Obituary Details

Jacob "Jakie" Mill

(01/16/1853 - 01/13/1935)
Courtesy of The Lusk Herald, 01/17/1935

Jacob Mill, Pioneer Stockman, Passes Away Here Sunday

Last rites For Highly Respected Who Died at Age of 82 Held in Lusk Tuesday

Jacob Mill, pioneer stockman and one of Niobrara County's most highly respected citizens, passed away in Lusk last Sunday afternoon following an illness which had kept him in bed since the first of December. An affection of the lungs, bordering on pneumonia, was the principal cause of death.

Mr. Mill was taken ill on December 5th, and spent some time in a hospital at Casper, but gradually grew worse. He was brought to Lusk and remained at the home of his daughter, Mrs. S. W. Boyd, and everything was done to aid him, but his advanced age made it impossible for him to win his last fight.

Funeral services were held from the Lusk Congregational Church at 2:00 o'clock Tuesday afternoon, with Rev. Edwin F. Irwin officiating. Interment was made in the Lusk Cemetery, arrangements being in charge of the Peet Mortuary.

The pallbearers were all old-time friends of Mr. Mill. The active pallbearers were Jess Boner, Fred Boyd, John Agnew, Chris Joss, Lawrence Johnson and W. C. Reed. Those serving in an honorary capacity were H. B. Card, Lee Miller, John Yost, Foster Rogers, Frank DeCastro and Alfred Johnson.

A mixed quartet composed of Ford B. Kuns, R. A. Faulk, Mrs. R. B. Taylor and Mrs. Floyd Deuel, accompanied at the piano by Miss Alice Fowler, rendered "Beautiful Isle of Somewhere," "In the Sweet By and By" and "Nearer, My God, to Thee."

The church was filled with old-time friends of Mr. Mill, and a large procession followed the cortege to the cemetery.

Jacob Mill, one of Wyoming's oldest and best known stockmen, came to the end of a long and useful trail on Sunday, January 13th, surrounded by his children - just three days before his 82nd birthday.

Mr. Mill, affectionately known to his host of friends as "Jakie," has lived at his ranch at Hat Creek for 44 years. He is a native of Baden, Germany, born January 16, 1853, and came to this country at the age of 21. He settled at Des Moines, Iowa, but soon answered the call of the West and came to Wyoming, where he freighted with teams and wagons for several years between Sidney and Custer. This was one of the most interesting chapters in Mr. Mill's life, as it was during the gold rush in the Black Hills, and was a time of many colorful happenings, and also one of the great endurance, which tested the real qualities of men. Mr. Mill and his brother George trailed bands of sheep from Oregon to Wyoming during the next few years. After his marriage to Phliphena Kappelman of Des Moines, Iowa, on October 29, 1883, they made a home at Fairburn, South Dakota, for nine years. From there he came to Hat Creek, Wyoming, in the year 1891, and here built up one of the largest ranches in the county, until 1919, when he disposed of the major part of his holdings to the Kitchen Cattle Company. He maintained a fine home and the nucleus of his ranch, 20 miles north of Lusk, where he lived, Mrs. Mill having preceded him in death seven years.

At the inception of his present illness, December 5th, 1934, he spent two weeks in a Casper hospital, but after expressing a desire to "come home," was brought to the home of his daughter, Mrs. S. W. Boyd, of this city. Here, in spite of all that loving care and medical assistance could do, he passed to his reward on Sunday.

This brings to a fitting close the life of a man greatly respected for his squareness and fairness to all. Typical of the true Western man, he was always ready to lend a helping hand to the fellow who was down. To his cowboys, he was always called "the Boss," which tribute he maintained fittingly to the time of his demise. He always enjoyed good health and was exceptionally active for one of his age until his last illness.

He leaves to mourn his loss two daughters, Mrs. S. W. Boyd and Mrs. Martin Strube, and three sons, David, Wm. J., and George Mill; five grandchildren and two great grandchildren. He is also survived by one brother, John Mill, of Douglas, and four sisters.

Services were held from the Congregational Church, January 15, and interment was made beside his wife in the Lusk Cemetery, where he sleeps in peace in the country he loved so well. Let us not mourn too greatly the departure of one who has finished his life's work and folded his hands in rest, for his memory will live and forever be cherished in the hearts of those who knew and loved him.

Rev. Irwin Pays Fitting Tribute to Pioneer
In his sermon, Rev. Edwin F. Irwin of the Congregational Church paid a fitting and deserved tribute to the life and works of Mr. Mill, taking his text from II Timothy IV., "I have fought the good fight. I have finished my course."

Rev. Irwin's tribute follows:
"Mr. Mill has come to the end of the trail. He has fought a good fight. He has finished his course. His trail has been a long one. It has been a long one in space. It began way over in Germany. It made its way across ocean, mountain and valley, out here to these Western plains. His trail has been a long one in time. It began in 1852. It ended 83 years later. Those 83 years have witnessed great changes in the world. His trail has been a long one in usefulness. He was an upright and useful citizen. He has fought a good fight - he has finished his course.

"It is a wonderful thing to struggle, to participate in the great drama of life. Here is how Badger Clark, the cowboy poet, expresses it -

"Just a -ridin', just a ridin',
I don't envy Kings nor Czars,
When the coyotes down the valley
Are a-singin' to the stars."

It is a wonderful thing to live, even tho our life be set in midst of hardships. There are a few people living who know what it meant to freight in the early days. Some of you people here today know what it meant to drive cattle in the 70's and 80's ... what it meant to have them carried along in the sweep of a raging blizzard - what it meant to ford a raging stream - and to throw up a home on the prairie. Perhaps it is the hardships that make life more interesting. It was the hardships, I am sure, that helped to make Mr. Mill the man he was. It is wonderful to participate in the drama of life. There are some people who are content to be spectators in this drama of life. Mr. Mill was not one of these. He could have sold out many a time during the last 20 or 30 years, invested his money in stocks and bonds, and lived lazily and luxuriously on the interest. That wasn't his life. He never enjoyed the side lines. He wanted to be an active participant in the struggle of life...and to the very end he was - not because he had to be, but because he wanted to be.

"To live is wonderful. To live long is more wonderful yet. To know life in its varying aspects - to know life from the point of view of impulsive youth - of settled middle age, of mature and wise old age - to live long enough to see, a country develop as Mr. Mill has seen this country develop, is in itself a wonderful thing. To experience the ups and downs of experience the valleys of sorrow and depression - and the peaks of joy and exultation, as Mr. Mill has experienced them, is truly wonderful.

"To live is wonderful - to live long is more wonderful yet. To live well - that is what counts. To have lived and to have lived long, but not to have lived well, is to have failed.

"Mr. Mill lived well. He manifested the good life in his treatment of his employees. He was no slave driver. The men that worked for him called him the boss...and there were times when he had as many as 50 men in his employ. One can talk to some of these men around here now and they have the highest respect for him. He applied the principles of Christianity in his treatment of his employees. If more men would do that, this would indeed be a better world.

"He made manifest the good life in his treatment of his stock. He was humane to is cattle and his sheep. During several severe winters he made the remark that he might go broke, but his stock were going to eat - and he paid out as much or more to buy feed than they were worth.

"He manifested the good life by his interest in good things. He was interested in the churches of this community. Five years ago this coming May I went out to his ranch and sat with him in his ranch home. He made a pledge for the building of this church that ran into three figures. This pledge he has since paid in full.

"Mr. Mill lived well. You folks for the most part know this better than I know it. You have had dealings with him. Your banks have had dealings with him. You all know that he has been, and that he is a man of integrity. He has fought a good fight. He has finished his course.

"He has come to the end of the trail...his trail has been into the setting sun. He has come to the sunset the sunset gate that leads out to that other realm...with all its glory, with all its splendor. Mr. Mill passed through the sunset gate last Sunday noon. He was ready to go. He had fought the good fight, he had finished his course. He has entered into a more wonderful, a more glorious, life than this.

"they are not lost who find the sunset gate -
The goal of all their faithful years,
Not lost are they who reach
The summit of their climb -
The peak above the clouds and storms -
They are not lost who find the light of sun and stars and God."

"Jacob Mill has found the light of sun and stars and God. He has not stopped. We cannot think of "Jakie" Mill as stopping. It was his nature to go on. If he stopped, he wouldn't be happy.

"Mr. Mill is going on. He is taking up new trails in other realms.

Images & Attachments

Photo courtesy of the Joshua Brackett Eagle Scout Project
Jacob and Philiphena wedding 1883

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