John Henry Myhre homestead
Located at N43°
38' 17" 11 mi. north of Kaycee Wy.
Myhre was born in Sioux Falls Dakota territory in 1879 where
his father James Peter Myhre and mother Ara Nola (Brown) farmed. In his
early years he helped out on the family farm. He told me of diving off
a high railroad bridge into the river and how he did it without the
water breaking his neck. Being the oldest he left home at fifteen to
fend for himself. At one time he worked at a deaf-mute school where he
learned sign language that he could still use at the end of his days.
At the turn of the century he owned two freight wagons and an eight
horse team that he used to haul freight across Wyoimg from Sundance to
Casper. He once told me a story about looking up and seeing the ridge
above him covered with Indians. As they came toward him he planned to
cut a horse out of his team and run if they got to close. Before he
felt the need to do that he saw the army was herding the Indians along
so he stopped and greeted them. The Indians ask him for "baky" he told
me, so he gave them all the tobacco he had. Seems there had been an
incident near Casper where a couple of white men who were abusing the
Indians were killed. The army was assigned the job of rounding up the
Indians and moving them to Custer, South Dakota where they were sent to
a reservation. John Henry worked sometimes as a cowboy for the big
ranches in northern Wyoming and was involved with the last great
roundup held in southern Montana - northern Wyoming at the end of the
big free range cattle operations during the first decade of the 20th
century. In 1910 he married Minnie Florence Jones newly arrived from
Kansas and together they established a homestead eleven miles north of
the small town of Kaycee, Wyoming not far from the original outpost of
Fort Reno on the Powder River.
am not sure what buildings were built first. This is the
remember as a boy when I used to spend a couple weeks each summer
visiting. All the log buildings were erected between 1910 and
1915 I believe.
When unloading logs for this house one of the logs rolled off the load
and struck grandpa's brother Leonard Roscoe (not Clarence as I recorded
earlier) killing him. I suppose
was one of the hazards they lived with in those days. (Clarence
V. Myhre 29 Jul 1914 03 Sep 1914 was the infant second born child of
John and Minnie.)
The logs for all the homestead buildings were hauled from the Big Horn
mountains a few miles west of the homestead site. Many trips
to be made and a lot of manual labor was involved. In the first
years the family lived on the homestead in pretty
primitive conditions during the summer months and moved to Sheridan,
Wyoming where grandpa hired out to deliver freight with his team and
wagons in the winter months. Many of the buildings in present
downtown Sheridan have bricks hauled by my grandfather in those years.
One year they rented a house on Sheridan Ave. where the trolley
making it easy for them to get from place to place.
My brother took some pictures of the old place in 2001 showing what it
looks like after being abandoned for forty years. Many on
old structures in Wyoming and Montana are being destroyed for safety.
North of the old house were two buildings. The one pictured
the left was used to house grandma's chickens on the west end and the
east end was used as a garage. I remember grandpa having to
the chicken dust off his old car before we could use it to go to
town. The building pictured on the right was used as a
grainery, I don't know what its original use was. None of
buildings had an actual foundation under them. The bottom
were laid on rocks for support. There were gaps in places between these
rocks allowing critters to get under the buildings. I
when I was about eleven being out in back of the house and seeing
grandpa headed up to the grainery with his gun. Talk about
excitement, I just had to see what was going to get shot.
you see the circle in the picture is where there was a gap in the rocks
where grandpa laid down and pointed his gun under the building with me
right by his elbow. Grandpa told me "you might want to get
little" so I did, about an inch. Without further warning
took aim and shot a skunk and quickly rolled away from the hole.
I didn't, and the breeze was blowing right into my face as
the extra strong smell of skunk. For a while I couldn't even
and hardly breathe. From that time on when grandpa made a suggestion I
listened very carefully and tried to do as he suggested.
Cindy wrote: "I really like the ones
(pictures) that are taken from the inside of the building looking
out. Gives me a sense of the view they had."
The well, seen though the window, was drilled
in the early sixties not
long before grandpa died. As you can see it is much closer
to the house.
This picture shows the old water tank, the
original well was
on the right next to this tank. It had a
log derrick with a windmill at the top.
Excess water was pumped into the tank when there was plenty of
wind. Water from the tank was used to water a garden and supply water
for livestock at times when there was
not much wind.
This is the well that provided
water to the house . All you had to do was grab a couple of buckets and
run down the hill and fetch all the
water you wanted to use.
I remember, as a kid, looking across to the foot of the hills
picture and seeing small herds of Antelope grazing
This is a view of the house from the South
It was the front door side. On the near end was the
girls bedroom with a living room in the middle with the heating stove
in winter with another bedroom on the other end.
The kitchen was off the west side as was an added on bedroom .
For lighting there were two Coleman lanterns
that hung from the ceiling on wire hooks that
provided plenty of light. The lanterns were only
used when there was company. Card games were a favorite entertainment. When grandpa and grandma were home alone they
used a kerosene lamp on the table for lighting.
Near the window next to the east door, seen
here just to the left of the post, grandpa kept
a battery operated radio. It was only used to get news and farm
reports. The radio used a co combination of several batteries and was
used sparingly to
conserve battery power.
From this angle looking over the house
at the area just to the right and below the windmill grandpa told me
there was a circle of buffalo bones when he
homesteaded the place.It was where buffalo hunters caught a stand of
killed them for the hides. He said that sometime in the 1920's a man
came around who was buying buffalo bones and hauled the bones away in
I thank cousin Cindy for these pictures and
for the memories
viewing them brings back to me.