Historical Details

Rennard Ranch

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/08/2021


by Mrs. Sam Rennard

The Rennard Ranch 47 miles north of Lusk was homesteaded by Tom Rennard in 1908. He came to the United States in 1905 and worked on a sheep ranch for John Wilkinson of Pine Bluffs, Wyo. for awhile. He became a citizen of this country in 1911.

Tom Rennard was born in Yorkshire, England, Sept. 3, 1883.  He married Mary Jane Ernshaw, also a native of England and together they started the ranch in Niobrara county. They were parents of three sons; Robert of Cheyenne, Tom (deceased) of Casper and Sam of the home ranch.

Mr. Rennard was the mail carrier from Edgemont to the Spencer post office in the years when most travel was by wagon and team. At one time the round trip was made twice a week and in addition to the mail service he also delivered groceries and other necessities to the patrons and hauled cans of cream back to Edgemont.    At this time there were approximately 70 families living along the route.

In early days he had shorn sheep and could sheer a good number with hand shears in a day. He was a member of the community school board for 16 years when it was still District #3 and was treasurer of the Chey­enne River Telephone Company for a long time.

Mr. Rennard lost his life as· a result of an automobile accident Dec. 4, 1951.

Reverend Sietsema, who was pastor of the Congregational Church in Edgemont, S.D. at that time, officiating at the funeral ser­ vice and used Ecclesiastes 7:1 for his text. "A good name is- better than precious oint­ ment." I'm sure Mr. Rennard never purposely wronged anyone.

Mrs. Rennard passed away July 16, 1964 
after many years of poor health. She had taken an active part in the ranching busi­ness, often keeping the work up while her husband was away shearing or carrying mail and lending a helping hand during times of heavy work loads.

The ranch is now owned by Robert and Sam and operated by Sam and his son Stan. Sam and Vivian are also the parents of Cheryl (Mrs. Carl Christianson) and Carol both of Lusk.

Water has always been a problem for northern Niobrara County, but pipelines now furnish water to most of the pastures.

There was a time when cattle either trailed to the Cheyenne River for water or it was hauled to them from the river. Then came the days of the earthen dams or dikes across a deep draw and that seemed the solution to the problem but in more recent times the rainfall has not been sufficient so that even those could furnish enough water.

The ranch is not large by acreage but by careful management it has supported two families most of the time since 1944.

Stan and his wife Marlene live in the older house, which has been recently remodeled and Sam and Vivian live in a new house not far away. Stans' have one daughter, Jennifer Jo, born Dec. 2, 1973.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Rennard, Tom (09/03/1883 - 12/04/1951) View Record
Obituary Rennard, Mary (09/18/1879 - 07/16/1964) View Record