Obituary Details

Leonard "Len" F. Christian

(02/26/1883 - 06/14/1965)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 06/24/1965

Leonard Christian Was a Product of a Pioneer Eastern Niobrara Family

Leonard Christian, the son of Catherine and Andrew Christian, was born February 26, 1883 in Adair County, Iowa. His parents were sturdy pioneers who followed the urge to go West. When Len was six years old, they moved to Harrison, Nebr. and stayed there until Andrew found a home site in Pleasant Ridge community. In March 1889 he moved his family consisting of his wife, and five children to this sparely settled community. In 1891 another daughter was born.

Hardships were legion in the life of this family. The mother, Catherine, died in 1892. The following year, the baby, Mabel, also died.

Andrew had never asked for an easy life; he asked only for strength to meet each new hardship. With this heritage of determination as their example, the older children cared for the younger. Their duties were lessened when Andrew married Eva Connor, a school teacher in that vicinity.

Len received his education in the schools of Pleasant Ridge.

The starkness of frontier life again revealed itself early in this century to the Christian home. Tuberculosis claimed the lives of a sister, Dora in 1901 and a brother Charlie in 1903.

Now the oldest surviving son, Len remained at home to work for his father. Andrew began to pay him wages, when he became of age. One of Len's favorite stories was that he worked for his father for an entire year without drawing any money from his wages. This was perhaps one of the first indications of the thrift and planning that were to become characteristic of his business ventures.

Len left his father's ranch to work for Tom Bell on the Node ranch. There he received a dollar a day for pitching hay.

On July 6, 1908, he married Flora Cutter of Kansas City, Mo. Their initial residence was Len's homestead at Pleasant Ridge. The foundation was laid for the independent ranching enterprise that he had made his goal.

Three children, Gladys, Garnet, and Catherine, were born to Len and Flora.

In 1916 the Christians moved to the Brush Creek community where they enlarged their ranching interests. Here they remained for nearly thirty years (until 1944) when the ill health of Flora forced the sale. The site is now the home ranch of the Russell Thompsons.

A home in Lusk was purchased by Len, but before the moving was completed, Flora died.

During the 1940's, Len served six terms as county commissioner.

Thon Book 10
Len Christian, Area Pioneer, Dies Monday

Leonard F. Christian, 82, a pioneer resident of this area, died at the Niobrara Memorial Hospital Monday. Funeral services will be held from the Peet Chapel in Lusk at 2:00 p.m. this Thursday. He had been in failing health for some time.

Mr. Christian was born in Adair County, Iowa February 26, 1883 to Mr. and Mrs. Andrew Christian. With his family he came to Harrison in 1889 and settled on a ranch in the Kirtley area when Wyoming was still a territory.

On July 6, 1908, he and Flora E. Cutter were married. Together they established a ranch on Brush Creed, 25 miles north of Lusk.

The Rev. James Davis of the Congregational Church will officiate at the services. Active casket bearers are James Sheldon, Ted Lohr, Earl Hagerman, Dan Hanson, Roy Johnson, Russell Thompson. Honorary casket bearers are Tress Powell, Dudley Fields, William Miller, Maurice Keel, John Lorenzen, Vernon Chard, Roy ZumBrunnen, Lester Meade, Arthur Thompson, John Agnew, Harry Vickory, Judson P. Watson.

The Modern Choir of Carol Taylor, Margretta Smylie, Donna Fullerton, Mark Lohr, Terry Foley, Bob Bramlet and Susan Johnsonbaugh will sing. Accompanist will be Diana Lauer.

Burial will be in the Lusk Cemetery.

Mrs. Christian died in 1944. Survivors include his three daughters, Mrs. Garnet Lohr of Lusk, Mrs. Gladys Hagerman of Greybull and Mrs. Catherine Sheldon of Laramie. Four grandchildren, Vickie Hagerman, Mark Lohr, Jamie Sheldon and Carol Sheldon.

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