Jean Etchemendy

Jean Etchemendy

Born in Uhart-Cize, Basses Pyrenees, France, Jean was the son of Dominica and Michel Etchemendy. In April, 1920, Jean came to the United States and worked for John Esponda and Long Brothers Sheep Ranches in Wyoming.  He and his brother later formed a partnership in the sheep ranching business. He took up a homestead in the Big Horn Mountains near Buffalo, Wyoming, where many Basque celebrations were held. In 1937, Jean married Dorothy Shepperson and in 1944 they purchased a house in town and moved their family to Buffalo. In 1949, they moved with their family to Indian Creek near Cameron, Montana, where Jean ranched for another 20 years. Together they had five sons and three daughters.

Long-time Buffalo resident, Madeline Iberlin Harriet, remembers Jean Etchemendy playing music on his violin at Basque gatherings in the early days.

Source: Information and photographs provided by Jean’s granddaughter, TaraLee (O'Toole) Mattson, and an interview with Madeline Iberlin Harriet by Patty Miller, in May, 2016).


Jean Etchemendy (on right)

Jean Etchemendy (far left) with violin at a Basque Gathering.