Richard Balbach

Interview with Richard Balbach.

One spring morning in April 1899, two young men, Richard and Will Balbach, ages 22 and 21, came to Meadows Valley. Richard homesteaded the ranch on which Tommy Carr now lives. Will home¬steaded on the mouth of Mud Creek. They worked from dawn till dusk and went without any luxuries, for they had put most of their money into horses, yearlings and farm machinery. For the first year they lived on $125 cash.

After 8 years of hard work and saving they had 120 head of cattle, 12 horses and 4 ranches, and good farming machinery. They also made a trip to the St. Louis World’s Fair, went to Danville, Illinois to visit a brother, and then home to Waupun, Wisconsin to visit their folks. They stayed 3 months and then came back to Meadows. A month after returning, their cabin burned while they were visiting a friend. They then moved to the ranch now owned by Joe and Chester Hubbard. Since all their blankets, cooking utensils, etc., burned they had to buy a new outfit.

They then logged 100,000 board feet of lumber for Johnny Clay who owned a small sawmill south of Sam Mitchell’s place. Out of some of the lumber they built a new house on Mud Creek.

A year later, about 1908, they bought a piece of timber west of Carr’s place and set up a sawmill. They sold their cattle to build the sawmill. They operated the sawmill and ran four ranches until 1917.

Will was married in 1915. In 1919 he sold out and moved to Riverside, California where he lives at the present time. In 1922, Richard married Helen Sniegor; they reared four children–Ruth,
Richard, Robert, and Hilda. They lived in a beautiful home in Meadows.

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