Friends From Many States Join
and Mrs. Sid Willoughby Are Feted with Dinner Feast and Program
Mrs. J. W. Patterson. Casper Tribune 1931
Wyo.----(Special)---Tuesday was a golden day, the kind of day you read about in
story books. It is a day moreover that will never be forgotten by the people of
Lysite for on that day over 400 people gathered in Lysite at the Willoughby
hotel to pay respects to Mr. Mrs. Sid Willoughby on their golden wedding
anniversary; for fifty years ago Tuesday, June 23, 1931, petite and lovely
Nannie Irvin Benton of the starry eyes and dusky wavy hair, a Kentucky belle of
just nineteen summers, placed her hand and heart in the keeping of a stalwart,
young Kentuckian, by name, Sid Willoughby, then a youth of twenty-two years.
Willoughby's were married at the bride's home in the early evening of June 1881.
After the wedding supper the bride and groom crossed the Kentucky river by ferry
to their new home at College Hill near Richmond, Kentucky; where the happy young
couple became part of the household of Mr. Willoughby's parents..
the golden wedding celebration at the Willoughby hotel, Tuesday, there were
guests from Montana, Idaho, California, Nebraska, Louisiana, Texas, Colorado,
Nevada, North Dakota, South Dakota, and of course scores of towns in Wyoming.
The great number present showed how highly Mr. and Mrs. are esteemed by not only
the community of Lysite but by everybody in whatever community they have lived.
To many in this community Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby have been almost parents.
In fact, they are called Mother and Father Willoughby by many, to whom they are
not related. All the children of Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby, all their children by
marriage, except one daughter in-law and one son-in-law
and all their grandchildren except two were present. Four generations
were represented as the Willoughby's now have one great grandchild.
was served cafeteria style, a little after noon. The menu consisted of baked
beans, boiled ham, rolls, chicken salad, sliced tomatoes, coffee, ice cream, and
many, many lovely cakes. The biggest cake---made of six separate cakes in
pyramid formation all snowy white and decorated with a lovely rose design---was
made by the women of Lysite.
crowd was so large that it found necessary to hold the program of the afternoon
in the hall. The program opened with a few well chosen words by Percy
Shallenberger. Mr. Shallenberger then played the piano while Dr. Jewell,
son-in-law of the Willoughby's played the violin. Dr. E. L. Jewell and Mr.
Shallenberger very appropriately played "Long, Long Ago, "The Banks of
the Wabash," (the Willoughby's lived in Indiana for awhile) and "My
Old Kentucky Home," Kentucky being the state where Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby
were married a half century ago. Mrs. John Day, of Lysite then sang two very
much appreciated selections, one of which was the Rosary. Mrs. Casill, who was
formerly taught school in Lysite, Mrs. Glenn Lewis and Mrs. Lovina Johnson,
local pastor and postmistress then sang some delightful old melodies, including
"When You and I Were Young Maggie," and "Mother Machree."
Mrs. Frank Jackson accompanying them on piano. Domingo LaRaury next entertained
the audience with some gay little pieces on the guitar. Miss Frances Rate then
entertained those present with a whimsical playologue, accompanied by Mrs. Van
G. Okie. After this, Mrs. Okie who has sung professionally in Hollywood, Los
Angeles and New York, charmed the audience with several selections from grand
opera. Mrs. Okie seemed to be able to do anything she wished with her voice and
her singing Tuesday showed that she was an artist of note. Mrs. Okie appeared to
be very versatile for she played the piano, sang and then read a number of
delightful negro dialect selections, which were humorous and harmonized with the
holiday mood of those present. Mrs. Okie and Miss Frances Rate, artist pupil and
a girl of great personal charm and talent next rendered some delightful old
medleys in a duet.
Jean Willoughby, granddaughter of Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby followed with a
selection on the piano. Mabel Jean is just a little girl and she played a
difficult piece very well indeed.
M. Jensen came next with some selections that are dear to those a generation
ago. Mr. Jensen, accompanied by Mrs. Frank Jackson sang, "O Promise
Me," and "Silver Threads Among the Gold."
mock wedding, which was the surprise for the day, followed. The mock wedding
seemed to be the climax of the day and kept the audience in merry gales of
laughter. Van G. Okie was best man, Frances Rate was the groom, John Hayden (a
Denver boy) was the flower girl; John was dressed as no flower girl ever was or
since dressed, his flowers consisted of gaily tied bunches of lettuce, onions
and cabbage; Mrs. Van G. Okie was the bride, Frank Rate represented the bride's
father and Livia Cunningham, a granddaughter of the Willoughby's was the
bride's maid, while Mrs. Johnson officiated as the one who tied the blushing
bride and groom together for better or worse.
John Day in a few well chosen words expressed to the Willoughby's on behalf -of
the people of Lysite the community's appreciation for their fine helpful lives
in this community and then presented them with about $100 in gold. Mrs.
Willoughby replied very sweetly in her genteel voice after which Mrs. Casill
gave an interesting talk on the Willoughby's. Mrs. Casill also quoted some very
lovely appropriate poetry.
number of friends of the Willoughby's talked and gave reminiscences after which
Martin Basket, wool buyer of Casper, introduced the Willoughby's and all their
children to the audience. It was an inspiring sight to see Mr. and Mrs.
Willoughby and all their children, now grown to manhood and womanhood standing
before the audience. It reminded one of the good woman in the Bible where it
states that her children shall rise up to call her blessed.
of the children said a few words. Some spoke humorously and some seriously, but
all spoke appropriately and a bystander could see that they were all cognizant
of the sterling, fine couple who stood before them, their father and mother. The
children seemed to feel the truth of those words of Robert Browning when he
said: "Youth shows but half: trust God: see all, nor be afraid!"
account of a golden wedding would be incomplete without a brief resume of the
bride and groom's life.
Mr. and Mrs. Willoughby were married in 1881, they lived at College Hill near
Richmond, Kentucky for about eight years. There Harris (Loveland, Colo.); Hattie
(Mrs. Dave Laing of Pasadena, Cal.); Eliza (Mrs. Johnson of Pasadena, Cal.); and
Livia (Mrs. E. L. Jewell of Shoshoni) were born. The Willoughby's moved to
Illinois and lived for a time near Bloomington. There Jessie (Mrs. B.F.
Cunningham of Lysite) and Martin (deceased) were born.
1896 the little growing family moved to Indiana where Walker (Saratoga, Wyo.)
was born in 1899, the family accompanied by the family of Charlie Swaim took the
train for Casper, Wyo. Casper was at that time the end of the railroad, a
"cow town." Mr. Swaim met
the Willoughby family and his own in Casper from where the two families started
their long trip by spring wagon to Lost Cabin. The first night the little
company spent at the Henry Johnson ranch near Casper; the next night they spent
at Powder River, a stage station, at which place the stage driver let them sleep
in his tent, and the following night, which was the first of May, they spread
out a big tarpaulin and slept out in the open, fifteen in one bed.'
The little party from Indiana were dressed light and they were severely
chilled that night for it snowed about four inches; but thanks to the climate
and air of Wyoming no one took cold.
following day the adventurers reached Lost Cabin where they felt the true
hospitality of the west in general and Wyoming in particular. They stopped to
fix their lunch at a sheep camp and a herder courteously added his supplies to
their lunch and did all he could to make the newcomers feel at home.
the new arrivals entered the Lost Cabin store, everybody for some distance
started to come into the store on pretext of bread or something in order that
they might see the new settlers, as so many of the men in this part of the
country had not seen women and children for many years. The party got rooms at
J.B. Oakie's place. Mr. Willoughby and Harris, then a man of 17, went to the
dining room to eat, however, it was in the days of the wild and wooly west where
the west was the west we now read of in western story magazines and Mrs.
Willoughby and the rest of the party had their meals brought to them as they did
not care to enter the public dining room.
afterward the Willoughbys bought a two room cottage at Lost Cabin from Ed Knap
and the following year they added about fifteen rooms and started a hotel. This
was in 1900. Here at Lost Cabin, Robert (now a rising young doctor in New
Orleans, Louisiana) was born.
1914, the Willoughbys, tore down their Lost Cabin hotel and had it moved to
Lysite where they rebuilt it. This is now the pretty white Willoughby hotel,
known for its hospitality for miles around as it stands today.
Willoughbys have been in Wyoming continuously since then, except for a short trip
back to Kentucky and another to California, until they have become a part and
parcel of this country, loved and respected by all who have had this privilege
of calling them friends.
beautiful and appropriate gifts were received by the Willoughbys on their golden
wedding anniversary, so many that if they should be named, a column would be
necessary. They also received many telegrams of congratulations from friends who
could not be present.
A list of
the guests would also be out of the question, because of the space that would be
required, however, among prominent Casperites were noted Mr. J.A.
Leary, division freight passenger agent for the C. B. & Q. railroad at
Casper who represented the Burlington. Mr. J.C. Grisinger, superintendent, could
not attend. The Burlington was also represented by the presence of Mr. Waygood,
roadmaster, Mr. Peterson, lineman and local agent. The Willoughbys were known
and loved by many Burlington employees for during the washout in 1923 the
Willoughby hotel was home to most of the workers.