Historical Details

Mahnke, Frank

Courtesy of Our Heritage: Niobrarans and Neighbors, 02/16/2021


by Hulda Mahnke

Frank's grandfather was born in Wisconsin Sept. 14, 1847. He enlisted in Co. G., 32nd Reg. Wisconsin Volunteer, Nov. 24, 1863, transferred to Crew Co. 16th Reg. Wisconsin Volunteer June 1865 and was dis­charged July 22, 1865. He died Dec. 8, 1903.

Father was born June 15, 1883 and married Anna Christian. Frank and his sister, Helen Clemons were born to this marriage.

William Louis Mahnke remarried and to this marriage was born Margaret Briscoe, Henry Mahnke, Fred Mahnke (deceased), Catherine, and Arthur Mahnke.

Frank was born in Sioux City, Ia., Sept. 10, 1904. His folks came to Wyoming Dec. 1913. They homesteaded 3 1/2 miles south of Keeline. Father came in a covered wagon; the family came by train. Frank went to school in Keeline. Teachers were Mrs.

Ella Watson and Frank Kelley. He went one year to Trussel school three miles west and one mile south of Keeline. Some of his schoolmates were; Dick and Enos Lee, Joe Crawford, Harold Thrasher and sister Helen, Basil Decker, Paul and Howard Richardson and Grace Richardson Wilson, Frances Pratt, Bill Beickman, the Frosheiser's, Keeter and the Roger children.

Frank and Hulda Miller were married in 1927. They lived in Casper for seven years then moved to Keeline on the Crawford Rogers place and have lived there ever since. We have three children: Donald, a doctor, lives in Casper; Daniel, a farmer, lives in Douglas; and Frances lives near Tioga N.D. Her husband works at Signal Oil Co. and they run a dairy. They have five children, Don has three and Dan has four.

The Mahkes got their mail in Keeline.

The first store was operated by Jess and Walker Freeman and they ran the post office also.   Then Charles T. Bushnell ran the store and post office. C. W. Spacht next had the post office and bank.

Our first house when we came to Keeline on the Rogers place was four homestead shacks moved together; the roof leaked and it was cold. We had wood and coal stoves, iron beds and other furniture we picked up. We went to church and Sunday school nearly every Sunday, when the children were old enough. They were in 4-H; Frances won a trip to Chicago on her canning. We had no freezer or electricity, so canned everything. We had a tank as a cooler for milk, butter, etc.

I was born near Sioux City, Ia. Moved to Nebraska then to Wyoming in 1914. I started to school in Nebraska and went during the summer in an old deserted house. In Wyoming I went to school in a cave and also in a deserted homestead shack one summer. Then a small school was built; it sits in Keeline now as a place for the teachers to live in.

My folks homesteaded 14 miles southwest of Keeline; we had a house half way in the ground and the windows were level with the ground. There were six of us children; Erich, Harry, Hedwich, Paul and Otto were my brothers and sister.

We had lots of rattlesnakes, some runaways and broke lots of broncs. Our way of life was by horse transportation, work and play. We rode five miles after mail which came on the route, so only went once or twice a week after it.

My mother was the doctor in our house and for the community. Once Paul got his toes cut off by an axe. She put the toes back and put homemade salve on them and kept them bandaged and they grew back on and never bother him. We never got sick, as we had plain food to eat. We had two neighbor boys to play with, Franklin and Francis Whitaker. Later Lloyd Sperry came to stay with his uncle and aunt and went to school with us. A widow woman homesteaded close by and Dad built her house and she had an adopted girl that went to school also.

We farmed with horses. My Dad and older brothers all worked out a lot and I worked in the field with horses. We would take an old team and hitch up colts with them and break them.

When we moved to Keeline, we did all our farming with horses. I and the children all helped in the field. One time we were haying and an electric storm came up. I was raking with a team and we tied them up until the storm was over. When lightning struck close by and scared them. They tore loose and ran, taking out several fence posts and ruining a rake wheel.

Our children went to the Keeline and Manville schools. We built most of the buildings on this place. Our barn was moved here from Lost Springs; it was a livery barn there. We built our present house 20 years ago.

I went to the Peterson school two years. Teachers were Maud (James) Runser and Margret Runser. Schoolmates were the Peterson children, Mildred and Helen Hunger­ ford, Bill Dieckman and Vernon Bradley. My other teachers were Eunice Meyers, Florence White, Estell Runser, Arthur Teakel and Mrs. Richards.

Our religion was Lutheran. We went to church and Sunday school in our school house; our minister was Rev. Stahr. He had an old Ford car and would pick us up and take us to church. We also had what we called "literary" and they would have some entertainment afterwards. We children loved this.

When we moved here from Casper it was a drought year. All the fences were covered with sand, nothing grew, and we cut corn with a knife and tied it up and that was the cow feed. We started with five cows bought from the government for $105. They were so poor when Frank brought them home I thought if they walked out in the pasture they would never be able to come home. But they grew fat and that was our start in livestock. We got work horses from a friend in Casper, we could use them for keeping them.

My father and mother were born in Germany.

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Mahnke, Franklin (09/10/1904 - 11/22/1984) View Record
Obituary Mahnke, Hulda (01/19/1907 - 11/26/2008) View Record