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Hickey, Eugene

hickey-at-hjb-taylors

hickey-with-white-horses-at-home-ranch

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Born near Montreal Canada, Eugene walked to the United States. Eugene described his journey as walking into this country with one boot and one shoe. By the time his earthly journey ended, he had built a ranch with registered cattle, quality horses, a modern house with running water and a telephone. He even installed the phone line from Mountain View to Lonetree by himself.

In 1878 Eugene went to work on the Diamond S Ranch. About a year after his arrival at the Diamond S, he was in charge of a number of cowboys that drove 1300 head of cattle from Lonetree to Laramie Wyoming. Among that bunch of cow punchers was George Hereford who later became his brother in law.

Eugene first homesteaded in Conner Basin then later in Lonetree on the Henry’s Fork of the Green River. In 1884 he married Betty Hereford. They moved two miles down the river from the homestead to property they bought from John Forshay and built a ranch that remains viable today. The wood for the house was brought in from Evanston Wyoming by horse and wagon teams. A hydraulic ram filled a tower behind the house which then gravity fed the house so Betty Hickey enjoyed running water in her large frame built house. The home, built in 1908, is so sound that it commands respect still today and will stand for generations to come. Ten children were born to this union and eight of them lived to adulthood.

Eugene built his bovine herd with quality stock that morphed into registered cattle long before it became common. Before vaccinations were commercially available, he made his own with a mortar pestle and scales. He bought a registered bull from back east and had him shipped to Carter Wyoming which was a trailhead for cattle and sheep. However, the bull got a ride from Carter to his new home in Lonetree in a wagon.

My favorite story about this innovative pioneer cowboy shows how tough these old guys were. Eugene had pastured some cattle in Lander, Wyoming. Somebody up there decided to help themselves to some prime Hickey beef at no cost to themselves. Eugene rode from Lonetree to Lander in three days to resolve the problem. His great grandson tried to repeat Eugene’s ride in three days a few years ago, but was not able to match Eugene’s feat of endurance.

If Eugene raised registered cattle his progeny certainly raised cowboys and cowgirls. This line of descendants are still in the saddle raising beef and supervising that process, their work framed through a cow horse’s ears. Strong DNA carries forward in Lonetree Wyoming America.