Historical Details

Niobrara Markers, Memorials, and Monuments

Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 03/05/2024


Mother Featherlegs - 2 miles West and 10 miles South of Lusk.

Robber's Roost - at the junction of U.S. 85 and Cheyenne River approximately 50 miles North of Lusk.

Fort Hat Creek - 13 miles North on Highway 85, 2 miles East on Oil Road, then 1 ½ miles South.

George Lathrop - 2 miles West of Lusk.

Jireh - about 22 miles West of Lusk.


The Lusk Herald, August 15, 1940

The Lusk Lion's club, the only men's civic organization functioning in the city, is responsible to a large degree for the erection and dedication of the Texas-Montana Trail marker monument located three miles east on Lusk on Highway 20.


The Lusk Herald, May 28, 1936, Golden Jubilee Edition

George Lathrop, Colorful Stage Coach Driver on Cheyenne and Black Hills Line, Played an Important Role in Western History

Magnificent Memorial Erected In His Honor On Old Stage Road

Mr. Lathrop passed away Dec. 24, 1915 and his remains were interred in the Manville cemetery in practically an unmarked grave. The only monument marking his grave for several years was a red brick, which is still used as part of the headstone on his grave. The  publisher of  The Lusk Herald, published the booklet, "Memoirs of a Pioneer" and sold them at a nominal price to raise money to erect a suitable marker at the last resting place of this remarkable pioneer and stage coach driver. 

In a few months' time The Herald collected nearly $600, and the magnificent memorial was erected beside Highway No. 20, between Lusk and Manville, in the center of the old Cheyenne and Black Hills Stage road. Mr. Lathrop's remains were removed from the Manville cemetery and were interred beside the monument.

The finishing touches to the base of the monument were put on by Al Rundquist and Archie Sparks, assisted by W. A. t, Joe Kuhn furnished all the gravel and cement for the job free.

The bronze tablet was designed by Mr. Rundquist, and is a magnificent work of art, being pronounced by all who have seen it as one of the finest bronzes they have ever seen, and an expert stone mason placed the tablet in the granite stone.

The unveiling too place in the morning at 10 o'clock of Memorial day, when many employees of the old stage lines and pioneer who traveled it when Lathrop was a star driver gathered to pay tribute to one of the most skillful drivers who ever handled the ribbons over a 6-horse outfit.

Among the notable speakers at the unveiling ceremonies was former governor, B.B. Brooks of Casper, president of the Wyoming Pioneers Association; former governor, Rob't. D. Carey, son of the late Joseph M. Carey, who also served as governor; Dr. Grace Raymond Hebard, professor of political economy at the University of Wyoming, and also a noted historian; R.S. Ellison, chairman of the Wyoming Historical Landmarks commission; Mrs. Cyrus N. Beard, Wyoming State Historian. Short addresses were made by the visitors.

Among the old stage line employees and freighters who gathered to pay tribute to their old associate was "Pooch" Quinn, old freighter, who was probably the first white child to be born in Denver, Colo.; Fred Sullivan, one of the few still living who drove stage over the Deadwood  line; the late Tom Black, former Wyoming legislator, who was station tender at the Rawhide Buttes stage station; Col. Harry H. Hynds, owner of the Plains Hotel at Cheyenne, who was the stage line's blacksmith; Capt. Jim Cook of Agate, Nebr., old Indian scout and frontiersman, and several others.

The honor of unveiling the memorial was accorded to Mrs. Adele Black Winkler of Cheyenne and and Miss Gertrude Orr of Lusk, who as a little girls were favorites of the old pioneer during his declining years.

The citizens of Douglas "chipped in" and sent the entire troop of the Girl's Cavalry to Lusk to participate in the ceremonies. This was the only organization of its kind in the entire country, and the girls, mounted on their cavalry horses, formed a guard of  honor in the procession to the site of the monument .

A salute of three volleys was fired over the old pioneer's grave by the Girls' Rifle Club of Lusk, under the command of Lieut. A. J. Stenner.

Russell Thorp, of Douglas, member of the Lathrop Memorial Committee, was in charge of the parade. A.A. Spaugh, old-timer of Niobrara county, mounted on his famous black horse, acted as grand marshal of the parade.

2 miles West of Lusk.

The Lusk Herald, May 14, 1964

Featherlegs Monument, Stage Visit Sunday Are Bringing Wide Attention

A historical event which is drawing region-wide attention will take place south of Lusk along the old Cheyenne-Black Hills Stage trail Sunday May 17. A monument to the once notorious Mother "Featherlegs" Shephard will be dedicated at 2:00 p.m. coincident with the visit of the Denver to Deadwood stage.

The chain of events will start at 11:00 a.m. when the Jay Em Woman's Club will start serving a barbecued beef dinner. The Club is preparing food for more than 300 persons and will serve at the Old Rawhide State Station which is now the Agnew Ranch operated by Bill Milliken. The ranch can be reached by driving 16 miles south from the George Lathrop monument which is two miles west of Lusk on Highway 20, or by driving 9 miles south and west on the county line road and 1/4 mile north. The county line road is 10 miles south of Lusk on Highway 85. The Agnew Ranch is still entirely  composed of all the original stage station buildings.

Bates is Speaker

Lewis E. Bates a man, who has long been a student of western history, will be the principal speaker at t he 2:00 p.m. dedication. Mr. Bates is a former editor of the Wyoming (Cheyenne) Tribune and now represents the S & H Green Stamp Co. in Wyoming. Robert W. (Red) Fenwick, a popular Denver Post columnist will speak briefly, and Russell Thorp, son of the owner of the stage line, will unveil the monument which is at the grave of Mother "Featherlegs." The grave is exactly 10 miles south of the George Lathrop monument. The 3,000 lb. piece of Rawhide Red granite and is approximately five feet tall.

The Denver to Deadwood Stage is running ahead of schedule and is expected to arrive at the Agnew Ranch this Thursday. It is being driven by Lee Karas of Deadwood, former Deadwood Chief of Police.

"Featherlegs Story" Two Other Graves

"Featherlegs" has two companions in  her grace. Both died violent deaths. The two smaller stones are being placed to identify the men.

Ike Diapert is one of the occupants of the triple grave. He attempted to run a bluff and lost. "Cousin Ike" as he was called, was a roundup cook and was jealous of some miners from nearby Muskrat Canyon who called on a widow, Mrs. Stiffler. "Cousin Ike" wanted to marry Mrs. Stiffler and threatened to kill himself if she didn't. 

It is said that he took two small bottles and filled one with flour, and another with strychnine. Upon being refused he meant to scare Mrs. Stiffler and take the bottle of flour, but he became mixed up and emptied the wrong bottle and until now has been laying in an unmarked grave.

The death of George McFadden is more obscure. it is known that he was shot and killed by Frank Ketchum near a dugout on Igoe Creek which is on the Ord Livestock Co. ranch. Whatever the reason for the shooting has been lost in time. It is known that Mr. Ketchum  was the telegraph operator at Rawhide at one time and later was the telegraph operator at Silver Cliff, the town that preceded Lusk.

Mrs. Agnes Wright Springs, in her book, "The Cheyenne and the Black Hills Stage Line", reports that McFadden and Diapert were bitter enemies so it was thought entirely proper that they should be buried with "Featherlegs" between them.

In order that there would be no mistake in marking the grave location, promoters of the project, Bob Darrow and Jim Griffith, asked Russell Thorp to identify the spot. Last Sunday he did just that and the monument is now being erected. . The stone was donated by Lake Harris and was cut by Jim Harris. Several persons contributed to erect the marker.

The common grave is located near the top of Demmon hill on Ord Livestock Co. land. In addition to witnessing something of a historical event, persons who make the outing Sunday will find the Rawhide country especially beautiful as the grass is just starting to green. 

2 miles West and 10 miles South of Lusk.

The Lusk Herald, July 25, 1968

Dedication ceremonies for a historical marker commemorating both Jireh College and the Community of Jireh will be held Sunday, Aug. 18 at 2:00 p.m. on Highway 20 five miles west of Manville where a State of Wyoming historical marker is being erected.

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