Historical Details

Grant, George and Theron History

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 11/30/2020


by Mary Grant Germann,  Neil Grant

Theron and George Grant, sons of Daniel S. Grant, came from Rhodes, Iowa to home­ stead near Jireh, Wyo. Daniel S. Grant was the son of Reverend Daniel Howard Grant of North Egramont, Mass. and was four years old when his father died, leaving a family of eight.

Theron Grant, next to the youngest of nine brothers and one sister, graduated from Ames College, Iowa, taught school several years there, homesteaded at Box Elder, Wyo. and sold it to Uly Grant, his brother. He then moved to Manville, where he was principal of the Manville High School from 1809-1901.    Here he married Pamelia Wright, formerly of Pennsylvania, who taught with him at Manville. In June, 1902, they moved to Lusk, where they owned a furniture store next door north of the old Free Lance building. They lived in the back of their store and after burying a still-born baby in their back yard, they sold out and moved to Jireh. He owned a small store and was the first postmaster there, taking office Sept. 17, 1908.

Theron also published the newspaper, The Jireh Record, and we think at some time a Keeline newspaper. In December, he sold the store to J. R. Cortner and bought 320 acres about three miles east of Jireh, built a nice home there and adopted and raised a daughter, Helen. His wife died in 1930 and in 1942 or 1943 after his home burned, he sold the place to Cecil Sims and moved to Casper where he lived until his death in 1956.    He was a member of the Lusk Odd Fellows lodge for over 50 years and a member of the Presbyterian church in Casper, Theron continued writ­ing for local newspapers for many years, wrote the Pioneer Days message for the Congregational church in 1945 and other articles. One of our favorite memories was when he would tell Neil or Maurice, if they were driving a steep grade, to "put it in Ruxtel", the 2-speed of the Model T Ford, forerunner of the Eaton axle.

Mr. and Mrs. George Hamilton Grant came to Lusk, Wyo. for three months and then settled one mile west of Jireh, Wyo. in 1908.  Mrs. Grant had been Delia Adeline Harding, born in Wessington Springs, S.D. Dec. 30, 1888.  She had been eight years old and the second oldest girl in a family of nine when her mother died.  Her father, Joseph P. Harding kept the family together, never remarried and lived to be 103.

George Grant, born April 28, 1876, was next to the youngest in a family of ten and helped at the family home until he was 26 years old.

Seven children were born to Mr. and Mrs. George Grant.  They were Robert, Josephine, Maurice, Neil, Frances, Mary and Claudia. Josephine married Orville Glenn, had a son, Lyman on May 17, 1932 and died June 23, 1932. Maurice married Elva Buck, had two daughters, Nelly and Shelly, was a veteran of the Navy and passed away Dec. 5, 1952. Robert married Georgia Drazey, had four children, George, Larry, Roberta and Barbara and passed away Jan. 1, 1967.Neil lives on the home place at Keeline and has two adopted children, Larry and Cheryl. Mary at Node, has four children, Clark, Claudia, John and Georgia.  Frances lives at Molina, Colo. and has a son, Neil.  Claudia in Tucson  has four sons, David, Bryan, Mark and Daniel.

One of the first things that happened in Wyoming (according to my mother) was when Dad met the train one day to find a man had been run over and killed. He took care of the body and since nothing was found belonging to him other than a small insurance policy, he was buried in the Jireh Cemetery  and one of the largest stones there now was bought bearing noth­ing but his name, "Waltz".  Dad did some of this work at this time, ran for County Coroner in 1912 and may have been County Coroner in Converse County before 1912.

He was elected County Commissioner in 1920 and served 18 years.

Mother also told of going to visit the relatives in Box Elder in a wagon when there were but three children about 1917. The first night was spent camping out east of Douglas in the hills.

Much of the community life in the early days centered around Jireh College and the church. She told of decorating the college for a commencement one year with beautiful large clusters of the native red sour dock. Dad sang with the male quartet and in cantatas as long as there was a college (1910-1920) and for many funerals all his life.Jessie Grant Hakalo, a niece, stay­ ed one semester with the folks and many boys from the college worked on the farm.

Edward Pendray wrote in the book "Jireh College", " I  most often worked for George Grant, whom I admired very much for his even-tempered personality, his wide know­ ledge, his unfailing Christian kindness and his sense of fairness and justice".

George Grant was a trustee of the college, reported for the Jireh State Experiment farm located on 40 acres of the H. L. Koontz place and he and Theron Grant worked there often between 1915 and 1920. He was road  supervisor in 1916 and other years.    He had a great interest in roads and bridges, as had seen Highway 20 built (mother had sold the road gangs roasting ears for three year) and had the contract to build the fence from Lusk to Lost Springs for $100 a mile and material.   Lyle and Beryl Fullerton and Ken Rood worked for him, and of course the work was done by hand.

Some of the community life of the Jireh area was centered around the cemetery  activities. Before Memorial Day, the graves were cleaned, wild flowers gathered, every grave decorated and our father told us something about the person buried there.  A short service was held and the neighbors had good visits  A service was also held on the 4th of July, along with community picnic and a baseball game.

Neil Grant remembers especially the rodeo, picnic and ball game held July 4th, 1934 commemorating the 50 year anniversary of the last round up of 1884.  A foreman (with Lee Moore) of that round-up, Addison Spaugh of Manville rode that day and spoke of working with 200 cowboys and 2000 horses rounding up 400,000 head of cattle in six weeks in this area.    Beer was sold at outside stands at this celebration.

Formal entertainment during the de­pression years (1930's) was scarce, but when neighbors got together, life was more pleasant.  Such were the rabbit drives.

A section of land was surrounded by hunt­ers who slowly worked toward the center, driving the rabbits before them.  When it was reached a good many rabbits were flushed and killed. The ears were cut off and a pair was exchanged for one shotgun shell.   We don't remember of there being an accident.

Sledding parties were held by neighbors, and later parties held in the homes with dancing to phonograph music.

Another event (though not entertaining) caused by the drouth was poisoning the grasshoppers. Our father would carry the poisoned mash and molasses around the fields in a 'gunny sack' throwing it by hand along the fences and edges of the fields. Later it was found that the poison infected the hands and rubber gloves were used.

Our family always had plenty to eat during these years, although we ate plenty of corn bread, hominy (made in wash tubs) and fried rabbit. Mother raised large gardens and chickens and we would deliver dressed chickens and cream in Lusk to pay for groceries and needed items, one of which was piano lessons for myself.  Everyone learned a lesson on the value of money in those days. Our farm was mortgaged and lost in 1935 and we moved to the old Town House that had been built by the Jireh Land Company around 1910 for the use of newly arrived homesteaders.  Neil Grant lives there now.

One of the good experiences of these days was life with our horse "Sparkle". She had been a race horse bought from Buzz and Gurney Humphrey and loved to race until she was 30 years old. Although the older boys had to enlist the little girls help to catch her, they loved to have a horse race (against their mother's wishes). In 1927, Neil was thrown from "Sparkle" and partially 'scalped'.  Since our father was not home, Maurice enlisted Mr. Melvin Crawford to take Neil to Lusk to Dr. Dovey and Neil stayed out of school the remain­der of the year.  Neil also had the dubious privilege of going to a specialist in Crawford, Neb. by   train when a peanut was caught in his throat. Maurice had the most bones broken.  One time he was driving to Manville in the evening to pick up Josephine from a school event when he ran 'head-on' into Ross Howard. Neither car had lights that would work, they could not see to drive very fast but I think both Maurice and Frances were hurt some. Our father had had a badly ruptured appendix and was in the hospital at the time and for weeks afterwards. For the rest of his life he had a large hernia from it.

The boys used to haul coal from Shawnee in a car and trailer in the 1930's.  An example of their troubles was having 19 flat tires coming home one time. Each time the tire had to be removed, patched and replaced.

Prior to the years when we owned a car, one of the year's main events was packing a picnic lunch and the best produce of the year and taking the train to the Douglas State Fair. Later the only new car we own­ ed was a 1918 Buick 4. We also owned a Maxwell, a 1924 Buick, a Buick 5 seater, and several Model A's and we remember the hill this side of Shawnee on Highway 20 as being the most "wash-boardy" of roads.

Terrible experiences that impressed us as children were when Billy (John) Sher­man's house burned in the night in 1924 and Mrs. Sherman and two grandchildren were burned to death.   Also when it seemed there was a series of suicides in our com­munity, Manville and Lusk from about 1929- 1932. Also, in about 1934, Jimmy Rogina was burned to death in the old hotel at Jireh.

We had many good times (box suppers, programs and picnics) and good teachers in the Jireh school.  Neil's teachers from 1925 on were Ann Humphrey, Jessie June Humphrey, Mildred Rice and Aaron Lincoln and my teachers from 1929 on were Clara Rice, Bess Ruffing_, Mrs. Hazel Weymouth and Mrs. Brownrigg.

Neighbors of this time were the Leonard Rein's, Charles Gaukel's, Bill Ladwig's Ernest Fullerton's, Anna Jenson, Bill Packard's; Roy Elder's, Earl Hopkin's, Ted Eutsler's, Speigle's, Walter Scott's, Charles Pfeiffer's, John Brahm's, Bob Lincoln's, Melvin Crawford's, and Gene Mayborn's.    Gene Mayborn's wife, Helen had died in the late 20's leaving five children.  His mother made her home with them helping with the store, post office and children.

Such was life in Niobrara from 1908 until 1938 when Dad passed away. Many tragedies were witnessed and yet families experienced a security and home life and loyalty that we don't always have in these time.  Mother died in 1959 at the age of 70.  Both parents, Maurice and Josephine, and the Theron Grants are buried in the Jireh Cemetary.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Grant, George (04/28/1876 - 11/09/1938) View Record
Obituary Grant, Delia (12/30/1888 - 04/17/1959) View Record
Obituary Grant, Theron (08/03/1873 - 03/25/1956) View Record
Obituary Grant, Mary (11/26/1867 - 11/16/1930) View Record