Historical Details

Grove, Laurtes History

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 11/20/2020


by Robert Grove

Laurtes and Ethel (Burwell) Grove of Indiana, homesteaded in 1909 2 3/4 miles west of Keeline and moved onto the home­ stead in the spring of 1910. They and their four children, Kenneth, now in Albuquerque, N.M.; Robert, Lusk, Wyo.; Mary Shike, Huntington Beach, Calif.; and Fern Benfer, Hemet, Calif., came as part of a religious settlement from Indiana to Jireh, Wyo.  Two children, Maxine and Hester both deceased, were born in Wyoming.

Keeline was nothing more than a flag stop at the time we arrived.  Jireh had a siding, therefore all the immigrant cars were stopped and unloaded there.

The D. M. Powell family came with us from Indiana. Their immigrant car arriving with ours. We each had a horse, a cow, some chickens, personal belongings, household things and a prefabricated house.

Times were hard. Hardships came one after another, hard winter, blizzards, droughts, and the re-surveying of the land. Many found themselves on their neighbors’ land.  The John Sinks were especially plagued.  They had to move their house twice. One Christmas we had jackrabbit for meat as we didn't even have an extra chicken to spare.

My grandfather would send us a barrel of apples, a box of nuts, a keg of molasses and some maple sugar  patties.  Those patties were the treat of the year.

The Smith family traded us beans and potatoes one year. This helped vary what we ate. The only sweetening was molasses which we used sparingly.

As many of the families had come and filed in 1908 and 1909 that summer I helped unload immigrant cars almost all summer.

We lived on the H. L. Koontz place for a number of years, this is where Maxine and Hester were born.

The winters were rough, the snow deep.

My father, Laurtes Grove, Ray Townsend, Ray Thompson, and George Grant were the male quartet, singing for most of the events at Jireh.  They even recorded num­ bers on cylinder records.

When the Frank Stevens came from Indiana about 1911 to 1912, they lived with us for one winter while they built their house.

I went to several schools, Chimney Rock School, on the Ruffus Smith place, to a school across from Croft Rogers, back to Chimney Rock across the road from Joshua Norris and to the Trussel school west of the Croft Rogers place which was by the railroad trussel, thereby receiving its name as the Trussel School.

My dad was in the Rocky Top Coal Mine when Ruffus Smith was killed by an over­ hanging clump of coal which fell from the ceiling pinning my dad by the legs. On being dragged out my dad had a broken ankle and crushed foot. All I remember is someone bringing him home in the wagon in which they had also brought Mr. Smith's body back to his home. Others were there at the time but I don't know their names.

The first car I. remember was a chain drive Buick owned by George Gailbreath. It was quite a monster. When ever he came to town we stood and watched with our mouths wide open.

Keeline was having a celebration. I believe it was the 4th of July. A guy by the name of Paddie Holtharf instigated the first car race. There were several cars, a couple of Fords, a couple Chevy's and others, models of that time. The race started at Keeline went south to flat top, across country up the road towards Jireh and back to Keeline. Roads were only trails and all across rough country.  

When they returned some had tires off, others tops down and others had fallen off. One I remember had only two tires left. It sure caused a lot of excitement.

When the telephones went in our area I had a horse and buggy and delivered telephones around the route.   The line ran on the top wire of the barb wire fence.

When we went to the Trussell school we walked in nice weather, but when it was cold and snowy the four of us kids would get on an old gray horse and ride to school.  The Pfiefer children always rode as they had the farthest to come.

I finished high school and had one semester at the University of Wyoming. In 1941 I married Nancy (Noack), to us were born two daughters, Barbara Pellegren, Littleton, Colo. and Cathy James,  Lusk, Wyo. My wife Nancy died in 1939.

I left Wyoming and went to Albuquerque, N.M.  While there I worked for the Inter­ national Harvester Company for eight years. The only equipment sold was an occasional wagon, a single horse cultivator and a mower.

The International Harvester Company at this time was trying to help the Mexicans find a faster and better way to process red peppers into red pepper.   This was done by using a hammermill to pulverize them and a fanning mill to sift out the best red pepper.

We also worked with the Indians around Las Lunas. The Indians lived in a settle­ment and left it to plow their fields with a horse and an 8-inch walking plow.  Finally 4-6 Indians in the Co-Op bought a tractor and things slowly started to change.

In 1941, I married Linnie Robinson of Oran, Texas. To us were born in 1942 Mrs. Maxine Bondurant, Denver, Colo. and in 1945, Tom of Casper, Wyo.

After eight years I came back to Wyoming with my family to the homestead of my parents which I had bought from them in 1928.  Added to this was the homesteads of John Railsbacks, Jacob Weaver, Rev. William Flammer, Rev. Powell, Rev. Atkinson and Ruffus Smith. I sold the place to Ott Bible and he to Harvey A, who is the present owner.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Grove, Robert (05/03/1903 - 02/12/1975) View Record