Walter and Effie Reed pose in front of their house just north of Lusk.
Last updated: May 25, 2011
November 23, 1988
Walter Calvin Reed purchases Lusk bank in 1913
by Carla Reed
At the present time there are several Reed families living in Niobrara County. Primarily, this is the story of the Earl Calvin "Jim" Reed family.
Colonel Thomas Read came to America in the great fleet in 1630 with John Winthrop and settled in Salem, Mass. He was a colonel in the British Army. At that time the Reed name was spelled Read.
Walter Calvin Reed was born in Boston, Mass., in 1873. He came west with his parents when he was a small boy. The Reed family settled in Nebraska and later moved to South Dakota.
Walter Reed married Effie Mae Stevens of Alliance, NE in 1897. Her father was engaged in the hotel business. Walter and Effie moved to a ranch near Harrison, NE where they lived and raised their family for 15 years.
In 1912 the family moved to Weiser, Idaho, for two years. They then returned to Wyoming where Mr. Reed was engaged in ranching and banking. He purchased the bank in Lusk in 1913 and the old Lee Moore ranch in Converse County in 1917.
Walter and Effie were the parents of seven children: Walter, Frankie, Earl (Jim), Ray, Faye, Joe and Assa, who died in childhood. Descendants of Walter, Earl and Ray still make their home in Niobrara County.
As the Reed family grew, all the sons became interested in the ranching business and the family operation became known as the Hereford Livestock Company. They leased several local ranches including the 77 ranch and the Agnew ranch where they ran their cattle.
In 1927, the Reed family purchased the nucleus of the ranch known as the Seven L. Ranch on the Cheyenne River in northern Niobrara County. This had been a large sheep and cattle outfit operated by W.D. McKeon.
Reed family members homesteaded adjoining lands to enlarge their deeded holdings. As other homesteaders left, the Reed family and other ranchers tried to "square up" their holdings by buying out these original homesteaders.
Walter and Effie Reed spent most of their later years at their home in Lusk. He died in 1939 and Effie died in 1953.
Earl Calvin "Jim" Reed was born when the family lived in Harrison and attended school there. He married Elizabeth "Betty" Akins in 1931. Betty Akins came to Wyoming from Decatur, Neb., to teach school, and she met Jim Reed at a country dance. The ranch on the Cheyenne River became their home. Jim and Betty Reed had two children, Jim and Tom.
Old Jim was one of the last of the oldtime cowboys. He rode on the round-ups when he was a young man; he was always willing to help a neighbor. Jim was not only a cowboy, he was also a stockman.
The Reed's ranch home was always open to everyone. It was a a place where friends and neighbors were welcome to stop and share a good meal. Jim and Betty lived on the ranch until 1955 when they retired and moved to Lusk. Mr. Reed died in 1963.
Betty did not retire when she moved to Lusk, but was active in many things including Does where she was always willing to help in the kitchen. One year she taught at Cow Creek School. She worked at the high school cafeteria for several years and clerked at the Quality Shop in downtown Lusk.
In 1964, she designed and built her own home. Betty still makes her home in Lusk.
Young Jim married Carla Mill in 1954. After Jim was discharged from the Navy they moved to the family ranch on the Cheyenne River. Jim and Carla are the parents of three children: Jake, Lori and Jeff. Jake and his wife, Lorrie, live on the Mill ranch at Hat Creek. They have a daughter, Staci Ann Reed.
Lori, and her husband Pat Murphy, live in Casper and have three sons: Michael, Sean and Darren. Jeff and his wife, Danese, live and work at the family ranch on the Cheyenne River with Jeff's parents, Jim and Carla Reed. Jeff and Danese have two young daughters, Kaylee and Kristen.
Tom Reed is Jim and Betty Reed's youngest son. Tom married Ruth Swope in 1955. After ranching with his father and older brother for three years, Tom and Ruth moved to Lander and bought their own ranch in 1958.
Tom and Ruth had three children: Shannon, Tom and Tamera. Shannon was killed in a car accident in 1975. Young Tom ranches with his father near Lander. Tammy is a school teacher with two young daughters, Danielle and Reana. Tam and her girls live at the family ranch near Lander.
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