February 22, 1906 –
Emil Malmberg was a first generation American born to Anna and Charles Malmberg, Swedish Immigrants, at Pender, Nebraska February 22, 1906. He died while calving out a thousand head of cows on a side hill at the U Cross Ranch, caught in an Easter Sandhill blizzard.
All of his life in ranching was spent teaching young ranch cowboys how to do the best possible task expertly. He was also a great horseman and was a rhythm rider, winning at the early day rodeos in Belle Fourche.
When he raised his family, they were good enough, but he would not allow them to rodeo professionally.
Emil began managing the Carson Ranch north of Gordon, Nebraska, for Mr. Carson in the 1920’s and made a name for himself as an outstanding cowman in the country. After Mr. Carson’s death in the 1940’s, Mr. George Brandeis, owner of The Brandeis Store in Omaha, hired him to manage the Brandeis Ranch, south of Cody, Nebraska. The Brandeis Ranch was the largest ranch in Nebraska, 35,000 acres and was distinguished for having excellent hay meadows, lakes and wildlife. Mr. Brandeis, a Jewish immigrant, was very successful in merchandising, but enjoyed coming out west to his Sandhill ranch to hunt, bringing a complete staff to entertain in the Brandeis Clubhouse and pack their game in ice to preserve it to take back to Omaha. He highly respected Emil for the way he managed the land and cattle and included him in board meetings in Omaha as one of his business colleagues. When Mr. Brandeis died, the ranch was taken over by a nephew, E. John Brandeis, who offered to be a partner to Emil to buy the ranch. Without Mr. Brandeis, Emil declined, thinking it would put his family deeply in debt, so he made plans to lease The Dan Hill Ranch south of Gordon, Nebraska, with two sons, Don and Charles.
Again, for twenty years, they ran the Dan Hill Ranch, using Emil’s excellent ranching practices to improve the ranch considerably. Every five years, Mr. Fay Hill and Emil negotiated the lease, painted the buildings and preserved the sod house and homesteader shacks, utilized to store cake and machinery. Ranch hands could boast a good ‘rep’ if they lasted under Emil’s iron rule and they could get a job anyplace with his training under their belt. He helped a lot of young cowboys get their start and they used his tactics throughout their lifetime. He was a great teacher to those who worked under him, as well as to his family.
As long as Mr. Fay Hill was in charge, Emil and his family worked hard to make the land a showplace to please him. It was the way of the Malmbergs to always build up and conserve the fragile sandhill land from the scourge of blowouts by overgrazing. The ranch was historically known in the olden days as a stage stop and the big V V Bar barn bedded down the horses, while the sod house welcomed passengers overnight. Fay’s father, Dan Hill, bought up discouraged homesteader neighbors and moved their shacks into the headquarters, adding to the size of the ranch until it was a full township, 36 sections, in one block.
Emil was a great horseman and trained his men and fine quarterhorse blooded geldings for the ranch work. His family loved him.