Historical Details

Stephen, George and Flora

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 01/28/2021


by the Vernon J. Kennedys

George W. Stephen - born Nov. 25, 1880 - Lexington, Miss., son of John and Elizabeth Stephen.

Flora Jane Trolson - born Aug. 18, 1885 - Keyapaha, Nebr., daughter of Trols and Frances Trolson.

George Stephen married Flora Trolson Dec. 1, 1902 in Springview, Nebr. They home­steaded in Keya Paha County, Nebr. and their three children were born there:  Clarence, Verna and Marvel.   The family moved to Jireh, Wyo. in 1915.   George had the garage in  Jireh and Flora was telephone operator when the Jireh College was running. George died in the summer of 1919 and was buried in the Jireh cemetery. The following spring Flora and her three children homesteaded nine miles south of Jireh. She later bought various other pieces of land to increase the size of her acreage.

In the early days there were no houses,fences, wells, barns, etc. on the homesteads until you either had them built or did the building yourself. Flora hired a man to build her house and barn. They started to build the house in one location, but no water was found when the first well was drilled. She hired a "water witcher" and he found an excellent supply of water in another spot. So the portion of the house that was already built was moved a quarter mile to be close to the well.

Their life was much as the other home­ steaders -- milking a few cows, selling cream , eggs, butter, some grain and potatoes. They had many close neighbors, good friends and simple pleasures. They lived on the homestead until 1925, by which time Flora's children were growing up and going away from home.  Her son, Clarence, moved back to Nebraska and married. One daughter, Marvel, married Jim Fronapfel, also of the Jireh community. The other daughter, Verna, mar­ ried Sidney Baughn, son  of Erastus Baughn, a Manville pioneer.

Flora lived in various places until 1952 when she moved to Lusk and spent most of her last days there. She died in November 1969 and was buried in the Jireh cemetery.

She sold her ranch property to a grand­ daughter and husband in 1956, Lula (daugh­ter of Verna and Sidney Baughn) and Vernon J. (Dutch) Kennedy.  The ranch is still occupied by the Kennedys.

Lula was born in a house on the property that she and her husband now own. Dutch was born in Dunning, Nebr., son of Joseph and Elsie Kennedy. Maternal grand-parents came from Germany (the Heuwaldts). Paternal grand-parents (the Kennedys) came from Ireland.

Dutch went into the Army in Feb. 1942 and served in Europe (Czechoslovakia, Austria, Luxumborg, Belgium, Holland and Germany.) Went in on D-Day at Omaha Beach, in Normandy, France. He served as a Tank Destroyer driver in the 803rd Tank Destroyer Batallion during the war in support of various Divisions, at different times, such as 29th Div., 30th Div., 1st Div., 5th Div., 4th Div., 82nd Airborne and 101st Airborne. Was at Caranton Swamps, St. Lo, France. Pushed to the Siegfred Line with the 1st Army, then was transferred to Patton's 3rd Army and was at Hertgan Forest and in the Holding action at the Battle of the Bulge.

He got five major combat stars, was awarded the Silver Star, Bronze Star, and Purple Heart. He lost four tank destroyers in battle, and was wounded three times. Served 3 1/2 years, 11 months of it on the front line. He came out as Tech. 4 (or Sergeant).

Lula worked in Portland, Ore. during the war at Swan Island Shipyard, (a Kaiser yard) where oil tankers were built. Was a welder for 1 1/2 years.

Dutch and Lula were married in 1946 and most of the time until moving to Keeline in 1957, Dutch spent working on highway con­struction as carpenter, and then as foreman on concrete bridges, an earth-filled dam etc. in many parts of Wyoming, Utah and Arizona.

Since coming to Keeline, they have raised Brown Swiss milk cows, some pigs and also sheep.

Favorite hobbies are hunting and fishing.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Stephen, Flora (08/18/1885 - 11/06/1969) View Record