Historical Details

Demmon, O.J.

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald-Standard, 08/20/1925


O. J. Demmon of St. Cloud, Florida, is here on a visit to his daughter, Mrs. George Saffell, and tells some of his experiences of early days which will undoubtedly be of interest to many of our readers as Mr. Demmon is a pioneer of Niobrara county and well -  known to all old timers.     

He came through the Civil War, having enlisted from Illinois, broken down in health and was advised to go to Colorado which he did in the spring of 1866, arriving in Denver the first of May.

The trip from Ft. Kearney was made by train on account of hostile Indians.

A crop of wheat was put in that spring but the army worm harvested the most of it, the next year  he put in another 10 acres of wheat but the grasshoppers hatched out on the same ground and that year took all of it, so Mr. Demmon decided he was not a farmer and went on the road with his team as a freighter between Denver and Cheyenne.

The town of Cheyenne was just started then on the advanced grade of the Union Pacific railroad.

In the fall of '67 he was married to Mary C. Penrock, daughter of W.D. Penrock, also from Illinois. With his father-in-law they moved to Cheyenne where they hauled wood to the railroad from the head of Crow Creek.

The next summer he went into the dairy business and that winter the Territory of Wyoming was formed from the Dakotas. 

In the spring of '76 the Black Hills having been opened by the government, Mr. Demmon took a load of passengers and provisions to Deadwood and on his way back with a Mr. Lockhart, located a ranch at Indian Spring in the Rawhide Buttes country, 25 miles north of Ft. Laramie. He kept on the road several years through the Sioux Indian country and also raised cattle and horses on his ranch which he renamed "Silver Springs."

While living in Cheyenne he became quite well acquainted with the first appointed Major, H. Glafcke, and with C.M. Cory, F.E. Warren. L.F. Wuckles, P.F. Taylor, Nick Osborn, T. Jeff Carr and in fact all the old timers who lived or did business in Cheyenne,

In the country north of Cheyenne the following well known old timers then lived: Jim Hunton, Tom Hunton, Hi Kelly, Colen Hunter and Dick Whalen.

In those days buffalo were killed on the Silver Springs ranch and also other wild meats were lived on for years.

Later the ranch was sold to McReynolds and Mr. Demmon moved his family to Lusk and built a livery barn, which business he conducted for 12 years when he sold out to Harry Rogers.

Mr. Demmon built the first two story, fireproof building with basement built in Lusk. It is the building in which to Howes Drug store is now located.

Mr. Demmon's wife died in 1912 after which he made his home in St. Cloud, Florida.

During the years that Mr. and Mrs. Demmon lived in Wyoming  they raised a family of 13 children, 10 sons and three daughters. The children are now scattered from the Atlantic to the Pacific but Mr. Demmon hopes to meet a number of them here and have a sort of family re-union before he returns to Florida. 

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Related/Linked Records

Record Type Name
Obituary Demmon, Orson (05/11/1843 - 03/13/1927) View Record
Obituary Demmon, Mary (01/28/1850 - 03/30/1911) View Record