Historical Details

Niobrara County Jail

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 07/10/1913

The Jireh Record, July 12, 1913

Commissioners Proceedings, July 1, 1912

The jail property in Block 1, Town of Lusk sold to Town of Lusk for One-Hundred Ninety-five ($195.00) Dollars, they being the highest bidders. 


The Lusk Herald, April 10, 1913

W.W. Yale, representing the Pauly Jail Building Company of Denver, came up last week from the Colorado capital to submit a bid for the new jail cells, but the Commissioners were not ready to take up the matter up as yet.

The Lusk Herald, July 10, 1913

Contractor Elmer H. Ranck acting under instructions of the Niobrara Board of County Commissioners, has drawn new plans and drafted new specifications for the sheriff's residence which it is intended to have built. The first floor will contain the sheriff's office, a bedroom , cell room, bath and lavatories. On the second floor there will be four commodious rooms with bath, clothes closets, pantry and other accessories and the whole building will be heated from a plant on the first floor. This change from the original plans is a good one as the sheriff's residence should be convenient to his office and jail. 


The Lusk Herald, August 14, 1913

Commissioners Proceedings, Lusk Wyoming August 5, 1913

The following bids for the construction of a jail were opened and considered:

  E.H. Mulholland,  $7545.00   

  E.H. Ranck,   $7325.00

  T.H. Blair     $7720.00

John Fernau for plumbing only, $995.00.

The bid of E.H. Ranck being the lowest, he was awarded the contract, he to give a bond of $1500.00.


The Lusk Herald, August 17, 1913

Elmer H. Ranck was the successful bidder for the construction of the new county jail in Lusk. His competitors were Tom Blair of Manville and Van Tassell and Mr. Mulholland of Rapid City, S.D. Construction work will commence just as soon as the old school building has been razed and out of the way.

The Lusk Herald, August 21, 1913

Contractor Ranck has finished the excavation for the new jail building and will be putting the cement into the forms this week.

The Lusk Herald, September 18, 1913

Contractor Ranck is getting along splendidly with the jail building. The walls are up to the second story , the heavy iron doors are set in place and the steel cells are being put in position, He  has had good weather since the work commenced, the only lay-off being Tuesday of this week when it rained.


The Jireh Record, October 25, 1913

Commissioners Proceedings, October 7, 1913

The following bills were audited and allowed, and warrants ordered drawn for payment of same:

E.H. Ranck, jail contract   $1779.66

Pauly Jail Building Co.           $3004.00

The Lusk Herald, October 30, 1913

Contractor Elmer H. Ranck is being delayed in getting the roof of the jail building finished on account of the stormy weather. As soon as  he is able to get the building under cover the inside work will be rushed to completion which should not be later than Dec. 1st.


The Lusk Herald, November 13, 1913

Mr. and Mrs. Harry Rogers have moved into a room in the Masonic building which they will occupy until the jail building is ready for habitation, that is, the upper story. 

(Harry R. Rogers was the first Sheriff of newly formed Niobrara County, and served from 1913-1914.)


The Lusk Freelance, June 7, 1934


Glenn Hanna, 31, who was arrested two weeks ago at Cheyenne after "tapping" the till at the Hiway Super Service Station here for $30.00 cash, and who was later brought back to this city and jailed in the county cells, took his life by hanging shortly after 4:40 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, in the runway around the cell block. His body was discovered by Sheriff Will Hassed, who was bringing the prisoner his evening meal from his living quarters on the upper floor of the county jail.

The hanging, according to Dr. W.E. Reckling, examining physician who was called immediately after the finding of the dangling body, was as nearly a perfect job as any legal hanging he had ever known of. The man must have died with in a very brief period of time, the doctor asserted, and must have understood something of how to perform the act.

Hanna's wife had been in the office of Sheriff Hassed late in the afternoon, requesting to visit the prisoner, and Sheriff Hassed  had brot {sic} him from the jail to the office for the meeting. It is said that the pair were apparently arguing as they parted, and that as soon as the wife left, Hanna was again removed to the jail. As he was the only prisoner there, he was allowed the freedom of the jail corridor.

Sheriff Hassed placed him inside the jail at 4:40 and when he returned at 5:05, he was met by the sight of the body hanging lifeless from a water pipe on the west side of the cell block. Hanna had torn a part of the wiring from the wall and ceiling, improvised a noose, and then tying his feet together with a necktie, got up on a radiator, slipped the noose around his neck and jumped off. Death must have been almost instantaneous, the authorities say.

Sheriff called for a physician hurriedly, and in the meantime cut the body down and attempted artificial respiration, but life was extinct and apparently had been for several minutes. The body was removed to the undertaking establishment of George Earl Peet, and the relatives of the man notified. A note was found on the reverse side of a letter he had received from his father.

His father, J.R. Hanna, and two brothers of Longmont, Colo., arrived late Tuesday night and made arrangements to take charge of the body. The remains were sent to Torrington this (Thursday) morning, and from there they will be taken to Ogallala, Nebr., where funeral services will be conducted Friday afternoon.

Hanna was 31 years old on the day he committed suicide. He is survived by his wife and two children, a son 7 years old, and a daughter, 4 years old, both by a former marriage.

Hanna was hailed before Justice of the Peace Otto Koeberlin shortly after his return to this city, pleading guilty to the theft. He was bound over to the district court under bond of $1500.

It has been learned since his death that he was connected with a couple of questionable automobile deals in Denver, Colo., and Ogallala, Neb., and these, combined with his latest difficulty here, might have had a bearing on his act of suicide, as indicated in the first sentence of his note. 

Hanna's Death Note

"I am sorry I have to do this but can't stand it any longer. Notify my wife and my Dad at Longmont, Colo., and they will do the rest . My wife just left here for home at Paul McKenzie's, north of here 60 miles. I love her with all my heart and my kids too. Don't know what they will do. Bury me some place and God bless you all.

(Signed)   GLENN"


The Lusk Herald, June 14, 1934

Glenn Hanna Buried in Ogallala, Friday

Glen Hanna, 31, who committed suicide June 5th by hanging, was buried Friday at Ogallala, Neb. Members of his family from Longmont, Colo., attended the services.

Hanna's body was taken to Torrington Thursday by Coroner George Earl Peet and was shipped by train to Ogallala.


The Lusk Herald, September 13, 1973

A 16 year-old youth and a 25 year-old man were back in the Niobrara County jail within hours after they had escaped Sunday, The pair broke out of jail between 2:00 and 4:00 Sunday afternoon, were picked up 17 miles south of Lusk by a truck driver who brought them back to Lusk where they were arrested by Lusk law officers at the Southside  Truck Stop at 3:30 a.m. Monday. the juvenile, who was being held in the woman's ward of the jail, allegedly used a spoon to dig the plaster from a wall and into the jail  lobby where he obtained the jail keys and released James Franklin Volanty alias Richard Lee Anderson being held in the men's ward on breaking and entering and escape charges. The pair went up through the apartment of Sheriff Harold Rogers and Mrs. Rogers and out the back entrance. A stairway leads from the jail lobby to the apartment above. 


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