Historical Details

Smith, Adele Black

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 01/29/2021


by Adele Smith

Adele Black Smith was born Nov. 3, 1902 at the Black Ranch on Willow Creek, south of Manville, in Niobrara County. She attend­ed the first grade in Lusk, then went to school in Manville where she was graduated from the eighth grade in May 1916. Others in the class were Mary and Noah Kearns. Graduating at the same time from high school were Harold Manorgan and Charles (Tack) Smith. Charles was a nephew of C. H. Bur­kett, an early day resident of Manville.

Harold was the son of the late Mr. and Mrs. J. A. Manorgan.  They operated a general store near the present post office. It was destroyed many years ago by fire. Noah Kearns at one time was foreman of the 77 Ranch north of Manville, owned by Richards and Comstock. Later they operated a hotel in Manville.

Mrs. Smith attended high school in Douglas and Thermopolis and was graduated from Converse County High School in 1920. Following graduation she returned to the ranch. In the fall of 1922 her father was elected representative in the state legislature from Niobrara county. She accompanied Mr. Black to Cheyenne when the legislature convened and was given a position as bill clerk in the senate.

Following adjournment of the legisla­ture, Mr. Black returned home and his daughter remained in Cheyenne where she ob­tained employment as proof reader on the Wyoming State Tribune.  The paper was owned by W. C. Deming and John Charles Thompson was editor.  Later she did general reporting and was society editor for a time. She also reported the proceeding of the Senate during one regular session and one special session. 

After the death of Mr. Black in Feb.1932, she returned home to assist her mother in the operation of the ranch. Mrs. Black passed away in the old Lusk Hospital in April, 1934 after a short illness.

Daniel W. Smith and Adele Black were married July 14, 1936 at Harrison, Nebr. They are still living on the home ranch. They went through the drouth years, 1934-36 and other natural catastrophes, such as floods and blizzards, especially 1949.

They built a modern home in 1941 and have added other improvements such as stock sheds and machine sheds, as well as adding to their land holdings.

Mr. Smith was born in Ida County, Iowa, Sept. 17, 1885, the son of George and Frances Flint Smith. While a small child, the family, with other relatives, moved to Missouri by covered wagon. After several years in Missouri, they returned to Iowa and then located in Minnesota.

Mr. Smith first came to Wyoming in 1911, returning in 1913 when he homesteaded in northern Platte county.

Mrs. Smith is a member of the Order of Eastern Star, Wyoming Stock Growers Associa­tion and Wyoming Cow Belles. Mrs. Smith had one sister Mary (Mamie) born in August, 1887. She passed away in July, 1920 in the hospi­tal at Pueblo, Colo. She married Paul S. Richards of Douglas at the home ranch, Sept. 14, 1911. They lived after their marriage  on a ranch on Walker Creek, north of Douglas. It was part of the holdings of the Walker Creek Sheep Co., in which Mr. Black and Mr. Richards were interested. Mr. Richards died in 1922 in Denver. Both are buried in the family plot in the Lusk Cemetery.

There are numerous newspaper articles on file in the Lusk Museum concerning Mr. and Mrs. Black. The ranch was established in 1886 when Mr. Black homesteaded about two miles down the creek from the present site. They were unable to obtain water there, so moved to the present site where there was an excellent spring.  They spent the severe winter, 1886-87 on the homestead. They did not have many livestock but took the floor in the house to make a shelter for them.  They also experienced drouth years, blizzards and floods. Mrs. Black often told of the trail herds passing through from Texas to Montana, leaving very little grass behind. The first buildings were all built of logs -- house, bunk house, barns and sheds. All had dirt roofs which leaked when it rained. In the early days, the Black Ranch was a frequent over night stopping place for ranchers living farther south and going to Lusk with four horse teams and wagons for supplies.

When Mrs. Smith was a small child, George Lathrop was a frequent visitor. At that time he was living alone in a cabin in Muskrat Canyon, doing assessment work in the copper mines for Luke Voorhees of Cheyenne. He told her many fascinating tales of his early days in the West, but unfortunately she was too young to appreciate the histori­cal value. Mr. Lathrop passed away at the Black Ranch where he had made his home in late years. He was buried first in the Manville Cemetery, but later the remains were moved to a site just west of Lusk, a­ long the old stage route where a suitable monument was erected.

Mr. Black was born on Staten Island, a part of New York City, June 4, 1861, the son of Joseph and Mary (Thompson) Black. He attended school there and later was em­ployed as a shipping clerk on the docks in New York City. He came to Cheyenne in 1882 and secured employment with the Luke Voorhees Cattle Company. Later he was agent at the stage station at Rawhide Buttes, owned and operated by Russell Thorp, Sr.  Leaving the employ of the stage company, Mr. Black was employed as a clerk in a clothing store, owned and operated by Adam Adamsky of Cheyenne. It was located in a tent, later replaced by a frame building. At one time Mr. and Mrs. Black operated the old North­ western hotel in Lusk, long since torn down.

Anna Lewis Black was born in Sweden, in November, 1862, the daughter of John and Christine Lewis Ericson.  She came to America when 16 years of age and lived for a time in Council Bluffs, Ia. where she had relatives. She came to Cheyenne in 1884 and was employ­ ed by the Thorpe family at Rawhide Buttes. Russell Thorp, Jr. was a young boy then and he often remarked that Mrs. Black practically reared him, as Mrs. Thorp,Sr. was away much of the time. Mr. and Mrs. Black were mar­ried at Chadron, in November, 1886.

Both Mr. and Mrs. Black took a deep interest in national, state and county affairs.

Mr. Black was a member of the school board when the present school building in Manville was built. Other members were A. A. Spaugh, owner of the 77 ranch and A. E. Smith, railroad station agent in Manville.

Dan Smith died Aug. 3, 1976.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Smith, Adele (11/03/1902 - 02/22/1983) View Record
Obituary Smith, Daniel (09/17/1883 - 08/03/1976) View Record