THOMAS P. SWEET.
Thomas P. Sweet was for many years actively identified with ranching interests in the west, but is now practically living retired, making his home in Newcastle. He has passed the Psalmist's allotted span of three score years and ten, for he is now in the seventy-second year of his age. He was born in Rhode Island, December 18, 1846, a son of Thomas P. and Amie (Wade) Sweet, both of whom were natives of Rhode Island and were descendants of early American families. The father was a farmer by occupation and also a woodsman, devoting his entire active life to those pursuits. He passed away during the early boyhood of his son Thomas.
The latter was the fourth in order of birth in a family of six children, which included a half brother. He was reared to manhood in his native state and received such educational advantages as the country schools afforded. He assisted in the work of the home farm during the period of his boyhood and youth, also worked in the lumber woods and was reared amid such surroundings and environment. In February, 1864, when eighteen years of age, he enlisted in response to the country's call for troops to aid in the preservation of the Union, becoming a private of Company E, Third Rhode Island Heavy Artillery. In the fall of the same year he was transferred to Company A of the Light Artillery and was in the siege of Charleston, South Carolina. In the winter of 1864-5 he participated in the engagements in South Carolina and took part in a number of skirmishes and military movements until Sherman came through that section. He then went to Charleston and at that time embarked on a boat for Beaufort, South Carolina, where he continued until 1865. He then returned to Rhode Island, where he was mustered out in August, receiving an honorable discharge after having participated in many hotly contested battles.
Mr. Sweet remained at home for three years after the war, working upon the old homestead farm, chopping wood and doing other such tasks. In 1868 he went West to California, where he was employed in different ways for about six years. In 1874 he made his way northward to Oregon, where he was employed in the mines and also engaged in hunting. In the fall of 1875 he returned to California and through the winter worked on a ranch. In the spring of 1876 he was again in the east, remaining in Rhode Island for about a year. But once more he heeded the call of the wild and proceeded to the Black Hills country, which was just being opened up to settlement, owing to the gold discoveries m that district. He arrived there in April, 1877, and afterward engaged in mining in that locality for about two years. In 1879 he was elected sheriff of Custer county, serving for two years, being the first chosen to that position after the organization of the county. Custer was at the time the largest city in the Black Hills country and also the most notorious because of the lawless element that had invaded the district. Order seemed to have no place in the catalogue of most of its citizens. Mob rule prevailed and crime seemed to reign supreme, but Mr. Sweet fearlessly took up the task of restoring order and enforcing law and, absolutely fearless and loyal to duty, he made good in that respect.
In 1881 Mr. Sweet removed to Wyoming, settling on Beaver creek, in what was then Laramie county, but which later, with the division of the district, became Crook county and is now Weston county. Here he took up a homestead and began farming and at the present time he owns about five hundred acres of valuable land, in addition to which he leases an entire section of six hundred and forty acres. Upon his ranch all kinds of stock are raised, but a specialty is made of cattle. At one time Mr. Sweet was also extensively engaged in the breeding and raising of horses. He settled on Beaver creek when there were only two other settlers in this part of the state, one of these being Henry, or "Hank," Freel and the other Coleman Flaherty, who owned the Stockade ranch. Mr. Sweet has seen this section grow into one of the most highly developed and improved districts of northeastern Wyoming and has contributed in marked measure to the changes which have been wrought and the progress that has been promoted.
On the 1st of February, 1892, Mr. Sweet was united in marriage to Frances Viola Johnston, who was born in Quaker City, Guernsey county, Ohio, July 11, 1860, a daughter of Levi and Frances Barrah (Roache) Johnston and a grand-niece of John Brown, the famous abolitionist, whose labors largely constituted the initial step in freeing the slaves, as he addressed the people in various places concerning abolition and at length forfeited his life to the cause of freedom at Harpers Ferry–one of the nation's martyrs. The father of Mrs. Sweet was born in Ohio and her mother in Pennsylvania. By a former marriage, her first husband having been W. P. Hannum. Mrs. Sweet had one daughter, Bessie Myrtle, who is now the wife of Lawrence O'Neil, of Cheyenne, and is president of the Cooks and Waiters Union of Cheyenne. They have four children. To Mr. and Mrs. Sweet have been born the following named. Stella Mae, was born in Weston county, September 26, 1892. Fred Thomas, born in Weston county, April 21, 1896, was married in Cheyenne, May 15, 1918, to Miss Zola Vivian Marvin, of Hubbell, Nebraska. Delia Naomi, who was born in 1902, is a student in the Leverne school. Mrs. Sweet's parents were pioneers of Iowa, settling in Poweshiek county in 1857. There the father took up government land, upon which he remained for about a year, after which he returned to Guernsey county, Ohio, for his family. He continued in that county until 1861 and in March of that year again returned to Iowa, settling in Tama county, having previously sold his property in Poweshiek county and invested in a Tama county farm. He remained thereon until March, 1879, when he removed to Norton county, Kansas, where he resided to the time of his death, in 1909. He had for a considerable period survived his wife, who passed away in the same county in 1890. Mrs. Sweet was the eighth in order of birth in a family of nine children, as follows: Hannah, the eldest, became the wife of Jacob Furance and passed away in San Francisco, California, about the year 1804. Lewis Cass lives in Decatur county, Kansas. Henry makes his home in Nebraska City, Nebraska. Robert B. passed away in 1911. Margaret Ann became the wife of Alfred M. Marvel and died in 1913, her husband having already departed this life. Loran is a resident of Flagg, Oklahoma. Perry Barker also resides in Flagg. Mrs. Sweet is the next of the family. Malvena is the wife of Jacob Cline and they are residents of Oklahoma.
Mr. Sweet votes with the republican party but is not a politician in the sense of office seeking. He is interested in all that pertains to the welfare and progress of his community and lends ready aid and cooperation to movements for the general good. His time and energies, however, have been concentrated upon his business affairs, which have been wisely and carefully directed. He has been most diligent and determined in the conduct of his business interests and his carefully directed plans have brought to him a substantial measure of success that now enables him to live retired and yet enjoy a very substantial income by reason of his judicious investments and the capable manner in which his ranching interests are conducted.