Historical Details

Bar Six Ranch History-DeGering Family

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 01/07/2021


by Albert and Ethel DeGering

The Albert E. DeGering or Bar Six Ranch was established in 1913 25 miles north of Lusk. The homesite was located on Coyote Creek on land homesteaded by Ethel DeGering, and the present ranch buildings stand in this same spot. The place was expanded over the years by additional filing and by purchasing adjacent land as it became available from other homesteaders and ranchers. Presently incorporated into the ranch is land which previously belonged to John Anstice, Bill Hitz, Herbert, Henry DeGering, Ray DeGering, Norris and Melvin Passmore, Dave Bair, Arthur Jensen, Fred Petersen, Scott Cogdill, Grace Harlow, Verne Parker, Della Tracy, George Story and Claris David.    The upper part of the George Story ranch on Old Woman Creek was homesteaded by Pete Summers. Others in turn who bought this land were Harold (Slim) Bonsell, Bill Bonsell and Ihla Anderson who sold it to the Storys. The lower Story place, also included in the DeGering ranch, originally belonged to Mike Ruffing.

In 1971 after 58 years on the ranch, Albert and Ethel retired to a new home in Lusk, turning the ranch over to their two youngest sons, Leonard and John, who are engaged in raising both registered and com­mercial cattle.

Albert Ellsworth DeGering was the eldest of five children born to Henry and Charlotte DeGering. His father, Henry Lincoln DeGering, was born in Lehigh County, Pennsylvania in 1857 and died at the age of 92 in Douglas.

As a young man he came west and worked for various cattle outfits in Nebraska and Wyoming. For a period of time he contracted with the Union Pacific Railroad to supply antelope meat to one of the crews which was    laying track across southern Wyoming. Albert's mother Charlotte Smith was born in Boone County, Iowa Sept 16, 1866 and died in April, 1943 a few weeks after the death of her second husband, Dave Miller. She came with her parents to North Platte County, Nebraska while a small child. In

1883 she married Henry DeGering in Cheyenne. Albert was born the following year on August 16, 1884 at the home of his Grand­ mother Smith near North Platte, Neb. When he was six weeks old his mother took him by train to Cheyenne. There they were met by Mr. DeGering and taken by horse and buggy to the Italic "h" horse and cattle ranch north of Cheyenne where Albert's father was working. Later the family moved to a place 25 miles east of Laramie Peak on Cottonwood Creek and here Albert spent his early childhood along with his sisters Eva, Gail and Rose and his brother Ray.

It was in the spring of 1897 at the age of 12 that Albert first came to Lusk. He stayed at the home of O.P. Goodwin, a photographer, and earned his board and keep by going to the Hat Creek breaks with a team and wagon for firewood and by doing other odd jobs for the Goodwins.  When he was 11 his parents had separated. It was decided that his mother would keep the younger children with her and that Albert would go with his father. For a time Henry DeGering had a small store at Badger, Wyo. but soon took to the road as a travelling salesman going about the countryside with his horse and cart peddling pots and pans and mail order groceries. There was no place for a boy in this kind of life.   His father told him he would have to earn his own way.  And starting at age 12, he did just that. Mostly he worked for various ranchers who in turn furnished him with a few clothes and provided him with a roof, 
bed and board. On rare occasions his father would drop by to check on his son or to get him settled with another ranch family for the school months.

Albert's meeting with Mr. Goodwin came about one morning when he had left Badger to see if one of the neighboring ranches could use another hand. He had borrowed a saddle horse from his stepfather and started riding up Cottonwood Creek.  Mr. Goodwin was on his way to Lusk when he met the boy on horseback, and after a brief conversation asked if he would like to work for him as he had been looking for a "young man" of your caliber.

That opportunity seemed as good as any. The horse was returned to its owner and young Albert holding his small sack of belongings climbed into_ the buggy with the stranger and headed for Lusk.

Besides the Goodwins, other temporary homes were three years with the Leslie Cranes and shorter periods of time with the Sam Thomases, Charley Thomases, Shermans and Oscar Storys- all ranchers near the Wyoming - Nebraska line. In the spring of 1902 Albert went to work on the Ed Wilson ranch at Mule Creek. While there he con­cluded his schooling while in the 10th grade. Mrs. Wilson was the teacher. After three years he left the Ed Wilson ranch and made his home with the Tom Wilson family who lived in the same vicinity.  He and Tom formed a partnership running cattle for themselves and running steers for John Bailey of Edgemont, South Dakota.

In 1906 Albert reached the long­ awaited age of twenty-one and filed on a homestead at the head of Alum Creek, going back and forth from Wilson while getting his cabin built.   The following year he sold his cattle to the Hogg brothers and early in 1908 moved onto his claim. That summer he worked for Mert Jones. During the next few years his brother Ray made this home­stead his home too when he was not working as a cowhand at one of the area ranches.

Shortly before his marriage in 1913 Albert sold his place to Henry Metzgar. This same piece of property, later owned by D.J. Clark then Claris David, was brought back into the DeGering name fifty-five years later when bought by his son Leonard.

Through the years 1902 to 1910 Albert worked with many roundups including the MW, Shorty West, Upton Pool, ISU and 21. The last one he worked in was the Indian Creek Roundup where he served as foreman. He had been foreman of other roundups as well.

After 1910 so much land had become fenced with the arrival of homesteaders that roundups on a large scale were no longer held. Roundup life was hard dusty work and the fare of baked beans, bacon, biscuits and coffee dished out by the camp cook seldom varied.  It was not a life for anyone afraid of stampedes, bucking horses and rattlesnakes.   Yet for those who loved the outdoors, the wide open spaces and a sense of freedom, the cowboy's life did offer these rewards and Albert never lost his appreciation of them.

Handling a group of men on a roundup was not always easy. One year when Albert was foreman, a certain rowdy became drunk and shot up the camp. The horses became frightened and broke out of their temporary rope corral.The fellow could not be sub­dued so Albert caught his horse and rode in­ to Edgemont to get the sheriff.  Somehow word had preceded him that he was coming and the sheriff could not be found. Upon his return to camp Albert found the trouble­ maker a bit more calm, but he took the fellow's gun and told him he would have to move on. However, a promise of good behavior allowed the cowboy to stay and his gun was roundup was finished.

Albert has been acclaimed as one of the best bronc riders in this part of the country by several old cowhands who were witnesses to some of his rides.   He was also an excellent roper.   He roped a grey wolf to collect the first $50 bounty given in that area by the cattlemen's association.

Wolves were common predators in Wyoming's early ranching days. One morning while living on his homestead, Albert was awakened about sunup by the bawling of a cow. Looking out he saw a wolf holding a cow and calf at bay.  The wolf would make a lunge for the calf while the cow tried to ward him off. After several lunges he would retreat a short distance, lie down to rest and soon attack the calf again.    Get­ting his gun Albert sneaked up through the sagebrush and shot the wolf. The deadly game had been going on for some time be­ cause a large patch of ground around the calf was completely tramped down by the faithful mother trying to protect her off­ spring. The calf was so badly mangled it could not live. The exhausted cow stood the rest of the day in the same spot with her head down and not moving.

Settlers who killed a wolf in the Hat Creek community took the scalp to Albert for verification so they could collect their bounty.   One of the last of these animals seen in the area was about 1920. Ethel saw him near the ranch buildings eyeing a small bunch of sheep. Grabbing the rifle she ran out and took a shot at him. She missed but he was not seen again.

Albert had an interesting experience while living alone on his homestead.    Late one evening a man appeared at the door and asked if he could stay all night. He said he had seen the light from the cabin as he had come over the hill from the west.   Then he explained that he was running away from a lynching party which was after him because he had stabbed a cook to death during an argument in a sheep camp over on Lance Creek. The man was on foot. Albert said he could spend the night and the next morning he would take him to Jake Mill's ranch where the sheriff could be called to come and get him. All the way to the Mill's ranch the next day the man agonized over whether or not he was doing the right thing by turning himself in. Once at the ranch Albert left him in the bunk house while he went to the house to see that the sheriff was con­tacted. When he returned to the bunk house he discovered that the ranch hands had tied the man securely in a chair.   "Look what they've done to me," he said. This bunch had to tie me up but you trusted me to sleep all night in your cabin." After his trial the murderer was sentenced to prison in Rawlins. Sometime later it was reported that he was killed while attempting to escape.

In the spring of 1913 Albert went to Old Mexico and helped Tom Donohue round up and ship several hundred head of Mexican long horn cattle from Nogales to Orin Junction. He purchased a small bunch for himself, later selling them to Jess Boner along with his cattle brand the "Cross O". At the time he was in Mexico Pancho Villa and his bandits were active in that part of the country. The Donahue group was aware that they were not too far from the action when occasional exchanges of gun fire could be heard. The interpreter for the group decided to stay behind after the task of getting the cattle was completed. He was killed by Villa's men.

Albert's homeless existence as a chore boy and cowhand in his youth developed in him a strong attachment and appreciation for his own home and family.  He married Ethel May Boner on July 28, 1913 at Douglas. They were the parents of seven children.

Ethel was born February 20, 1891 in Dawes County Nebraska, the daughter of Francis M. and Susan Ellen Bon er.   Francis was the son of John and Mary Boner of Stanbury, Missouri. Susan was the daughter of Miles and Eliza Cogdill also of Stanbury. The Boner and Cogdill families pioneered this part of the midwest and were prominent in building the community where many of their descendants still live.

In 1884 Francis Boner, his wife and two sons, Jess and Frank, came from Missouri with what was known as "The Sweat Expedition" to Dawes County, Nebraska settling where Chadron now stands. Thirteen children, nine sons and four daughters, were born to Mr. and Mrs. Boner. The two eldest, John and Miles, died of diphtheria within a few days of each other at the ages of two and one before the family moved west. The others grew to manhood and womanhood in Wyoming and Nebraska. The children born after Jess and Frank were Harry, Walter, Myrtle, Ethel, Nellie, Roy, Harvey, Jasper and Nora.

In the spring of 1902 when Ethel was 11 years old the family moved to eastern Wyoming where land was available upon which the older boys could file a claim. The trek was made with one sheep wagon, two covered wagons, a few head of cows and horses and a band of sheep.  Shortly before crossing the state line into Wyoming, Nora, the youngest child, was born in the sheep wagon. There was a snowstorm that night and the older boys stayed with the sheep all night to keep them from drifting away.  The other children huddled in one of the covered wagons and tried to keep warm. Mr. Boner attended his wife.  Thirteen year old Myrtle was called by her father to come and dress the baby. The family settled on Blacktail at the present site of the Harry Boner ranch.

These early settlers had to furnish their own entertainment. Box· socials and dances were held in the homes on Friday nights. Ethel and Albert were among the young people who attended these affairs and danced until dawn to the violin and banjo music of Floyd and Cliff Cole, Albert Herman, Billy Blair and Milo Plumb. If the home had a piano or organ there was always someone who could cord an accompaniment to the other music. Also someone might agree to sing the latest songs such as "After the Ball" and "The Bird on Nellie's Hat". Then came the return home by team and buggy in time for breakfast and a full day's work.

When the wedding plans and preparations were completed, Albert picked Ethel up in his team and buggy at her family home. They drove to Lusk and from there took the train to Douglas, leaving the horses at the livery stable.  Before going on to Douglas they went to a land office in Lusk where Ethel filed on the land on Coyote Creek.

D.E. Goddard was the land agent.   When he learned that the couple was planning the marriage he gave them a bit of advice. He said, "Don't both of you ever get angry at the same time."  Albert and Ethel were married at six o'clock in the evening at the Methodist parsonage. The next day after a trip to the photographer for wedding pictures, Albert took his bride by train to Wendover, Wyo. to meet his mother, step­ father, sisters Eva Ryan and Rose Stanfield, his half brother John Miller and half sisters Anna and Minnie Miller. One sister Gail Sullenberger was not present nor was his brother Ray.  After this brief honeymoon they returned to Lusk and to the Boner ranch home for a few days. The evening following their arrival at the ranch home they were suddenly awakened by the firing of six guns, the clanging of plowshares and the ringing of cowbells.  Neighbors had come to "charivari" the newlyweds. Everyone was invited in for refreshments. Then after expressing their best wishes the merrymakers mounted their horses and rode away with the small of cigar smoke drifting back as they disappeared over the hill.

Within a few days the young couple set up housekeeping in a sheep wagon just east of Coyote Gap near a spring on Ethel's new claim. Immediately Albert set to work building a two-room log house.  He bought the sawed logs from Marvin Wilson, a cousin of Ethel's. The roof was of boards covered with tarpaper and dirt on top of that. Albert chinked the cracks between the logs with plaster and Ethel whitewashed the in­side of the house.  She made curtains for the windows. By the first of October they moved into their new home. A cellar dug out next to the house on the north was entered from inside the house by lifting a door in the floor and going down the steps.

Good water came from the spring after it was dug out and a barrel put in. The water was carried to the house. A brass bed, an oak dresser and a sewing chair  from Sears Roebuck were the first new pieces of furniture.  They used the table and chairs from Albert's claim shack as well as the cupboard he had built years earlier. They bought a Cole cooking range and a small heating stove for the bedroom.  By the following summer Albert had fenced the place and built a small barn. He bought 23 head of cattle to go with the one milk cow they already had and bought more cattle in the fall.

A mile and a half to the southeast lived the nearest neighbors, the Vern and Florence Parker family. They remained closest neighbors until 30 years later when they broke up their home and sold the ranch  to the DeGerings.  The fall of 1915 Albert's father arrived at his son's place from the northwestern part of the state after not having been seen for several years. He filed on a piece of land three miles south of the Bar Six.    Albert helped him build his little one-room log house near the Seaman Hills.  One day several years later, while pulling grass to cover his cucumbers he was bitten on the hand by a rattlesnake.   He had no means of trans­portation so he walked and ran the one and a half miles in the summer heat to the Parker place, trying to suck out the poison as he hurried along.  Luckily the Parkers were home. They did what many old timers did in those days. They caught a chicken, cut it open and thrust the bitten hand into the warm body cavity of the still live chicken. Then they rushed him by car the
32 miles to the Lusk hospital.   Albert, Ethel and children were attending the fair in Edgemont that day.  Miraculously, Grandad DeGering recovered completely from his ordeal although he was a very sick man for many days.

Ray DeGering filed on 320 acres just east of his brother's on Coyote Creek and built a log cabin for himself and his wife Linnie.  The two homes were about a mile apart.   One summer day in 1916 while Albert and Ray were fixing fence between the two places, Ethel drove the buggy up the creek to pick up Linnie so they could go sand cherry picking. Stopping at the front of the cabin she took the children out of the buggy and wrapped the lines around one of the front wheels as she ad seen her husband do.  For some reason the team of horses began backing up.  The reins kept pulling tighter and tighter. Finally as the horses continued to back up, the tongue of the buggy broke. The frightened team raced across the prairie dragging the new buggy and breaking it all to pieces.  After that the family was transported by lumber wagon until they bought their first car, a second-hand Model T. Ford in 1918 from General Edwards of Lusk. A team of horses was traded for it.

By the year 1921 the country was all settled. The first school was started that fall. It was known as the Parker­ DeGering school and was located midway between the two families.   Margaret and Edith Parker, Milton and Virginia.DeGering and Alan Clark were the pupils that first year.  Miss Della Tracy was the teacher. She had come from Indiana to homestead in the area, bringing her mother with her.

As the years progressed the family grew, adjustments had to be made to the house.   A porch was enclosed for additional room and a large kitchen was built over the cellar. Albert moved his sawmill to the Buck Creek Hills to saw out the logs for the new kitchen. The woodbox in the corner of the kitchen was no longer needed when the comfortable old range was replaced by a stove using propane gas and when this in turn was replaced by an electric range.

Also gradually displaced by modernization were the kerosene lamps, the flat irons, the water bucket with dipper, the wash tubs for those Saturday night baths, not to mention such things as the walking plow and all other farming and ranching equip­ment which used to be horse drawn.            When Albert first built dams he walked behind a fresno pulled by horses.  In later years the two youngest sons, Leonard and John, using modern equipment built additional dams for stock water and improved and expanded the irrigation system for the alfalfa fields. While attending engineering school Milton, the oldest son, helped his father draw up plans and build a large new barn.

The cattle, sheep and chickens raised on the ranch over the years provided the family with plenty of meat, milk, butter and fresh eggs. With help from the girls as they grew older, Ethel raised a big garden every year. There was not only fresh vegetables   for the summer months but extra to can for the remaining months. The first garden was down the creek through the gap.  Raising most of their own food contributed considerably to the ability of the DeGerings to "stick it out" on the homestead those first few years and through the de­pression of the 1930's.

Albert was handy with tools and had self-acquired knowledge as to how to use them. The kitchen he built in 1918 with its sturdy exposed beams is still part of the modern ranch home. He had a blacksmith shop where he made and repaired most of his own equipment.  In the evenings by lamplight he would repair the children's shoes as well as his wife's and his own.

Ethel was an excellent seamstress. For many years she made most of her own clothes as well as those of her children. She made all of her wedding clothes. Years later she painted a picture in oils on a piece of the material left over from her wedding dress.

Christmas was a happy time in the old log house with a candle lit tree and one present around for each child.       The stock­ings which had been hung would have fruit, nuts and a few hard candies in them. The later more bountiful Christmases were happy ones too. The children always came   
home, even the married ones if at all possible, bringing their own children with them and staying for several days.

The years 1927 and '28 were good years.Albert bought a tractor, broke up land and planted alfalfa There was a wonderful seed crop. That second year he bought a two-room shack at Lance Creek oil field and pulled it home with the tractor. It was joined to the house, remodeled and made into two extra bedrooms. The next several years were very hard. Not only did the depression strike in 1929 but there was a long period of drought which followed.  With no way to irrigate, the alfalfa died out. In 1934 the government bought some of the ranchers' cows and calves for a token amount, then killed them on the spot.  There was neither market nor feed for them. It was most dis­heartening. Yet Albert and Ethel were proud and they accepted none of the govern­ment aid which was available for those in need.  They still had their sheep -- those marvelous animals which can exist where a cow cannot. So they were able to raise enough of their own food to get by and other comforts had to wait. Everyone in the family helped as much as possible. When the sheep were taken to summer pasture, the girls took their turns staying with them so the boys could help their father whenever needed. The older children helped each other through college. By working for her board and room, the oldest daughter Virginia, was able to finish one year of normal training and started teaching in the fall of 1934.    Out of her $45 a month salary she paid $15 for board and room that first year. With this extra money coming in, it was decided that Milton should begin his college education so he could get summer work away from home.   There was little to be gained by his staying home at this time. In 1935 the second daughter, Nellie, left home and started training for her nursing career. This was something she could do at small expense. In 1940 when the third daughter, Esther, began teaching she was able to repay those who had helped her along the way.

A terrible tragedy occurred in the neighborhood early in the summer of 1938.The Charley Crofutt family lived four miles to the south.  Early one morning when Mrs. Crofutt was lighting the kitchen fire the kerosene can in her hand exploded. Soon the three room log house was in flames.  One  little girl burned with the house in spite of an older brother's attempts to save her. Mr. and Mrs. Crofutt both died a few days later from burns and smoke inhalation. The neighbors got together and built a new house for the remaining children. Mildred, the oldest, taught school and became the head of the family. The youngest at that time was about five. The following spring Albert and Ethel lost their son Kenneth.     This was their first personal tragedy.   Soon the shadow of the war fell upon everyone. The DeGerings bought war bonds along with everyone else and turned in their scrap metal. A B-17 bomber made a forced landing on the Jess Boner place six miles to the northeast.

Neighbors flocked from all around to see it.  This was the kind of plane in which a son-in-law later lost his life.    Finally the war was over and thoughts could be turned to other things. Albert and Ethel drove their team and covered wagon in the first production of "The Pageant of the Rawhide."

Stock prices were good for many years following the war.  More land was bought to expand the ranch, more cattle were bought to feed on the land and the buildings were improved. So the DeGerings weathered the gambles of ranching, per­ severing through the dry years and the losses of cattle and sheep in the snow storms; grateful when there was rain to make good grass and hay for the stock and enough water to fill the dams. During a deep snow in 1952 when many roads were closed, Leonard put skis on his plane and delivered medicine and groceries to some who were snowbound.

On Easter Sunday 1955 Albert and Ethel joined the Lusk Congregational Church. When the children were young the family had attended Sunday School at the Pioneer Community Hall on Old Woman Creek. Reverend Farrar often came out from Lusk to preach a sermon.He baptized the three oldest children at the Baptist Church in Lusk.  For many years the Pioneer Hall was the center of all social activities for the community. Saturday night dances were held, 4-H club members gathered there and the Pioneer Women's Club held its meeting there.

Ethel still belongs to the Pioneer Women's Club although its membership has become quite small.   She has been a member of the Niobrara County Extension Women's Club since 1937 and belongs to the State Cowbelles.   Albert is a long standing member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and belongs to the Wyoming State Farm Bureau. He served on the Niobrara County School Board in the 1930's.

Because of their comparative isolation, Albert and Ethel didn't have the usual childhood diseases when most people do.  They waited until they were married and shared them with their children and grandchildren. 

When their oldest child was three weeks old he caught the whooping cough from an aunt and then he gave it to both his parents. When the youngest child was one year old his parents got the measles from him.  Then one of the grandchildren brought the mumps to his grandparents when they were in their sixties and seventies. They still haven't had the chicken pox.

Albert's and Ethel's golden anniversary was celebrated at the Bar Six Ranch in 1963. 240 persons attended the celebration. Their five living children were present as well as all 16 of their grandchildren. (Since then nine great grandchildren have been added to their family)  At the time of the golden anniversary the ranch house was nearing completion of a complete remodeling. Only the kitchen, built in 1918, was left to be part of the new house.

After 58 years, the couple who started life together in a sheepwagon on 320 acres decided it was time to retire from their lovely new home on the 12,000 acre ranch and let their two sons, Leonard and John, carry on where they had left off. In 1971 they bought the Bus Gautschi house and moved to Lusk.They celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary at the ranch with just family and relatives present.

Certainly Albert and Ethel had those qualities which characterized so many other pioneers in their successful efforts. Not the least of these were frugality, self­ sacrifice, determination, patience and end­ less hope. Although it was hard, often despairing work, they were doing what they wanted to do and they wouldn't have been happier anyplace else. Their closely knit family was their greatest joy and the happiest times were when they were all to­gether.                                    

The First of Albert's and Ethel's Children

Albert Milton, was born May 7, 1914 at the home of Ethel's parents on Antelope Flats. (Her parents had moved in with daughter Myrtle on her homestead leaving the original home to Harry Boner when he and Flora Pilster had married earlier.)  Dr. Thornton was reached by telephone and came from Edgemont to attend the birth. After finishing high school in Lusk, Milton re­mained on the ranch for two years herding sheep and helping his father get out logs from the timber to build a barn. He was in the National Guard at this time. He enrolled at the University of Wyoming in the fall of 1934 and received his degree in civil engineering in 1939.  During World War I he served four years with the engineer corps, half of that time being spent over­ seas in the Pacific theater of war.   He was discharged as a captain. He retired from the Bureau of Reclamation in June, 1973 after 33 years of government service.   Two of those years were spent in Ethiopia and four in Thailand as supervisory hydrologist.

He now lives in Denver, Colorado and works as a water resources consulting engineer. He and his wife, the former Norma Spencer of Salt Lake City, have eight children and five grandchildren. The oldest child, Tamra Worley, lives in Longmont, Colorado and has three sons, Geoffrey, Jerry and Jimmie.  David DeGering is a Veterinarian living in Boise, Idaho.  He and the former Susan Hartzel of Evanston have two children, Holly and Scott. Joyce also lives in Boise and is married to Guy Farnsworth.   Son Jim, after two years in Thailand as a Latter Day Saints missionary, is a sophomore at Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. Bruce is a freshman at Mesa College in Grand Junction, Colorado. Russell, Frank Brenda are in high school.

Virginia May was born October 13, 1915 at the old Hat Creek Store and former stage station on Sage Creek.          Andrew Falconer who was postmaster and proprietor of the store lived there with his family. Since travel was by team and buggy, the DeGerings had planned to take two days for the thirty-two mile trip to Lusk and a doctor's care, stopping overnight at Hat Creek which was about half way. Around two o'clock the next morning, Ethel awakened Albert and told him he had better call the doctor. The doctor was called and with the help of Chris Myrup, Albert went to get in the horses so he could go for a midwife.   Ethel watched from an upstairs window as the men tried to run the horses into the corral. When the horses broke and ran away she knew they would not have help for her in time. Mrs. Faulkner was kept busy downstairs trying to pacify seventeen-month-old Milton who couldn't understand what was happening. When Mrs. Howell, the midwife, arrived she found that Ethel was not alone.  A baby girl was lying beside her mother on the bed. Ethel had placed a blanket over her new baby after checking to be sure she was all right.

Virginia obtained her one year teaching certificate from Chadron State Normal in 1934 and her BA from the Univer­sity of Wyoming in 1941.  She taught a total of five years in Niobrara County including terms at the William Bonsell School, the Miller-Petz School, Pine Valley and Buena Vista.   She taught five months in Lovell, Wyoming finishing out the year for a teacher who resigned. In 1941 she married Edward C. Bryant, son of Alpha C. and Pearl Hunter Bryant of Hat Creek.  They made their first home in Washington, D.C. where Ed was 
working for the Interstate Commerce Commis­sion.  After a tour of duty with the army during World War II, Ed moved his family to Laramie where he was professor and head of the department of statistics at the univer­sity for fourteen years. During that time he received his PhD from Iowa State Univer­sity at Ames.   He and Virginia now live in Potomac, Maryland where Ed is President of Westat, Inc., a statistical research com­pany.

Virginia and Ed have two children and four grandchildren. Their son, Edward Hunter Bryant (Eddie) graduated from the University. of Wyoming, then spent three years in the army.   He married Lydia Weigmann in Heidelburg, Germany in 1967.

Three children were born to them, Lisa, Katherina and Eric.  Lydia died June 18, 1974 while delivering their son Eric.       She is buried in the Lusk cemetery.  Virginia and Ed are presently raising the baby while the two little girls are staying with their father in Las Cruces, New Mexico.   Eddie is employed at the White Sands Missile Range. Their daughter, Bonnie Jeanne graduated from Colorado College in Colorado Springs. She is married to Captain Robert J. Kirkpatrick, Jr. who is on the faculty at the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado.  They are the parents of a son, Robbie.

Nellie Ellen was born March 18, 1917 without the aid of a doctor of her grand­ mother's home on Antelope Creek.        There was a deep snow on the ground. When the doctor had not arrived by the time the baby was born, a call was made to Edgemont telling him not to come through the snow since everyone was fine anyway. He had not yet left town.             Nellie received her· R, N. from Mercy Hospital in Denver       in 1940.  On New  Years day - 1942, she married Kenneth Higinbotham in Denver.  A few days later, he volunteered for service in the United States Air Force.  He became a photographer on a B-17 bomber.   On October 1, 1943 his plane was attacked by German fighter planes as it was returning to its base in northern Africa after a bombing raid over Germany. Kenny was killed when the plane crashed in Switzerland. Nellie continued working and was supervisory nurse of the tuberculosis ward at Fitzsimmons Hospital when she contracted the disease. She died in the San Fernando Valley Sanitorium on December 30, 1945.

Esther Harriet was born November 20, 1920 at the ranch home. Emma Pilster, a nurse and sister of Mrs. Harry Boner, was in attendance. Esther took a two year course in elementary education at the University of Wyoming gradua­ting in June, 1940. For two years she taught the lower grades at the Buena Vista School on Old Woman Creek.    She then entered civil service and worked at Fitzsimmons Hospital and at the Veterans Administration in Denver for several years. She married Bennett Higin­botham, brother of Kenneth, in 1947.  Bennett served four years in the army during World War II, one and one half years of that time being spent in Europe. Since the war he has been employed as a salesman at the Foster Auto Supply in Denver.  He and Esther are the parents of three daughters. Denise and Joni are both attending the University of Wyoming. Denise is a senior and Joni a freshman. Jaci is a senior in high school.   She also plans to attend the University of Wyoming.

Kenneth Clayton was born October 29, 1922 at the ranch home. Three neighbor women were present, Mrs. John Anstice, Mrs. Verne Parker and Mrs. Harry Boner. Dr. Thornton arrived from Edgemont after the 
baby arrived.  Just as Kenneth was finishing his junior year of high school he became ill with peritonitis resulting from a ruptured appendix and died May 25, 1939.  He had be­ come ill while at the sheep camp during lambing. Such a short time later life­ saving sulpha and penicillin were in wide use.

Leonard Leroy was born September 25, 1928 in Edgemont. Dr. Thornton was present for the delivery at the home of Ethel's sister, Myrtle Hamilton. Following his high school graduation Leonard attended the University of Wyoming for one and a half years. After that he was engaged in ranching with his father and brother, John, until his parents retired to Lusk leaving the ranching business to both boys. As a youth, Leonard was active in 4-H and in later years became a member of the Masonic Lodge, Wyoming Stock Growers Association and the Wyoming State Farm Bureau. In 1968 he married Helen Boyd daughter of Walter Klemke and the late Mrs. Klemke of Lusk.

She has three grown children, Jacque of Washington, D.C., Dave of Bridgeport, Nebraska and Jim who is attending college in Washington state.  For years she was employed by the Niobrara Electrical Association but recently retired and she and Leonard are living at the home place on the ranch.

John Everett was born October 16, 1933 in Lusk with Dr. Walter Reckling attending.Following high school he enrolled at the University of Wyoming for one year. He was drafted into the army and served two years. In 1953 he married Kay Kilmer, daughter of Willis Kilmer, deceased, and Mrs. Ralph Hanson formerly of Lusk.  John and Kay have three children. Cindy is a junior at the University of Wyoming.  Kenny and Janis are attending Lusk High School. John and Kay have lived on the ranch since his discharge from the army.  He was associated with his father and brother in ranching until his parents retired from the business in 1971.  John and Kay have just completed a new home on Old Woman Creek near the site where Pete Summers built his homestead cabin.       John, as well as Kay and the children, has been very active in 4-H work.  He was state winner of the 1972 .4-H Alumni Recognition Award.  He has been on the Lusk Hospital Board and presently is a director of the Lusk State Bank, a member of the National Cattleman's Association and of the Wyoming State Farm Bureau.   His son, Kenny, is to be the new owner of the bar six brand.

Historical Note

The present-day Bar Six Ranch includes several miles of Old Woman Creek whose val­ley provided a route for travelers during settlement of the west. The ranch has on it the site of a stage relay station on the "short route" to the Black Hills which was opened in 1877.  It is also the site of Heck Reel's corrals, where he kept his freighting stock on the early wagon road to the Black Hills. The stage road can still be seen plainly on the ranch, and the sites of the relay station and Beck's corrals, although faint, are unmistakable. The stage line was eventually abandoned in favor of the longer route through Nebraska to avoid the depredations from Indians and highwaymen who found it easy to hide in the rough country in the triangle between Old Woman Creek, Indian Creek and the Cheyenne River.

The route from the Cardinal's Chair (above present site of Lusk), across the breaks and down Old Woman Creek was taken by General Carr on June 24, 1876 to Cheyenne River in an attempt to intercept Indians leaving the Red Cloud Agency to join Sitting Bull.  That the effort was too little and too late is evidenced by the fact that the next morning Custer and his band rode to their deaths 200 miles away.     General Carr returned up Old Woman Creek to the head­ waters of Sage Creek (present-day Hat Creek) and then on to the Cardinal's Chair where he was relieved by General Merritt.  On July 15 General Merritt led another expedition to the Hat Creek country to intercept Indians leaving the Red Cloud Agency in force. This was the expedition during which Buffalo Bill Cody had the duel with Yellow Hand on Warbonnet Creek, just east of what is now the Nebraska - Wyoming line.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary DeGering, Albert (08/16/1884 - 11/13/1975) View Record
Obituary DeGering, Ethel (02/20/1881 - 01/04/1989) View Record