he Meike Ranch (pronounced like "Mikey")
a family corporation
consisting of the offspring of Peter and Naomi Meike and extended families. Peter Meike
came to the Sussex, Wyoming area
as a baby with his family, the Emil
and Emma Meikes.
Sr. (first name pronounced "AYM-ul") was born in Germany
and came to Iowa with his parents in 1867. They later moved
west to Chadron, Nebraska where he met and married Emma Kruse.
(Pete), their second child, was born in Colorado in 1901.
conditions in Colorado sent Emil searching for a better place to start
in the cattle business. He toured central Wyoming on
met an established Sussex rancher, H.W. "Hard Winter" Davis, who was also looking
for a way to beat the drought. Together they envisioned an
valley on the Powder River and set out to form a company to build and
run a twenty-mile-long canal. The work was undertaken with
slips with some thirty other homesteaders joining in. The
was a struggle for the ranchers to complete, and an outside company
from Denver came to their rescue with a steam shovel. Water first
flowed from the dam and head gate on Powder River some four miles
east of Kaycee to Sussex in 1910. Three major flumes, one
the Powder River, and several more smaller structures, all made of
wood, crossed the many draws to keep the canal on a grade sufficient
to irrigate the land above the river.
Pete married Naomi Streeter in 1928. Naomi’s
parents, David and Anna, lived just above the start of the canal and had been in the
area since before the turn of the century. So the children of
and Naomi Meike are descendents of two pioneer families.
Grandpa Emil Meike
died in 1933 and his four
sons continued to run the ranch which expanded considerably in those
three decades. Grandma Emma Meike died in 1947 and the ranch
divided among the six children. At that time Pete and Naomi
children: Don born in 1929, Barbara in 1931, Peter (Peto) in 1934,
Emma Lee (Emmy) in 1937 and Helen in 1946. Pete, Sr. and sons Don and Peto
formed a partnership in 1949 and started to enlarge their holdings
until in a few years it consisted of much of the earlier, undivided Meike land.
Pete, Sr. died in 1978, and Naomi in 1998. Don
and Peto continued to manage the ranch on behalf of the family
corporation until 2014. Reluctantly concluding that they couldn't
maintain the workload required of day-to-day administration, they moved
out of their house of some 75 years and into a new house on "the old
Baughn place" at the edge of the ranch for a sort-of retirement.
They are still very involved in the ranch's sheep operation and
generously oblige consultation requests. Sadly, Barbara (Meike) Wolcott passed
away in 2015, leaving husband Neal and a wealth of children and
grandchildren behind. Helen (Meike) Keeler passed away in 2016;
she is particularly missed by her husband Jerry and her two children
and two grandchildren. Emmy (Meike) Koch still lives with her husband Ken on their ranch three miles up the highway; they have three sons and numerous grandchildren.