Niobrara County News

June Willson Read Booksigning and Presentation

As part of the 100 year celebration of Niobrara County History and 125 Years of Lusk’s past, The Niobrara County Library will host a book signing and presentation by June Willson Read on Wednesday, August 3 from 4-6 p.m. at the library.

The book signing and program will feature the books Frontier Madam: The Life of Dell Burke, Lady of Lusk and Pages from the Past: stories of Niobrara County Homesteaders by June Willson Read as well as the children’s book, Doorway to Adventure with stories written by June and View from an Apple Tree: a Memoir of Courage by Anna Sharon Logan.

Frontier Madam: the Life of Dell Burke, Lady of Lusk is the first biography of Dell Burke, whose estate sale drew national attention when she died in 1981 at age 93. Read’s landmark history tells the story of a broken young woman who saw opportunities in the Alaskan gold rush, the copper mines in Montana and the oil fields in Wyoming. But it wasn’t mining that made Burke’s fortune – she focused on the entertainment needs of the lonely men who poured into the uncharted west to strike it rich. In 1919, the genteel and gracious Burke opened the Yellow Hotel brothel in Lusk, Wyoming, where she reigned for six decades, until 1978. Although condemned for her profession, she was beloved for her generosity and her devotion to the community.

Pages from the Past: Stories from Niobrara County Homesteaders is a compilation of interviews that were originally published in the Lusk Herald in 1951.

Doorway to Adventure: Tales of Imagination, stories and poems for children by the children’s Writers of the Writers’ Group of the Triad. Drawing on life with two of her cats, June Willson Read writes about one cat who loved to pull the green beans right out the garden to feast on, and another whose antics kept her laughing as she cleaned up the messes behind a kitty who “just wanted some attention”.

View From an Apple Tree: A Memoir of Courage is the product of years of chronicling life and experiences by Anna Sharon Logan. Born with Friedreich ataxia (akin to Parkinson’s), Sharon has chosen a life path of determination; courage and will to not only survive but to live life to the fullest.

June Willson Read was raised in Wyoming on the Running Water Ranch, sometimes called the Willson Brothers ranch because her grandfather and great uncle homesteaded the lands in the 1880s. For some years, she taught writing classes at Guilford Technical Community College, Greensboro, NC.

Plan now to stop by the library and visit with June before heading out to the Fairgrounds for the 6 p.m. barbeque! For more information call the library at 334-3490.