Financial History Issue 121 (Spring 2017) - Page 11
E.H. Grinder Ranch on the Shoshone Reservoir site, Wyoming, December 14, 1908.
go to college. He chose to attend Black
Hills Teachers College in Spearfish, South
Dakota to study business.
The upcoming deer season prompted
Edwin and fellow students Jim Parke
and Billy Hilton to jump into Jim’s 1948
Oldsmobile 88 and head up Spearfish
Canyon to scout out good hunting areas.
On the way back, Jim took a curve too fast
and lost control of the car. The Olds left the
road and crashed over a 20-foot embank-
ment. Both Jim and Edwin suffered criti-
cal back injuries and spent several weeks
in the local hospital recovering. The hos-
pital bills could have easily ruined Bill and
Anna’s finances. Fortunately, Jim’s father
had a good auto insurance policy that
covered all their son’s medical expenses.
The accident, however, put a damper on
Edwin’s college career, and while he did
return to college after recovery, he never
completed his business degree.
As he grew older, Bill’s health prob-
lems increased. He suffered from stomach
cancer and endured two surgeries to deal
with the malady. He was also a heavy
smoker, which contributed to his decline.
On the night of February 5, 1960, after a
hard day’s work on the Quarter Circle 5
Ranch, Bill’s weary heart finally gave out.
He was 58.
There was no life insurance to pro-
vide for Anna and her teenage daughter
Glenna. Social Security benefits yielded
$150 to pay for funeral expenses, and
a contribution from the Schwabachers
helped pay for additional funeral costs.
Anna and her daughter moved to Pine-
dale, where Anna found work at a local
business while Glenna babysat to contrib-
ute towards the family finances.
Bill Grinder was my grandfather. I was
only five months old when he died, so
I never knew him. Despite the financial
hardships he suffered, he loved life on
the ranch, and he loved to ride horses.
According to his daughter Glenna, “He
just fit in the saddle” and “was at ease in
there, like a rocking chair.” Money didn’t
mean much to him. He was happy as long
as he was outdoors riding fences or tend-
ing livestock. He found joy in Wyoming
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