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Casement, Dan D. (1868-1953) | Morse Department of Special Collections

Name: Casement, Dan D. (1868-1953)


Historical Note:

Dan D. Casement was an involved man, he spent time as student at the Western Reserve Academy from 1884-1886 and owned and operated his father's ranch (Juniata Ranch) from 1889-1953, during which time he graduated from Princeton University in civil engineering, obtained a Master's degree from Columbia University, married his late wife Mary Olivia Thorburgh, spent 6 years in Costa Rica, and was the correspondence editor for Breeder's Gazette for 6 years.

Casement and his family spent six years in Costa Rica after Dan was given the task of overseeing the construction of a railway in the country by Gen Jack, Casement’s father in 1887. Jack accepted a contract to build 55 miles of track from San Jose to the coast and spent much of his time in New York trying to raise funds. During this time, Costa Rica tottered as a result of revolution and bankruptcy and therefore what was thought of being a sporting adventure turned into the extremely difficult task of laying track in a mountainous, tropical country. Yellow fever and insurrection did not help matters. The circumstances made the construction of the trans-continental railroad across in the American prairie seem like a Lionel train on Christmas morning. For example, on chasm to be bridged was 652 wide and 310 feet deep which, at the time, had only one counterpart in the world, that in Africa. Although the project was deemed profitable for the Casements, they could only complete 30 of the 55 mile line before the Costa Rican government suspended funds after six years. By contrast, it took less time for General Jack to build the eastern leg of the transcontinental railroad than it took to construct 30 miles of track in Costa Rica. Only once during the six year span (1887-1903) did the Casements visit the United States. Dan and Olivia’s daughter, Mary, was born in Costa Rica and though their task was difficult and frustrating, they developed lasting friendships during their time there.

During his ownership of Juniata Ranch, it was the location of Kansas State University’s original grass utilization research that was conducted by the Agricultural Experiment Station in 1915. Casement also was appointed to review an appraisal of the grazing value of the national forests, and his report recommended a fee related to the price of livestock, which was in force when he died. He was also involved in politics and attended several National Republican Conventions, including the one in 1952 in where he was an avid supporter of General Douglas MacArthur for the nomination. For his contribution to the cattle industry, The Saddle and Sirloin club in Chicago had his portrait hung in its gallery of leaders of the U.S. livestock industry. Additionally, he contributed immeasurably to the betterment of American agriculture by his leadership in animal breeding and feeding, with cattle, sheep, horses, and hogs.

Upon Casement’s death in 1953, tributes were given in his honor. Tributes include those from Governor Edward F. Arn, Senator Harry Darby, and Frances D. Farrell. Representative Howard S. Miller read a tribute to Casement on the floor of the House of Representatives, and in an editorial in the Manhattan, Bill Colvin shared his memory of Dan. At the Cowboy Hall of Fame 1958 annual meeting in Oklahoma City, Casement was one of 11 elected at large from across the U.S to be inducted, just five years after his death.

Chronology:

1868                Dan Dillon Casement born near Painsville, OH (Jul 13)

1878                John S. Casement acquired Juniata farm near Manhattan

1884-1886      Student, Western Reserve Academy

1889-1953      Owned and operated Juniata Ranch

1890              Graduated from Princeton (Civil Engineering)

1891              Obtained masters degree from Columbia University; Charles A. “Tot” Otis, Jr., roommate

1891-1896      Range cowhand with Otis is Unaweep Canyon, CO

1891-1896      Farmed in western Kansas

1897                Married Mary Olivia Thorburgh

1897-1903      Railroad construction in Costa Rica with father

1906                Moved to Colorado Springs

1909                John S. Casement died

1915                Brought rustlers to trial in Colorado

1915                Took up permanent residence in Manhattan

1917                Troop ship, Tuscania, torpedoed and sunk off coast of Ireland

1917-1919        U.S. Army (Ft. Sheridan, 1917; AEF, France as head of second battalion of 27th Field Artillery)

1920-1926      Correspondence editor for Breeder’s Gazette

Charter member of American Quarter Horse Association

1924                Republican candidate for U.S. Congress from Kansas 5th District

1926                Appointed by Secretary of Agriculture William M. Jardine to review appraisal of grazing value of National Forests

1935                Became president of Farmers’ Independent Council of America

     

1939                Honored by Saddle & Sirloin Club in Chicago

1942                Mary Casement died

1952                Attended Republican National Convention

1953                Dan D. Casement dies on March 7, 1953

1958                Elected to Cowboy Hall of Fame




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