Wes Cumings

Mr. and Mrs. Wesley J. Cumings

At the time that the Golden Jubilee book was published in 1967, Wes Cumings was still working as a taxidermist, farmer, and school bus driver for the White Shield School.

He was able to develop taxidermy, a favorite hobby, into a business that provided extra income for his family, especially during the winter months when farm work is slack.

His taxidermy shop was located in a two-room school building that he purchased and moved to his farm in Deepwater Township, McLean County, North Dakota. This was the building where he attended school as a boy.

His uncle, Ralph Cumings, helped to encourage and get Wes started in taxidermy. Although Wes never saw his uncle actually do any mounting work, he did view several examples of his work, and when his uncle saw that Wes was genuinely interested, he decided to give Wes his taxidermy equipment and supplies in 1951.

Later, Wes enrolled in an correspondence course from one of the nation’s top taxidermy schools and, several weeks later, he was making his first bird mount. As he continued his work, his fascination for this hobby grew and, in 1961, he decided that he needed more room, and that was when he bought the abandoned school house, which provided space for him to perform and display his work.

His hobby became a year-round business, one in which he was able to hire an assistant, Gerald Zieszler. Of course, he has kept up with improved methods of taxidermy.

He married Miriam Humbert, a Registered Nurse. Apart from taxidermy, the Cumings farmed in Deepwater Township.

Wes and his wife, Miriam, have two children: Patti and Roger, who were sixteen and thirteen, respectively, in 1967, and attending White Shield School, while his wife was a special project nurse working with tuberculosis on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation.