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John Charles “Jack” Esau



John C. Esau, the son of German immigrants, was born in a sod house in Hamilton County Nebraska. He was orphaned at a young age. His father passed away when he was only 3 and his mother when he was 10 leaving him to be raised by relatives and foster parents. By the time he was 15 he took off to make his own way.


He worked on ranches in Nebraska and in 1915 began working as a cowboy at the AL Ranch on LaPrelle Creek near Natural Bridge. He homesteaded in the Dull Center area in 1917, but sold that land to purchase a ranch in Converse County where he raised Hereford cattle that he took to markets in Sioux City, Omaha and Douglas.


John C. Esau was a member of the Congregational church, Farm Bureau, Wyoming Stock Growers Association, and the Old Cowboys Association.


He died in 1973. After his death a friend remembered him in a piece published in the Douglas Budget: “Over forty years ago, a young homesteader dropped dead, leaving four children and a bewildered widow, eight months pregnant. All resources had been exhausted, and starvation was very real. “To the little family Jack Esau was Santa Claus with a 50-pound sack of Gold Medal Flour over his shoulder, paid for out of his own pocket. As he strode in wearing the familiar cowboy boots, it would not have been surprising had a halo been perched on his Stetson.”

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