INFORMATION BY EMMA PRAY
YOUNGEST OF THE SOTHMAN FAMILY
by Mrs. Kenneth Wright
Claus and Margrote Sothman came to the U.S. from Germany in 1880. They had two small children then. Katie (Mrs. Sheridan (Sherd) Hitshew) born in Germany March 16, 1877 and Anna born in Germany April 24, 1879. They moved to Clinton, Iowa where John was born June 24, 1881 and William born June 11, 1883. About 1886 they moved to Keeline, Wyo. where Claus was section foreman for several years.
Ross was born in Keeline June 16, 1889, and Emma was born in Keeline April 3, 1891.
About 1892 the Sothmans homesteaded some land called the "Sadie Ranch" which is seven or eight miles northwest of Keeline (now owned by Wilma Wright). They moved from the ranch in 1899, returning to Iowa.
They rented a house in Manville several winters and sent their children to school.
There was no school at Keeline or near the ranch then but later a school was built between the Hitshew and Sothman ranches (Chalk Buttes School). Mrs. Pray recalled that there was a prairie fire near the school. The children all helped to put it out by carrying water from the well.
William Sothman returned to Wyoming in 1903 and homesteaded some land which he sold in 1925, moving to Meteetsee Wyo. The land was owned by Wilma Wright. The house the Sothmans lived in in Keeline was probably the only house there at the time. It was called "Grout" house.
(As recalled by Mrs. Pray). "Indians used to come to our house when we lived on the ranch and would demand food. They especially wanted sugar, flour, and meat.
They would wait until the men left the house and come and say, 'Man gone, we want food'." Mother and us kids were scared to death of them. If we saw them coming in time we kids would run and hide under the barn and leave mother alone in the house. They would come right in the house and if food was cooking on the stove they would take the lid off to see what was cooking. My mother had a large dog, Prince, she would call in the house and hold on to, or he would attack them. They wanted her to put the dog out but she knew they would shoot the dog. They came by every once in awhile.
One time some Negro soldiers on horseback from Fort Laramie came by, the dog ran after them and they shot and killed him. That was such a sad experience, we all cried.
William Sothman cooked for round-ups ranging from Big Lighting (20 miles), Douglas, Gillette and South Dakota lines. There were no fences.