Interesting History of a Central Southern Idaho Sheepman (Written by Max Marius Ollieu)

Marius August Ollieu, January 1914, Buhl, Idaho

Marius August Ollieu, January 1914, Buhl, Idaho

Theophile Joseph Ollieu rode a ship from France in 1909 at the age of 24 to Ellis Island in New York.  He arrived with 11 cents in his pocket, knowing only French as a spoken language, having a sixth grade education and all the skills of a sheepherder.  He did have a dream that America would provide far more opportunities than his small village beside the Reallon River in the southwest of the French Alps.  The same river where his mother, Honorine Ollieu, interrupted a morning of harvesting grass hay in 1885 to give birth in the shade and fresh grass along the stream bank to her third son, Theophile Joseph.    She returned the following day to continue cutting the tall grass for hay.  Such was the life of a French peasant woman in 1885. 

New York wasn’t a good fit for young Theo*, needless to say.  Too many immigrants meant employers could take advantage of their workers with 12 hour shifts providing just one dollar in wages.  Nevertheless, he stayed until the spring of 1910 before hitching rides west on railway cars across America.  His meager savings were used to purchase beer insaloons for a nickel, which allowed access to their free food snacks. (Read the rest of the story here.)