Historical Details

Hitshew, George Washington

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 12/03/2020


by Dona Eddy

Mrs. Kenneth Wright

George Washington Hitshew came to Wyoming in 1876 and settled at Dead Man's Creek and later moved to Lone Tree (near Cheyenne). George returned to Tennessee in 1881 and he and Mattie Dayton were married Jan. 5, 1881. They returned to Wyoming and with them came Sheridan Hitshew, William Dayton, and Col. Flemming.

In 1884 or 1885 they moved approximately seven miles north of Keeline, later up the creek (Lance Creek) approximately one mile and built the ranch house in 1888. The original house is still part of the present day house owned by a nephew, Arthur Joss.

Jacob and Emma Hitshew, parents of George, Emma, Annie or Anna, Jake, Grant, Sheridan, and Joe moved to Niobrara county in the early 1880's and located at the head of Lance Creek approximately four miles north of Keeline.

Mrs. Jacob Hitshew died at her home, Saturday, July 18, 1891, age unknown. She was buried in the home ranch, which is now owned by Fred Wilson and formerly owned by Harry and Edna Koontz.

Jake, Grant and Joe Hitshew never married and lived most of the time at the Hitshew ranches. Two of the Hitshew brothers owned and operated a blacksmith shop in Manville, which burned in December 1920.

George and Mattie (Dayton) Hitshew were the parents of six children, all which helped to shape and develop this area. They were; Charles F., Clara Joss, Retta Woody, Ethel Dern, Oliver and Hazel Milhoane.

The following was told by Ethel Dern about the early days.  "The most excitement was when the Indians came through. We were afraid of them. One time mother took us up on the hill east of the house, but we got back before they had left. One old Buck said, 'fraid, heap fraid'.."

One time they came, Mother was cooking tomato preserves. Those crazy Indians took that pan out by the well, got some spoons and ate them. Another time they got Retta and carried her to their camp, Mother's brother, Bill Dayton, was there. He went and got her.   I hid behind the dining room door and was I scared.

We had a country school out there for awhile, Sothmans and us. The Indians would pass the school house. Bill Sothman went out and talked to them.  They had a white woman in one wagon and she was sure crying.

The following was told by Mattie Hitshew; "When the Indians would go through they would stop and ask for milk, they called it 'Suk, Suk'."

Manville was the trading point for the Hitshew family.  In order that the children might have an education, Mattie Hitshew and children moved to Manville while George continued to operate his ranch six miles north of Keeline.

All four of George Hitshew's daughters taught school at one time or another. Mattie (Dayton) Hitshew was born March 25, 1863 at Crossville, Tenn. and died April 10, 1943 at Lusk, Wyo.

George Washington Hitshew was born Aug. 2, 1849 at Typston, Iowa and died Dec. 31, 1927.  Both are buried in the Manville cemetery.

Oliver Hitshew helped his mother operate the ranch for a few years after the death of his father in 1927 and later took over the entire operation.  Oliver had married Mary {Hatten} Sept. 12, 1912.    They were the parents of four children; Ruth, deceased; Harold "Dub", Wilma Wright, Lost Springs, Wyo. and William ( Bill) , Riverton, Wyo. Oliver Hitshew was county commissioner from 1933 and 1934.    He was also an inventor in 1934 of a patented highway bridge and vehicle reflector or marker.

In September 1943, Oliver and Mary Hitshew moved to Calif. where both were engaged in defense work.   Ranch house was leased to Ray Reed.

Oliver continued raising large herds of cattle, sheep, horses and mules as had his father. On one occasion, 700 head of steers had arrived from Texas.  A blizzard hit (1912) and afterwards steers were found dead for miles in every direction.  Oliver Hitshew also raised hogs. Herds of hogs were driven to Keeline by horseback and shipped to market.

One of the jobs of Oliver's children was to keep the hogs out of the corn field at the ranch.

Kenneth and Wilma (Hitshew) Wright were married April 10, 1943 at Harrison, Nebr. They are the parents of one son, Nyle.

Nyle and Kerry {Lungren) Wright married June 6, 1970 at Worland, Wyo. They are the parents of one son, Jeffrey Nyle, born Feb. 16, 1972.

Kenneth's parents, the Chester Wright, came to Wyoming in 1914. They were the parents of six children; Mrs. Everett (Margaret) Parmely, Harrison, Nebr., Orval, Lusk, Wyo., Mrs. Donald (Mary) Jenkins, Denver, Colo., Sherman, Gillette, Wyo., Mrs. Albert (Marjory} Hildebrand, Orpha, Wyo.

Wilma (Mrs. Kenneth Wright} taught at the country schools, one of which was the Eddy School on the land provided by Mr. J.C. Eddy.

She also taught at Keeline and occasionally did substitute teaching.  She was also a 4-H leader and voted outstanding 4-H leader in 1967.

Some employees of the Hitshew ranches were: Lewis Lee, Frank Mahnke, "Shorty" Shaw, Clint Dern, Walt Scott, Floyd Wilkin­ son (Alkali Pete), Kenneth Rood, Oscar Rood, Bill Sothman, Lyle Fullerton, Lyle Bacon, J. o. Hout, Donald McDonald, Matt Rogani, Don Hull, Fred Runser, George Fenton, Tom Lee, Homer Hughes, Otis Hughes, Dick Lee, W. Knittle, C. C. Jones, Bud Kidder, W. Hatfield, C.H. Baughn, Carl Hahn, Roy Condray, Gus Dietchler, R. T. Thornton, Lee Swickhamer, Bill Nuttall, Frank Boardman, Sherman, Kenneth and George Wright, Kenneth Martin, Dale McGuire, Arkansas Jack, Blister and Sideburns.

Many cowboys went by nicknames, but they didn't hold true from one area to another. Oliver Hitshew had the custom of nicknaming the men or nicknames were at­tached by other hands.  Two of the hired girls were Euch Baker and Lola (Ruhl) Barton.

Charles F. Hitshew- Dec. 13, 1881 - Oct. 1968. He was one of the first children born in Wyoming.    As a boy he saw the coming of the railroad and once, on a special occasion, saw the stage coach corning to the stage station located in the area of the No. 2 green at the Country Club today.  He was a witness to one of the last killings of the notorious Johnson County War which took place eight miles north of Keeline. In the fall of 1892, while cleaning up meadow land on the Horseshoe Ranch, he heard a shot, looked up and saw a horse circling on a nearby hill.  He and a fellow worker caught the riderless horse and found a man shot to death.   Meanwhile, the killer, Mike Shonsey, together with a witness, went to Lum Barber, deputy sheriff in Lusk and reported that the dead man, Dudley Champion, had pulled his. gun first and that Shonsey had fired in self-defense.

He was a witness to the battle of Lightening Creek.  He claimed he was only about 10 feet from Louis Falkenburg, the deputy sheriff from Newcastle when Falken­burg was shot in the leg.   The battle of Lightening Creek was the last conflict between the Indians and the white man in this area.  It took place near the western edge of Central Niobrara county on Oct. 31, 1903.

It has been said that Charles Hitshew laid out the plot of Lost Springs. He purchased his ranch at Lost Springs from the Wyoming Land and Title Company on Oct. 2, 1907. Later the ranch was taken over and operated by Oliver Hitshew. In the 1940's part of this ranch sold to Roy and Bernice Pennington. Wilma Wright retained her interest.

He and Lillian Howard were married Oct. 1, 1903 and they were the parents of four children all living; Edith Kahlar, Douglas, Wyo., Alice Randolph, Parker, Ariz., Charles Hitshew, Jr., Sunnyvale, Calif. and Leonard, Lander, Wyo.

Clara married Samuel Joss. They were the parents of three children; Arthur, Blanche Kirk, deceased, and George, deceased.

Retta married James Monroe Woody, Nov. 28, 1907.  They were the parents of two children; Stella, deceased, and Laura, who died at seven months.            

Retta taught school before and after she was married. One time while teaching, a bull came up to the school house. The children teased it making it mad, Retta and the children sought the roof top for protection while the bull ruthlessly tore up things inside the schoolhouse. She taught at the Chalk Butte school in 1930-31, (maybe more). Retta was confined to a wheelchair, so a ramp was built for her to get in and out of the schoolhouse.

Ethel married Clint Dean. They had two children; Oliver C. Dean died in infancy and Donna Keller, Lusk, Wyo.  Hazel Milhoane of Bassier City, La. There were no children.

In the years 1921 - 1927 a U.S. Government hunter and trapper, Bud Dalrymple, was sent to the 20 mile area to trap or hunt the packs of wolves raiding the ranchers' young stock.

On Dec. 17, 1931 Mrs. Daisy Anderson, grand guardian of Job's Daughters for Wyoming, and the members of the Douglas Bethel drove to Lusk and installed a Bethel.  Twenty girls were charter members of the Lusk Bethel. The top five officers were:  Helen Blackman, honored queen; Ella Mae Percival, senior princess; Marian Marcks, junior princess; Winifred Briss, guide; and Ruth Hitshew, marshall.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Hitshew, George (11/30/1848 - 12/30/1927) View Record
Obituary Hitshew, Mattie (03/25/1865 - 04/10/1943) View Record