The Legend of Foley & Reid

By Bob Lett, as told to him by Mark Ladman

An unproven legend states that Tom Foley, in selling his cattle, drove the herd past Frewen to view and count and then around a hill, past again and Frewen actually bought the same herd twice. This was in 1879.

Mr. Foley is mentioned to be from the Sweetwater area. He later lived in the Kremmling, Colorado and Grand Lake area. He was known to have possible connections with two men. The three of them made frequent visits to the Hole in the Wall area. He also made at least one trip by horseback to California and carried this Winchester rifle with him.

Mr. Tim Foley traded the rifle to a young teenager named William C. Ladman for breaking a horse to ride in about 1935-1936. Tim Foley was about 90 years old but active at that time. William Ladman took the rifle and shot his first elk a few days later. In about 1971, William Ladman gave this rifle to his son, Mark Ladman.

Mr. Mark Ladman sold the rifle to me (Bob Lett) in November, 1991. At that time, I started the above research of the rifle’s history. The rifle was used during the Powder River Range War in Wyoming.

Sir John Rae Reid returned from Wyoming in 1879 and was active in forming at least two cattle companies. One, the Anglo American Cattle Company – Mr. Harry Oelrichs, Manager. Brands are registered in the 1882 records. And two, also possibly invested in the Western Cattle Company (also in the brand records).

It seems Tom Sun (alias, real name of Thomas Debeausoliel from French Canadian parents), as a boy went to trap with Frewen, ending up as a hunting guide in Wyoming. He became a friend of Sir John Rae Reid. This is apparently where Mr. Tim Foley enters the friendship also as a hunting guide and when he received the rifle. Mr. Sun became a buyer of cattle for John Reid. Later in 1887, Mr. Sun winds up on the same ranch as the Frewens owned after buying out Tim Foley in 1879. The Frewens apparently went broke in 1889. Mr. Sun’s headquarters for hunting was on the Sweetwater. Same area Tim Foley was from.



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