Johnny was born in Lusk, Wyoming in the summer of 1895. He went off to WWI where his job was a mule skinner, which was not a fitting job for a real cowboy according to Johnny. After returning from the war, Johnny cowboyed for several outfits and somewhere around 1918 went to work for the Spectacle Ranch “O-O brand” owned by H.W. Davis.
Johnny was a small man being about 5’3”. One time while working on a ranch near Clearmont, Wyoming the cook was counting the chaps on the wall to see how many men to cook breakfast for. Seeing a pair of short chaps hanging there she wondered who the boy was they had working for them.
Johnny married Lena Long Graham in 1931. Cowboying, shearing sheep and hunting coyotes with his hounds allowed him to save enough money to purchase the ZL Bar Ranch on the Powder River, a few miles north of the old town of Sussex. He purchased the ranch from the “Scotch Outfit” in 1934 and over the years Johnny put together a pretty good spread raising both cattle and sheep. Johnny’s stepson, Jack Graham, worked on the ranch for many years and Grandson Norman Streeter and Great Grandson Kyle Streeter are still running cattle on the family ranch.
Johnny and Lena raised three children on the ranch and they all had nick names, Boogie after a famous bronc rider named Booger Red, Monk after a famous bronc and Betz, well you know there has to be a story there. Any one acquainted with the family knows their real names.
Johnny was a rancher and broke many a horse and loved to compete in local rodeos in the area. He once rode old Santa Claus at the Meike Ranch on a dare and what a ride it was. The picture of Johnny riding Santa Claus can be found hanging in the Bozeman Bar and Café in Buffalo, Wyoming. His great grandson, Thomas Baker, followed in Johnny’s footsteps when it came to riding broncs and won champion bareback at the High School Nation Finals in 2004.
Johnny was a hell of a cowboy and man. People say his handshake was as good as his signature. He was a man of his word with a lot of integrity and earned the reputation as being one of the best cowboys in the country as well as being one hell of a fine man.