Wednesday, November 3, 2021

"Louie" – NFR's Barrel Racing "Horse of the Decade"

by Con Marshall

Although he’s now retired, Louie, the buckskin gelding that carried Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs to barrel racing prominence, has been accorded a special honor.


The November issue of Western Horseman, which calls itself the “World’s Leading Horse Magazine since 1936,” has tabbed Louie as the greatest barrel racing horse at the National Finals Rodeo during the past decade.


The magazine put Lisa and Louie on the cover and have another full-color photo of them on the inside, where it explains why he received the designation.

The story notes that Louie, who was born in 2003, initially belonged to Tim and Kelly Bagnell of Polson, Mont., and was often a money winner in reined cow horse competition. But the Bagnells turned him over to Lockhart to train as a barrel horse for their daughter, Lexi.


Before long Lisa and Louie had won the Canadian Finals Rodeo barrel racing title and qualified for the 2010 NFR in Las Vegas, where they finished third in the averages, won $107,426 and finished fourth in the world standings for the year. 

Not wanting to break up the dynamic duo, the Bagnells sold Louie to Lisa in 2011.  (Photo  of Louie shown here is credited to Mallory Beinborn)

Before Lisa and Louie were matched up, Lisa had qualified for the National Finals Rodeo three times (2007-09) while riding Chisholm, another buckskin gelding she had obtained from the Bagnells, but the almost unprecedented success story was just beginning.   


Counting 2010, Louie was Lockhart’s primary horse for nine years in a row through 2018. During that stretch, she placed second in the world standings in both 2014 and 2015, third in 2013 and 2016 and fourth in both 2010 and 2011. She also was fifth in 2012, seventh in 2017 and 11th in 2018, when she rode Rosa, a buckskin mare, part-time, while Louie began a phased retirement.   

Lisa and Louie were especially successful in 2015 and 2016. They were the only tandem to place in as many as eight go-rounds at the NFR in 2015. They won the barrels at the American Rodeo in Dallas for the second time and the Calgary Stampede for the first time.  Both paid the winner $100,000.


In 2016, they left all 30 barrels upright in Las Vegas while winning the averages, which was worth $68,000, and their total time of 137.98 on the 10 runs was the NFR record.  Lisa and Louie competed in just 39 rodeos that year while the other NFR qualifiers averaged 75.

Western Horseman says Louie was the highest earning horse in the barrels at the NFR during the decade, winning more than $803,000. 


The article says, “While Louie is now 18 and retired from pro rodeo, he’s left his mark on the industry, in fans’ hearts and in Lockhart’s life.

The story ends with a quote from Lisa:


I’ve always said that his reputation far exceeds mine, and I couldn’t be more proud to follow him in what he has accomplished for us.” 


Last week after the magazine came out, Lisa noted that Louie also had been voted the “horse with the most heart” a couple of times during polls of pro barrel racers.


She agrees with that designation.  “He may not have been the fastest, but he had a ton of heart and he was the most efficient, hardest working and most determined horse I have every ridden. This is an awesome honor that he received.” 


Lockhart added that Louie’s consistency helped make him great.


All 85 of his runs at the NFR from the first one in 2010 through the last one 2018 and even the two in 2019 were nearly identical,” she stated. 


Although Lockhart no longer rides Louie, she had a great September while aboard a black gelding, Cutter, to make up lots of ground and is one of the 15 barrel racing qualifiers for the National Finals for the 15th consecutive year in early December 2021.

Tuesday, September 21, 2021

Not Dawes County – but Box Butte County neighbors!

This photo and information is from History Nebraska:  

Many Nebraska counties have stories of bitter rivalries over the location of the county seat. And not all towns that started out as the county seat were able to remain so. After Hemingford lost a county-wide vote, Alliance residents didn't mess around. They came to get the county records...and the courthouse too! They hauled the building twenty miles with a little help from the Burlington Railroad."  

If you've not visited the Nebraska History website, you're missing a good chunk of history.  You'll find them at:

Monday, September 13, 2021

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Another Dawes County Pioneer: Michael Brennan

Editor's Note:  The biography and photos included in this story  were derived from the illustrated Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska, a wonderful publication for families, historians and the general public.  It was produced in 1909 by the Alden Publishing Company of Chicago.  
-- Larry Miller

MICHAEL BRENNAN, a farmer of ability and progressiveness, resides in section 12, township 31, range 48, and is one of the leading old settlers and respected citizens of Dawes county. He has watched the growth of that section from its early development, succeeded in building up a good home and farm, and may be classed among the self-made men of his locality. He is now well-to-do and enjoys a pleasant home and peaceful surroundings.

Mr. Brennan was born in Carbon county, Pennsylvania, in 1845. He is of Irish descent, his father and mother both having been born in Ireland, coming to this country when young people and settling in Pennsylvania, where their family of children grew up, the father working in the coal mines for many years in that section. Our subject was also employed in the mines when but a young lad, and at the breaking out of the Civil war he enlisted in the Third Pennsylvania Cavalry, and served for one year, taking part in many campaigns and battles,

After the war he returned to his home county and remained there for some time, then started west with his family, locating in Boone county, Iowa, and later in Green county, spending two years in the coal mines there.

Mr. Brennan first came to Dawes county in 1885, driving all the way from Iowa with a team and covered wagon containing his family and household goods, the trip taking a month on the road.

He located on a farm ten miles from Hay Springs and sixteen miles from Chadron, and put up his first building of sod and logs, in which the family lived for quite a time. Their start was very small, and they had a hard time to get along during the first few years, witnesssing the dry years when nearly everything he planted failed him. One year he sowed one hundred bushels of seed wheat, and did not even get enough back for seed. During these hard times he left home and went into Hooker county, where he worked out on a farm in order to make a living for his family, and also spent some time in Wyoming in the coal mines. However, he stuck to his farm through it all, and has now built up a good home, has improved much of the land, put up good buildings, three windmills, and has one well three hundred and twenty feet deep. 

His ranch consists of about nine quarter sections of good land, nearly all fenced, and he runs a large number of horses and cattle, and also farms one hundred and seventy-five accrues.

Mr. Brennan was married while still living in Pennsylvania, in 1870, to Miss Mary Walsh. Her father, James Walsh, was born in Ireland, and worked as a coal miner in Pennsylvania, and in his later years farmed there for many years. He married Elizabeth Hoben, a native of Pennsylvania, and Mrs. Brennan was born January 10, 1855, and reared in that state. She is a good, kind-hearted lady, full of jolly good cheer and hearty sympathy with any one in distress. No one is ever turned away hungry from her door. 

Twelve children came to bless the union of our subject and his wife, namely: Mart, James, Charles, Lizzie, John, William, Thomas, Fred, Terry and Joe. Alice and Maggie, both deceased, the former being killed by a cow on the farm; the latter dying in infancy.


Editor's Note:

Mr. Brennan lived for another 12 years before his death in 1921.  His obituary (shown below) appeared in the Chadron Chronicle on December 15, 1921. 

Sunday, September 5, 2021

Gilbert "Gib" Wilson (1931-2021)

Gilbert "Gib" Hansen Wilson, 90, of Spearfish, died from COVID-19 Monday, August 30, 2021, at Fort Meade VA Medical Center in Sturgis, SD.

Gib was born July 16, 1931 in Lincoln, Nebraska, the son of Curtis and Naomi (Gilbert) Wilson.  In 1942, the family moved to Chadron where he graduated from Chadron Prep in 1949.  He attended Chadron State College for three years.  In October 1952 he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and entered the Aviation Cadet program.  He graduated in November 1953 with his wings and a commission as a 2nd Lt.  He married Delores "Dee" Lind on November 21, 1953.   They had met at Chadron State College.  They moved to Las Vegas where he attended gunnery school at Nellis AFB before a tour of duty in Korea and Japan.  He was assigned to the 336th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Kimpo, Korea, where he flew the F-86.  Upon returning to the States, he was assigned to the 1st Fighter Day Squadron at George AFB at Victorville, California, where he flew the F-100.  He and Dee lived in Adelanto, which was near the base.

Upon his release from active duty in November 1956, they returned to Chadron where he finished his BS degree in Math and Physics in 1958.  He was awarded a teaching assistantship in the Math department at the University of Wyoming, where he received his MS degree in 1960.  In his 31 years of teaching Math, he held faculty positions at Western Wyoming College, North Idaho Junior College, University of Idaho, and Blue Mountain Community College.  He finished his teaching career at Central Wyoming College at Riverton, where he attained the rank of Professor and was awarded the title of Emeritus when he retired in 1991.

Gib and Dee lived on a small farm near Riverton for 17 years.  In 1994 they moved to Sundance, Wyoming.  He and Dee ran a cow/calf operation for several years, then sold the cattle so they could travel.  He was a member of the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics, the Mathematical Association of America, Life member of the National Rifle Association, and the F-86 Sabre Pilots Association.  He served on the Board of Directors of Crook County Senior Services for nine years and the BLM Resource Advisory Committee for three.  He enjoyed hunting, reloading, fishing, camping, and traveling.

He was preceded in death by his wife Dee, his parents, and his brother Larman.  He is survived by three daughters, Judy Neal of Casper, Wyoming, Linda Fleming of Thornton, Colorado, and Shirly Hardeman of Costa Mesa, California; his brother Douglas, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Memorials may be made to the Crook County Senior Services or the Naomi J. Wilson Memorial Scholarship at Chadron State College.

Gib will be laid to rest at Black Hills National Cemetery on Friday, September 10, 2021.  A memorial service will be held on Saturday, September 11, 2021 at 11:00am at the Sundance United Methodist Church.  Arrangements are under the care of Fidler-Roberts & Isburg Funeral Chapel of Sundance.

Online condolences may be written at

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Chadron – Looking north from "C Hill" (1928-29?)

This undated photograph looking north over downtown Chadron was shared with us some 42 years ago by Eva (Cunningham) Galey.  A long-time farm wife, then teacher in Dawes County Schools, Eva had a love of learning – including history.  
The east and west wings of the Normal School "main building" (lower-right) as well as the "training building (lower-left) were built by 1926.  However, we don't see a Library building (now Mari Sandoz Heritage Center) north of the Training building.  That structure would be built in 1929.  We think this photo was taken around 1927-28.   To see this an other "Early Chadron" images, come visit our "Dawes County Gallery."

Monday, August 23, 2021

To see more photos, check out our DCJ "Schools Gallery."

Monday, August 9, 2021

Memories of Chadron's Newsy Nook

by Larry Miller 

Like many of the generation that frequented the Newsy Nook in downtown Chadron, memories abound regarding what truly was a mere "nook" along 2nd and Main Street.  Hardly more than a "hole in the wall," Newsy Nook  was nestled close to the heart of what it meant to grow up in a rural high plains community in the post World War Two years, and – as we learned – even earlier.

Newsy Nook was a refuge.  It was like comfort food for the soul.  It was a safe and fun place to visit, if only for a short while to buy a few pieces of affordable candy – from Necco wafers and cinnamon bears to Big Hunk candy bars and a bottle of pop. 

Ah....we overlooked the "news" part.  Adults found it a good source for newspapers and magazines.  For the kids, it was a rotating rack of adventure and fun delivered through comic books.

And as we mention "news," we have some "late-breaking" news.

Well, it's actually more history than news, and it begins with the great stock market crash of 1929.  A lady in Bloomington, Illinois, Mrs. Ralph White, was named winner of the "Name Our Store Contest" sponsored by a small business at 103 and 1/2 Front Street in Bloomington. The name of her winning entry: "Newsy Nook." That new business may have survived the stock market crash, but today that specific location is lost among new developments, including a multi-level parking lot adjacent to the Bloomington City Office building. 

So what does this have to do with our Newsy Nook in Chadron?

Probably nothing.  But it's the only other "Newsy Nook" we found in a newspaper search on

Unless........sometime in that Depression era a fellow named "Bill" arrived in Chadron from Bloomington and thought he'd start a business with the same name.  Okay, that's pretty weak, but it's all I have.  

Until.....just a few weeks before President Franklin Roosevelt ordered a "Bank Holiday" in March 1933 and called Congress into session and placed an embargo on gold.  The U.S. economy was in turmoil.   But in Chadron, Nebraska, a group of Chadron men assembled for a chess tournament, playing two games a week for four weeks.  Sixteen well-known gents faced off in what was described as "hot battles" at "Bill's Newsy Nook" and the Thompson Drug Store.

"One team is sponsored by the (Tope) Thompson Cut-Rate Drug Store, and the other by Bill's Newsy Nook," according to the Chadron Record.

And the teams were a veritable "who's-who" of local businessmen.  They included – for "Tope's Cut Raters: Joe Webster, Ole Sove, C.W. Mitchell, John Brewer, Fred Crites, Dr. Courshon, Dr. Harrington, and Leo Bump."  

Bill's Newsy Nookers were Ross Scott, E.A. Scott, Emil Anderson, Harry McClain, C.A. VanDeurson, George Babcock, John Koske, and Walter Scott.  

Newspaper display ads touted Newsy Nook as "Baseball Score Headquarters" and promoted the existence of a "Scoreboard," perhaps posted inside the Nook.

Alas, we don't know yet who "Bill" of Newsy Nook fame might have been – but we're on the trail!

The newspaper business, of course, was a key ingredient of Newsy Nook activities.  Local and area papers were there, along with the papers from Omaha and elsewhere.  In 1935, resident Bud Gray was looking for boys to deliver the Denver Post, and Newsy Nook was the gathering point.  It is not clear if Bud was a new owner of the Newsy Nook, or simply in charge of Denver Post deliveries in Chadron.  

By 1935, brothers Russell and Dale Tangeman were owners of the Newsy Nook, but they chose to sell the business to former railroad employee F. C. Randall.  He took possession in September of 1935, and the Tangemans reportedly went back to school.

On Thanksgiving Day of 1935, the Chadron Chronicle ran the ad at left touting Randall's Newsy Nook as "The News Center" in Chadron, selling newspapers and magazines, but also promoting "confections" including popcorn.  Popcorn became a great favorite for a long time, particularly in those years that the Pace Theatre – just down the block – did not yet have a concession stand.  Kids, as well as adults, could purchase their movie ticket, and with a ticket stub in hand, duck up the street to the Newsy Nook, buy their concession treats, and head back down to the Pace for the movie.  

By the following May, Mr. Randall sold Newsy Nook to Clifford Phillips, who'd been "in the popcorn business" for several years with the the Sun Confectionery.  The story made Page 1 of the Chadron Chronicle on Friday, May 29, 1936.

It appears Mr. Phillips operated the business pretty much as it had been – but for only a similar short period of time.  

By 1938, Mr. and Mrs. W. C. Knight had taken ownership of the business.  They had previously operated the "Knight Owl" at 130 West 3rd Street, and they remained owners until after the Japanese bombed Pear Harbor in December 1941, and the world entered in to its Second World War.

Page 3 of the Chadron
- 28 Aug 1942
It was August 27, 1942 that the Chronicle newspaper observed that "Mrs. Knight Needed Rest, So Sells Business."  The Knights had operated the "profitable little newstand" for four years.  Ownership was passed to Mr. and Mrs. Rudolph Koch of Mullen, Nebraska.

The sale was described as a surprise to both parties, who'd apparently known each other for many  years.  The Kochs had lived at Clinton, Nebraska for several years, and Mr. Koch had been superintendent of schools at Mullen the previous year.  The Chronicle noted that "The Knight's...will continue the Denver Post agency in this community and Mrs. Knight will take life a little easier."

The only real change noted in operations, if one follows their display ads in the newspaper, was the addition of "School Supplies."

The Newsy Nook endured the World War II years.  By early 1948, however, they sold the business to the lady who would own the Newsy Nook longer than any other of its many owners.  Mrs. Mayme (Carpenter) Finney,  a native of Wisconsin who had moved to Nebraska as a young lady.  She married George Glen Finney in 1919 and taught school at Marsland for several years before moving to Chadron.  Mr. Finney worked at the Chadron Milling Company.  While we don't know exactly when, we do know that Mayme became the distributor for the Omaha World-Herald prior to taking possession of the Newsy Nook on May 1, 1948.  

Old-timers around Chadron well remember Mrs. Finney.  But equally well know to many customers over the years was Phyllis Wagner.  A small perky lady with a delightful British accent, a native of Southhampton, England, she had met Navy Chief Petty Officer Roy Wagner at the end of World War One.  They married in England and moved to the sandhills of Nebraska for a short time before relocating to Chadron.   They  had lived in Chadron for nearly three decades before Phyllis – whose real name was Dorothy Maude (Jackman) Wagner – joined Mayme Finney at Newsy Nook.  Finney operated Newsy Nook for more than 16 years, longer than any other proprietor.  

Among the many young World-Herald newspaper carriers in Chadron was young Jim Sandstrom whose memories of the Newsy Nook – as shared with us recently – were quite vivid.

"The Newsy Nook was indeed the first stop to load up on goodies for the Saturday western an short (Pace Theatre)...As a World-Herald paper boy, I worked for Mayme.  I would see her every day as she recorded the number of papers that I took for delivery and every Saturday as I went to Newsy Nook to settle my bill for papers.  My recollection is that she was a nice lady and very focused on the task at hand.  The papers arrived every dat at 2 p.m. on the C&NW from Omaha.  In the summer, we (all the paper boys/girls) met the train at 2 to eat ice from the ice cart, watch the unloading from the freight car to the big wagon, help push the wagon to the freight room in the station, and then take the number of papers we needed to deliver.  Mayme would record the number of papers taken.  During school we would pick up our papers from the freight room after school for delivery.  My route was Chadron Avenue, and I had the route for three or four years.  It was a good learning experience, but the daily commitment became tiring after a while."

It was in late March 1964 that ownership of the Newsy Nook changed once more.  The new owner of the Nook was Dave Hulshizer, who had operated Hennessy's Book Store – another long-time business in Chadron.  He announced that Mrs. Wagner would remain on to manage the store.

We're still exploring the final years of the Newsy Nook.  We understand that Dean Fankhauser, a long-time local businessman who'd been involved with Chadron Wholesale – among other businesses – bought Newsy Nook in 1972.

It was in the spring of 1973 that John Chaney bought what the Chadron Record called three "ancient buildings" at 248, 250 and 252 Main Street from C.F. Coffee.  Former Chadron resident Dave Rice, a school chum of Chaney's, was contracted to demolish the adjacent buildings.  The paper reported that "This project will remove from the center of the business district three old buildings which already moved out."  The Newsy Nook, wrote the paper, "has moved to the basement of the Young Shop building at Second and Chadron."

By 1974, the modern two-story Chaney Building was in operation, and the Newsy Nook was gone from 252 Main Street forever.

Phyllis Wagner, known by many over the years as "Miss Newsy," died the day after Thanksgiving of that year.  Mayme Finney remained in Chadron for several more years until moving to Grant, Nebraska, where she died in February of 1981.

Chadron resident Roger Evans reportedly bought the old "Ralph's Jumble Shop" at 140 Main Street in the mid-1970s and renamed the business "Newsy Nook and Bargain Barn."

Both Newsy Nook and Ralph's Jumble Shop had long histories in Chadron, but little is known about the merged enterprise.  One thing is for sure, the Newsy Nook operation – as it had existed for some four decades – was transformed into something much different than was known and fondly remembered by at least two generations in Chadron.

And, alas, we still have no good photograph of the Newsy Nook!


 Editor's Note:  We'd like to thank Arnie Fankhauser, Jim Sandstrom, and John Miller for their assistance in the preparation of this story!


Thursday, August 5, 2021

Not the Olympics - But Fun at Ft. Robinson in 1930

Northwest Nebraska News - March 6, 1930
Crawford, Nebraska

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Long-time evangelist from Chadron dies at 92

by Con Marshall

A Chadron native who spent 35 years as a Christian missionary in Thailand, the Rev. Robert (Bob) Stewart, died June 6 at his home in Anniston, Ala., at age 92.  He was a 1946 graduate of Chadron High School, where one of classmates was Dr. Allen Alderman, long-time Chadron family physician, who died June 1 in Rapid City.

Shortly after graduating from high school, Steward enlisted in the Army. Following his discharge, he graduated from Howard College (now Samford University) at Birmingham, Ala., and New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.  He pastored churches in Alabama from 1949 to 1958. He and his wife, Maxine Ashburn Stewart, were appointed by the International Mission Board of the Southern Baptist Convention to serve in Thailand in 1958.
With their three children, they went to Thailand that year and were there until their retirement in 1994.  During his tenure, he was a field evangelist, church advisor, hospital chaplain, preacher, seminary teacher and author of Thai language books, gospel tracts, Bible study lessons and a church newspaper.
After leaving the mission field, the Stewarts lived in Anniston, where he was a Sunday school teacher at the Parker Memorial Baptist Church and spoke at more than 100 churches in the South.
In a letter to a Chadron friend in 2020, Stewart noted that he was a Chadron State College football fan dating back to 1938, when his father, a barber, took him to the Eagles’ letterman’s dinner.  He noted that he played right tackle for the Chadron High football team in 1945, and while they were in Thailand his wife gave him a subscription to USA Today as a birthday present to help him keep tabs on American sports, including Chadron State and the Cornhuskers.
From 2009 until her death in 2017, Stewart was his wife’s full-time caregiver. He also was preceded in death by his parents, Robert E. Stewart, and his mother, Sybil Stewart Gay. Survivors include his brother Bruce of Kearney and sister Joan of Omaha, along with two daughters, one son and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 


(Editor's Note:  Thanks to Con Marshall for providing this story.  Photos in the above composite are from Chadron Public Schools and the Anniston Star, Anniston, Alabama.)

Monday, May 31, 2021

Dr. Allen Alderman dies at age 92

Funeral Services for Dr. Allen J. Alderman of Chadron, Nebraska were scheduled for Tuesday, June 1, 2021 at the United Methodist Church in Chadron, Nebraska. Burial will be held at Greenwood Cemetery. 

Dr. Alderman passed away peacefully on May 25, 2021, in Rapid City, South Dakota. He was born in Omaha, NE, November 17, 1928.  He was adopted from the Nebraska Children’s Home Society on September 28, 1929, by Earl and Pearl Alderman of Chadron, Nebraska. Earl, a WWI veteran, worked for the United States Postal Service and Pearl was a well-known cook and baker in the Chadron area. Allen was soon joined by a little sister, Margaret. Allen attended Chadron Public Schools where he participated in sports, graduating from CHS in May of 1946. 

With his friend, Gene Drake, Allen Alderman enlisted in the US Army two weeks after graduating and proceeded to Korea. He was trained as a Medic from which he acquired his passion for the medical field and helping others. He returned to Chadron in the fall of 1948 and began attending Chadron State College on the GI Bill. He met Shirley Mae Alcorn, of Hay Springs, and they were married in June 1950. He always felt privileged to have become a part of the Alcorn family. 

In an unusual turn of events, he was accepted into the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s MD program during his Junior Year and he and Shirley moved to Omaha. While in medical school, their first son, Greg, was born and Karen was born during his internship in Ainsworth. He graduated as a Medical Doctor in 1954 and was commissioned as a Captain in the United States Air Force where he served as a Flight Surgeon in Denver, CO; Great Falls, MT; and Fairbanks, AK.

After serving three years, he moved his family back to Chadron and began his career as a family physician. His sons, Brent and Jay, were born in Chadron. 

Dr. Alderman served as a family doctor for 40 years, retiring in 1996, and was able to deliver over 3,000 new babies during his career. Allen believed that his hometown was the greatest place in the world and sought to be involved in making his community a better place. He was a member of the United Methodist Church and greatly enjoyed his time with the men of the church. He served for many years as the sports physician for football and the Nebraska High School Rodeo competitions. 

Allen was elected as a member of the Chadron Board of Education for several terms and was the board president when the new high school was built. He also served as the Mayor of Chadron. While not actually a graduate of Chadron State College, he served on the Foundation Board in an effort to continually grow the institution and maintain its excellence. Allen was an avid sportsman and enjoyed hunting, fishing, and golfing. With other leaders, he helped develop the Chadron community golf course and participated in planting many of the trees we see today. 

He enjoyed his places at Lake Angostura, taking his grandchildren boating, and teaching them to play many different board and card games. Allen was a competitor and loved to win, whether it be playing pool or ping-pong. In 2017, Allen was able to discover that he had three brothers and two sisters from his birth-parents. During his illness, he was able to meet his brothers, Tom and George Gibbons, and Tom Heuer, who live in Minnesota. They made several trips to Rapid City to visit him which he greatly appreciated. Allen was preceded in death by his wife, Shirley Mae, in 1998, his sister, Margaret and her husband, Tim, all of his Alcorn brothers and sisters-in-law, and his grandson, Michael Horse. 

He is survived by his children: Greg (Kaye) of Phoenix, AZ; Karen (Bill) of Sidney, NE; Brent, of Phoenix, AZ; and Jay (Penny), of Rapid City, SD; nine grandchildren, Lisa, Bryan, Sean, Ryan, Edward, Jennifer, Alexandra, and Jacob. He was also blessed with three great-grandchildren: Sydney Horse, Autumn and Eleanor Mae Sydow. 

A memorial has been established Ridgeview Country Club or CSC Foundation and donations may be sent in care of Chamberlain Chapel, PO BOX 970, CHADRON, NE 69337. Online condolences may be left at

Sunday, April 18, 2021

Early Pioneer John A. Macumber (1852-1940)

The above named gentleman is one of the prominent old-timers of Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has materially aided in the growth of that region. Mr. Macumber is familiarly known as "The Headlight of Bordeaux," the cognomen which was applied to him through the Alliance meeting. He is a warm friend and admirer of James C. Dahlman, the "cowboy mayor" of Omaha, with whom he became acquainted when he first came to this country. 

Mr. Macumber was born in Gallia county, Ohio, on April 8, 1852. His father, J. A. Macumber, was also a native of Gallia county, and died January 23, 1907, having settled in Madison county, Iowa, in 1853, when our subject was but one year of age, he having been a twin, and one of a family of eight children by the second marriage of his father who also had four children by a first marriage. The homestead in Iowa where they lived for many years is still owned by a nephew, Emory Calison, and it was there that the children all grew up. There John learned to do all sorts of hard farm work and assisted his parents in building up a good home and farm, going through pioneer experiences when they were obliged to suffer many hardships and privation, handle ox teams, etc., and at the age of twenty-one years started in for himself, following farm work. He owned a two hundred acre farm there, and went through the panic of 1873, coming out of the trouble in very good shape financially. 

In about 1886 Mr. Macumber came west, arriving in Dawes county in the month of March; went back to Iowa, sold his farm and returned with his family on the 8th of April 1886. They located in section 34, township 34, range 48, on Bordeaux creek, this stream also running through his land. He has plenty of natural timber on the place, and ninety acres is irrigated, on which he raises fine crops, and in all has one hundred and fifty acres under cultivation. 

The ranch consists of eight hundred acres, and is well supplied with good water, wild fruits, and he has many acres of good hayland and grass for pasture. The first dwelling put up on the farm was a dugout in which they lived for one year. The dry years followed soon after he located here and many were the losses and discouragements they experienced, and also in 1890 and 1891 they were occasioned much discomfort and anxiety through the Indian uprisings throughout this part of the state, but no one was injured. During the first years here he broke up all his land and did all the farm work with the help of two yoke of oxen, and used these faithful animals for five years. The ranch is now all fenced and well improved, free from all indebtedness, and he has one of the valuable pieces of property in the county, and a comfortable home. 

Our subject was married while living in Iowa, April 20, 1873, to Miss Melissa Shearer, a native of Indiana, who settled in Illinois, when a girl, with her parents, and in 1866 they moved to Iowa where they were among the pioneers of Madison county. Mr. and Mrs. Macumber are the parents of five children, named as follows: William H., Edward A., James W., A. Jr., and Alida G., all married except John A. Jr., who lives in South Dakota. James W. also lives in South Dakota. The balance of the family live in Dawes county, Nebraska. 

Mr. Macumber is a stanch Democrat, inclining strongly toward Socialism, and has always worked along reform lines and been closely identified with all reform movements in his section for many years. He is a man of superior intelligence and progressive ideas, and one of the foremost citizens of his locality. A picture of the residence and family will be found on another page.


Editor's Note
The biography and photos included in this story  were included in the illustrated 1909 "Compendium of History, Reminiscence and Biography of Western Nebraska," a wonderful publication for historians and the general public alike by the Alden Publishing Company of Chicago.
-- Larry Miller

Saturday, April 3, 2021

It was only yesterday....okay, it was 70 years ago!

For a closer look at these and a few other CHS faculty over the years, visit   Teachers Gallery - Chadron Schools

Monday, March 15, 2021

CSC grad Dr. Eugene Hughes leaves great legacy

By Con Marshall

One of Chadron State College’s most prominent graduates, Dr. Eugene M. Hughes, died Wednesday, March 10 in Flagstaff, Ariz., at age 86. He was initially recognized as an outstanding mathematics professor at Chadron State College, his alma mater, and began his career in higher education administration while at CSC and was the president of two major universities and the interim president of a third institution.

Chadron State presented Hughes with its Distinguished  Service Award in 1982 and conferred upon him an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 2003.

He was born April 3, 1934 in Scottsbluff and lived there his first 20 years. After graduating from what was then Scottsbluff Junior College, he enrolled at Chadron State.  He was named the college’s outstanding senior majoring in mathematics and graduated from the college first in his class of 63 in May 1956. 

Hughes spent the following year working on a master’s degree at Kansas State University, but returned in the fall of 1957 to teach math, gaining recognition as an exceptional mentor who helped numerous students launch outstanding careers.

In 1962, he began working on his doctorate at the George Peabody College of Vanderbilt in Nashville, Tenn.  He returned to Chadron State in September 1965 to again teach math and serve as director of research. His popularity as a math professor helped the department grow rapidly. Before long, CSC had more math majors than the other three state colleges combined and almost as many as the University of Nebraska. 

In the late 1960s, he was promoted to dean of administration and was the leader in acquiring numerous federal grants and developing innovative programs that helped Chadron State earn the title of “Nebraska’s Pioneering College.”


In 1970, Hughes was lured to Northern Arizona University at Flagstaff, where he spent 23 years, serving as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, provost and academic vice president before becoming president on July 1, 1979.


During his 14 years as president, Northern Arizona’s state-appropriated operating budget increased 200 percent, the enrollment rose from 12,000 to 18,800 and the number of buildings on campus grew from 69 valued at $150 million to 90 valued at $750 million.  Midway through his presidency, NAU was selected by Money Magazine as one of 10 “up and coming” universities in the nation and was among 20 higher education institutions featured in the book “Searching for Academic Excellence.”


In addition, he received the university’s Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters and the 32,000 square foot building containing the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management that he founded was named in his honor.


Hughes became president of Wichita State in July 1993.  He was described as “the right man for the job” as he rekindled the university’s spirit and image, reversed the declining enrollment and found ways to greatly increase its support.


Near the end of his tenure at Wichita State, he was chosen the Outstanding Kansas Citizen of the Year by the state’s Society of Professional Engineers.


Shortly after he retired at Wichita State in 1998, the university dedicated the Eugene M. Hughes Metropolitan Complex, which contains a 1,700-seat auditorium and numerous offices.  The complex was purchased for the university through a $3.25 million gift that Hughes personally received from a donor who requested anonymity.


In mid-2001 after its president had resigned, Eastern Kentucky University at Richmond recruited Hughes to serve as interim president.  At the opening convocation, he told the employees “you will not be riding a dead horse.” Prior to the appointment of a new president, he was credited with providing dynamic leadership that helped stabilize the institution’s financial situation and led to several program improvements.


Hughes was elected secretary/treasurer of the 372-member American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1988 and was its chairman in 1990-91.  He also was a charter member of the presidential commission of the National Collegiate Athletic Association and was a member of the Arizona State Board of Education eight years, including a term as president.


Another of his career highlights occurred in September 2011, when Hughes returned to Chadron State for the “Gene Hughes Math Reunion” that was attended by 20 of his former students who had benefited from his teaching and leadership skills.  He had introduced many of them to the coming “computer age,” providing them with as much material as he could find. A number of them used the information as a springboard to innovative and lucrative careers.


“The main reason we got together was to thank Dr. Hughes for what he did for all of us,” said Stan Hoffman, one of the organizers of the reunion. “He was our leader and guiding light.  We owe him a lot and are proud that we were taught by him.


“It was fun to talk about all the changes we have seen,” Hoffman added. “Because of Dr. Hughes, we had a head start on what would follow.  Things like the Internet, e-mail, cell phones, I-pads and smart phones.”


At the end of the two-day reunion for the alums and their spouses, Hughes spoke to the gathering, noting, “Your success reflects so well on Chadron State and means so much to me. I have been thrilled to hear your stories and learn more about your success.”


In later years, Hughes and his wife, Margaret Ann, resided in Flagstaff, where he served as president/CEO and then chairman of the board of the Museum of Northern Arizona, which focuses on the origin and development of the Four-Corner area and included 47 structures. He also served a six-year term as a member of the national Amtrak Customer Advisory Committee and was its chairman 2009-11.


Survivors include his wife, the couple’s six children and their families.  Services will be announced at a later date. 

Wednesday, February 3, 2021

Inquiring minds still want to know...

Nearly three years ago, in 2018, we posted the above photo from the 1950's and a short story with several questions – but one important question that we didn't ask.  

Who were these two officers?  In that earlier story, we remembered Hugh Oliver, who ran the tobacco shop that stood between the old Pace Theatre and the Chadron Volunteer Fire Department headquarters, and we recalled several police officers from back in that era.  Butch Foster, Vernon Story, Robert Beers, Burt Holmes, and Lester Jensen, among others.  In fact, we think the fellow on the right in the above photo might be Story.

Would be pleased to hear from anyone who can identify these fellows.  Of course, we're continuing our quest for a good photograph of the Newsy Nook.  That would be a most valued photo, indeed!

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Another Pioneer of Dawes County – a 1909 Profile


     The name of Harry L. Bartlett is a familiar one to the residents of Dawes county, Nebraska, where he has lived for many years, locating here when this region was practically in its infancy, and has taken a leading part in its development and growth from its early settlement. He owns a well improved and valuable estate in section 6, township 29, range 47, and enjoys a pleasant and happy home.

     Mr. Bartlett was born in Amherst, Massachusetts, in 1865. His father, Alfred E., married Rebecca Putnam, also born and raised in Massachusetts, and they afterwards came west and were among the oldest settlers in Nebraska, where the father engaged in the farming and ranching business. The subject of our sketch was but three years of age when his parents settled in Audubon county, Iowa, and he was reared and educated there, attending the country schools during his boyhood. At the age of twenty Mr. Bartlett came to Nebraska and settled on a homestead in the southeastern corner of Dawes county, "batching it" for several years, living near a brother who had settled here some years before. He. proved up on his claim, and was in the cattle business from the first, farming a small portion of his place, and during the hard times working in the Black Hills in the mines. He spent a short time at Deadwood. He filed on another homestead in section 12, township range 48, and remained for four years, farming during that time, but proved up also and located on his present farm in 1893. Here he bought land, put up buildings and developed a good ranch and has been most successful in every venture, the place consisting of thirty two quarter sections, a large part of which he along the Pepper creek. He has it all fenced and cross fenced, and devotes his time to the sheep raising business principally although he has about thirty horses and a few head of cattle. One hundred and fifty acres are devoted to farming purposes, raising small grain, corn, oats, etc., for feed for his stock.

     In the early days of Mr. Bartlett's residence here he went through many rough experience in traveling by team through the wild country, surrounded by wild beasts and spending many a night sleeping on the snow covered ground. For some time he was employed as a stage driver, carrying the mail from Hay Springs to Nonpareil in Box Butte county, and at that time there were only three dwelling places on the road between these two towns.

     Mr. Bartlett was united in marriage in 1893, to Miss Bessie Fenner, daughter of Bradford Fenner, an old settler in this state. Prior to her marriage Mrs. Bartlett was a teacher in the schools of Dawes county. Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett are the parents of two children namely: Arthur, aged fourteen years, and Raymond, aged ten years.

     Mr. Bartlett is a Republican in his politic views and takes a keen interest in party affairs.


NOTE:  From the "Compendium of History Reminiscence & Biography of Western Nebraska"