Historical Details

Nuttall, Catherine Dora Snyder

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


by Catherine Nuttall

I was born May 31,1907 near Arnold, Nebr. in a two-story farm house belonging to my grandfather, Jacob Seaney. My mother, Elsie, was the oldest of the five Seaney children and was born in Richmond, Ind. June 18, 1884. She died in Douglas, Wyo. May 3, 1943. The other Seaney children, Charles, Maude, Dora and Elmer were born in Richmond, Ind. In 1900 their mother, Nancy Seaney, died and their father moved the family to a farm near Milldale, Nebr.

My father, Charles T. Snyder, was born Feb. 28, 1868 in Georgetown, Tex., the oldest son of John Wesley Snyder and Catherine Jane Coffee Snyder. His brothers and sisters were Laura, Stella, Edna, Gladys, Frank, Elmer and Alva. The John Snyder family lived in Cheyenne, Wyo. in 1878 for about three years, then returned to Texas.    The Snyder brothers, John, Tom and Dudley brought cattle to Wyoming up the Texas Trail.  Charles and Alva helped on several drives. Charles was educated at a military academy near Chicago.

In the early spring of 1906, my father was working for a Union Pacific Railroad survey crew through the Loup River Valley in Nebraska. He and my mother were married in July 1906. He worked as a ranch hand for Jacob Seaney and Dan Haskell. June 15, 1910 brought tragedy to the Snyders when their little 18 month old boy, Frank, fell into a horse tank and was drowned. I started to school at the Milldale country school in 1912. My parents moved to Kearney, Nebr. for one year where my father worked in a canning factory and my mother took a dressmaking course under Madame Covari. On May 31, 1914 my mother and I arrived on the train at Orin, Wyo. My father met us in a borrowed buckboard from the Jim Shaw ranch where  he was employed. We lived in a little house on the river about two miles southeast of the Shaw home until September, when we moved to Douglas so that I could enter the third grade.  My teacher was Miss Norma McElhiney who married Billie Burgess at Christmas time. Miss Margaret Weaver finish­ ed teaching the class that year. The fourth grade was taught by Miss Gladys Cunningham.

George Brooks, the janitor, at the old north grade school was a favorite of all the kids. I had to walk a mile to school and he was always kind enough to let me in the school­ house on frosty mornings when I arrived early. In 1917 war cast its spell over the fifth graders when their teacher, Leah Mc­Elhiney and Walter Scheib were married and he went to fight the Germans in the first World War. Miss Louise Stewart taught the sixth grade. Miss Ada Brown was the beloved seventh grade teacher. Mrs. Spradling, for­merly Louise Stewart, and Miss Bessie Cran­dall taught the eighth grade. I joined the Methodist church and was baptized on Easter 1920.  My close friends and I joined the Girl Scouts when we were freshmen.  The fol­ lowing girls formed the Bob White Patrol; Pauline Ledford, Dorothy Urban, Eileen Brown, Eunice Thomas, Frances De Castro, Helen Esmay, Catherine Snyder, and Ruth Clark.    The Scout leaders, Doris Allen and Lillian Smith gave the girls lasting high standards on which to build their lives.

Jobs Daughters was organized in 1923 and I became a charter member. After graduating from Douglas High School in spring of 1924, I left for college at the University of Nebraska that fall. I was enrolled in Teachers College for 2 years and received my provisional life certificate.

I was hired to teach the primary grades at Lost Springs, so on Sept. 1, 1926 I ar­rived in Lost Springs on the 9 p.m. North­ western train. It was raining hard and the night was black.  When the train pulled out of the station only the little yellow glow from the kerosene lamp in the station office gave a hint that a building was nearby. I picked up my suitcase but wasn't sure what I was  going to do. I never felt more alone in my life. Previously I had rented a room at the Charlie Hitshew home, but how was I going to find the house on this stormy night. Suddenly, from out of the dark a masculine voice said, "What are you doing in the rain?" I was so relieved to find that my friends, Ray Reed and Leona Wagner, had met the train in Ray's Model T.roadster. Ray loaded my suitcase and me into the car and took me up  to Hitshews, which was about  a  half  mile from the station. Ray's dad raised cattle on the Card ranch two miles south of Lost Springs at that time.

My schoolhouse was a former parsonage behind the town hall. I received $115 a month and had to do my own janitor work.

Ken Rood, who was working for Charlie Hit­shew that winter, chopped my wood. Some of my children in the primary grades were: Caroline and Esther Haberman, Georgia and Charles Fenton, Edith, William and Walter Kent, Glen and Harry Turner, Willard and Mildred Davies, Fred Muhlback, Russell Ship­ pen, Bernice Thurston, two Bobised boys and two Smith boys, Victor Kamp.

Lost Springs was incorporated June 9, 1911.First lots were sold in the township in 1901. The Rosin and Sunset Coal mines north of Lost Springs helped develop the community. Lost Springs had a four year  high school with two graduating classes in 1927 and 1928. Other teachers in 1926 were A. T. Boom, principal; J. B. Dickson and Mrs. C.H. Bastian. Mr. Clarence Marshall taught grades five through eight until Christmas, then Miss Alice Campbell finished the school year.      

Graduating in the class of 1927 were Wilbur Wright, Wayne McGrew, Herbert Rogers, Mildred Bowell and Frances Hoag. Governor Frank Emerson planned to give the commence­ ment address at the town hall, but he was called to Jackson Hole at the last minute, so Gregory S. Powell substituted for him.

Graduating in the class of 1928 were Harry Turner and Anna Reuber.

In 1926 Mr. and Mrs. C. C. Bowell operated the hotel and garage. Mabel and Dale Buffington and their father published the Lost Springs Times; Joe Ladgen had the black­ smith shop; Mr. and Mrs. Ben Thurston had the post office; Mr. and Mrs. Bill Davies ran the general store. A pool hall and barber shop was operated by Mr. Jones, which was more or less a "speakeasy" since this was during prohibition days and boot-leg whiskey could be obtained   here.  The old 0. L. Walker lumber yard building was also a pool hall.  The one apartment building was called the "Bee Hive".  Mr. Elmer Turner had the butcher shop. The bank closed in 1923 when G. C. Butterfield was president.   Mr. and Mrs. John Mills were directors of the bank, so they moved into the upstairs apartment over the bank.

After teaching one term, I decided to go back to the University of Nebraska for two more years and received my B.A. degree in spring of 1929. I taught one year in Torrington; then the president of the Lost Springs school board,·Charles Hitshew, offered me my old job, so I taught the pri­mary grades in Lost Springs for two more years.

A young fellow by the name of Bill Nuttall, whom I had known since we were in the third grade in Douglas was working for Charles Hitshew. We started dating and on Aug. 14, 1932 were married in Douglas. Shortly before my marriage I filed on a homestead 17 miles northeast of Lost Springs. We bought a little house from the Trustee Securities Corporation that was built by G. R. Henning and had Bill Miller move it about two miles to my homestead.

My homestead had four coal mines on it. The first mine had a shaft and was worked by George Brooks and sons about 1900. Later Tom and John York ran this mine.  It was known as the Old Brooks mine and was worked for about five years. The Harney tunnel mine on the Edith Stafford homestead that we bought from Harry Manning was started by Guy and Joe Piranino and Mr. Steele. They traded it to Floyd Wilkinson and Mac McCoy.    Then the Whitaker brothers mined it as did Frank and Kenneth Boardman. Louis Lawrence mined for awhile then sold his interest to Dave McCullough in 1931. Dave McCullough filed on the coal right on my homestead in 1934 and made three entries into the coal beds. He stopped mining the spring of 1934.

I joined the Keeline 5280 Homesteaders Club in 1938. We did not have a car for nine years after we were married, so our mode of transportation was either horseback or lumber wagon. I rode my horse, Eagle, which was a wedding present from "Chick" Robert Bright, to my first club meeting at the home of Mrs. George Nelson. Coming home a bad hail storm caught me four miles from home. I got off my horse and was partly protected by a steep bank. I arrived home muddy and wet but I have continued to go to club for 34 years.

Square dancing has been our favorite recreation and we have belonged to the Tanglefoot Square Dance Club in Lance Creek for 23 years. The Lost Springs Bible Study Class, under the American Sunday School Union was started in 1954. I have received much spiritual blessing from teaching this class.

My father was killed in Douglas the morning of June 9, 1928 when he was accidentally run over by a car driven by Marie Schmidt. My mother remarried Harry Churchill in Sept. 1939 and died May 3, 1943. Harry Churchill was born in 1875 and died in 1950.

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Obituary Nuttall, Catherine (05/31/1907 - 09/23/1993) View Record