Historical Details

Heumier, Faye and Charles

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


by Harriet Heumier

Breaking broncs and breaking sod was a way of life for Charles A. Heumier when he came to Niobrara County, Wyoming, from Sioux County, Nebraska in June, 1914. He acquired the relinquishment of 320 acre(approximately six miles northwest of Lusk)  with a small house on it. This acreage was the nucleus for the ranch that was developed over ensuing years.

Due to the death of his father and the need to help support his mother, Charlie was only able to devote part time to his place.  In the Spring of 1915, he plowed and planted oats for a first crop--had a well drilled and put in a hand pump. That fall, he built an addition to the small house and also a small barn.

On Jan. 5, 1916 he married Faye Mershon at Harrison, Nebr. and on March 4, 1916, they moved to their homestead. The work of fencing, farming and generally developing the land began. A used windmill was bought from our neighbors, Ed and Charles Schroefel, who helped erect it. For fuel, dry wood was gathered and hauled by team and wagon from the "breaks" several miles away - property owned by William D. Miller and others.    Also, some coal was bought.

Our nearest homestead neighbors included Conrad Larson (now Ernie Hansen ranch), Espy Stark (later sold to Helmuth Klemke) and J. J. (Jim) Bentley. Names of other nearby homesteaders who come to mind were: Earl Bliss, Len Ogden, Austin Swaim, Sam Young and George Giinther (now part of Henry Klemke ranch).

In the Fall of 1917, Faye was asked to teach at the Bliss School--about three miles east of our homestead--until a permanent teacher could be found.  She taught for about four months and among her students were the Bliss children, Fern Ogden, Min­nie Bentley, and Jurdgen Lorenzen.  Margaret Dorsey who later married Thomas O. Miller, succeeded her. Our first son, Robert, soon to be a year old, was either taken along to school or left with Charlie for the day.

Another interesting fact might be that we were located on the old freight route that served Lance Creek and the many out­ lying ranches. Often our place, or what was known as 77 Hill, was the first over­ night stop for the freighters. Probably the most remembered freighter was George Quinn who was well known for his ability to drive six to eight teams with a jerk line, pulling two freight wagons and a "cooster'"­ (sheep wagon).

During the next few years many of our homestead neighbors sold out and moved a­ way. In the 1920's and early '30's, we bought three adjoining parcels of land.

The Len Ogden homestead was purchased in 1925 and the J. J. Bentley property a few years later. In   1929, we moved our home site to the Bentley location and the work of improving our home, building a barn, sheds and corralls was accomplished in due course. Later, of course, the modern conveniences of a telephone, water system and electricity were installed.

We experienced some very dry, lean years, and the work was hard. Particularly during the "dry '30's", feed was scarce. Russian thistles thrived where ordinarily hay would be cut. So, the Russian thistles were cut green and stacked for feed. This  along with straw had to suffice for winter feed for our livestock.

But there were also good days of fellowship and closeness with neighbors. We often exchanged work--branding time and threshing time were neighborhood affairs--and Sunday dinners and visiting were enjoyed.   A Fourth of July picnic at a favorite spot on the creek on the Frank Wilson ranch (now owned by Gertrude and Albert Ruffing) became an annual event. Homemade ice cream - made at the picnic - was a must.

Groceries and other necessities were limited for the most part to the proceeds obtained from the can of cream we took to Lusk about once a week.  However, credit was generously extended by H. C. Snyder Mercantile Company when necessary. In the fall, after the sale of livestock, the yearly supply of flour in fifty pound sacks and sugar in one hundred pound bags, along with stock salt and blocks, coal and other supplies were purchased and stored for the long winter when we needed to be self­ sustaining.

We can well remember the first time we had an opportunity to listen to a radio. Our neighbor, I. L. Beard, became the first proud owner of a radio. We gladly traveled the approximate five miles for the thrill of taking our turn  to listen  by earphones to the radio transmittal which included many noisy pops and ·crackles. We believe it was on New Year's Eve of 1922 that we drove by team and buggy to the Beard's home to  hear the ringing of the Liberty Bell - an exciting event.

In 1926, we acquired our first car - a Model T - another exciting event as we moved slowly from horse and buggy days to the mechanized era.

On rare occasions we had traveled by team and buggy to attend church services at Lusk, Node and Manville.  When transporta­tion became simpler, and as our children matured, we became active members of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, which was moved from Node to Lusk and dedicated in its new location in 1930. We continue to remain members of St. Paul's congregation, and more importantly we hold to a firm and abiding faith in Jesus Christ our merciful and loving Saviour.

Our four children, Robert, Harriet, Charles Quinn, and Donald were all baptized and confirmed at St. Paul's Lutheran Church and attended the Lusk schools. Robert Mershon Heumier was born at our homestead home Oct. 16, 1916 with Dr. D. H. Dale in attendance.   Our daughter, Harriet Faye, was born Sept. 29, 1918 at the Casper hospital.  Charles Quinn was born on Feb.

2, 1923 in Lusk with Dr. D. H. Dale attend­ng. And Donald Phil was delivered by Dr. G.D. Murphy at the Fagan home in Lusk on Aug. 11, 1933.

Robert, our oldest son, started the long trek by school bus to Lusk in the fall of 1922.       Jim Bentley was the first of many school bus drivers.  Getting an educa­tion was not easy as the children struggled out each day - some times before sun up - to brave the winter weather. Over the years, depending on weather conditions, the children traveled by car, spring wagon, horseback or by team and sled. Our neighbor, Henry Klemke, who drove the school bus for a number of years, delighted his young passengers by attaching sleigh bells to the teams harness when it was necessary to travel by sled and their arrival at school did not go unnoticed.

Our primary livelihood came from the raising of Hereford cattle and draft horses. For many years, in the fall, Charles ship­ped our sale stock to Omaha or Sioux City by rail.

Perhaps the most devastating experience of our ranching days occurred in the early afternoon of June 17, 1948 when a tornado struck. Fortunately, our home suffered only minor damage (windows blown out and a corner of the roof taken}. However, the nearby windmill was litera1·1y crumbled, a newly-built shed disappeared from its foundation, and the main barn and other out­ buildings had major damage. Charles and our son, Don, were in the barn when the roof went off and can relate from first hand knowledge the experience of being caught up in the fury of tornado winds. Thanks to a merciful God, both suffered only minor injuries.

Good friends and neighbors came from near and far to help pick up the debris of shredded tin roofing, broken lumber, lost tools and damaged equipment that was scat­tered extensively over the countryside.

We shall always be grateful for the wonder­ful help, the concern and moral support given us.

A new windmill was erected within a week and the house repaired. The barn and sheds were rebuilt that summer and fall. As a result, we were able to weather the famous January, 1949 blizzard without any loss of livestock.

Every Niobrara County resident has a personal recollection of the '49 blizzard. The difficulties we encountered were no different and not as great as many others. While the bulldozers did not get us "dug out" until six weeks later, on Feb. 17, 1949, we were able to get our son Don to Lusk on horseback the second week so that he could resume school.

As the "aging process" caught up with us, we were forced to cut down on our ranching operations. In 1957, because of poor health., Charles sold the livestock. We continued to live on the ranch. until 1966, leasing our land for summer grazing. After 50 years, it was     a difficult decision to pull up roots - but we did decide to sell. Mrs. Barbara (Petz) Rees purchased the ranch and we bought a home in Lusk from Mr. and Mrs. Paul Heany where we presently reside at 522 Main Street. We deem it a privilege to continue to be loyal and proud residents of Niobrara County, Wyoming.

Charles H. Heumier was born March 12, 1890 in Dawes County, Nebraska, near Sugarloaf. His parents were Carl and Caroline (Gundlach) Heumier. Both parents were born and raised at Wilstock, Brandenburg, Germany. Carl Heumier and Caroline Gundlach, daughter of Fritz and Sofa (Schrader) Gundlach were married in 1877. Accompanied by three daughters, they immigrated to the United States in 1883.

Charles was the ninth child to be born into a family of 15 children.  When a small boy, Charles and his family moved from Dawes County to a place 14 miles northeast of Harrison, Sioux County, Nebraska--at the head of Soldier Creek. The family resided here until the death of the father, Carl Heumier, in 1914. Nine sisters, Elvina, Augusta, Frieda, Anna, Martha, Minnie, Louise, Sopha and Mary, Charles and a young­ er brother Herman, grew to adulthood.  As of May, 1975, Charles is the only remaining, living member of his generation. Charles, died July 13, 1976.

     Faye (Mershon)Heumier was born Oct. 16, 1893 near Lebanon, Boone County,  Indiana. Her parents were Quin Quincy Mershon, born Aug. 19, 1848 near Crawfordsville, Indiana, and Tabitha (Dils) Mershon, born at Dayton, Ohio. They were married at Lebanon, Indiana, on Feb. 11, 1872. There were four children: William Frederick, Mary Grace (Tweedy), Lewis Guy and Savannah Faye Mershon, all of whom have preceded Faye to their Heav­ enly peace.

Faye is a descendant of the Mershon family who came to the United States in 1685 from Normandy, France--having been driven from their homeland during the religious oppression by the Huguenots.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Heumier, Charles (03/12/1890 - 07/13/1976) View Record
Obituary Heumier, Savannah (10/16/1893 - 09/27/1989) View Record