Northern Wyoming Daily News - Serving the Big Horn Basin for over 100 years

By Tracie Mitchell
Staff Writer 

Cowboy Jim Newell Sr. turning 90


February 19, 2016

Tracie Mitchell

WORLAND – Worland resident Jim Newell Sr. will be turning 90 on Sunday. He was born Feb. 21, 1926, in Dodge City, Kansas.

Newell Sr. moved from Kansas to Missouri in 1934 at the age of 8 and nine years later, in 1943 he moved to Fort Collins, Colo., where he met his wife Ruth. Newell married Ruth in 1952 and together they moved to Laramie in 1955. Their stay in Laramie wasn't long as they moved to Ten Sleep in 1956 "I was talking to a man in a restaurant and he said he needed a cowboy and hired me on the spot," Newell said. "That's how I ended up working for Clair Lyman in Ten Sleep," He added.

The Lyman Ranch had 300 cows, more or less, which kept Newell working hard. "The Lyman kids were little at the time and Philip Lyman told me once that I was the one who taught them how to work," Newell said.

Newell worked for a couple other ranches before purchasing his farm in Worland in 1969 on Lane 2. He worked the farm with his sons until 1978 when he sold all but the 17 acres, where he lives now.

Newell and Ruth had three sons, but lost their middle child, Everett in a swimming accident in Thermopolis in 1971.

Newell is a true cowboy at heart and farmed his land with a team of horses long past when tractors became popular. "I farmed my land with horses, used four head to clean the ditches," he said.

True to his cowboy roots, when he was asked to go to town to see his birthday present in 1982 he rode his horse. "I rode my saddle horse to town to see my granddaughter who was born on my birthday, it was a cold and snowy day," he said. "I made a lot of trips to town with the horse and wagon," he added.

Over the years Newell has broke a lot of horses and trained a lot stock dogs, for himself and other ranchers. "He has a way with animals, a connection. Guys would be having trouble with their horses and he (Newell) would start talking to them (horses) and the horse's ears would perk up and the horses would listen," Jim Newell Jr said.

Being a cowboy has many benefits but it also has some draw backs. Newell has broken many bones over the years. "I think that I have broken every bone in my body," he said. "The last break was actually a shattered leg. They were able to fix it but my leg ended up shorter. I told them that I would just run in circles rather than have them try to fix it again," he added.

Newell lost his wife Ruth in 2012 to throat cancer. She lost the battle that she had fought for 20 years on Father's Day two months short of their 60th wedding anniversary. Together Newell and Ruth have two sons, five grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren scattered across the country.

Newell keeps heathy by staying busy and his doctor tells him that he is the healthiest guy who comes in. "I have two horses that are out to pasture. "I keep them around because a man has got to have something to do, that he likes to do," Newell said. "I get the loose cattle for the neighbors when they get out. They have tried to pay me, but I refused, it gives me something to do."


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