greetings 'n an invitation t' come back. I went on my way homeward sayin't' m'self. "Well, t'day, for the first time in my life, I've been in the presence of people who worship God like the Bible says. An', I don't see what a better way could be than this. These are honest, sincere people, just tryin' t' do what the Bible teaches. It IS different. But, it's the way it oughta be."..An", that cleared that matter up t' me. Then, when I got home. somebody said. "You better be careful now, or those people 'll get you!" But, I said, "I don't know what this is, but what I've seen an' heard t' day really impresses me."..Well, that was in the spring time. 'N, the convention came on at the end of June. In those days, Wyoming didn't have a convention. So Wyoming folks went t' west Nebraska. The convention there was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. John Kinnion, 'bout thirty miles north of Mitchell, out in the ranch country. And, these folks invited me t' go with 'em t' the convention, which I did...An’ I was takin" notice of everything. One thing that impressed me was the friendliness of the people. Whenever they'd meet one another, they seemed so glad t' see each other. Everybody was pitchin' in, helpin' t' do all the work that had t' be done. My first job at the convention was cuttin" bread. Didnt have sliced bread like t' have now. So they had a little corner there, 'n they put me in it, 'n gave me loaves of bread t' slice. The women folks would all bake the bread at home, 'n bring the loaves...Anyway. The convention started on Thursday morning. An', I was takin'notice of everything. An', I was impressed with all I saw. 'N, I made a start to serve the Lord there. N', I was baptized there in the Niobrara River, along with ten or twelve others...I stumbled, an' floundered, an' made plenty o' mistakes. But, I never changed from my purpose t' do God's will. 'N, that's seventy years ago. No. It's more than seventy years. I was 24 years old when I went into the work (the ministry). 'N, 'it was two years b'fore that I made my choice. October twenty-second, nineteen twenty-nine, I left t' go into the work. An', I can testify to the faithfulness of God an' his patience in bearing with me. An', the end is comin' up soon fer me...

Jan: Tell us what the convention was like, Lloyd. Were there quite a few people there?

Lloyd: I think there was. I would guess there might have been about three hundred gathered there...

Jan: So was it at a farm?..

Lloyd: A ranch/farm, yes...

Jan: And how many days were they there?

Lloyd: Four days. They had a big barn, these folks. It had an upstairs in it. Downstairs they cleaned out one corner fer the cooking. The other part of the downstairs was fer the dining. Then, upstairs was fer the meeting. We slept in the outbuildings. Had straw ticks fer mattresses. We had all things common. Some people brought potatoes, some bread, 'n some brought other things. The food was all prepared there. 'N, nobody was paid fer nothin". All our work 'n all was done free. No one paid fer anything. So, I thought. "Well! That's the way it oughta be!"..

Jan: How did you earn your living before you went out to preach the gospel?..

Lloyd: Well, o" course, I helped m' dad on his place. 'N, during harvest, I helped Clarence Hitt, fer part o' the crop. N'. when I left fer the work, I'd been helpin' a man, name o' Mr. Manning, fer a part o' the crop. But, b'fore I went away t' high school, I carried the mail fer the folks that lived down in Goshen Hole Canyon. A dollar a month they gave me t' carry the mail t' the edge of the canyon, put t' in a sack with some rocks t' weight it down, "n send t' down a rope attached t' their house at one end 'n t' the canyon wall at the other end. You haven't seen the place I'm talkin' 'bout?

Jan: No, I haven't.

Lloyd: It was about a hundred feet straight down. You could go right along, then suddenly, one more step 'd put you over the edge. It was about a hundred feet straight down. Then, rt'd slope off a ways, maybe two, three hundred feet. Then, it was straight down again, another hundred feet or so. Was, maybe, a thousand feet altogether.

Jan: Did you go down to collect your pay?.

Lloyd: That was part of t, y'know. There was a path,'t widened out further down. Went down once a month t' get my dollar. Part of t' was steep 'n slippery. But, we used to climb up 'n down t', my brothers 'n m'self. Went down once a month, got paid, 'n got a fresh supply o' bags. Did that three years, until I started high school...

Jan: Where was high school?..

Lloyd: In Wheatland. Dad bought a little two-room house. He gave five hundred dollars for the house 'n the lot. We "bached" there, me 'n a neighbor lad, n' my brothers, when they were old enough...

Jan: You cooked your own meals? Did you go home on the weekends?..Lloyd: Yes. We cooked our food. No. Most gener'ly we didn't go home. But, once, I did. I got so homesick! Friday night, after school, I decided I would walk home. Twenty-three miles. So, I struck out on foot, down across Chug' Creek, out through Antelope Gap. Got in about two o'clock in the mornin'. Crawled up on top o' the haystack t' finish out the rest o' the night. 'N, then, t' had t' go back t' high school Sunday! So, that gave me all o' Saturday at home. B'cause o' homesickness.

Jan: So, you finished high school?

Lloyd: Here in Wheatland. Spring of 1923.

Jan: Were there lots of rattlesnakes around in those days?..

Lloyd: Lots of 'em! Dad gave us boys a penny apiece fer each rattlesnake we killed. A penny apiece.

Jan: Did you skin them and tan the hides? Or what did you do with the dead rattlers?

Lloyd: Hung 'em on the fence t' make it rain!..

Jan: What about your dad? You helped on the homestead until you went into the ministry. Right?

Lloyd: Yes.

Jan: And so, your dad was sort of dependent on you boys to make the place work?.

Lloyd: Well, yeah. We were workin' right into t'. There was three of us boys in a row. I was the oldest. But, it hurt Dad. Hurt Mother, too, when I left 'n went in the work. 'N, it hurt me to hurt them. So, it was one of the hardest things I had to face. Nobody told me I had t' do it. I just knew I had t' do it...I got troubled at the convention in Denver, Colorado, in the year of 1928. They sang a hymn that's still in the book. One verse in the hymn says, 'My heart condemneth me, when keeping ought from thee, or seeking selfishly, my life to save.' An, I couldn't get those thoughts out o' my mind. It was with me when I went t' bed at night, 'n when I woke up in the morning', 'n when I went t' work, 'n all day through. 'My heart condemneth me ..." I had t' admit, I had certain selfish thoughts...Not altogether sinful, selfish, but enough o' self in it that t' wouldn't lead t' the best. I was thinkin' 'bout havin' a home for the workers. 'N, then, I thought, "Whose gonna BE the workers? Seems like they're gettin" old 'n wrinkled. 'N, some o' them's not too well. An whose gonna BE the workers?..'N, here I am, young 'n strong, nothin' t' hold me back.' But, I didnt think I could make a worker. So, I had quite a battle on that, until I came t' the place where I could say, like Isaiah, "Here am I. Send ME."..At that time I was workin' for Mr. Manning. 'N, I was kinda gettin' in with him. He had a good sized farm, where I could'v worked my way right in with him. I could've put my life INTO that 'N, what would I have t' show for t? But, I told 'im, when I started in the spring, I said, ... Now, I'm leavin' here this fall.' But, he didnt seem t' take it serious. He thought I'd get over that foolish notion'...So when it got "bout a month from the time I'd be leavin', I told him ag'in. Then, he got mad at me. 'N, he said some hard things. One thing he asked me, he said, "Here I am a man seventy years old 'n I never heard this before. 'N, if this is God's true way, howse come I never heard t' b'fore?"..Well, I prayed a little prayer and said, "Lord, how will I answer that question?" 'N, I said, 'Mr. Manning, now, if you'd o' heard it when you was a younger man, would y 've accepted it?" He said, 'I'll have t' tell y' that I would not!" 'Well,' I said, that's the reason y' havent heard t'. Why would God in a harvest that's so plentiful 'n laborers so few, why would he waste time on you, knowin' that y' would only reject it, anyway?" So, he hung his head...Well, the folks didn't mean t' be against it. But, they couldn't understand. 'N, I couldn't make 'em understand.

Jan: So, how did you live in the ministry, then?.

Lloyd: How did I live?

Jan: Yes.

Lloyd: By faith.

Jan: You went carrying a bag, on foot?

Lloyd: Yes. Two of 'em. My experience with that was, when I was packin' up 'n gettin' ready t" go, I put in everything that I 'might need sometime. So, I wasn't too long afterwards, we found ourselves out on the road, on foot, with two bags full of everything we "might need"! They got pretty heavy. I said, "I've got some things I can get along without!" So, the first chance I got, I cut 'rt down to the things I 'had to have". And, I learned right there, there's a big difference between what you "had to have' and what you might need"! So, I'm down to what I "have to have". With the result, I don't need two grips at all. I just need one. 'N, that leaves me with one hand free...So I got my first companion. Will Wilkie. We didnt do a whole lot o' 'roughin' it" that year. T' was only with 'im part o' the year. Then, I had a full year with Harold Pollock. 'N, we had some missions around Chadron, Nebraska. Havin" meetings there. Some o' the friends came in. I was leadin meetin’, givin' out the hymns, 'n Harold was playin' the little organ. Young couple come in through the tent door. I said. "There's a young fella that sure does remind me of Harry Rozema!” Cause I'd been talkin' t' Harry, while I was still at home, tellin’ him 'bout what I'd found. "And there's a young man that sure does remind me of Harry Rozema."..'N, after a while, it dawned on me, "That IS Harry!" I'd never met Bessie b'fore. An', now, there they are. They'd moved t'Chadron. They was out west of Slater on a dry land homestead. The very week we moved the tent t’ Chadron was the very week Harry and Bessie moved t’ Chadron. He was a mail clerk on a train. They located in Chadron. ‘N, they came t’ our meetings. ‘N, they professed, in our meetings. Harry ‘n Bessie. So, that gave me a litle bit of a boost...

Jan: Could you tell us about the night you walked 26 miles before you found a place to get shelter?

Lloyd: Walter 'n I started out after fall convention. 'N. we started up this North Platte River Valley. Lookin' fer school houses an' places where we could find t' preach the gospel. 'N, we rode the bus from North Platte t' Ogallala. 'N, we got off the bus with about 65 pounds o' luggage. 'N, we started walkin' out the road north of town. 'N, we walked all that day...'N, just about sundown, we got into a little community, where there was a nice little school house, that we thought would be ideal fer the gospel. An', it was late, so we had t' look fer a place where we could lodge fer the night. So, we came t' a big house, 'bout three stories. Looked like t' had ten or a dozen, maybe more rooms. An', I went t'the door. Talked t' the lady. Told her who we were'n what we'd come for. "N, we'd be glad t' pay her fer a night's lodging. 0h!" she said,'We can't take y'in. We don't have any room! But Mrs. Anderson has room, "bout half-mile further." So. "All right Thank you."..'N, we went down t' Mrs. Andersons'. Told her who we were "n what we'd come for. "Oh!" she said, I cant take y'. I don’t have room. But," she said, "go on down t' Mr. Bentley's. He has room." So, All right. Thank you."..'N. down we went t' Mr. Bentley's another half a mile. 'We'd like a nights' lodging. We've come here to have meetin's in the school. It's gettin' late on us. We've gotta get in somewhere." "Oh!" Mr. Bentley says, "We don't have room! Can't take y' in. But, there's an old couple lives down another half a mile. They'll take y' in." "All right. Thank you, Mr. Bentley."..By that time, t was dark. 'N, we didn't know it, but there'd been chicken thieves in that community. An', whenever the dog would bark, this lady kept a shotgun sittin' by the door. 'N, she'd look out 'n see anything movin', she's apt t' shoot it! We had t' walk across a cornfield. It was in the fall. "N, y' know how corn crunches under yr' feet sometimes. But, this night the dog didn't bark 'n we walked right up t" the door. Knocked on the door 'n there's this old couple standin' there. Told 'em who we were 'n what we'd come for. We'd like t' pay them for a night's lodging. "Oh!" she said, "We don't have room. But, we can't turn y' away this hour o' the night." She said, "Come in, 'n we'll do the best we can." An', they did, 'N, put us t' bed on a corn husk tick...'N, I don't reckon I ever slept on a better bed than that old tick, stuffed with corn husks but, anyway, by that time, I'd rubbed a sore on my heel. "N, this old lady doctored me up the next mornin'. She was a kind, old soul. 'N then we had t' go back 'n 'nounce our meetings t' these people. So, I went back t' Mrs. Anderson's. An', she said, "I would think you men would get awfully discouraged, walkin' aroun' the country the way y' do. An', nobody payin' any attention to y'."..And, right then, I think the ministering angel was on the job 'n put a thought in my mind t' counteract what she'd said. 'N, those words came t' me in first Corinthians 15 'n 58, "Be ye steadfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord." 'N, I thanked God for those words. They helped me then an' they've helped me many times since. 'N, we tried t' have a few meetings there. Not very many people came. We had t' go on t' nother place. All that country's under water now. Under that lake. (Lake McConaughy)..By that time, it was gettin' 'bout 'lection time. 'N, that's the year that Roosevelt was elected. 'N, we thought, "Well now, we'll just rent us a room. 'N, we'll just rest up fer a few days. 'N, see if somethin' comes to our minds." So, we did. Y' could rent a room fer three dollars 'n a half fer a week. 'N, it cost us three dollars 'n a half fer groceries. So, it wasn't doin' too bad, compared to present day prospects...But anyway, 'bout Friday, I think t' was, I said t' my companion, "I'm gonna strike out over this big hill up north o' town. See what's up in that country." So, I started out. 'N, I walked 'n I walked. "N, I walked 'bout ten miles. 'N I came t'a lady's house. 'N, her name was Mrs. Brown. 'N, she happened t' be one of the school board. So, she told me that, as far as she's concerned, we could have use of the school, but we'd have t' see the other board members. 'N, as I looked down across that valley, there's a nice little school on the edge o' the valley. But, there was a church in b'tween the school 'n where I was. 'N, she told me that the preacher lived in the basement o' the church. "N, he preaches there. 'N, he has his regular schedule 'n everythin' fixed up...And, I went out in the middle o' the road. And I just had a battle with m'self. I said, "There's no use goin' any further. This place 'll turn out just like all the other places. I'd just as well turn back 'n tell my companion that it's no use goin' any further...But then, I had another thought. 'N, that was tht we're not responsible for what the people DO. But, we are responsible to go as far as we can t' give them the chance that God wants 'em t' have. And, that was the stronger point. 'N, I turned and went on another mile. Overt' Mr. Smiths'. 'N, it was just at noon time. 'N, he'd come in fer his dinner. 'N. I went t' the door "n said, "Mr. Smith, we'd like t' see you 'bout havn' meetings in the school fer preachin' the gospel."..'Oh!" He said, "Why don't y' preach the gospel in the church! That's a place a preach the gospel! In the church!" Well, I said. "Mr. Smith, whether you know it or not, those people wouldn't let the likes o' us preach the gospel in their church." "Yes!" He said, 'That's just what's wrong with 'em! They want ev'rything their own way! Far as I'm concerned, y' can have the school!" "All right. Thank you, Mr. Smith." And, he invited me in fer dinner. An', they had combread 'n beans. And, I never ate any better ones!..And so, I hurried back t' my companion 'n told 'im we got the school. An', we can start meetin's tomorrow night. 'N, we walked out just in time t' announce the meetings. And, sure enough! Here come a crowd o' .people the first night! Filled up the school house...Several of 'em were the religious people o' the community. An', one of 'em, a man, invited us home with 'im the first night! And, we stayed among those people 'n preached the gospel t' them. An', there's several of 'em professed, 'N, a little church was formed in that community. An', some of 'em are still living...That taught me a great lesson. I thought, "Now if I'd obeyed my feelings an' gone back 'an told my companion, 'h's no use', we'd 'a missed the very people that the Lord was wantin' us t' preach to." So, it convinced me, that when y' feel so strong 'bout qu'ittin', it's better t' do the opposite!..

Jan: So now, you started in the work (the ministry) when you were twenty-four. And, you've been in it all your life, since that time. Did you come back to Wyoming to labor here?

Lloyd: Oh, I've been back various times t' the conventions 'n, once, fer Special Meetings. But, I never was on the Wyoming list until now. When I first started, I was in Nebraska. Had nine years there, the first time. Then, t' Indiana fer eight years. Went on t' Ohio fer eight years. 'N then t' Mississippi fer ... I think it was fourteen years, er so. 'N, back to Nebraska fer 'nother three 'n a half years. 'N, down t' Texas eleven years. In Oklahoma fer six years. Alabama five years. 'N, now in Wyoming four years. Does that add up t' nearly seventy years?

Jan: It does, Lloyd. You're back in your beloved Wyoming, preaching the gospel. And soon, you will finish your course here. Have you any regrets, Lloyd?..

Lloyd: No regrets, but one. I wish I could've put MORE into it.

Lloyd Wilson is living in a private home in Wheatland. The people of the home, and others from the town and surrounding area who have benefitted from his ministry, take turns caring for him in his final days. He has cancer and has little time left. His little canoe will soon reach the eternal shore. I appreciate greatly the effort he made, in his extremity, to tell me these stories.