AFTER MANVILLE KENDRICK (1900-1992) moved to Sheridan in 1908, he struck up a friendship with Harry Rayburn Kay, son of a local real estate developer. His sister, meanwhile, had known her best friend - cousin Eula Severn Williams - since they were toddlers playing on the OW Ranch.
As boys, the two took the town by storm. They went to movies and carnivals, explored streetcar trestles (especially the one over Deadman’s Draw north of Fifth Street), played tennis and even took dance lessons (as Rosa-Maye Kendrick noted in her diary), "Harry, Brother and I are taking new dances at Central Hall Wednesday nights and are learning fast. Expect to go to a big dance Saturday night."
After Harry’s father died in early 1914 (of a combination of pneumonia, typhoid fever and severe pyorrhea), Harry spent even more time with the Kendricks. He visited them frequently after their move to the Governors’ Mansion in Cheyenne, and again when they relocated to Washington, D.C. While Manville attended college at Harvard, Harry went to Cornell. The schools were close enough that the two friends were able to meet quite often. In 1929, Harry was the best man at Manville’s wedding.
Following his father’s death in 1933, Manville took over management of the Kendrick Cattle Company, while Harry went into the oil business in the Chicago area. Although they grew apart somewhat following their respective marriages, they remained friends until Harry’s untimely death in 1941, from injuries sustained in a Texas automobile accident.
EULA SEVERN WILLIAMS
While Manville went outside the family circle for his best friend, Rosa-Maye looked no further than her cousin, Eula Severn Williams. Despite a three year difference in age, Eula joined Rosa-Maye on many an adventure and the pair remained close confidantes until Rosa-Maye's death in 1979.
Eula was born in Sheridan in 1900, the oldest child of civil engineer Francis Williams and his wife, Eula Kendrick's older sister Martha Belle "Mattie" Wulfjen. A pretty, delicate child, Eula was practically raised as a third Kendrick baby, spending a great deal of her time at the ranch. When they moved to town, the Kendricks shared a house on South Main Street with the Williams family. Around that same time, Eula and Manville attended school together.
As they got older, Rosa-Maye and Eula went from sharing dolls and toys to sharing clothes and crushes. In the summer of 1913, the two girls went to the OW Ranch on vacation, and met a young cowboy over whom they both swooned:
July 2 - Out to the OW for summer vacation, Eula and I. We have a bet up over a boy at the Roundup. ____ we call him. If he doesn't like Eula best I must buy her a box of candy cigars, and if he does like her the best I get treated to the cigars.
July 14 - I'm very doubtful still about _____. Seems as if he likes me, and yet Eula got some ardent looks last night. It makes me jealous.
As the summer progressed, Rosa-Maye turned out to be the "chosen one," but as she noted a few days later, "It's only a summer romance and will pass with [the] season." Which, indeed, it did.
When Eula Williams married Calvin Samuel Cumming in 1923, Rosa-Maye was her honor attendant; Eula repaid the favor in 1927 when Rosa-Maye married Hubert Reilly Harmon. Both men were army officers and throughout their careers were stationed in far-flung corners of the world. Their wives stayed in touch by letter and through occasional meetings at various army bases.
State Historic Site
Trail End overlooking Sheridan, circa 1912 (Gwinn Collection, SCHS)
(Hoff & Kendrick collections, TESHS)
A Whole-House Exhibit at the Trail End State Historic Site
March 2014 - December 2015