Wild Man: A Mostly-True Memoir of a Missouri Cattleman
Sit back and travel to a time not long ago when one Missouri man’s decision to take a chance on a cattleman’s dream created seven generations of cattle entrepreneurs and countless mostly true, larger-than-life stories along the way.
Sierra Shea, author of “Wild Man: A Mostly True Memoir of a Missouri Cattleman”, recounts her grandfather Luther Angell’s stories in amusing fashion. From hilarious blind dates and animal-related pranks to triumphs and misfortunes, it weaves a rich tableau of the Angell family’s livestock auction ownership and involvement in the beef industry.
Luther is the kind of grandpa every kid wishes they had, filling a room with laughter and astonishment with each story he retells. It would not be a cattleman’s memoir without seven bar stories, half a dozen pranks and a couple big cow collisions. He pauses periodically to describe his lifelong romance with Joan, his Georgia-raised gal. Even in their fifth decade of marriage, Joan still struggles to rein in her cowboy and his endless jokes.
There are no ad nauseam chapters in this book, rather 50 short stories with over 100 photos from Luther and the Angell family that bring life and color to each story.
Sheep, Stetsons & Stockyards: Stories on Surviving Change
(Special First Edition Hardback, $25)
The Angell family of Centralia, Missouri has been buying, selling, bartering, wheeling and dealing for three generations. The commodity didn’t matter – sheep, hogs, catt
le, diamonds, land, Levi’s or Stetsons. But, they didn’t always make money! Sometimes, a family business has a different goal. This easy-reading, historical book uses personal stories to explain the biggest economic changes in Missouri agriculture from the 1940s to the 1990s:
- Why did farms in Missouri have sheep, hogs and cattle in the 1940s – but don’t anymore?
- What happened to the Kansas City Stockyards?
- Why don’t farmer-feeders fatten all their cattle in Missouri anymore?
- Why bother keeping a business open on Main Street?
Who better to hear it from than the Angell brothers, who marketed more than 25,000 sheep and between two and three million hogs, purchased cattle in the Kansas City Stockyards nearly every week for over 40 years, and operated a western clothing store in Downtown Centralia for more than 45 years? Laugh and learn along the way, but most importantly – these stories show why farmers and cattlemen aren’t always only concerned about the bottom line.
Order your books!
- Amazon: Order Wild Man from Amazon.com as a paperback. (Second book not yet available on Amazon.com)
- Snail Mail: Order both directly from Sierra Shea via snail mail. Make checks payable to Sierra Shea and include your shipping address. Mail checks to Sierra Shea, PO Box 93, Lake Preston, SD 57249. Free Shipping. Wild Man, paperback, $20. Sheep, Stetsons, & Stockyards, hardback, $25.
- Online Store: Order both directly from Sierra Shea.
About the Author
Sierra Shea lives in her new hometown of De Smet, South Dakota, a few miles from the original homestead of Laura Ingalls Wilder. Sierra is a writer and farm wife and a native of Centralia, Missouri. She began her writing career as a 15-year-old columnist for The Cattleman’s Advocate, but she’s also been writing in dozens of daily journals since middle school. Sierra is passionate about preserving the heritage of rural people and places by recording their stories. Sierra Shea (Angell) Blachford is the granddaughter of Luther Angell, the main character of both of her books, wife of John Blachford and mama to Joslyn and J.D.
SpiritualCurrently, Sierra is working on her masters at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota. She is also earning a Spritual Direction Certificate in a two-year program from Sioux Falls Seminary in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
Free stories from Wild Man
Free stories from Sheep, Stetsons, & Stockyards
- The Old Centralia Livestock Auction & Central Hog Buyers
- Texas Sheep delivered to the Centralia Train Depot by Rail
Praise from the Readers
“A very good read. I read it in one day!
“One Midwest family’s interesting, and often funny, struggle to survive in the tough livestock industry. There are many great lessons to be learned between the covers on buying’, sellin’, swappin’ and dealin’ with coyotes of both the varmint and human persuasion.”
Lee Pits, Nationally Syndicated Columnist and Author
Packed full of rollicking stories, laughter, and history, Sheep, Stetsons and Stockyards will keep you turning pages until you feel as if you’ve been sitting in a worn chair listening to three generations of the author’s family talk about their businesses of raising and selling cattle, sheep and hogs, operating sale barns, and running a western wear store. This is regional history at its best, centered on families in Kansas and Missouri and told by a descendant of these enterprising folks who had a lot of fun while they were trying to make a living for their families. And Sierra, besides being born to this life, married into a family of farmers and cattlemen, so the stories should keep coming. The book is well illustrated with historic photos from the 1940s to modern times.
Linda M. Hasselstrom, Rancher and Writer
It’s a rare book that can satisfy both avid readers and those who hardly ever sit down to read. Also, it is rare that a book can be enjoyed across several generations, from grandparents to grandchildren. Sierra Shea has successfully managed both in her second book that follows her initial success of the popular Wild Man book. Every family has stories to tell and Sierra tells her family’s in an easy and conversational style that will take you from wonder to laughter. You’ll find that it is just like sitting down with an old friend catching up and reminiscing.
Jon Angell, Publisher of The Cattleman’s Advocate
I don’t live on a farm or drive a tractor or ride a bus to school. But I am familiar with the Angell family and their legacy in my hometown. That’s what attracted me to Sierra Shea’s first book, Wild Man, A Mostly-True Memoir of a Missouri Cattleman.
In Sierra’s second book, Sheep, Stetsons & Stockyards: Stories on Surviving Change, I expected tales about family and farming and philosophies from wise men and sassy women and Sierra didn’t disappoint me. But I also found myself being schooled on the livestock industry and the series of events that changed a family business.
Woven through the history of Sierra’s family, another story is being told. Her well-written words allowed a “town” girl like me to understand the complex cattle buying business and the glory and decline of the stockyard. Sierra’s book is illustrated with family pictures and historical photos of places long gone. The black and white prints allow the reader to witness the passing of time and the death of a way of life.
Sheep, Stetsons & Stockyards: Stories on Surviving Change is not only a story book, it is a history book too. Well worth the read and the lesson, a worthy addition to my bookshelf.
Lorry Myers, Columbia Tribune Columnist
“Although I enjoy reading magazines and educational articles, reading books or novels is not really my thing. I would have to say that this is the first book I have read from front to back in about 20 years. I think you will enjoy the agricultural heritage of this book no matter what your background.”
Sally Thomas, owner-operator at Angell-Thomas Charolais
Hilarious stories about her family’s involvement in buying and selling livestock make Sierra Shea’s book an engaging read. The photographs from her family albums and the Kansas City Public Library take it up another notch. It is a fun book that should be on the reading list of all ag students since it also includes a serious look at the reality of the changing agricultural history in Missouri.
Laurel Wilson, Ph.D., Professor Emerita, University of Missouri
Sierra’s book is both a valuable treasure and a complete delight of not just family stories but a local and regional history of the livestock industry past and present. This is a zestful labor of love approached with a passionate and unique ability to weave family history in a style that is told with laughter and respect of an era that is both valuable and informative. For all who appreciate family and history of and industry that has changed dramatically.
Greg Harrison, MDA/USDA Market News Reporter
Finished Wild Man, Sierra. Well done! So fun to read about a guy who has been a ‘character’ all my life; really enjoyed it. Again, well done!
Just finished your book, I got it for Christmas and read it at night when I had a chance and I can honestly say it was one of the best books I’ve ever read! I hope you start on another one soon about something farm related wether it be fiction or non- fiction. Congrats on your book!
Reading on the book and the Central Hog Buyer chapters bring back memories of working on the books in weekends during school. Enjoying the book and as always, interesting to see how brothers or any family members can be so different. I tell my kids we have an excellent example on how to get along in business, After all, we had the best example. That is what I like so far about your book, their relationship through the years. Thanks for putting in print!
Lori Angell VanMaanen
One small problem I thought I should bring to your attention. I started reading your new book this afternoon when I wanted to take a nap. The nap that never happened! Then it was time to chore before it got dark. Also, I never had dinner and folded clothes. Yet, I have finished reading the book! What a wonderful story that your pen brings to life. The problem lies in the time frame in which I can read your books and the time that it is taking you to write them! I can’t wait for the next one.