It’s important to keep the memory of Jackson old timers alive. They are the history of this valley. On social media, I asked the group “You Grew Up in Jackson Hole” to name an old timer and tell us what made them memorable. I received 86 reactions and 535 comments. Here are a few.

Ellen G. Walker was born in 1894. She grew up in Lander and South Pass City. Her family were early pioneers to Wyoming. Her mother, Nelley Carey, was the first white girl born in South Pass City in 1870, and her father, Joseph Gaston, was a Civil War veteran. Ellen eventually moved to Rock Springs, where she opened her first clothing store in 1923 for the sum of $113. She later had stores in Big Piney and Pinedale.

Ellen first came to Jackson in 1943 to open a store, which she finally succeeded in doing in 1948. Her store was located on Glenwood Street just north of what was once the Roundup. The store contained women’s fashions that ranged from turquoise jewelry to fine dresses, skirts and blouses. She also owned the adjoining Moccasin Shop that contained hiking shoes, boots and moccasins.

She traveled extensively to find new lines and products to bring to her stores. In 1973 she was the Business and Professional Woman of the Year. Her last lease on Glenwood Street ended in 1982 when she was 88. She died in Scottsdale, Arizona in 1987.

Kim Harpster remembers going into Ellen’s store and was told flat out: “If you’re coming in here to just look, turn right around and go right back out that door if you’re not going to buy something.” Dawn Kent remembers that she had a room with moccasins that she kept locked. You could only go there to look if she had time to take you in. Dawn said she was scared to death of her.

Diana Karns Brown was shopping in the store one day with Mary Hansen Mead. Mary wanted to buy a white blouse. Ellen walked up to Diana and said, “You are just here to snoop around and see what you can. So just get out!”

I was in her store just once around 1975. My sister, Karen, and I were trying on hats and were booted out.

Mel Annis was Canadian born. He was well known in the valley for his carpentry. He built the Rocking H barn (Huyler Ranch), the D Triangle Barn, the Snake River Ranch barn, the Hardeman barn, and several others around the valley. He was also a talented electrician and he was hired to run Ed Benson’s light plant on Flat Creek. At that time it was Jackson’s only source of electricity. Mel married Irene Eynon Hodges in 1934. Her husband Elmer had passed away a few years before, leaving her with six children.

After 12 years at the light plant, Mel and Irene worked for Clifford Hansen at his ranch in Spring Gulch and at the Bar Double R Ranch up the Gros Ventre. They spent 14 years with the Hansens. Mel’s stepchildren were Jack, Charles, Bill, Lois, Pearl and Veora Hodges.

I attended Mel’s 100th birthday party in 1986. He was living independently in his apartment at Pioneer Homestead. He still did all of his own cooking.

Mildred Stilson Shockley was born in Jackson in 1915 to Billy and Laverna Eynon Stilson. Her dad was among the first outfitters licensed in Wyoming. They homesteaded up Spread Creek.

Her parents sold their homestead during the “Rockefeller hysteria.” They thought that if they didn’t sell they would eventually end up with nothing. She graduated from Jackson High School in 1932. After getting married twice, she met and married Joe Shockley. She had been waitressing at the Wort Hotel since it opened in 1941. She worked almost every day. Joe came to the Wort as a chef. Together they opened the popular Pioneer Restaurant in 1960, located in East Jackson. Later it became the Lame Duck. Joe passed in 1992 and Mildred in 2003.

Sharon Sanford mentioned Charlie Hodges. He drove the Fred’s Market semi for years. No matter the storm, Charlie always made it through. He was married to Dotty Leeper Hodges for 52 years before he died in 2001. I remember that he took good care of his step-father Mel Annis.

Echo Nelson Taylor wrote the “Circling the Square” column for 30 years beginning in about 1975. Echo was born in 1927 at the old log hospital here in Jackson. Her father, Aktor, was a ranch manager on several ranches in the valley. Echo was eighth grade valedictorian. She told me that her mother, Vivian, made all of her clothes on a Singer treadle machine. Echo was the envy of her friends because of her beautiful clothes. Later in life she helped manage the Episcopal Church’s Browse ‘N Buy outreach program and sold Avon products. Echo was active at the Senior Center and was named “Senior of the Year” in 1996. She passed away in 2007.

Happy Thanksgiving

The Elks Club will be passing out free to-go meals on Thanksgiving from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. while supply lasts. Curbside service will be available.

When you are grateful, an invisible blanket of peace covers you, it makes you glow, it makes you happy, strong, warm. Gratitude puts mind at ease about everything around — Om Swami, monk

Connie Owen would love to hear your stories. Call or email her at 605-593-2730 or connie_owen@msn.

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