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Francis "Frankie" Clara (Whitby) DougalFebruary 11, 1918 ~ August 26, 2017 (age 99)
Francis "Frankie" Clara Whitby
On August 26, 2017 Frankie entered into rest surrounded by her family. Frankie was born in Jordan Valley, OR on February 11, 1918 to Tom and Clara (Drummond) Whitby. Frankie was delivered by a midwife, an old Basque lady named Margette. Frankie was named after her Uncle Frank Drummond who served as a sharpshooter in WWI. Uncle Frank never returned home because he died in the line of duty. At just three weeks old, before the Owyhee River hit the high-water mark, her folks loaded the family up in a wagon and headed back to the Five Bar Ranch on the Owyhee River. At the Five Bar, Frankie’s parents ran wild horses, on the Owyhee desert that they sold for $5 a head in Winnemucca, Nampa, and Caldwell.
In 1922, her folks sold the Five Bar Ranch to Jim Anderson Sr., packing up the family once again into the wagon and moving to the Grover Foster Homestead. Frankie grew up there with her two sisters: Ulea “Peachie” and Evelyn; and one brother Arthur. The four kids attended school in a one-room, dirt floor log cabin at Cliffs, ID for all eight grades with only one teacher. Frankie’s mother Clara made horsehair mecates (Spanish for rope) for many cowboys and sold them for $2.50. At the age of nine, Frankie began to help her mother pick hair and learned the art of making mecates. Frankie took that love of working with hair and leaned to cut the hair of many cowboys and cowgirls in the Owyhees.
In March 1939, Frankie married Charles “Chuck” Gordon Dougal in Boise, ID. There was no honeymoon, just the horseback ride to the Brace Brothers Ranch on Juniper Mountain. Together they worked there for four and a half years for $30 a month. After leaving the Brace Brothers they went to work for Ernest Fenwick for two years before Chuck and Frankie saved up enough to buy the Ed Beers Ranch from Pat O’Keefe located on Cherry Creek. They outgrew that in a hurry, keeping that place and venturing just a few miles down the creek to buy the Prince Hardisty Ranch from Tom Booth in 1949. Chuck and Frankie also bought her brother Arthur’s ranch from him in 1962.
The Hardisty Ranch is where they raised their three kids: Charlene, Ben and Helen. Frankie’s true passion in life was not only her many grandkids, great grandkids, and great-great grandkids but also making horsehair Mecates for many cowboys and cowgirls from as close as the neighbor just a few miles away or north to Canada and Alaska or across the ocean to Australia, Belgium, Switzerland and Hawaii. In 1976, Frankie was invited to Washington D.C. to demonstrate the art of making her famous mecates at the Smithsonian Institute for one week.
Frankie was involved in all aspects of ranching from driving a team of horses in the hay field to cooking dinner after a long day to feed the entire crew. Frankie took pride in breaking her own horses to ride and working with Chuck to grow the ranch. Frankie died as she lived, working the Ranch on Juniper Mountain.
Frankie opened her home to many grandkids and great grandkids and gave them the opportunity to live and learn the ranching lifestyle that she loved. In doing so, Frankie was able to pass on to her traditions and love of the land to the following generations.
Frankie and Chuck’s cowboy artistry has been passed on to all of their children through ranching, mecates, homemade cinches, and metal and leather work.
Frankie was a board member of the Owyhee Pioneer Cemeteries, a lifetime member of the Owyhee Cattleman’s Association, and took great personal pride in the yearly upkeep of the Three Forks Cabin.
Frankie is survived by daughter: Charlene Stanford; son: Ben (Cathy) Dougal; daughter: Helen (Bob) Corbari; numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren.
Frankie was preceded in death by her husband Chuck; grandson Gordon Stanford; her parents; an infant brother Thomas Whitby; brother Arthur Whitby; two sisters: Ulea “Peachie” (Bob) Gluch and Evelyn (Bill) Farmer and many other beloved family members.