Historical Details

Henderson, Charles

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 12/01/2020


by Dona Eddy

Charles Henderson's parents came to the Manville area in about 1890 for health purposes. It is believed they stayed for two or three years and then returned to Kansas.  Charles Henderson returned on a cattle drive from Texas to the Keeline and Manville area.   He went on roundup and herded sheep in his early years. He told the tale while herding sheep that the other large sheepmen's sheepherders spent the night carrying sheep from his rivals band to enlarge the number of his band, so to keep his herd even he spent the night carrying sheep from the other's band so he would have approximately the same number the next day as he had had the day before.

For a time he herded sheep for George Hitshew. It was during this time when the cowboys hate for sheep was openly shown, even though George Hitshew was the large cattle rancher of the area.  All was quiet until a number of cowboys came riding down and through the middle of his band shooting and killing around a hundred head.

He was among those involved in the Indian fight in 1903 on Lightening Creek. He made the remark in later years that it wasn't funny to lie in a cow trail with a 30-30 bullets flying over your head.

He was among the earliest homesteaders taking a place some five miles northwest of Keeline which didn’t exist yet at that time.

A younger brother, Noah Henderson, homesteaded to the northeast of Charles' homestead. Noah married Grace Smith. This marriage ended in a suicide-murder on Grace's 17th birthday. Only a short time before Charles Henderson, Noah and Grace Henderson had attended a dance in Lost Springs.  The livery barn burned that night kill1ng Charles' saddle horse and Noah's only team of horses. Many have speculated on the reason why such a thing happened to this young couple and about as many reasons have evolved.

Her parents, the Ruffers Smiths, had planned a surprise birthday party, only to have gone a little earlier to find the shocking remains of their loved ones.

Neighbors J.C. Eddy   and Potter Cox were brought in to set with the bodies through the night. One exclaimed it was a very erie feeling to set through the night watching for the first light rays of the morning sun. Grace was buried in the Jireh cemetary and Charles shipped his brother's body to Kansas for burial.

When Charles first homesteaded, a family by name of Garrett lived with him. The husband left and never returned so Mrs. Alice Garrett stayed on as cook and house­ keeper and to raise her young son Dale.

To Charles' homestead were added his brother Noah's and the Pat Jewett home­ steads.

Charles had a half brother, George Henderson, who lived around the community on various places.

One day a close neighbor stopped to visit Charlie, as he was now familiarly known and recognized his black pig with its odd shaped ear among Charlie's hogs. The homestaders black boar had disappeared quite unexpectedly one night a few days before. On inquiry, the homesteader found a neighbor some miles distant had traded Charlie the black boar for a red one. Charlie never knew that the original owner was standing there. 

Another of the early homesteaders, Howard Poles, introduced hair branding, a new painless technique of marking cattle. Charlie tried it but found when the next spring came the yearlings shed the brand along with their winter coat of hair. He also discovered several heifers missing that spring.

 In the early 50's Charles Henderson sold his land to Mrs. Amelia Lindquist and moved to Lusk where he lived until his death.

Mrs. Linquist then sold it to Arthur Joss who is the present owner.

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