George Earl Peet

George Earl Peet
George Earl Peet

George Earl Peet was the original Indian chief in the
George Earl Peet was the original Indian chief in the "Legend of the Rawhide". - Jan 1, 1986 Lusk Herald

Photo used with permission from photographer Deanna Reyman, copied from Nebraska Gravestones
Photo used with permission from photographer Deanna Reyman, copied from Nebraska Gravestones

(June 3, 1884 - October 14, 1970)


The Lusk Herald
October, 1970


Former Mayor George Earl Peet, Veteran Niobrara Citizen, Dies

George Earl Peet, 86, former mayor of Lusk for 10 years, county coroner and mortician-proprietor of the Peet Mortuary since 1928, died October 14 at the home of a son, Don at Auburn, Wash.

One of Niobrara County's most respected citizens; he had been in the mainstream of its activities ever since he established his business here. Not even illness, which progressively incapacitated him, kept him from the association of Lions Club which he loved, or from the excitement of high school athletic activities. And even up to the time of making the trip west, he determinedly walked down town to the post office.

In late June he walked feebly into The Herald and scribbled out the note which was to run as an advertisement - "42 Years Is Long Enough, I was first elected coroner of Niobrara County in 1928 and have served in that office ever since. It's time for the citizens to elect someone else." His term would have expired at the end of the year.

Besides serving in public office, he had been a faithful and ardent member of the Republican Party through the years. But he was much more, and loyal citizen of Lusk and the county above all else. He was a devout man as reflected in the manner in which he conducted his profession. Through the years he was a generous contributor to several of the Lusk churches and was often at their services. But he was also an avid sportsman, a man of physical ability in hunting that often put younger men to shame. He was a man of droll humor, always ready with a good story for most any occasion.


Born in Iowa


George Earl Peet was born at Troy Mills, Linn County, Iowa, on June 3, 1884, the son of Marlin Dennis and Pauline Catherine (Gillilan) Peet. In 1891 the family moved to Keya Paha County, Neb. where he grew to adulthood and attended school. He was baptized in a stream on the old Peet ranch in that county.

In August 1905 he was married to Ida Blanche Stokes in Ainsworth, Neb., and two sons were born. In the spring of 1913 the family located on a homestead some 20 miles southeast of Lusk, where they lived until moving to Lusk for school privileges in 1917. The flu epidemic in 1919 brought the death of his wife. In 1924 Mr. Peet decided to take up embalming and entered Worsham Embalming School at Chicago and upon returning to Lusk he first worked as mortician for Midwest Hardware. Then in 1928 he established his own mortuary in the building that is now the Wolf apartments on Pine Street. In 1930 he purchased from Anna Gray the historic home built in 1890 by Frank S. Lusk, founder of the town, and began converting it into a modern mortuary. The chapel was added in 1938.

In 1932 he was married to Miss Agnes Laverty, and a niece of Mrs. Peet's, Mary Agnes Laverty, lived with them during her grade schooling and until graduating from Lusk High School. She is now Mrs. Jordan Smith living in Denver and the mother of two children. Through his years in Lusk Mr. Peet served as master of Harmony Masonic Lodge in 1934, president of the Lions Club in 1938 and mayor from 1938 to 1948. It was during those years that he made probably his richest contribution to the community in directing the improvement of the Lusk Cemetery which has become a place of rest and beauty. But during those years, too, he also guided the town to many of the other improvements it enjoys today. He was presented a 50-year membership pin by the Masonic Lodge on June 9 of this year.

However, he was to become best known for his part in the establishment of the pageant, "The Legend of Rawhide", in 1946 and his participation through most of its existence until 1965 as the colorful Indian Chief, riding his horse at the head of the band of warriors attacking the wagon train and firing a wagon.


Funeral Monday


Funeral services were held Monday morning at 10:00 from the mortuary bearing his name, conducted by the Rev. Frank Bozart of Edgerton, Wyo., former pastor of the Open Bible Church at Lusk. A quartet of Mrs. Robert Bramlet, Mrs. Walter Fernau, Lee Johnsonbaugh and Harry Lyon sang "Rock of Ages" which had been a favorite of Mr. Peet's mother.

The body was taken to Ainsworth for burial that afternoon beside his first wife. Masonic services were conducted at the grave by C. E. "Blondie" Marvin, Don Taylor, Don Whiteaker, and Pete Hansen of the Lusk Lodge. Mr. Marvin, long time friend of Mr. Peet, had often been a hunting and fishing companion on trips to Canadian Lakes.

Surviving are his widow, and two sons, Melvin of Riverton, Wyo. and Donald of Seattle, Wash.; and one sister, Mrs. George Purdy of Sioux Falls, S.D. There are five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. His parents and four brothers died previously.




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Related Historical Entries: 'George Earl Peet'

Costlow Collection Part 1, Frank Lusk, Founder and Namesake

Costlow Collection Part 1, Photos Revive Interest In Frank Lusk History

Jim's Jottings (part 8 #12)

Legend of Rawhide

Peet Indian Head Dress

Reminiscences of the Founding and the Growth of the Town of Lusk






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