Tying off Warts

Grandma Lillie Belle Wells..in bibs and cooking over an open campfire

I love this picture of my grandma Lillie. She is in bib overalls here, and to me that is very out of character for her. In all of my memories of grandma, she was always in a house dress.. I saw her one other time in a pant suit that was made for her by one of my aunts as a gift. If I can ever find that picture, I will have to share it.

Grandma Lillie was a quiet, mild- mannered, woman. She was very modest. And her heart was centered around Jesus and her family.

I wanted to share a few things in this post about my grandma that shows her unique personality and character.

Grandma was a naturalist . She believed in, and used herbs that she gathered from nature. She taught me how to gather red and white clover flowers from the fields. She would dry them on a newspaper. Later she would place a few in a tea ball and let it steep in a cup of hot water. She drank clover tea a lot and I carry on her belief in the healing power of herbs in my own life.

She also made a very potent healing liniment for sore and aching muscles. Granddad Otis, who was a fence contractor, and knew a lot about sore muscles, was a firm believer in its’ healing powers. I used it a couple of times on my husband, who also vouched for its’ healing effects. However, we both hated it because it had a very potent and foul smell as well. I don’t remember what else was in her recipe, but there was a lot of ammonia that would take the top of your head off!

Grandma also believed in tying off warts. I know, I know. WHAT? When she told me about this she was very serious. I would smile and laugh, and she would smile and laugh with me, but she would say “it works!” And I had a few family members who said she tied off their warts and they disappeared. She said she would take a piece of string and tie it around the wart. Then she would take the string, go outside and bury it in the dirt. When the string rotted, the wart would disappear. Now I personally do not believe this works. However, the Bible says if you have the faith the size of a mustard seed you can move mountains. My grandma had a lot of faith and I would bet you anything that when she buried that string, she prayed Jesus would remove that wart. If this did work, I believe it was her prayer and not the string rotting that took the wart away. LOL.

As I said, Granddad was a fence contractor and he built a lot of fences for the different ranches my dad worked for. They would pull their camper in and park until the fencing job was complete. That was often for a couple of months at a time.

It was during these times that allowed me to have a lot of conversations with my grandparents.

Grandma would share with me how when she was raising her kids, money was very short, but they were also very self-sufficient. They always grew a large garden and Grandma would can and dry it’s produce which would last them most of the year.

Grandma baked their own bread, and she was very good at it. She also taught that skill to my mother. There is not much in this world that can lift your spirit more than the smell of fresh baked bread. Grandma almost always had fresh cinnamon rolls in her kitchen. That was one of the reasons we liked to visit them, especially my husband. One time I told Grandma she was causing a lot of trouble in our marriage. She got a very concerned look on her face until I told her Mike always complained that only time he got fresh cinnamon rolls was when we visited my grandparents! She laughed and asked,”Don’t you ever bake bread?” I told her I did once in awhile but it took so much of the day watching bread rise that I didn’t do it much. She then gave me a recipe for quick rising bread, and told me she would save my marriage. Then she just smiled and said,”no excuses now Sherry!”

Grandma also told me how she used to make rubber balls for the kids to play with . She would take rubber bands, and just keep wrapping them around each other until she got a good size ball. She said they would bounce just about like any rubber ball you could buy from the store.

Another way that helped them be self-sufficient was with their goats. I’m not sure if they had goats in their early married years or not, but they did have a few in their later years of life.

Grandma milked the goats, and said they liked it better than cows milk. They also made goat cheese, which they truly loved. I have to be honest here. I sampled them both and did not like them, but there were several family members that raved over them.

Lillie used to make braided rugs out of scrap material and old clothing. She also made beautiful wool hooked rugs of which I was lucky enough to inherit a couple.

My grandma Lillie is one of my dearest memories and she was one of the biggest influences in my life.

I love the way she loved Jesus, the way she loved and was so devoted to Granddad, and the way she loved me.

You are loved and missed by so many. You are not forgotten Lillie Belle, and never will be.


Lillie Belle Lanning Dipp Wells

Yeserday I shared the story of Grandma Lillie’s experience as a young girl, moving from Wyoming to Idaho via wagon train and the Indian experience in their new homestead.

Today I am going to share a story of hard times, sorrow and tragedy. I have struggled with sharing this story. For years I never shared anything about it out of respect for my three late uncles, who I loved very much. I didn’t want to bring up bad memories for them. But one of the reasons I am sharing family stories now, is to preserve some history for future generations of my family.

This is part of Lillie’s story. It is part of what made her who she is. She didn’t talk about those times very much. But she did share a few things with my mom and my aunt. She also shared one story with me.

Life was pretty hard, as you can imagine, on early homesteads. The Lanning homestead had very few neighbors. I was told young men Lillie’s age were few to non-existent. There was an older gentleman neighbor who was interested in Lillie. How much older, my mom and aunt did not know. My Grandma told my mom and aunt that she did not really want to marry him, but her parents were worried she would not find a younger man, giving where they lived. They did not want her to end up a spinster. So with her parents nudging, and approval, at the advanced age of “20”, she married William Dipp on September 1, 1915 in Hailey, ID.

According to Grandma, he was a fairly harsh man. He pretty much dictated what she could do and not do.

The following story she told me directly.

His parents, especially his mother, believed they could talk to the dead. They used to have seances around the kitchen table. Grandma hated the seances. They scared her. She said they would all put their hands on the table, and would chant something and pretty soon the table would actually rise up off the floor. One time she took her Bible and placed it on the table. The table dropped immediatly to the floor. Her mother-in-law was angry with her and disapproved of her because she would not have anything to do with the seances. Grandma Lillie also told my aunt, that after the seance, everyone was kind of blurry eyed and disoriented for some time.

During their eleven year marriage, they had three children, all boys.

One day Lillie’s husband, William, took their oldest son, age 10, to visit his mother. While he was there, William commited suicide.

Shortly after his death, Lillie’s mother-in-law took all three of the children to Indiana (I think that is where). I think Mom told me that she had told Grandma Lillie, that she wanted to take them there to meet some of her family that had never met them. When she got there she gave 2 of the boys to different family members, and the third to an unrelated family.

Someone wrote Grandma and told her that the mother-in-law was giving her children away.

Lillie was left with no money. She contacted the Red Cross who helped her get a train ticket to go to Indiana and helped her get her children back.

What a terrible thing to have had to go through for both my Grandma Lillie, and my three uncles.

They were all such wonderfull people and a big part of my life. I loved them all and miss them dearly.

Lillie Belle

Lillie Belle Lanning (Wells)

Sixteen years old

The above picture is of my grandmother, Lillie Belle Lanning at sixteen years old. It is believed it was taken in Sheridan, Wyoming, just before the family moved to Stanley, Idaho by wagon train.

Lillie was born in Dayton, Wyoming, on November 25, 1895.

When she was Sixteen years old, her family and a few other families, formed a wagon train and headed to Stanley Basin, Idaho where they set up homesteads near Obsidian. It appears from what I’ve read, that the families were probably all related. At least some of them were. I was told Grandma had a horse named Sally, I think, that she rode most of the way. She rode in the wagon very little.

Wagon train consisting of Lannings and Achenbachs, moving to Idaho in 1910

My Aunt Leah told me the following story;

When they arrived in Stanley Basin, it was fall. They were concerned about the nearness of winter, and set in immediatly to build the cabins. They started on my Great Grandmother and Grandfather’s. As soon as the bones of the cabin were built, they moved on to the next cabin. They hung a quilt up for doors and decided they could build them after all the cabins were done.

Great Grandmother, Cordelia, her daughters, and maybe other women also, did all the cooking in their cabin while the others were being built.

One day it was almost dinner time. The food was prepared and waiting for the men to come in. The quilt opened up and about 6 or 7 Indians came in. They were indicating they wanted to eat and sat down at the table.

Lillie was frightened and hid behind the stove, but the others served the food. The dinner consisted of mashed potatoes and gravy, along with the rest of the meal. The Indians grunted, as they ate with their hands. When they were done they just got up and left.

They apparently didn’t mean any harm, they were just hungry.

It is believed that the man on the roof is Lillie’s brother, Charlie.

The picture above is said to have been taken in Stanley. Not sure of the other people in this picture, or if this is the cabin the Indians visited. I believe it more than likely is.

Little Mountain Church

Nye Community Church, Nye, Montana



church in the

mountain valley,

is where my soul finds

a perfect peace and calm

from the troubled world outside.

It’s there God drew me close to Him,

nurtured me with His Word and Spirit;

made clear His grace and mercy for my sin.

Sheryl Craig Russell


Reblogging because I updated it when I realized the original did’t quite fit the form of an Etheree. I added an additional photo as well.


Sherry, Pat, and Duke


Joys of

childhood days,

flying down hills,

Pulled by Grandpa’s horse,

behind the hay wagon

drawn by a team of horses.

What sweet memories I have now

that age and time cannot steal from me…

snowy, cold glimpses of winter’s magic.

Sheryl Craig Russell

My Son, Dustin and his Grandpa Jim

Pat, Sherry, and Jim Craig

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Faces From My Past


My Great Grandmother Harriett Wells, Great Grandfather Absalom Wells, Grandfather Otis Wells (baby) and his brother and sisters

Uncle Jim and Aunt Mae…Looks so much like her Grandmother in the first picture

I knew my grandfather, Otis Wells. He was such an important part of my life growing up. I am sure I probably met some of his siblings when I was young, but I don’t really remember them. I never knew my great grandparents.

There is a face in there, other than my Grandfather Otis, that I do know. I did not know her, but I definitelyknow her face. I look at her face and I see my Aunt Mae. She looks so much like my great-grandmother, that I find myself believing it is her dressed up for one of those “Old Time” picturesthat are so popular at fairs.

I love digging through all these old family pictures. I…

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Like Grandpa, Like Grandson

There is something real about family genes. I have heard of twins who were adopted to different parents at birth. They never knew they had a twin until adulthood, when they were reconnected. They then discovered they had a lot of the same habbits, same little quirks, same likes and dislikes in things from sports to food and careers. The same has been shared with parents and their children who were separated and later met each other.

The two 10 year olds below are my dad, Jim Craig, and my son, Dustin Russell. I have seen both of these pictures before, and I have always loved them both. It wasn’t until recently that I put them side by side and was blown away.

My husband and I lived on the same ranch as my parents when we were first married, so my children grew up around them and were very close.

However, these pictures were not staged. I have seen this picture of my dad, but didn’t realize it was his 10th birhday until a couple of years ago. The picture of my son was also on his 10th birhday.

There are several things in these photos that are just kinda mind blowing to me. First is how much I think they look alike. Second is that they both got new hats and ropes for their 10th birthday. They also both are dressed up in jeans and white shirts with western ties. They both are wearing cowboy boots; but what else would young cowboys wear, right? But what really got me is they both have the same facial expression, and the same stance. They have the same foot just a little in front of the other, same knee bent, and are both holding their ropes very similiar.

I love these so very much. I think I am going to put them together in a hinged photo frame.

I have another pair of pictures of them when they were both about 3 years old and both wearing bib overalls. When my son was little he saw the picture of my dad and thought it was him. If I can find them both I will share them in a future post. I love this kind of stuff!

Jim Craig 10th Birthday
Dustin Russell 10th Birthday

Little Timmy

Timmy in Windsor, CA l

Little Timmy was a boy my mom used to babysit. I was a teenager when he started visiting our home. Mom babysat several different children over the years, but this one was special. He is pictured above loving on a couple of my dad’s dogs.

Dad raised, trained, and sold Blue Heelers, so we often had a litter of puppies. Timmy especially loved the puppies, but he loved all our dogs, and wanted to go play with them all the time.

He was a gentle, loving, little soul who soon won our hearts. He was just a pure delight to be around. It didn’t take long for him to feel more like a member of our family, than someone Mom babysat.

In the mornings when his mom would drop him off, he would run to the table and ask Mom “Peers, please, peers!” (pears). Dad worked for a man training Quarter Horses, but he also owned an orchard, and vineyard. He supplied us with an abundance of fruit which Mom canned. Little Timmy would eat a whole quart of pears if you let him. He loved them!

Timmy loved horses also. Dad would put him in the saddle with him on our gentle, kid-friendly mare and he thought he was in heaven.

When we moved to Montana, I wished we could take him with us. He felt like my little brother.

A couple of months before my Dad died, we were sharing old memories of him. Dad said he always felt kinda sorry for his mom when she would pick him up. She was a very sweet young woman, who showed lots of love for Timmy, but almost all the time, he would cry when he had to leave. He loved us as much as we loved him.

It has been about 54 years since the last time I saw Timmy. I think of him often and wonder if he remembers us. I wonder what kind of career path he took in life. I hope he married a nice woman who appreciates him. I hope he has a bunch of kids just like him. I wonder if he might have grandkids by now. I hope his life has been a good one.

He has left us with so many sweet memories. Whenever I eat pears, I always see his sweet face, his sparking blue eyes, and hear him asking, “Peers, please, peers.”