Obituary Details

Edward "Ed" M. Arnold

(12/09/1862 - 01/20/1960)
Courtesy of Johnny & Margaret Thon Files, 01/28/1960

Ed Arnold, Oldest Resident, Dies Wed.

Thon Book No. 1

Edward M. Arnold, Niobrara County's oldest resident, died in the Spencer Hospital at 10:35 a.m. Wednesday morning. He celebrated his 97th birthday December 8, 1959.

Mr. Arnold's body will lie in state at the George Gibson home in Lusk from 1:00 until 5:00 p.m. Friday. Rosary service will be held in the Gibson home at 8:00 p.m. Friday. Funeral mass will be held at St. Leo's Catholic Church at 10:00 a.m. Saturday.

Mr. Arnold walked into this section of Wyoming from Ft. Laramie in 1877. He came when the country was young and grew with it but, he helped many others get started in business with financial aid.

Survivors include a son, Thomas Arnold of Valentine, Nebr. and three daughters, Mrs. R. V. Vinson, Oakland, Calif., Mrs. George Gibson, Lusk; and Mrs. Earl Updike, Rapid City. All of the above relatives were here at the time of his death.

The Lusk Herald
January 28, 1960
Ed Arnold saw "God's Country" develop

Funeral mass for Edward M. Arnold, the oldest Niobrara resident who died January 20, were held from St. Leo's Catholic Church Saturday. While the small church was filled to capacity, scores of people paid their last respects to Mr. Arnold while his body lay in state in the George Gibson home Friday afternoon, and attended the rosary mass Friday evening rather than tax the capacity of the small church.

Members of the choir were: Mrs. James Barrett, Mrs. Carl Bruch, Miss Pauline Bruch, Mrs. James V. Wilson, Dr. E. L. Lindahl, Jerry Wasserburger, and W. D. Wasserburger. Mrs. Henry Wasserburger, Sr. was organist.

Active Pallbearers were: Helmuth Klemke, Art Keller, Carl Bruch, Menno Kaan, Glen Cates, Roy Chamberlain, James Barrett, and Roy Johnson. Honorary bearers were: Russell Bradley, Cheyenne; Donald Richardson, Denver; Jacob Wasserburger, Harrison; John Agnew, Dudley Fields, C. W. Erwin, Len Christian, Alfred Baca, W. D. Miller, Fred Bryant, Dan Hanson, and H. J. Templeton.

BORN NEAR KANSAS CITY
Mr. Arnold who was born on his grandmother's farm near Kansas City, Mo. on December 9, 1862, witnessed the development of civilization from the time of the covered wagon to the jet airplane, from candlelight to neon. He was born during the Civil War and died during the Cold War. His grandmother's farmhouse occupied the area where one of Kansas City's largest department stores is located at the corner of 12th and Main.

When but a boy his father died and he, his mother and sister Ella, Mrs. John Pfister moved to Junction City, Mo. where he received his education and helped earn a living for his family.

At 17 and filled with adventure stories of the west, Ed ran away from home. He and his boyhood friend, Bill McCluskey, who had been west before, went to Denver by train and on to Cheyenne by stage. The boys had enough money to take the stage from Cheyenne as far north as the Rawhide Station and that's just what they did. At Rawhide they were told that they might find work at the Old Node Ranch.

They walked the 25 miles to the ranch, arriving on March 8,1879, but were informed by Charlie Remington, Node Ranch foreman, that there wasn't any work for cowboys, but that they might stay and they could get logs for fences and buildings. The money-less boys had no choice- they stayed. In his later years Mr. Arnold still told how he would cry himself to sleep and doubted if there ever was a more homesick boy. Then came spring and what an exciting spring it was with the roundup. For three years Ed and Billy stayed doing fencing and odd jobs in the winter so they could work with the roundup in the spring. In those early days young Ed also worked on the LZ ranch.

After 3 1/2 years on the plains Ed returned to see his mother. He told glowing stories of the west and had been making four times as much as a farmhand in Kansas was. Even then, just as he did in his later years, he referred to Wyoming as "God's Country."

MOVE TO WYOMING
In the Spring of 1884 he and his brother-in-law, John Pfister, brought their cattle in one railroad car and their household goods in another. They established a ranch about seven miles southwest of Lusk. Mr. Pfister took care of the ranch and Ed worked out. This partnership arrangement lasted for about six years. In the summer of 1885 they put a considerable amount of hay on the Page Flats south of where Manville is now. A terrible winter followed and most of the weakened cattle that survived died in the blizzard in the Spring of 1886. Mr. Arnold estimated that only ten percent of the cattle in that country survived.

Because the railroad was coming and because Kilpatrick Bros. and Collins, railroad contractors, needed hay badly, they paid Pfister and Arnold $20 per ton, which was a big price then. With this money the men were able to restock their range and move ahead financially. Because their range had become infested with loco weed the men broke up their partnership and each sought a new location.

Mr. Arnold moved further east to the Renicke ranch, which is now owned by the Johnson sisters southwest of Lusk. In 1902 Mr. Arnold bought the D. W. Webster ranch north of Lusk. Here he ran sheep and cattle until the ranch was sold in 1906 to George Blaine. Mr. Arnold moved to Lusk and later built the beautiful three story home south of the Ranger Hotel, which is now owned by Mr. and Mrs Roy. Chamberlain.

HELPED YOUNG RANCHERS
He still continued in the livestock business and for several years he bought southern two-year-old steers, trailed them north and grazed them until they were four. It was during this period that he had started his practice of financing young ranchers. He is, in a large part, responsible for the development of ranching industry in the area.

After becoming established in Wyoming, he often thought how he deserted his mother, and once he sold his interests and moved back to Kansas where he bought his mother a farm. His mother could see he didn't care for farming and Kansas and told him that he belonged in Wyoming and that he should go back to his "God's Country." He did, and neither he nor his mother were ever heard to say that he had made a mistake.

Mr. Arnold was a member of the school board that erected the high school building, which is now the B.P.O Elks home. He served on the Town Council many years. He hauled lumber in for the first Protestant Church.

Mr. Arnold was the only person that saw both the first passenger train pull into Lusk and the last one leave. He loved Wyoming when it was an open range and he loved to watch and take part in its development.

Married twice, he is survived by four children: Thomas Arnold of Valentine, Nebr., Mrs. Earl Updike of Rapid City, Mrs. R. B. Vinson of Oakland, Calif., Mrs. George Gibson of Lusk. He is also survived by eight grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren, and two great, great grandchildren.

Images & Attachments

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Ed Arnold celebrates his birthday.
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Ed Arnold prepares for a trip.
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