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Robert E. Rath

Robert E. Rath, of Shell on Shell Creek in Bighorn County is a pioneer of 1881 in Wyoming who has been of great service in helping to develop and build up several portions of the state. He is a native of Jersey City, New Jersey, belonging to families long resident in Germany and active for generations in making it the great and busy manufacturing and commercial empire it has become. His life began on April 27, 1862 and when he was two years old his parents, Charles and Mary Rath who had come to the United States from the Fatherland soon after their marriage moved to Monroe county, Wisconsin. At the age of ten Robert left home to make his own way in the world going to Minnesota and after remaining four years in that state working at various occupations he secured steady employment in a flouring mill where he remained five years rising by merit in the scale of his employment and mastering by diligent attention every detail of the business therein conducted. In 1881 he came to Bismarck, Dakota and soon after brought a band of horses from there to Montana, disposing of them at Miles City, and taking up his residence temporarily at Huntley in that state. From there in June of the same year he came to the Bighorn basin of Wyoming with a partner locating on Stinking Water River and there built the first cabin in the spacious area that is now Bighorn county. In 1882 he began an eight year service in the employ if Henry C. Lovell for a considerable portion of the time being his ranch foreman. Learning thoroughly in this engagement all about the stock business as he had learned in his former one all about the milling business in 1892 he located on his present ranch on Shell Creek with a view of conducting there a general farming and stock industry. This he promptly inaugurated and since then he has been vigorously carrying on these enterprises with increasing herds and rapidly expending agricultural operations. His ranch comprises 160 acres of fine land which he has improved with judicious and systematic labor and expenditures in building and equipment which supports with bountiful provision for their welfare his cattle and horses. He is one of the wide awake and progressive men of his section and the condition of his land the character of the improvements he has made and the excellent condition of his stock all unite in testimony of the fact. Fraternally Mr. Rath is connected with the Modern Woodmen of America and is vice-chancellor of his lodge. He was united in marriage with Miss Eliza Pense a native if Illinois, on April 19, 1894, the marriage occurring at Shell, where the lady was then living. They had four children, the first born, Lottie M., died in childhood. The living are Robert E. Jr. Vina M. and Ralph. Mr. Rath has been a public-spirited citizen and has given constant and careful attention to the welfare of the community in every way. When he first took up his residence in this part of the country it was infested with thieves and robbers who had become bold by their continued success and apparent immunity from punishment. As a member of the first jury summoned in the county and by vigorous pursuit and defiance of the lawless element in other ways he was of great assistance in ridding the county of their presence and making it an unsafe harbor for evil-doers. The sprit of vigorous enforcement of the law thus awakened has been conspicuously active ever since resulting in making Bighorn one if the best governed counties in the state.

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