Historical Details

Eddy, Larry Family History

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


Larry Eddy and Arlene Edison were married in 1938. Larry had the Norris homestead rented. They had built a new three room house for us to live in, as the large house had burned down the year before. It had the Norris homestead and the Pierce homestead house joined together. There was one small barn, a granary and small hen house which was formerly the house on the Rashes homestead.

To us it was a world of opportunity in which we could build our lives and family. They have three children, Lois Mae married to Robert Moll of Casper, they have two children, Karen and Ronald. Bob is supervisor in the Casper Post Office. Dona Lee, our second, was stricken with Rheumatoid Arthritis. Ivan Larry, our third, married a Jackson, Minn. girl, Patricia Wendlandt, who came out to teach Bible School. They are ranching on the Josephine Haworth place.

Larry and Arlene were both children of homestead families. They were both used to hard times and making do or go without.

Larry's folks, Joseph Clayton and Charlotte (Coleman) Eddy moved to Wyoming in 1915. Clayton bought a homestead relinquishment from the local Doctor. He came in June and got his filing, then again in November. He loaded an immigrant car in Wessington Springs, S.D. In this car he had his farm machinery (drill, wagon, etc.), household goods, a team of horses, three cows, a bull, chickens, a calf, a dog, two cats, a stack of straw bales, new lumber to build a house, only to find that lumber was cheaper here.

It cost $165 for the train car to be brought to Jireh, Wyo. In order to come west he had to go east to Sioux City on the Milwaukee railroad.  It took one day to Sioux City where he was switched to the Northwestern. In South Norfork they switch­ed through the freight yard and let pass a passenger train.  This took another day.

As Mr. Eddy lived in his train car on the trip, he left the car to go down town to get some more groceries. While he was gone, his car was moved down the tracks about a mile, and he had a hard time find­ing it.  After that, he never left the car till he arrived at Jireh. He had also acquired a young man, as a stow-away which he allowed to remain as help on the way as well as to help him unload his car at Jireh. As the young man finished his job he disappeared as quickly as he had ap­peared.

On the way Mr. Eddy had lain down on the hay bales and fallen asleep, the train came to a sudden stop and he landed astride the bull.  What an awakening!

Upon reaching Jireh, Nov. 5, 1915, there was no stock yard or pens of any kind so they took the door of the railroad car off and used it as a ramp.  The cows having been shut in so long left in a hurry for the wide-open spaces. It took a few days to gather them. Then Mr. Eddy left for his homestead where there was a small hen house left by the former homesteader which had relinquished it to a doctor who had taken it on doctor bills.    Mr. Eddy cleaned and lived in it while he built their house.

Clayton Eddy could look out from his window and see seven homestead lights; Hardy Lee's, Vern Hulbert, The Gallons, Chet Wright's, Tom House, Pat Jewett, and Bill Kant. Now as Floyd Engebretsen looks out over the same country side, he has no lights in sight.

Floyd Engebretsen bought the Clayton Eddy place in 1947.  It consisted at that time of Adair homestead, Tom House and John Marchant homesteads.

Mrs. Eddy came in December with their two children, Leonard, now deceased, and Larry who was six months old.

Larry learned very early to ride horse back and drive horses in the field. When he was four years old, he rode with his brother to school, then rode the horse back home.

The Eddy's at first hauled water with what was called a stone boat, a big rack with skids under it and a team could be hitched to it.   A barrel was placed on it to carry the water in.

When Clayton Eddy decided to build a large barn, he, Chester Wright and Lee Wright took teams and wagons and went to a saw mill in the Esterbrook area. This trip took almost a week. All three were getting lumber for their own barns. The second trip was very disappointing. When they arrived at the saw mill it had burned down and no lumber was to be had. So they came back empty and bought the lumber at the local lumber yards. The barns are still standing. Many dances were held in the Lee Wright barn loft.

On a trip back to South Dakota, Larry's uncle had a lot of pigeons in his barn, and as there were no pigeons in this area and Larry was so very interested in them, his uncle caught him several and put them in a box that was fastened to the bumper on the back of the car. Larry fixed pigeon nests in the barn loft at home. Soon there were many pigeons in the country.  Neighbor boys got some and some went wild and nested in the Chalk Buttes around the area. There are still a few pigeons in this area.

Clayton and Charlotte left the ranch in 1947 and moved to Lusk where he worked for Niobrara County until 1959. After that he was semi-retired  Clayton was killed in a car-truck collision Nov. 20, 1969. Charlotte Eddy died  July 1,1973.

They found Keeline and Lost Springs were closer towns so after a short time they quit going to Jireh, although Mr. Eddy was an original stockholder in the Jireh Bank.

On the trips to Lost Springs they passed near such homesteads as Joe Bartos, Bill Wanek, Jim Reed, Bill Reed, Fred Smith, the Snows, Joe Prienno, Cody Shippen.

Other children born in Wyoming were Laura Philips of California, Edgar of Oregon, Emmitt deceased, Emma Rustad of Arizona, Herbert in armed services, Lyle of Wyoming.

Larry started working for Charlie Henderson, a near neighbor, at the age of 14 and worked there until he started farming and ranching for himself. He rented the Norris place the spring of 1938. He also farmed on the share for Potter Cox and Enos Lee. Later he acquired through renting the L. P. Cox, William Irwin, Robert Pierce and Ryan, Howard Hunter, Lee Wright and Mr. Cooks homesteads. He bought the Norris place.

Larry worked on an oil well that was drilled the fall and winter of 1944 on the Henderson place. This was a terrible hard winter, and it fell to Larry to use his tractor to help get cars in and out when snow plows couldn’t keep up. In the worst of the blizzard he took his saddle horse and a bucket of fried down sausages and a bag of potatoes to men stranded at the well. Then he brought one man back on the horse to stay with us until the storm was over.

Another neighbor, Wilbur Wright, walked one mile with another man and stayed in the Eddy school till the storm was over. At least they were warm, even if hungry.

The past year, Larry put in the first earthen wind break on the A.S.C. program in Wyoming. Ivan used his tractor for the dirt work. Many pictures have been taken by state and federal officials for showing in other areas.

Arlene was raised about 18 miles northwest of Lost Springs. Her folks, Alfred and Gladys (Baker) Edison, when newly married, came to Wyoming from Atkinson, Nebr., leav­ing in April 1918 in a covered wagon, the trip taking three weeks. What an exciting honeymoon trip! At first they traveled with the other wagons, but soon took off faster on their own. They had sold their cows expecting to buy some in Wyoming. They tied on their extra horses behind, also a crate of chickens on the side, which miraculously kept them in eggs. The road to Wyoming was marked with two blue lines and a yellow line on the telegraph poles.

They came through Lusk, Manville, and on to Lost Springs, where they bought their groceries, and then onto the homestead.

At that time Lost Springs was a thriving coal mining town of around two or three hundred people. Coal was being mined at the Rosin Mine, where a railroad spur brought in the coal to be loaded onto trains for the east. It proved to be too soft so the mine soon closed and with it dwindled the town of Lost Springs.

The area where their homestead was very scarcely settled, the nearest neighbor Jake Reed, lived 3/4 of a mile southwest as the crow flies.  Two-and-a-half miles north­ east lived Bill Wanek, now the Evelyn Netz place. The George Parks family worked on the railroad, another, Ed Stark, who taught school at the Sunset Mine, which was still running at that time.

Homesteaders along the way from Lost Springs were; Walter Case, Jake Cannon, Jack and Ethel Parker (brother and sister), Ike Cogshell, Guy Priano, Ralph Decker, Mr. Gardner, August Hoge, Henry Spellman, Frank Youngs, Fred Mienzer Sr., Fred Mienzer Jr., Al Hoge, Ed Stark, George Park and Bill Able. The road took quite a different way than it does now. Within a few weeks a Sunday school was started, so they soon became acquainted with distant neighbors.

Alfred and Gladys Edison lived in a tent and covered wagon that summer. Alfred plowed for different homesteaders with his team and walking plow receiving $4 per acre. They lived in Lost Springs later in the summer, where Alfred worked on the crew that put up the grain elevator. The only fences in the area were drift fences put in by the cattle men. The homesteaders fenced in their crops and gardens. The livestock ran in the open. There were many Long Horn Texas Doggies on the range. Cowboys often cut fences around the crops in hope of discouraging the homesteaders.                                    

So each homesteader had to keep a very close watch on his fences and stock.Alfred Edison's lost their first two calves they raised when a large range herd moved by.

The flu epidemic of 1919 almost removed Alfred and Gladys. Neighbors came in and took turns caring for them. Ralph Reed rode horseback 17 miles through eight inches of snow to Lost Springs and got medicine from Dr. Watkins, but this failed to help. Ed Stark went eight miles on horseback to a phone and called Dr. Kelly in Douglas. The doctor came out in his car, and the tracks where he was stuck in the mud showed for many years. They finally recovered, thanks to their many friends and neighbors who helped.

Alfred and Gladys Edison had two children; Arlene, and a son Fay, who owns and operates the place at this time.

As a small child, Arlene Eddy could remember the terrible fight of a couple wild animals in the night going close to the house. Her hair practically stood on end. It was probably wolves, although her dad had seen mountain lions when he first came to the area.

Arlene walked 3/4 mile to the Reed School. The first year there were only three, and the largest number ever to attend was seven. In those years, girls didn't wear snow pants, and after she arrived with wet stockings to school, the teacher would line them around a potbellied stove and dry out their socks, which had long underwear underneath.

She attended high school in Shawnee all four years, boarding in Shawnee through the week and going home on week-ends. She stayed at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Jack Wright, Mr. and Mrs. Martin Price and Mr. and Mrs. Louie Mienzer.

Larry and Arlene certainly have seen a change in their machinery and transportation. They started with several head of horses and a steel wheel tractor. When we were children, a trip to town a few miles away took a full day. Model T's often had to be pushed up the hills, and flat tires fixed as they happened along the road. At times those cars seemed to travel better up the hill backwards.

Having had to carry water in and out, chopped and carried wood and cobs in and ashes out, put up with kerosene lamps and their smoky chimneys, now we sure enjoy our electrical switches and fast machinery.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Eddy, Arlene (06/05/1920 - 12/12/2012) View Record
Obituary Eddy, Larry (07/15/1915 - 11/10/2018) View Record