|ROBERT C. MIDDLEWOOD.|
Through the period of his active business career Robert
C. Middlewood was one of the well known and successful stockmen of
Carbon county, Wyoming, where he has resided for more than thirty-six
years. He is a native of Hamilton, Ontario, born September 22,
1858, a son of Joseph and Mary (Watson)
Middlewood. The father was a native of England and on coming to
America was for a short time a resident of Cincinnati, Ohio, after
which he removed to Canada, locating near Hamilton, in the
province of Ontario, while subsequently he resided in that city,
where he passed away in his fifty-first year. He was a well-to-do
business man and citizen, was highly respected and was a
representative of a most honorable and honored family. He was
twice married. To him and his first wife were born six children, and
following the mother's death he married her sister, Mary Watson, by
whom he had three children, two sons and a daughter. Of these, one
son died in childhood, while the other is Robert C. Middlewood, and
the daughter Elizabeth is now the wife of L. A. Sexsmith, of
Hamilton, Ontario. The mother survived the father for a number of
years, attaining the age of seventy-three.
Robert C. Middlewood acquired his education in the public schools of his native city and in the Collegiate Institute of Hamilton, in which he pursued three courses of study. In entering upon his business career he learned the trade of a bookbinder, to which business he devoted three years, and on the expiration of that period he formed a partnership in the printing and lithographing business. Later he disposed of his interest in that connection and entered the employ of his successors, being made foreman of the pressroom. Inside work, however, did not appeal to him, as he preferred to live in the open. From boyhood he had taken a considerable interest in athletics and outdoor sports, including lacrosse, baseball, football and hockey—games of which he was very fond and in which he had become a well known player, displaying expert skill. He had a desire to go west and finally concluded to do so. He had almost made up his mind to go to Montana, when, through mutual acquaintances, he met Frank Ernst, a well known Platte valley rancher of the early days, who had gone to that country from Toronto, Canada. Through Mr. Ernst, Mr. Middlewood learned of Wyoming and made his way to the Ernst ranch, situated on the Platte river, in Carbon county, arriving there on the 5th of May, 1882. He was a genuine tenderfoot as regards life in the west in those days. Coming of a fine family, well descended and well bred, his environment had been quite different from what his new surroundings furnished. He was courageous in spirit, however, and not lacking in determination and the rigors of western ranch life did not drive him back to the east. He engaged in punching cows for the Half Square outfit during the first summer in which he was in Wyoming, receiving his board as pay for his services. The following winter he spent at his former home in Hamilton, but in the succeeding spring returned to Wyoming. At that time he purchased an interest in what was known as the W A outfit, connected with which were Judge William Ash, Frank Ernst and Perry Smith. This was Mr. Middlewood's initial venture in the stock business. After about three years he disposed of his interests therein and later, in connection with William Johnston, took up a ranch on Sage creek. This association continued three or four years, when Mr. Middlewood went into business for himself, and from that time his real prosperity began. His attention had been given entirely to the cattle business up to that period and in fact so continued until about 1895, when he also began sheep raising. His interests since then have included both cattle and sheep, which under his wise direction, have expanded in volume from year to year. After a time his business was incorporated under the laws of Wyoming as the Sage Creek Sheep Company, of which he became president and manager. The business enjoyed a remarkable growth and in 1916 included about two hundred and seventy-five head of cattle, between eleven and twelve thousand head of sheep, sixteen thousand acres of deeded land and eight sections of leased land, of which three sections were fenced. In that year Mr. Middlewood decided to retire from the stock business and disposed of his land, herds and flocks. Since then he has lived retired, save for the supervision which he gives to his intetests and investments that he has acquired.
On the 9th of February, 1895, Mr. Middlewood was married in Denver to Miss Mary Smith, a native of Toronto, Canada, who belonged to one of the old and prominent families of that city. Her parents were John and Mary (McGarrahan) Smith. Mrs. Middlewood's father was born in Toronto, then called Muddy York, in 1811, at the corner of King and Sherburn streets, now the heart of the business district. This Smith family was founded in Toronto by William Smith, Sr., the great-grandfather of Mrs. Middlewood, who was a civil engineer. He went to that portion of Canada in an early day with Governor Simcoe. At the same time his son, William Smith, Jr., a noted architect, the grandfather of Mrs. Middlewood, went with them to Canada. William Smith, Sr., as well as his son, William, Jr., had much to do with laying out the city and they were among the prominent men of that time in Toronto. John Smith, the father of Mrs. Middlewood, was an extensive landowner and a prominent member of the conservative party. He became one of the well known men in the business and political life of Toronto and his family belonged to the best social circles and were reared in keeping with their social position. Mr. and Mrs. Middlewood have one daughter, Florence Elizabeth, born in Rawlins, Wyoming, November 20, 1895. She was educated at Roland Hall, Salt Lake, and is now Mrs. Paul S. Pilon, of Saratoga, Wyoming, and has one son, Robert Middlewood, born March 31, 1917, in Rawlins.
Since 1904 Mr. Middlewood has lived in Rawlins and in 1905 built his comfortable and well appointed residence at No. 313 West Spruce street, which has since been the family home. For several years it has been his custom to spend the winters in southern California. While he has retired from extensive and active connection with stock raising interests of Wyoming, he still maintains business interests, being a director of the Stock Growers National Bank of Rawlins. He is a stanch republican in politics and takes a keen interest in the success of his party. A member of the Masonic fraternity, he is most loyal to its teachings, but he is not a club man, his interest centering in his family. His wife is a member of the Episcopal church and Mr. Middlewood contributes to the support of churches of various denominations. He is one of Carbon county's most substantial citizens—a man whose record in business is unsullied. He has done his full share toward the development of one of the state's leading industries and he and his family fully merit the high standing which they have always enjoyed in the various relations of life.