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Robert L. Cheney

Mr. Robert L. Cheney
Robert L. Cheney

Eminent Farmer

County: Haakon

Robert L. Cheney was born in 1871 at the Winnebago Agency near Dakota City, Nebraska.

He came to South Dakota from Nebraska in 1901, and together with his brother-in-law, E. G. Wilkinson, located near Milesville, on the newly opened land along the Cheyenne River, north of Philip.

Cheney was married to Lisle Wilkinson in June 1905. For many years they lived in a one-room log cabin. This log house still stands on the homestead near their present modern fourteen-room home.

Both Cheney and his wife were graduates of the University of Nebraska, Robert Cheney being graduated in the class of 1895, and Lisle Cheney in the class of 1898. Cheney was the cadet captain at the University of Nebraska when General John J. Pershing was commandant of the military department.

At the time he was honored as an Eminent Farmer, Cheney owned a ranch consisting of 6,000 acres of bottomland on the Cheyenne River in Haakon County.  He also leased several thousand acres of grazing land, on which he kept 600 head of cattle, and several hundred hogs.

Cheney was one of the first Grimm alfalfa growers in South Dakota. He started this alfalfa in the West River district in 1910. These fields of alfalfa supplied seed to many ranchers, not only in this state, but also in other states.

Cheney was one of the original organizers and was vice-president of the Western South Dakota Alfalfa Seed Growers Exchange at Rapid City. He was a member of the West River Stock Growers Protective Association, a county commissioner and treasurer of his home school district.

The Cheneys have no children of their own, but reared two adopted girls.