Historical Details

Willson, Eugene P.

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 01/21/2021


by Mrs. Eugene Willson

Sept. 12, 1925 Eugene P. Willson and I, Marie V. Lipe were married and made our home nine miles north of Lost Springs, Wyo. in his little one-room homestead house on Harney Creek ranch. Three more rooms were soon added, with a small basement beneath.

Gene made a refrigerator to keep our milk in. It had three shelves large enough to hold a gallon pan of milk on each shelf. A screen door kept insects out. On the top was a pan of water with the end of a dish towel in the water and draped over the front with another pan on the floor to catch the drip from the towel. This may not have been beautiful but it worked perfectly to keep milk cool and sweet.

Then Gene dug a hole about 10-15 feet deep out near the horse tank. As ice formed on the tank during the winter, the ice chunks were thrown into the hole until it was several feet deep. Straw was laid over the ice. Through the summer months cream and butter and other foods properly covered were lowered into the hole on ropes.

During the summer months Gene drove 4 1/2 miles to a coal ledge where he mined our winter supply of coal. There was plenty of wood on the place to use for heat and cooking.

Our garden was the best we have ever had. Carrots grew as large as a quart jar and were very sweet.

Gene constantly worried that I might be lonely so far from neighbors and town. But it was such a happy time of life and so many new and interesting things there was no place for loneliness.

Four children, Mary Jean, George Bigelow, Phyllis Elinor and James Vaughn were 
born at the Douglas hospital. That was 10 miles closer to us than Lusk. Then June Alice was born also at Douglas after we moved to Manville to be close to school.

That was our first experience of real unhappiness when we had to move from our little home at Harney Creek ranch. Then we spent 36 years on Running Water Ranch (then called Willson Ranch) where my husband was born July 21, 1891. His first move from there was when he was seven years old and ready to go to school at Manville. The children from the road section crew and he attended school (his first year) in a cabin at the ranch.

Mary Jean is married to Chas. M. Wilson. He served as pathological zoo logist in the Army for over 20 years. They have 6 children, Chas. Eugene, who is a journalist; Thomas M. serving in the Army in Germany ; Steven is in the Navy; Susan Joy in the Army; David Gary is in Navy submarine; Daniel Scott is in the eighth grade.

Mary Jean does substitute teaching in Sundance, is choir director and is involved in 4-H and the county fair.

George is married to Lois Goodman and they have two children, John Allen and Carol Ann. George is involved with the program of compost-making from commercial sludge for the Federal Government through the USDA. He is sent from coast to coast to give speeches on his progress.

Phyllis is married to Merle Hahn. They own and have been running the Gamble Store in Lusk for the past 14 years. They have three children. Don is planning to teach music. Judith is employed as a secretary at Greeley and plans to attend college. Stanley is working in a uranium mine at Shirley Basin.

James is married to Norma Jean Konrath.
They have 4 children.  Bradley, Timothy, Christine and Rusty.

Jim has the Running Water Ranch and continues to raise registered Hereford cattle. The original stock were purchased by his grandfather, Eugene B. Willson in 1917.

He has held numerous offices in local organizations; president of County Farm Bureau, of the Cattlemen's Association, of Carnegie Library to name a few. He has been on the Congregational Church board for many years and is at present moderator of the Rocky Mountain Conference.

June has been married to Al T. Read. Their marriage has ended after 20 years. Their son, Michael E. Read is a senior at Raleigh, N.C. Daughter Peggy.  Tempe majoring in art is doing family and drug counseling at Greensboro, N.C.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Willson, Eugene (07/21/1891 - 10/12/1985) View Record
Obituary Willson, Marie (02/14/1900 - 06/02/1992) View Record