Historical Details

Sedgwick, Anthony Wilkinson

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/05/2021


by Mrs. Fred Wilson

Anthony Wilkinson Sedgwick was born May 7, 1882 in Kettlewell, Yorkshire, England. He died November 21, 1964 in Newcastle, Wyo. He had been a resident of Niobrara County for 54 years, ranching on the Cheyenne River.

His father was John Hayden Sedgwick and his mother was the former Alice Wilkinson, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Wilkinson. Both were born in England. Anthony, nicknamed Andy, had five brothers, John, Leonard, Richard, and two that died in infancy, four sisters, Dorothy (Mrs. James Stewart), Alice (Mrs. Harry Fry), and two who died in infancy.

The family came to the United States, arriving Nov. 1, 1889. They had crossed the Atlantic Ocean on the ship, "City of Chicago". They came directly to Cheyenne, by train to the home of Mrs. Sedgwick's brother, Anthony Wilkinson, arriving in Cheyenne Nov. 5, 1889. Andy was seven years old and had attended first grade in England. He then attended schools in Cheyenne and Grover, Colo.  His father went to work at the Wilkinson ranch east of Cheyenne on Muddy Creek near campstool. Andy stayed in Cheyenne with some people that owned a blacksmith shop, to attend school. He also attended St. Mark's Episcopal church, one of the oldest churches in the state, and sang in the choir.

Andy's father filed on a homestead near Grover, Colo. in 1890, and the family moved there. His parents lived on this ranch until his father's death in 1918. His mother died in 1929.

Andy married Pauline Dorothea     Thompson in Greeley, Colo. June 29, 1904. She was born August 27, 1882 in Cheyenne, the daughter of Henry and Ida Thompson. Mr. Thompson was born in 1850 in Manne, Germany and Mrs. Thompson was born in Kiel, Germany in 1866. He came to the United States in 1868 at the age of 18, and she came in 1880 at the age of 14. They were married in Cheyenne in 1881.

Henry Thompson and a partner ran a business as Street & Thompson, establishing the first general store in Custer, Dakota Territory in 1875.  Street ran the store while Thompson freighted with wagons pulled by oxen and mules carrying supplies to the store for miners in the Black Hills during the gold rush.These freight wagons helped carve the deep ruts in the sandstone in the Hat Creek Breaks which can be seen today.   Thompson's wagon train was the first to come upon the Metz Massacre in Red Canyon north of Edgemont, and helped bury the dead.

The Thompsons later homesteaded near Grover in 1891. They also became owners of a store­ elevator combination in Grover, some farms and banking interests in this area and around Eaton, Colorado.

Andy and Lena homesteaded and built up a ranch east of Grover near Pawnee Buttes. Then, in April of 1908, Andy and his brother, Leonard, bought a ranch on the Cheyenne River from Owen Shay. Andy moved his family to the ranch Dec. 31, 1908. They arrived in Edgemont on the train and were taken to the ranch about 25 miles west up the river from Edgemont by the livery stable boy, Chris Christensen. They had two children, Leonard Thompson Sedgwick, better known as Bus, was born June 21, 1906 at Ault, Colo.; Ida was born in Grover on March 17, 1908.

Two more children were born at the ranch on the Cheyenne River; Pauline on August 6, 
1911 and Francis on January 21, 1917.

Andy built new barns and corrals at the ranch, but they continued to live in the original Shay house, a large four­ bedroom home that still stands. The Dale post office was located at the ranch at the time the Sedgwicks bought it, and it was continued until 1911 when it was combined with and moved to Spencer.

Andy's brother, Leonard, had home­ steaded land adjoining the ranch on the east. Leonard went to Alaska in 1898 at the age of 18 when gold was discovered. He returned in the fall of 1900 after staking and working a successful claim in the Klondike.   He sold the claim but had to go to London to get the deed in order. He got home with enough to sponsor cele­ brations in Cheyenne and Grover, and hired a train for a party running to Rawlins and back to Cheyenne. He later had five bands of sheep ranging between Rawlins and Rock Springs.  He moved the sheep to Fort Morgan, Colo. where the oil field is located now, where he had bought land for 10¢ an acre, but moved out and never re­ turned after a short time when he decided the soil was too dry and sandy to make good pasture for his sheep.

Leonard died in 1913 of appendicitis and Andy bought his interest in the Cheyenne River ranch at this time, plus half of Leonard's homestead. The part of the homestead retained by his widow was later sold to Charles Nightingale, and is presently owned by Wayne Jackson.

Andy purchased several other homesteads over the years when the original settlers moved away. Some of them included Stricklan's in 1939, Frank McElhaney's in 1943 and Grover Jenkin's in 1948. 

Anthony Wilkinson, uncle of Andy Sedgwick, also had land interests along the Cheyenne River around 1900 where he ran sheep.He assisted several of his country men in coming to the United States to establish ranches along the Cheyenne River.

A U.S. weather observation station was set up at the ranch Sept. 26, 1918 which still remains. Andy was appointed road supervisor of the Webster Road district from April 1918 to April 1922. At this time he was appointed road supervisor of the Spencer Road District and served for many years. He was appointed one of the land appraisers for the Lusk-Newcastle U.S. Highway 85 in February 1931.

Andy served on the School District #3 Board from 1915 until 1925, serving as treasurer two years. He also served on the election board at Mule Creek Precinct #15 for several years.  He was a Wyoming Brand Inspector from 1921 to 1935, inspecting thousands of head of cattle, sheep and horses shipped from Dewey and Edgemont, South Dakota. He was a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Assoc., Wyoming Wool Growers Assoc. Elks Lodge and Modern Woods­men of America.

The Sedgwick children started to school at the Bobcat School, located about a half mile north of the present Cheyenne River School. Later all four children attended another school located just west of where Spencer Hall stood, where they were able to continue through tenth grade. Some of the children continued through high school in Grover, where they stayed with their grandmother, Ida Thompson. Leonard graduated from Grover High School in 1924 and later attended the University of Wyoming. 

Lena Sedgwick died May 28, 1920 in Edgemont from blood poisoning resulting from the puncture wound left when she stepped on a nail. Her oldest child, Leonard was 13 and her youngest, Francis, was three. Andy never remarried and raised his family alone.   Lena's mother Mrs. Thompson, would come stay with the family during the summers.

The Sedgwicks raised both cattle and sheep and some thoroughbred horses. Two of the thoroughbred stallions owned in the 1930s were Hanola Woodward by Mr. Woodward out of a mare by Locket, and Little Ethan, a son of Hanola Woodward out of a mare by All Smiles. Several regis­tered thoroughbred mares were kept on the ranch, most being decendents of horses brought from Kentucky by the Hogg brothers.

Leonard (Bus) after marrying Helen K. Petty in Sheridan on Feb. 2, 1929, be­ came a partner with his father on the home ranch and lived there until the fall of 1965 when he and Helen moved to Newcastle.

Helen's father was Artemus Clark Petty Sr. born in Sharpy County, Nebraska in 1878. He died in 1964 in Hot Springs, S.D.  His father was Edmund (Ted) Petty, born in Canada in 1837, and his mother was the former Jenny Coleman, born in Ireland in 1848.  Helen's father and grandfather both served as sheriff of Fall River County, South Dakota.  Her father, Art, homesteaded a ranch in Red Canyon north of Edgemont, and also owned a ranch joining the Sedgwick ranch on the north­ west in later years. Art worked as a cowboy in South Dakota, Wyoming, Montana and Nebraska, and also helped run his father's stage line and livery stable in Hot Springs before marrying Mabel Cary Arnold in 1904. She was the daughter of 
Emmett Francisco Arnold and Clara Paine Arnold.  Her father donated the land to the city where Hot Springs was built.

Helen was born Dec. 15, 1908 at the Petty ranch in Red Canyon. She attended rural grade school and Edgemont High School. After marrying and moving to the Sedgwick ranch, she helped organize the first women's extension club in the neighborhood, and was the pianist at many country dances. She was also a 4-H leader for 15 years.

Bus served on the Niobrara County School Board for 14 years, was on the Niobrara County Farm Bureau Board, a member of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association and Wyoming Wool Growers Association, Elks Lodge and was a 4-H leader for ten years.

Bus acquired the home· ranch from his father, the ranch owned by his father-in-law adjoining the Sedgwick ranch and the Newberry ranch in the Morrisey community of Weston County, putting together almost 50 sections.   Hereford cattle were run until 1950, when a few registered Angus cows and several bulls were purchased from Mark Cox, III of Cheyenne. Angus Bulls were used on the Hereford cows.

Bus also bought some registered Corriedale ewes from Art King of Cheyenne and established a flock of over 300 registered sheep.  He also had many water storage dams constructed on the ranches, developed irri­ gation systems for hayland, and many other improvements.

Bus and Helen spent a lot of time with their children in 4-H activities and youth rodeos. Angus cattle and Corriedale sheep were the main 4-H projects, but Clara had the first 4-H  horse project  in the county, a Quarter Horse Gelding that went on to win many buckles and saddles in high school, college, amateur and professional rodeos.

The children had state fair 4-H champions in cattle, sheep and horse projects, and Lenny also had state fair champion FFA sheep. The girls both won trips on 4-H livestock judging teams and both won state high school all-around cowgirl awards. Lenny won the state bareback riding in 1960. Bus and Helen enjoyed taking their family to national high school rodeos held in Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico and Montana. The horses used by the girls were bred in the Sedgwick family, descendant of the ranch's thoroughbred sire, Little Ethan. They were trained by the girls with help from the family and their friend, Charlie McEndaffer, an old-time cowboy and horseman who lived at the Sedgwick ranch for several years.

As the Sedgwick children were growing up on the home ranch, their grand­father, Andy, lived next door. The ranch was frequently the setting for family dinners, which would include 25 to 30 persons. Helen was in charge of most of the cooking and cleaning. Andy always invited old bachelor friends, too, that were in the area, which included Charlie McEndaffer. In the first nine years of their marriage before the children were born, Bus and Helen spent  much  time living in the sheep wagon, going to the Black Hills in the summer, shipping from Dewey in the fall.

Andy very reluctantly left the ranch in 1962, due to poor health and his need for medical attention. He lived in New ­castle until his last months which he spent at the home of his son, Francis. He died Nov. 21, 1964, at the age of 72.

Bus divided his ranch holdings and sold out to his children in 1956. Fred and Clara stayed on at the home ranch and  leased Lenny's part of the ranch. Bus and Helen moved to Newcastle the fall of 1965 but owned cattle until the fall of 1974.

The Wilsons have made many improvements on the ranch, too, including a new well and 20 miles of stock water pipe line, new barn and corrals, and a new house just finished. The registered Angus cattle have been per­formance tested since 1965, and Fred has been pregnancy-testing the entire cow herd bred to Hereford bulls. The Wilsons keep a few Quarter horse mares, most of them with performance records, headed by their stallion, Clown Hancock. They also show some of their horses during the summers, with Lonnie winning in 1974 American Junior Quarter Horse Assoc. national finals barrel racing on her horse that was born and trained on the ranch.

Fred and Clara are both graduates of the University of Wyoming, were both on the college rodeo team, both very active in the Wyoming Quarter Horse Assoc. and are advisors for the Wyoming Junior Quarter Horse Assoc.

Fred is an American Quarter Horse Assoc. director, representing Wyoming, also and Angus judge, and he represents Niobrara County on the Wyoming Stock Growers Assoc. board.

Clara has been a 4-H leader for nine years, and the Wilsons have held a 4-H horse judg­ing and clinic at the ranch the past several years, as well as helping with state 4-H activities.

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Record Type Name
Obituary Sedgwick, Anthony (05/07/1882 - 11/21/1964) View Record