Historical Details

Chalfant Ranch Sold to "Bing" Barr

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 11/06/2020



by Jane P. Tyrrel

Just prior to 1900, young Dan Chalfant came to eastern Wyoming from Union, Nebr.

Born in 1874, he was the son of John and Lena (Gantt) Chalfant and was the grandson of Judge Daniel Gantt, the first Chief Justice of Nebraska.

Like many others, he fell under the spell of Wyoming and stayed to become one of the old-timers. For some years he was foreman of the historic 9-bar ranch, owned by his brother-in-law, Wesley T. Wolfe. In 1916 he married Bertha Austin, daughter of Marion and Lucassa (Jackson) Austin, who had come to Lusk in 1910 and had remained to work because she liked this region.

The Chalfant ranch has been closely connected with other members of the family. The original house had been constructed for Dan's sister, Mrs. Hattie Crouch, when she, widowed and with three small children, homesteaded that land. Before she proved up, however, romance intervened and she married George Nichols. Dan bought the relinquishment and they moved in. Dan's own homestead was farther northeast.

His mother, also, despite her advancing years, homesteaded what is now part of the ranch. After her death, her small house was moved down beside the larger one and became the bunkhouse. An odd coincidence shows up here. When Lena Gantt was small her mother died and Judge Gantt took his family back to Penn. where they lived with relatives for several years. Lena lived with her aunt, Mrs. John Patterson. In 1935 the latter's granddaughter, Jane Patterson (now Mrs. Walter Tyrrel) came
west and spent her first winter in Wyoming with the Dan Chalfant’s.  Lena's house sheltered her as once her grandmother had sheltered Lena.

Hugh Chalfant, Dan's brother, also worked on the Wolfe ranch for some years, he also prospected up in the Lander region but returned here and took up a homestead near Dan's. Here he lived alone until Aug. 4, 1937 when he was found dead in his home by his niece, Sally Nichols, and his cousin, Jane Patterson.  He had apparently died of a heart attack. This land was also bought and added to the Chalfant ranch. Later half of the Frank Finney place was purchased.

Thus, the ranch grew and kept pace with the country.    Of course, they battled winter blizzards and summer heat like everyone else. Their worst troubles were the flash floods that came down Rawhide Creek and the small tributary that flowed through the yard.   In September 1946, a bad thunder­ storm with hail caused a small dam some miles above the house to break and a wall of water swept down the small creek. The bunkhouse was washed down Rawhide and the family treasures which were stored in it were never recovered. The house itself was moved several feet against two trees which prevented it being washed further, but much work was needed to make it livable again.

In 1947 after selling the ranch to Loren W (better known as Bing) and Izetta Barr, Chalfants. moved to Torrington. Dan died in 1951 and Bertha in 1962.

One part of the Barr ranch was acquired after the purchase of the Chalfant place. This was a part of the old Wolfe ranch which was originally owned by the Luke Voorhees Cattle Co.  In 1886 this was sold to people by the name of Jenks, and after going through several hands it was sold to the Badger Sheep and Cattle Co., a Wisconsin Corporation, in 1900.  They in turn sold it to Wesley T. Wolfe in 1911.

The Chalfants were eager to sell their ranch after the flood had done so much to their house and Loren Barr was thrilled with the opportunity to buy it as he had always wanted a ranch of his own.

Loren had worked on several ranches in the Lusk area. He worked on the Walt Reed Ranch seven years.

Loren W. Barr came from Kansas to Wyoming with his parents, Bert and Elsie Barr. When he was three years old, his mother died and Loren and his older brother, Lowell, made their home with their aunt and uncle, Charles and Melva Barr, south of Lost Springs, Wyo.  It was while taking part in a class play at the Lost Springs School that Loren received the name "Bing".

During World War II Loren spent 3 1/ 2 years in the U.S. Army.   His best memory of army life was the day the war ended.   He was on his way from Marseilles, France to the Pacific Theater which meant being on the water 40 days. After three days on the water, the war ended and their ship was sent to Boston.

On Sept. 1, 1945 Loren married Izetta Milnes, daughter of Charles and Gertrude Milne.   Izetta was teaching school in Douglas, Wyo. where they continued to live until moving to the ranch in 1947.   Loren worked at the Standard Service Station for two years.

When Loren and Izetta bought the Chalfant Ranch in the spring of 1947, they felt like "homesteaders in 1947" as there was no electricity and the little 3-room house had been damaged by flood waters. In 1948 the men in the community worked to­gether to build a better telephone line in the Royal Valley Community. The Barr and two other ranches were added to the line. The Niobrara Electric Association was able to get electricity to the Barr ranch in 1949.

The Barr's built a new home in 1948 which is further from the creek so they don't have the fear of flash floods moving their home down the Rawhide Creek.

They have two children, Peggy Anne and Robert C. The Barr children attended the Jay Em School (5 miles from the ranch) and high school in Lusk. Peggy Anne graduated from NCHS in 1966 and Robert C. in 1968.

Peggy Anne married Ewart (Peewee) Johnson, son of Elmer and Maurine Johnson. They live east of Red Bird, Wyo. where Ewart is employed on a ranch. Their daughter, Kimberly Kay, attends school in Lusk.

Robert C. married Barbara Helmsing of Pueblo, Colo.  He received his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine in March, 1975. Robert C. is no longer with Smylie Clinic. He is in Pueblo, Colo. now practicing veterinary medicine there.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Chalfant, Daniel (05/13/1875 - 12/14/1951) View Record
Obituary Chalfant, Bertha (04/01/1879 - 07/10/1962) View Record
Obituary Barr, Loren (09/11/1913 - 09/09/1981) View Record
Obituary Barr, Izetta (07/19/1922 - 05/29/2016) View Record