Historical Details

ZumBrunnen, Leslie

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 01/19/2021


by Mrs. Leslie ZumBrunnen

Leslie Lee ZumBrunnen was born April 22, 1908 at Kirtley, (known in the early days as Pleasant Ridge) then Converse County, Wyoming. He is the eldest son of Roy L. ZumBrunnen, who was born in Red Oak, Iowa and came with his parents Jacob and Ida ZumBrunnen to Wyoming in April 1889. They were the first settlers in the Plea­sant Ridge (Kirtley) community.   Leslie's mother, Barna Teakell, grew up in Montague County Tex. She came to Wyoming in 1904 as a teacher. She and Roy ZumBrunnen were married June 10, 1907.

Leslie grew up on his father's homestead in the Kirtley community and went to school at the same site his father had. He finished elementary school there and attend­ ed the Lusk High School one year, and grad­uated from Sioux County High School in 1926. He attended Grand Island College one year, and graduated from Kearney State Teachers College in 1931 with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education. He has done some grad­uate work at the University of Wyoming.

Leslie worked for ranchers and farmers in the Kirtley area and taught 8th, 9th and 10th grades in two country schools in Nio­brara County.   He started in the livestock business in 1935, and worked two years in the ASC program after it was first set up.

On Feb 2, 1938 he married Miss Olive Hanson at Torrington, Wyo. She was born in South Dakota, but was raised at Roxson, Wyo. on the Cheyenne River. She has also taught school in Niobrara and Weston  Counties. Her father, Henrick Hanson, was born in Utah.

Her mother, Miss Roxie Freel, was married to Mr. Hanson in Deadwood, S.D. in 1908. They lived on what is now the Jim Reed Ranch on the Cheyenne River for a short time until a home was built an Mr. Hanson’s homestead. Glenn, their youngest son now lives on that homestead, which is located seven miles north of the old 7L Ranch.

Just before World War II, Leslie bought an unimproved ranch north of Lusk where they have lived since 1942, and he has enlarged in the livestock production. He and Olive are the parents of two children, Katherine (Mrs. Larry McDaniel of Littleton, Colo.) and Melvin of Kirtley who now owns his grandfather's ranch.

Leslie was a member of Lusk District No. I School Board at one time, has been a 4H leader over 20 years and is serving his fifth term as Niobrara County Repre­sentative in the State Legislature.

Henrick Hanson was born in Mayfield, San Pete County, Utah Aug. 22, 1876 to Neils Peter and Julia Jensen Hansen.(It was during college years that Henrick changed his spelling of Hansen to Hanson). He was a true Dane since his father and mother were born and raised in Denmark.

Henrick's father came across the plains to Utah with the first Mormon settlers, pushing a hand cart with his possessions.He later went back to get his parents by oxteam.  He located at Brigham City, Utah and later settled in Southern Utah at Mayfield. Two ox teams were used to bring the family to Utah.

Henrick attended to the schools of his native state and graduated from Brigham Young Academy, later Brigham Young University. At the age of 22 years he decided to go to Wyoming. There were no highways, only trails. He ran sheep for the Green River Land and Livestock Co. He was foreman of the company which ran sheep on land leased from the U.P. Railroad from Granger to Raw­lins.This land extended 20 miles on each side of the track. It was used for winter pasture.    On March first of each year they moved to Cokeville, Wyo. to lamb and shear. They moved to the Yellowstone Forest Reserve for summer range.

In 1906, Mr. W. D. McKeon, owner of the sheep, bought a big ranch on the Chey­enne River which controlled 18 miles of the river and most land between there and New­ castle to the South Dakota line on the east. These 35,000 sheep were summered in the Black Hills. It was there that Henrick met Miss Roxie Freel. They were married in Deadwood, S.D. Dec. 30, 1908.

Henrick filed on a homestead on the Cheyenne River, about five miles south of the AU7, and as time went on purchased other land joining it. Here the Roxson post office was established with the first carrier service on April 19, 1921. Mr. Dunbar was U.S. Post Office Inspector at the time and named the post office, using the first three letters of Roxie and the last three of Hanson to compose the word Roxson. Mrs. Hanson served as the postmistress un­til she passed away in 1936. The post of­fice was discontinued in 1937. The Hansons ran the Roxson Mercantile, a country store as long as they had the post office.

Mr. and Mrs. Hanson were the parents of Floyd, Olive and Glenn. Floyd is de­ ceased; Olive is Mrs. Leslie ZumBrunnen, living at Lusk; and Glenn married Phyllis Austin and lives on the home ranch which he purchased from his father in 1941 when Mr. Hanson moved to a ranch at Vaughn, Mont.

Mr. Hanson served his state as state sheep inspector and was instrumental in eradication of scabies in sheep in Wyoming during the early 1900s. He also was Nio­brara's Representative during the 1937 and 1939 State Legislatures. He ran for the State Senate and was elected in 1940. He served in the 1941 Senate and resigned later that year to move to Montana. Mr . Roy Chamberlain was appointed to finish his term.

One interesting happening of which Mr. Hanson told was the loss of a band of sheep during a storm. This happened at Hells Half Acre when one of the herders accident­ ally let the band drift into the rough gor­ges. It delayed the trek of 24 bands with 24 wagons for four or five days while the sheep were being rescued from the canyon. 

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