Historical Details

Mariegard Ranch

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/12/2021


by Katrine L. Mariegard

The Mariegard ranch consisting of 1,600 acres is located five miles west and five miles south of Keeline in Niobrara county.

Nels Larsen Mariegard's original homestead of 320 acres where the house and buildings are located was filed on in the fall of 1908 and patented Nov. 14, 1914; 240 acres that was his additionally was patented in December, 1916.

Nels Larsen Mariegard came to the United States of America from Denmark in April 19, 1908 and spent six months with his brother, Louis Larsen in Fremont, Nebr. before coming to Wyoming to take up a homestead and make his home. He worked at different jobs on some of the big ranches herding sheep, building or any other odd jobs or carpentry there was to be done.

Nels didn't ride horseback but was a very good walker and walked where other people rode horseback.

Nels herded sheep for Harry Card in the early years. One year a terrible blizzard came up; he couldn't keep the sheep from drifting so he just stayed with the band. He was near his homestead when the blizzard started and ended up near the Tom Black ranch near Flat Top three days later when the blizzard let up. Harry Card came to look for him and his sheep, which were all right, although he was very tired and hungry.

In the spring of 1911, Harry B. Card shipped in 31 carloads of cattle from Texas that Nels helped unload at Lost Springs.

He just turned them out on the range; there weren't many fences at that time, as Nels was one of the first of the homesteaders.

A terrible blizzard came up and most of
the cattle froze to death, so he hired Nels and another homesteader to skin as many as they could; there certainly was a terrible stench.

Nels Larsen Mariegard received his naturalization papers at Lusk, June 24, 1914, making him a citizen of the. United States of America.

Nels enlisted in the Navy Jan.21,1918 and served in World War I. He was just back from the War when his house was burned by lightning while he was at a school meet­ing in Keeline. He stayed in the U. S. Naval Reserve and was discharged Sept. 30, 1921.

Nels worked on the bridge crew of the Union Pacific Railroad for a few years. He also worked on the construction of the Guernsey Dam.

I, Katrine Larsen Mariegard was born and raised on my parents' farm southeast of Manville. Christen and Marie Larsen also homesteaded in 1908.

Nov. 10, 1928 Nels and I were married. We made the ranch our home.

In 1942 I joined the Keeline 5280 Club. I have been a member for 26 years. I also belonged to the American Legion Auxiliary.

In 1938 we bought 160 acres from Frank Barrett on the Muddy Creek that someone else had homesteaded. In March 1940 we bought 320 acres which Charlie Boatman home­steaded in November 1919. He passed away in Oregon several years later. In January 1943 we bought 160 acres from Clell McClung that he had homesteaded in August 1914. In April 1948 we bought 200 acres from Lloyd Smith that Adam Backer had homesteaded in 1914. We rented 200 acres of State land; this completed our ranch.

Nels was a member of the American Legion. He passed away March 18, 1958 at the Veterans Hospital in Cheyenne.  We had three children, Evelyn, Gary and Caroll. Caroll was in the third grade.

I continued to operate the ranch for 10 years. I had Caroll with me.  I rented the farm ground to David Poage and looked after the cattle myself.

March 8, 1965 I had a horse I was riding fall, breaking my leg in several places. I splinted the leg with sticks from nearby bushes, pulled myself onto my horse with the aid of a rope and rode about a mile to my home, where I phoned David Poage. He took me to the Natrona County Memorial Hospital in Casper where I underwent surgery so the leg could set. It healed very well. Then,in January, 1968, a horse fell and broke the same leg again. I crawled over two miles to my home. I was able to get my nearest neigh­bor, David Poage, who drove immediately the mile to my ranch and took me to Casper again for treatment. My predicament this time was more severe, because I had had cataract oper­ations on my eyes in the last two years and could not see too well.  Only by following the horse's tracks back along the cattle trail was I able to find my way, the snow was sifting a little. I believe having the cover of snow was fortunate, because it gave some cushion in the crawling.  The day was one of the mildest ones of the present cold spell and the exertion helped keep me warm. Even with this, my injured leg became numb and both knees and legs were black and blue.

After this experience, I felt I could no longer manage the ranch, so I sold it to David and Gertrude Poage and now live in Torrington. At this time Caroll was in col­lege. She graduated from the University of Wyoming in  the spring of 1971.Caroll now is Extension Home Economist of Hot Springs County at Thermopolis.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Mariegard, Katrine (07/12/1909 - 07/08/2003) View Record
Obituary Mariegard, Nels (10/09/1886 - 03/18/1958) View Record