Historical Details

DeCastro Family History

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 11/17/2020


by Edna Howard DeCastro

Frank W. DeCastro came to Wyoming from Boston, Mass. in 1876, as a lad of 15. He spent several years working on ranches in­cluding the OW north of Lusk, which at that time was owned by the Clay Cattle Co., whose foreman was John B. Kendricks, the man who later became U.S. Senator.     For a time, also, Frank hauled freight by team and wagon between Cheyenne, Wyo. and Dead­ wood, S.D.

Some time before 1886 he homesteaded on what is now the Bill Bredthauer place four miles west of Lusk.  It was during this time of proving up that he hauled wood for the smelter at the Silver Mine at Silver Cliff, having acquired his own horses and freight outfit.

In 1888, he returned to Boston and it is at this point that we pick up the story of Annie May Bennett, whom he married in December 1890.

Annie had lived in Malden, Mass. with her parents, and Frank had worked for her father as a boy. The Bennett family migrated to Iowa, soon after Frank's return to Massachusetts and it is surmised that Frank accompanied them to that state where the Bennetts settled along the Wapsipinicon River near the town of Waubeek and where Frank and Annie were married.

The newlyweds then returned to Boston where they lived until 1896 when they de­cided to come to Wyoming.  One daughter, Frances Emma, was born in Massachusetts and one son George died at birth.  Frances Emma died in California in 1963.

Their trip to Wyoming was by train as far as Cheyenne, but from that point to this part of the country there was no public conveyance, so Frank purchased a team and buggy and they started north. By the time they reached Chugwater a blizzard was rag­ing so they found shelter in an empty barn in which they hoped to keep warm and dry. Although there were things to burn, they had no matches and had to wait until a cow­boy also seeking refuge, arrived to share the comforts of the stable.    Fortunately, he had some matches, so until the storm subsided two days later, they were able to keep a little fire going from the straw and hay and other things they could find to burn.

After the storm they continued on their journey.    Upon arriving in the vicinity of Lusk they stayed for a while with the Demmons and later with Charley McGinnis.

Finally, they settled north of Lusk on Old Woman Creek, property now belonging to Dan Hanson. While Frank was gathering timber to build a solid structure, they lived in a tent.   Eventually a log house was built on the bank of the creek and other buildings were made for the stock which they acquired. While living on this place seven children were born, one of whom died at birth. The six who lived were:  Lila (now living in Lusk), Gladys (died in 1950), Abdon (now living in Lusk), Austin (died in 1916), Dora (now living in Hemingford, Nebr.), and Addison (now living in Hays Springs, Nebr.). No doctor was in attendance at any of these births.

For several years Frank had the contract to carry mail between Warren, Wyo. and Torrington. He usually hired someone to help him, as there were actually two routes, one north from Lusk to Warren and one south from Lusk to Torrington.   All of the travel­ing had to be done with teams of horses which had to be cared for.  During the year Abdon was 13, he carried the mail, much of the time himself.

In 1908, a terrible deluge struck the area, and within hours the creek was running wild with old tree trunks and other debris hurling along its path. Frank lost 100 pigs in this flood, besides experiencing other damage to his property.

After the flood wiped them out, the family moved to the Ed Daley place, north of the railroad tracks and west of Lusk where they lived until 1913.  There were two more moves before the family settled down on what has been the family home since 1918. During the years 1913-18 they lived on Main Street in a house now gone, that belonged to D. E. Goddard.  It was on the east side of the street on what is now the parking lot between Percivals Liquor store and the old "Merry Whirl" dance hall and theatre building.  The last move was to the place at the east edge of Lusk where Lila now lives and on which property Ab and his wife Edna have built their home and motel.

For many years Frank had one of the finest gardens in the county, supplying many friends as well as his family with his produce.

The DeCastro home was always buzzing with young people, for besides their own children, dozens of their friends found it a good place to spend much of their time. Often there would be as many as 12 or 15 people present for a meal, several of these would be friends invited on the spur of the moment, but everyone was made to feel wel­come any time and under any circumstances.

For years Frank served as constable for the Town of Lusk, a position which he held at the time of his death. And he was of such disposition that he could handle the most difficult assignment with ease.

Other children born after the family moved off the ranch were  Jackie (Olive, now living in Cheyenne); Chad (Charles, now living in Holyoke, Colo.); Esther (now living in Scappoose, Ore.); Frank (now liv­ing in Conifer, Colo.); and Edegae (Edith Gay, now living in Eugene, Ore.).

One of Frank's hobbies was music. He was a proficient drummer and for about 20 years sponsored a band of about 15 adult members. They were hired to play at the State Fair in Douglas three different years and also at Harrison, Nebr. at the Sioux County Fair.  He also had an orchestra of five or six members, including at various times, Al Rundquist, Ernie Holsapple, Mrs. Amy Barnes, Merlin Barnes, Mrs. Jack Hastings, Brownie Hancock, Bert Hancock and himself.

His fondness for children as well as music encouraged him to organize a "kid's band" which he kept together for about 10 years. Four of his own children were members of this group; Dora, Addison, Jackie (Olive) and Chad.

Frank died in February 1947 at the age of 86 and Annie died in March 1954 at the age of 76, leaving a rich heritage of cour­age, strength and optimism to a large number of descendants. At this writing there are 68 living descendants.

(Edith Gay has since died.)


The Lusk Standard, February 28, 1919

Somebody had a feed of chicken one day last week and Frank DeCastro is shy about half dozen pullets.

Frank started in the pure-bread chicken business and stocked up with some well-bred chickens (feathered tribe) and a high priced rooster. And now since the visit of the chicken thief all he has left is the rooster, which crows regularly just to let Frank know he is still in the chicken business.

Those chickens were the price of Frank's heart. He provided then with a cozy chicken coop, fed them regular on high-priced grain and counted them every night. But now his counting job has reduced itself to just one lonesome rooster.

Anyway, the gentleman who was so fond of chicken probably didn't know he was feasting on prize-winning stock when he was devouring Frank's pets.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary DeCastro, Frank (12/16/1860 - 02/10/1947) View Record
Obituary DeCastro, Annie (03/12/1876 - 03/21/1954) View Record