Historical Details

Bacon, M. A. Family History

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 10/20/2020


Told by Mrs. T.M. (Ruth) Atkinson                                    By Dona Eddy

Mary Fredrickson was born in Yankton, S.D.  She met and married Marian A. Bacon, who was born in a straw-roofed grainery in Spring Valley, Dakota Territory near now Hurley, S.D.    They were the parents of two children, Raymond Lyle (deceased) and Mrs. T.M. (Ruth} Atkinson of Berkley, Calif., both were born in Hurley, S.D.

They came to Keeline, Wyo. in the early 1900's where they homesteaded four and one­ half miles east and south of Keeline.

Manie or M.A. Bacon as he was known, had brought his family to settle close to the homestead of a boyhood friend Clarence (Dad) Vernon.

The Bacon family stayed with the Carl Bopp family while their two-room house with a hardwood floor and plastered walls was being built.    When they moved into their new home the plaster walls were not dry so the first night Ruth about three years old, slept on a pantry shelf.

One of the reasons they could live here was because of their dog, Shep, which would run off the range horses and cattle. He also kept range riders at a distance and was shot at several times by the cowboys.

To Ruth, one frightening aspects of homesteading magnified by her youth came in the evening when the wild range horses would come up to the house and run around it.

A well was dug and fences built.   Part of the time Mr. Bacon took his family back to South Dakota during the winter where he taught school to earn money to come back and make improvements on his homestead.

He taught school here at the Bopp School one year.  He clerked in the Bushnell Store in Keeline owned by Charles Bushnell, whose brother Bert also clerked. Mr. Bacon would walk back and forth four and one-half miles morning and night. During bad weather he boarded with the Bushnells. Miss Emma Bushey taught the Bopp school and boarded with the Bacon family.  Ruth was in the fifth grade and Raymond Lyle was in the eighth grade . Some of the other students were:  Marie; Amelia, and Conrad Frosheiser, Zella and Burr Stevens and Herbert Rogers.

The next year they moved into Keeline, which made it easier for Mr. Bacon to work and also gave his son Lyle the opportunity to enter the first year of high school under Mr. Kelly, who was also teaching the seventh and eighth grades. In Keeline Ruth was moved from the sixth to the seventh grade.The class motto was "Percents means hundreds".   

They attended the community church in

the school house in Keeline.  Mrs. Charles Bushnell was church superintendent.

In 1919, while in Keeline, a number of boys in 4-H bought young Poland China Pigs to raise and at the end were to sell them and make money.  This didn't happen to be the case. Mr. Melvin Crawford was involved in the 4-H club and he was called in to do some of the judging of the pigs after they were raised.  Names of those remembered to have pigs were: Alex Frosheiser, Raymond Lyle Bacon and Kenneth Rood. The judging took place in the stockyards.

The Bacon family then left for South Dakota for a second time, returning four years later to their homestead.

Ruth finished her last year of high school in Keeline.   Her brother, Lyle, was three years her senior and found work with the Fullertons. Lyle Bacon and Lyle Fullerton became close friends.   One 4th of July they went to Lost Springs where they watched Lyle Fullerton ride a bucking bronc on which an ice cream chair was tied up on top and he sat backwards on the chair.

What a ride!

Times were hard and feed was scarce, so many homesteaders harvested Russian thistles while green to feed the cattle.

The W.C. Rogers was the gathering place of the home area during this time. On Sund­ay afternoons the men made ice-cream, the women brought cakes and the kids licked the paddles.

During the Bacon's visits to South Dakota Mr. J.F. Donahue, another homestead­er, looked after the Bacon Homestead.

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