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Ranch History
Pete Sr. circa 1925

        The Meike Ranch (pronounced like "Mikey") is 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.

Emil and Emma Meike
Emil and Emma Meike

     Emil Meike, Sr. (first name pronounced "AYM-ul") was born in Germany and came to Iowa with his parents in 1867.  They later moved farther west to Chadron, Nebraska where he met and married Emma Kruse.  Peter (Pete), their second child, was born in Colorado in 1901.

Pete Sr. on buckrake, 1916
Pete Sr. on buckrake, 1916

      Drought conditions in Colorado sent Emil searching for a better place to start over in the cattle business.  He toured central Wyoming on horseback and 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 irrigated 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 teams and slips with some thirty other homesteaders joining in.  The project 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 crossing 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.

David and Anna Streeter
David and Anna Streeter

      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 Pete 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 was divided among the six children.  At that time Pete and Naomi had five 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.


Emma Meike and children
Emma Meike with children in front of homestead cabin, circa 1911
     Meike mountain cabin
Meike mountain cabin, circa 1933
     Meike family as children
Pete and Naomi Meike family as children, circa 1942
back l-r: Don, Grandma Meike, Barbara
front l-r: Naomi, Emmy, Peto, Pete Sr. (Helen was born...later)
     Meike family as adults
Pete and Naomi Meike family as adults, 1978
l-r: Helen, Don, Naomi, Pete Sr., Barb, Peto, Emmy
     Don and Peto, recently
Don and Peto (and Ben, sometimes-champion sheep dog), recently