Fred Magnuson purchased 98 acres in Weld County in 1910 from John and Christina Smillie who had homesteaded under the Timber Culture Act. Fred and his wife Josephine were already farming and residing on another nearby farm. They paid $15,000 for their new place, though they never actually lived on it. By 1917 their second son Carl married Esther Eskilson, and the young couple moved onto the farm where they built a house by 1919. The house, barn, garage, tank house, and chicken coop were all constructed of brick made in the kiln owned by Carl’s father. Brick from Denver was used on the final layer.
Carl purchased the farm from his father in 1934, and shortly after, he purchased the 135 acre farm across the road. At this time the principal crops raised were small grains, potatoes, and sugar beets. Carl served as a county commissioner, State Senator, and Representative starting in the 1950s. Upon his death in 1983, the farm passed to son Gordon, who had been working on the farm since graduating from then Colorado A&M in 1942. He and his wife Margaret lived on the Magnuson Farm their entire married life.
In 1974, Gordon’s son Ted joined the family farming business, and he continued to look over operations, until his death in 2008 after which his wife Susie and sons Tim and Jim took over. Over the years, corn and alfalfa were raised, and a cattle operation took on additional effort. Today Susie, Tim, and Jim operate the farm that includes 233 acres of corn and alfalfa. The wonderful brick buildings, which include the house, well and tank house, barn and garage are still in place and look as good as when they were first built in 1919.
The original 320 acres of Moffat County land were homesteaded in 1911 by Olive and George Boughton. In 1917 the ranch grew by 320 acres when the homestead of Tom Allen, who Olive married after George had died, was added. Additional acres were added over time, including in 1969 when John Allen was able to buy back 1300 acres which had been lost by the family to the Federal Land Bank during the 1930s. Life in early years involved milking cows, raising chickens, and putting up hay. Olive was known to have skinned coyotes when times were tough in order to make the land payments. In the 1920s two homesteading cabins built in Great Divide, Colorado, were purchased and moved to the land. By the 1930s the land had passed to son Arthur and his wife Leona Allen.
Today the ranch has grown to 2900 acres and is owned by John (grandson of George) and Mary Lou Allen, who raised sons Wayne, with wife Jodie, and Lynn, with wife Ali, to appreciate their heritage. Neighbors raise wheat and hay on some of the land. Several of the historic buildings are in use, including the homes, two 1930s barns and granaries, various metal buildings, root cellar, pump house, chicken house, and the ever important outhouse. The A-Over- B- Lazy J and the Lazy A- Inverted A-Connected have been associated with the ranch.
Settled in 1899; located in Kit Carson/Cheyenne County.
At over one hundred years old, Hogan Ranch, located on County Road J in Kit Carson County, was settled in 1899 by James Hogan and his wife Rosa. The Homestead Certificate was received on December 1, 1905. Upon James’ death in 1945, George, the third of his six children, and George’s wife Beulah took over operation before purchasing the ranch in 1964 from the estate of Rosa. They continued to operate the ranch until 1993.
George and Beulah’s youngest son, James T. Hogan (Tim) and his wife Janice purchased the ranch in 1993, and they continue to operate it to this day. The Hogans have continued to run cattle and do some farming on a few thousand acres. Several historic buildings are still in place and in use including the early 1900s farmhouse and barn and 1940s chicken coop and garage. The Reverse- SO and the Reverse- L- Lazy- L brands are associated with the farm. The homestead has been home and sanctuary for three generations with plans for the fourth to continue the heritage.
Settled in 1908; located in Stratton/ Kit Carson County.
Theodore and Francis Greenwood settled on 160 Kit Carson County acres in 1908 and received their patent a few years later. The tax in 1909 was $11.40 and was made in two payments. Much of the land was left in native grass, but the rest was put to use growing ha and livestock feed, as well as raising horses, sheep, and cattle. The land passed down to son Russell and then to his son Wayne. Today the spread encompasses 3640 acres where the land is used as pasture and grass land. Several historic structures are still in use, including cattle sheds, garage, machine buildings, and a 1921 granary. The reverse R open box brand is the brand associated with the operation.
Settled in 1912; located in Holyoke/ Phillips County.
In 1886 George and Ann Poe and their four children homesteaded on the Frenchman Creek 6 miles east of Holyoke, Phillips County. 1894 was very dry, and the crops wouldn’t grow so they turned the cattle loose, pulled up stakes, and drifted with the cattle into the sand hills 4 miles southeast of the original place. There they built a sod house and a barn and purchased a quarter section of land for $10. After the passing of George, the land went to sons Herman and Winnie.
Herman married Alta Smith in 1900 and by 1904 had built a frame house and out buildings from used lumber about 3/8 of a mile to the east. By 1906 they decided to move it to replace the original sod house on the original place. It took about two weeks to move the house this distance by horse power winch. During this time they continued to live in the house while it was being moved, enjoying a different view every night. Children were born in both the frame house and in the sod house.
The homestead claim was filed in 1912 on the building site and another 120 acres to the east. In 1928 the farm was rented out to sons Glen and Guy, and Glen and wife Della took over operations in 1930. The Poe family survived on the farm during the Great Depression and Dust Bowl. All the farming was done by teams of horses or mules until the Case tractor was purchased in 1941. In 1945 electricity was finally brought to the farm, with running water and indoor plumbing to follow a year later. Son Donald and wife Esther took over the farm in 1957 and in 1960 moved a horse barn to the property from the Amitie School.
Irrigation was introduced in 1975 and today the Poe farm consists of the original homestead plus about 1,200 acres of pastureland. The farm produces irrigated corn and alfalfa and hosts a Hereford cow-calf operation. Donald and Esther still live in the frame house and children Michael and Patricia are the 5th generation to farm the land. Several historic structures are still in use and the stacked K bar diamond and k diamond on a bar brands are associated with the property.
Settled in 1911; located in Sedgwick/ Sedgwick County.
In February 1911 Albert Anderson was one of the last open range cowboys when he bought 640 acres of Sedgwick County land that the previous owner had purchased from the Union Pacific Railroad. Here he and wife Ruth began to farm and ranch before selling the land to Albert’s brother Benjamin in 1919, only to buy it back in 1926. A well was dug in 1905 that, at 200 foot deep, provided good water and is still in use today. Son Gayle eventually took over the operations and with his wife Wilma raised corn, livestock, wheat - and son Richard. One building on the land is older than Gayle himself, who is 86 years young. Today father Gayle and son Richard continue to work the land on County Road 15.
Settled in 1895; located in Stratton/Kit Carson County.
In 1887 Albert N. Corliss (known to friends and family as A.N.) left Vermont at the age of 23 to start a new life in Colorado. By 1892 he had married Lillian May Yale and three years later took up a homestead on the Republican River in Kit Carson County. The area was known as Tuttle and had artesian wells, the South Fork of the Republican River, and several natural lakes on the property. A.N. proved up on his homestead in December 1902. A two-story, 10-room cement and rock house were built in 1908 next to the existing sod house. Here A.N. and Lillian began to raise their nine children before moving the family to Nebraska in 1918. Oldest son, Joe, stayed behind and, with the help of his sister and brother-in-law formed a partnership, and leased the land. In 1934 Sherman Corliss and wife Grace leased the land and began ranching with their family.
On May 30th, 1935, heavy rains caused flooding in the area with water stretching a mile wide through the valley. The Corliss home was right in the way as waves splashed several feet onto the house. The flood changed the course of the river and destroyed the lakes and artesian wells. In 1944 Sherman and Grace bought the land from A.N. and raised five sons and five daughters. Son David married Betty Gramm in 1966 and moved back to the ranch when he was discharged from the Army while his parents built a new smaller house a half mile south. David purchased the ranch in 1995. Part of the original homestead was sold to Mervin Corliss, and his widow Esther still lives on the original homestead.
Today the Corliss family continues to work and live on the land that encompasses 360 acres, where grass is the major crop. Several historic buildings and structures are still in use, including the ranch house. The beautiful yellow and green stained glass window installed in 1908 is still in place, never broken and withstanding four generations of the Corliss family. Brands associated with the ranch are the Reverse- EJ-, Bar- H6 and the Lazy- J- Quarter Circle- Open A.
The Power of Heritage and Place: A 2020 Action Plan to Advance Preservation in Colorado stated the identification of needed themes and the preparation of additional historic contexts as action objectives. Towards that end, OAHP has developed a first list of needed contexts, a list meant to be dynamic and evolve through public and stakeholder input. This initial list focuses largely on the built environment and its associated landscapes. A comparable list will be developed for archaeological resources.
THREATENED AND UNDER-REPRESENTED RESOURCE TYPES
Aspects of Ethnic Heritage
-Germans from Russia Resources
Civil rights struggles sites
-LGBTQ Civil Rights
-African-American Civil Rights Movement
-Knights of the Ku Klux Clan
-Native American Rights
-Women's Rights Resources
-Evolution of Farming/Ranching Practices
-Dryland versus Irrigated Farming Practices
-Barn Typology in Colorado
-Farm Production Industry (truck farming, potato, sugar beet, Western Slope fruit, canneries)
-Outbuilding Typology (silos, loafing sheds, etc.)
-Grain Elevators (MDPF)
Chain Stores in Colorado
Foundries and Smelters
Fraternal Organizations and Halls
-Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks
-Ancient Free and Accepted Masons
-Scottish Rite of Freemasonry
-Order of Eastern Star
-Loyal Order of Moose
-Knights of Columbus
-Independent Order of Oddfellows (IOOF)
-Knights of Pythius
-Order of the Eagles
Health Care Resources
-Tuberculosis Sanatorium & Facilities
-Colorado Labor Wars
-Rise of the United Farm Workers Union
The Landscape Architecture Profession in Colorado
The Logging Industry in Colorado
New Deal Resources, other than those on the Eastern Plains
In 1913 Fred Scidmore left Kansas for the San Luis Valley where he bought 640 acres and started the Scidmore Farm, first operated by other local families. The original house to the land was built in 1889, and in 1924 Fred added an adobe house to the property. After Fred’s son Walter and daughter-in-law Fern moved off the farm in 1933, Fred’s other children Keith and Lois Helen moved into in the adobe house. Keith married Irene Entz in 1938, shortly after which son Harold and daughter Mary Dee were born. Harold married Franses Woolley in 1961. With the passing of Fred, Walter, Keith, and the retirement of Harold, son Scott is carrying on with the family tradition. Here he raises potatoes, Coors barley, and alfalfa. Five generations of the Scidmore family have lived in various dwellings on the property, which has grown to 2080 acres, and it is hoped that the sixth generation will someday continue the farm’s legacy.
Hice Ranch in Austin, 1910
On July 14, 1910, William Weyrauch and his wife Inez purchased 87 acres near Austin, Colorado, from Austin Miller, the town’s namesake. They raised a daughter, Genevieve, and an adopted son Kenneth. The property had several small houses and a thriving apple orchard, which grew to include lots of peaches in the next few years. Produce from the orchards was shipped east by train from the Weyrauch Packing House in Austin to markets in Kansas City and Chicago. After WWII, Genevieve married William O. Hice from Paonia, Colorado, and they took over the orchards and raised three children—Carolyn, Ed, and Marilee. They grew apples, peaches, pears, cherries, prunes, and a hybrid pear-apple developed by William Hice. In the mid-1970s Ed Hice took over the operations of the farm. Today the ranch produces nursery stock and still has 200 60-year-old producing apple trees. The original 1920s house, barn, chicken house, granary, and garage are still being used today.
Valley Homestead in Hotchkiss, 1899
In 1899 Amos and Fanny Morell traveled by wagon from Illinois to Delta County, Colorado, and acquired 160 acres to farm. The family brought a teacher James Parks with them from Illinois who married one of the four Morrell daughters, Cora, so it’s no surprise Amos Morell gave land for and helped build the Midway school. The family’s farm was passed down to James and Cora Parks and then to Ken and Ida Parks. Today the farm is owned by Parks and Raffaghello siblings, who grow corn, hay and alfalfa. Forty two acres of the farm has been placed into a Conservation Easement that includes 15 acres of wetlands developed in cooperation with the Partners in Wildlife program. Several historic structures are still in place including the Shepard-Wilnot ditch, a domestic pipeline and cistern, a 1908 smoke house, and 1899 log cabin homestead home, now considered by the family as the husband’s dog house.
George Sr. and Anna Eurich were born in Czechoslovakia and came to the United States in the early 1900s. George lived briefly in Pennsylvania before moving to Pueblo where he worked in the steel mills. When Anna arrived in Colorado, they tried to homestead west of Ramah in El Paso County but found the adobe-like soil hard to cultivate. The future Fairplay School site near Calhan was available, so George Sr. and Anna moved to the school section in 1905, where they homesteaded the land and eventually bought it. In 1911 they built the farmhouse along with several outbuildings including a barn, wash house, and granary. The planted oats, corn, hay, and barley, and they milked cows and raised chickens, selling the cream and eggs for money. George Sr. and Anna raised eight children, all of whom eventually left except for George Jr. who stayed to help his father farm the land after George Sr. injured his back and lost his horse when it ran away. In 1942 George Jr. married Mildred Trojanovich but then was soon drafted for World War II. While he was gone, Mildred gave birth to their only child, Georgianna. After George Sr. passed away in 1947, the climate became increasingly drier, and George Jr. switched to the dairy business to stay competitive. In 1987 George Jr., his daughter Georgianna, and her husband Gary made the switch to a cow-calf operation, which is still the farm’s function today. Several historic buildings are on the land, including a WPA outhouse.
In the early 1910s John Weirich homesteaded 160 acres in Kiowa County. By 1913 Jacob F. and Emma Weirich had added more acreage, both by homesteading, and the family continued to expand the land through homesteading by Jacob’s son Wayne and his brothers Jack and Bob. In 2004 Michael Weirich bought the land from his uncle Jack, and in 2011 siblings Barbara, Mark, and Michael purchased the remaining land, building the holdings to 16,280 acres owned and additional acres being leased. Over the past century, the main products of the ranch have been cattle, wheat, and milo. Today several historic buildings are still in use, including the 1914 original house and 1920s barn.
Comprising 320 acres in Kit Carson County near Flagler, the original Gering Farm was homesteaded by Edward Gering and patented on July 22, 1913. Edward and wife Edith raised four children on the farm and expanded their acreage through the years. Other than a few years in the service, sons Paul and Lewis farmed the land with their dad until the passing of Ed and Edith after which they began to work the land themselves. They were partners and best friends, raising cattle, corn, wheat, and barley. When Lewis passed away in 2009, Paul was forced to sell the remaining cows, but he continued to farm the land, raising wheat with the help of a hired hand. In 2011 at 90 years old, Paul was still driving the tractor and working his summer fallow, but after a stroke later that year, he moved to Flagler. Today Paul employs workers to operate the farm, which still produces crops.
In 1913 Gustaf Miller acquired 240 acres near Ignacio in La Plata County. Around 1916, he built a cabin and cleared the land to plant crops and grain once he received his patent in 1918. The land passed through the family, first to daughter Martha Semler and later to her son William and wife Lydia. William and Lydia, along with their sons Wayne and Jack, made major improvements to the ground including clearing additional groun and removing rocks as well as adding stock ponds that catch runoff and provide water for cattle and wildlife. William and Lydia’s family grew wheat, barley, corn, and pinto beans, among other crops. In 1990 the land was deeded to Wayne and Jack, who continue to grow wheat and barley on the land with their families.
In early 1910 Theodore Congdon Lippitt moved to Colorado from Iowa with his wife and three sons. By March he had begun cultivating land he bought northwest of Fleming, where he built farm buildings and a house. Following his wife Laura’s death in 1919, the farmland was gradually distributed among his sons Crit, Burwell, and Irvil. For the next three decades, Burwell and his wife Lillian lived on the farm, where they raised their four children, including Carol who was born in the farmhouse in 1929, as well as horses, wheat corn oats, and Lippitt potatoes. During the 1950s, the family raised hogs, milk cows, and cattle. After Burwell’s death in 1951, his daughter Carol Lippitt Kinzie and her husband Bud Kinzie moved to the land, where they farmed and raised their family, too. Soon Bud switched to tractors and larger implements and the major crops have been dry land wheat and corn. In 2006 Carol died in the same farmhouse in which she was born. Bud has spent most of his life on the farm and though he is no longer actively farming today, at age 90 he continues to take care of the farm and supervises operations.
Thomas-McDonald Farms in Fleming, 1895
In the late 1880s, at the age of 50, John McDonald and wife Sarah moved from Nebraska to the Fleming area. Under the Homestead Act he received 160 acres, which he augmented with a ¼ section from the railroad. He built a stone house and proved up the land in 1895. After traveling constantly to Sterling one a week to fetch the mail for himself and area residents, he applied for a post office to be established in Fleming, which at that time had 50 residents. He farmed and raised draft horses and was a county commissioner. Upon his death the land went to son George McDonald who turned it over to his sister Elsie Thomas.
Elsie moved from Nebraska in 1907 after her husband passed away at an early age. At age 32 she bought a ¼ section near Fleming where she built a barn and frame kit house, living first in a shed. After her father’s death, she worked both sections, mostly by herself. She became known as a tough, hard lady who could shoot and kick up the dirt in front of trespassers from a quarter mile away using the sight on her gun. She also was known, however, as a generous neighbor and a great cook. She farmed the land and raised draft horses until her death in 1954 when the land was turned over to son Leroy Thomas. Leroy and family lived in the 1918 house until his death in 1996. Both properties are still owned and farmed by his children.
In 1900 John Harris purchased 160 acres near Collbran in Mesa County from the original homesteader who first worked the land in 1892. Harris produced alfalfa, corn, wheat, and pinto beans and raised livestock including milk cows, pigs, horses, sheep, chickens, turkeys, honey bees, and a few beef cattle. In 1904 he built a house and cellar that are still in use today along with the 1940s machine shed, outhouse, chicken house, and sheep shed. Harris Farm has always had a large garden, berries, and fruit trees; some of the apple trees are over 100 years old. The land was passed down from Howard and Eleanor to Adelbert Harris. Today the farm is owned by Barbara Harris Sanchez and Manuel Sanchez, who make cider and preserves from the fruits and vegetables grown on the farm and rent the rest of the land for hay and livestock ranching.
Hill Family Ranches in Collbran, 1913
After the tragic loss of his wife Emma and daughter Ida, William Hill and sons Kenneth and Norman left their home in Kansas City in the late 1880s and headed for Colorado. The Hills planned to move again, but when Norman contracted polio, he stayed behind with a local family in the Collbran area while just William and Kenneth moved to Idaho. (They returned to Collbran in 1923 and remained there for the rest of their lives.) Norman purchased his first property in 1913 and continued to buy adjoining tracts of land, where he eventually raised cattle. Following his death in 1961, the land was transferred to his widow and two daughters, and his nephew, John Hill, purchased the property shortly thereafter. John and Josephine Hill raised cattle before selling the land to their son Allen in 1996. Since then, Allen and his wife Lita have owned and expanded the property, raising cattle and enjoying 50 years of marriage.
In 1911 Charles and Nancy Wilson homesteaded 160 acres in Montezuma County where they first burned sagebrush to clear the land. Their son Arthur was born in 1921 and can remember the first farm team as a mule and a crippled mare as well as one of the first crops, which was corn for the livestock. Until the family bought a tractor in 1937, clearing the land was always a lengthy task. Each year Nancy raised a huge garden full of crops such as pinto beans, and she and Charley planted an orchard that has many trees still flourishing today. The land eventually passed down to Virginia and Diana Wilson and Mark and Timothy Wilson worked the land. Several historic structures are still in use including a 1920 milk house, 1940s granary, chicken house and windmill, and 1950s steel granary, shop, and smokehouse.
In 1910 Ruth and William Bennett came from Kansas to Colorado, where they homesteaded near Rocky Ford in Otero County. Two years later, they were granted their homestead patent. William Sr. was a doctor who raised on the land three children -- Gertrude, William Patrick Jr., and Seth Edward. The farm had one of the first telephones in the area. Over the next decade, the family augmented the property with nearby land that contained the current 1922 adobe and frame farmhouse. By the 1930s, the property had a barn, chicken house, milk house, and corrals. William Jr. and Seth began growing corn and alfalfa and raising cattle under the name the “Bennett Brothers.” Seth and his wife Edna had four children -- Louise, Daniel, Edward, and Freda -- but after Seth’s death in 1962, William Jr., nephews Edward and Daniel, and niece Louise took over farming under the new name of “Bennett and Boling.” Since 1999, Daniel and his wife Patricia have owned and farmed the 1,000 acres with their son Michael, who unfortunately died recently at the age of 51. Many of the original horse-drawn machinery still survives along with the 1920s farmhouse, garage, chicken house, and barn and 1930s granaries.
In 1891 just six years after Peter and Sarah Ferguson acquired property in Ouray County, Thomas Middleton bought it and began cultivating the now-named Middleton Ranch. Over time the property was passed down through the generations, first to Thomas’ son James, then to James’ son Robert. As the Middletons bought more parcels, including some from the Bureau of Land Management, the property grew to to its current 1400 acres. Over the last century, the Middleton Ranch has raised small grains, alfalfa, and grass hay, cattle, horses, sheep, hogs, chickens, and geese. Today the cattle ranch is operated by Robert’s daughter Catharine Loss. The original farmhouse, barn, and sheds from 1930 are still in use.
Born in Germany in 1884, Max Reiche emigrated to America in 1907 and worked on a Long Island dairy farm while he learned English. He spent the next several years traveling around the country riding freight trains and working in blacksmith shops before eventually settling in Haxtun where he started a shop in 1910 dealing farm implements. On a trip to St. Louis, he married Alma Draeger and returned to Colorado to settle on his homestead where he and Alma raised six children. For better access to school and work, the family lived in town during the early years but moved back to the homestead in the late 1920s, living in a basement while the rest of the house was built. The girls did the work of men, milking 14 cows and performing other chores. The family survived the Depression and the Dust Bowl, ever thankful for their chickens, eggs, cattle, milk, homemade sausage, and beer. In 1965 Max died in Denver. Today the property is owned by Marie Reiche Osborn and Norma Bailey’s daughters Janice Tubbiola, Brenda Girardi, and Kathy Higgins of Arvada.
In 1907, after immigrating from Kutter, Russia, an 18-year-old John Schenk found himself in Galveston, Texas. He traveled around for work, first laboring on his uncle's’ farm in Timken, Kansas, then on the railroad in Coffeeville, and finally at a sugar plant in Swink, Colorado. In 1912 when John heard about homesteading in Colorado, he took claim of 240 acres south of Akron where he built a house, drilled a well, planted trees, and broke sod with a walking plow. While visiting family in Red Oak, Iowa, in 1915, he met Katherine Schmidt. The two married and had five children: Mable, Esther, John Jr., George and Robert. Following the death of his father in 1949, Robert took over the farm and continued to work and expand the operation. In 1950 he married Dorothy Reimenschneider and together raised four children: Kenneth, Rosalie, John, and Roger. Robert and Dorothy worked side by side every day to tend the farm; they cared for the livestock, raised their family, and expanded the farm to 4000 acres. After Robert died in 2011 and Dorothy moved to Wiggins, son Roger took over management of the Schenk Family Farm, where he grows wheat and millet on the dryland acres and wheat, corn, and soybean in rotation on the irrigated circles.
In 1909 Swedish immigrants Edward and Hannah Bolin homesteaded 477 acres near Briggsdale in Weld County. Here they raised four children -- Edward, Reul, Edgar, and Joyce -- who went on to collectively raise seven more. The original homestead house is now in Centennial Village in Greeley but the 1927 farmhouse and 1950s barn and garage are still in use. Grandson Rodney Willis owns the land and contracts out part of it for wheat and millet farming while another part of the land is under the Conservation Reserve Program.
Kunzman Family Farm LLC in Fort Lupton, 1912
When John McClave bought the house and barn in 1885 on the now-Kunzman Family Farm near Platteville, part of the land belonged to a Civil War veteran who was granted the plot for his military service. Twenty-five years later, William Stuefer, a banker from Nebraska, bought the land as an investment, and in 1917, his daughter Lydia and her husband Charles Kunzmann began farming the property, where they raised sugar beets, hay, and grain along with their three children: Ruth, William and John. Charles was one of the founding incorporators of the Union Rural Electric Association and received an award for his long service to the organization. In 1936 John Kunzman took over farming and spent the following years raising livestock, green beans, tomatoes, sugar beets, hay, barley, wheat, and pickles for canning companies. Nine years later, he and wife Sylva moved into the large farmhouse, where they raised four children. In 1997 the farm and water rights were put into the Kunzman Family LLC. Over the past century, the farm has grown to 492 acres. Today a neighbor rents and works the land, but the main 1885 home, 1900 barn, three other homes, and a variety of outbuildings are still in use.
Brnak Farms in Keenesburg, 1906
Vaclav Brnak received a homestead patent in 1906 for his land near Keenesburg which has since grown to 1400 acres. Originally the farm produced wheat and barley and raised cattle, hogs, and chickens. Several historic building are still in use including the 1914 house, 1920s barn and chicken house and 1950s shop, Quonset hut, and granary. Today grandson James Joseph owns the land, and his son Jeffery farms wheat and spring crops and raises cattle. The original 1400-acre farm is augmented by 3,000+ acres of nearby farmland, both owned and leased.
Jillson Farm in the Longmont area, 1878
In 1878, the Jillson Family homesteaded Section 22 in the Rinn area of Weld County before purchasing the land eight years later. Bryon Jillson was one of the first in the area to raise Hereford cattle. Byron and Jennie’s children all attended the Idaho Creek schoolhouse. In 1923 Byron gave his land to son Charles, who had already bought a ¼ of Section 21 in 1913. This land holding became the Jillson Farm. After Charles’ death in 1953, the farm was bequeathed to the family of his late son Harvey, whose wife Edith ran the operation until 1976 when her daughter Charla started running cattle. Charla Jillson Richardson has lived all but 12 years of her life on the property, working side jobs at times, including driving an RTD bus. Today, Charla rents the land to a farmer who raises sugar beets, barley corn, and alfalfa. Although life on the Jillson Farm has been anything but easy, and was often marked by tragedy, it is still in operation and has retained its integrity through the remaining historic buildings on the property.
Ashbaugh Farm in New Raymer, 1912
In 1912 Harry and Clara Ashbaugh purchased land south of Buckingham, Colorado, as a homestead relinquishment. Harry spent the spring of 1913 moving household goods, stock, and implements from Nebraska to the land in northeast Weld County. Clara and their two sons had joined him in 1913 and lived in the barn for 6 months. In October Harry and friend Jim Young built a two-room dugout house and fruit cellar. The Ashbaugh family lived there until 1919 when they purchased from Sears and Roebuck a prefabricated house that still stands today along with the barn. The family originally bought 480 acres and then purchased an additional 160 acres from Harry’s sister, Ethel. Harry and his sons grew wheat, corn, oats, barley, and potatoes for the family as well as cows, pigs, and chickens for eating. Eventually the family grew to include seven children, of whom Kenneth, Keith, and Nola survive. Today, Keith and his wife Shirley own the land, but live primarily in Denver, while the great granddaughter of Harry and Clara Ashbaugh and her family live on part of the land in Weld County where the farm produces wheat and millet.
Ernest Knoll Farm in New Raymer, 1913
Ernest and Pearl Knoll purchased a 160-acre homestead relinquishment near New Raymer in 1913 and quickly built a homestead shack on the west side of the property. The following spring, they moved the shack to the north side as grandma wanted to be farther from the neighbors. Shortly thereafter, they dug a well and built a windmill, where they stored perishables and chilled drinking water in an earth-insulated barrel. Later they added a dugout, chicken house, drive-through granary, and a bank barn. For the first few years, Ernest traveled three days by horse to Berthoud to plant crops on his father’s farm while Pearl and the neighbors took care of the farm. They produced wheat, barley, oats, corn, hog millet, and sorghum and milled their flour in New Raymer where they sold their eggs and cream. Ernest and Pearl had seven children, one of whom, Orville, purchased the farm in the early 1960s after Ernest’s passing. In 1981 Ellis and Patricia bought the farm and are still living in the old home place.
Stanley’s Hightower Homestead in New Raymer, 1910
When the Enlarged Homestead Act of 1909 was passed, it inspired Daniel Voorhees Stanley to move his family from the coal mining strife of Lafayette to a 313-acre homestead next to Hightower Spring in northeastern Weld County. In 1910 Daniel’s children Clyde, Ezma, and Denza all purchased adjoining plots of 320 acres, respectively. The combined 1273 acres was a family farm enterprise. Each owner helped the other to prove up their land. During these years, the farms grew wheat, corn, rye, and sorghum grains. While the children worked the crop fields, he took to planting wind breaks, fruit trees, and large gardens. He defied the dry land by successfully growing tobacco in his garden, and the orchards bore cherry, apricot, and apple trees as well as mulberry, plum, choke cherry, and lilac shrubs, pollinated by his own bees. His other sons, Brooks and Verne, raised premium potatoes for sale. Horses helped to work the land while cattle, hogs, sheep and chickens were livestock. Once it became apparent that the land was better suited to raising livestock, the property transformed into a full-fledged cattle ranch, which is known today as the Stanley Ranch. Today the ranch is owned by descendants of the Stanley family and is maintained by Daniel Ralph Stanley, grandson of homesteading patriarch Daniel. His granddaughter Carolyn Hughes, and husband David, currently live on the land and continue to use various structures that date to 1918, 1929, and the 1930s.
Frank and Iona Lett married in 1926 and soon began constructing buildings on the rented land that they would purchase two years later. Even as more parcels augmented the property in later years-—Frank bought a nearby plot in 1942, for one-—the land was always home to cattle. Rick and Jennie Lett purchased the land in 1981, which is used today as their business headquarters as well as a fun center for their grandchildren.
In 2011, eighteen Colorado families who have owned and operated their farm or ranch for 100 years or more were honored. To mark the 25th Anniversary of Colorado’s Centennial Farms, History Colorado and BARN media shared the stories of some of our most recent Centennial Farmers. You can read their stories by clicking on the links below.
Albert Brown came to Colorado from Woodston Kansas with his three brothers in 1907. In 1911 he filed on a 320 acre homestead 8 miles southeast of Yuma. Shortly after he received his patent his future wife Thelma arrived from Haddam, Kansas in 1918. (read more...)
Clifford and Elsie Williams came to Cheyenne County, Colorado, in 1908 from the Burlington, Kansas area. Together, they homesteaded some 324 acres. Clifford and Elsie lost their first son, born in 1912, but had six more children from 1915-1923. (read more...)
William Sanderson and family moved from Hamilton Missouri to Monte Vista in Rio Grande County in 1907, a time when land developers and the railroad were encouraging migration to the San Luis valley. The Sandersons acquired 160 acres in 1908. (read more...)
In 1911, Jacob Fast bought 400 acres of Yuma County land near Joes for $1,250. When Jacob died of a heart attack, Elizabeth Fast purchased the estate for $2,000. Son George bought the land and began to work it in May of 1945. He raised dry land corn, wheat and feed. (read more...)
Jesse and Eliza Wright came from Winterset, Iowa in 1886 and settled near Lamar in Prowers County. The current farm was purchased in 1897 and was 360 acres. It was deeded to their daughter Nellie and husband Smiley Irwin a year later, who in turn deeded the acreage north of the Amity Canal to son and wife George and Katherine in 1945 while the land south of the canal was later sold. (read more...)
Charles, Anna and Caroline Lindahl immigrated to the United States from Sweden in 1882, and by 1884 were homesteading a piece of land in Washington County near Akron. The property was later passed down to Charles, son John and then to his son Carl who currently owns and works the land. Today 300 acres are pasture land, running a 30 cow/calf operation and 160 acres are dry land farm raising wheat and hay. (read more...)
Henry Brand, his wife Lottie and two of their children Minnie and George came from Nebraska and settled north of Sugar City in Crowley County in 1911. Here claims were filed on four 320 acre homesteads which were proved up and patents received in 1912. Minnie married Ralph Cline, who had homesteaded 320 acres close by, in 1919. (read more...)
Owen F. Leroux was originally a cowboy and miner who grazed cattle in southern and central Colorado in the mid 1800’s. His future father-in-law John Winslow, one of the first settlers in the Radium Sheephorn Valley, suggested Owen should settle down and homestead. Owen reportedly responded that there would be plenty of public ground available for grazing in the west so there is no need to homestead. Owen later married Winslow’s daughter, Ida, and decided to settle down in 1905. (read more...)
Frank T. Link, Sr. was the son of German immigrants Peter and Anna Link who settled in Lincoln County near Genoa. Here Frank acquired the original 160 acres through the Homestead Act in 1910. Additional acreage, adjoining the original homestead, was acquired, totaling 960 acres. (read more...)
John Jay McLain was a teamster in the late 1800’s when he and his wife Olive Colter moved to Cripple Creek. While he was there he mined and saved money towards his dream of ranching. Life was tough in Cripple Creek so they moved to Ohio City in the early 1900’s. John was superintendent of the Raymond mine and in his free time he panned gold out of the creek. This paid off as in 1908 he was able to finally put a down payment on his dream ranch near Parlin in Gunnison County. (read more...)
In 1907, Swain A. Munson received through the Homestead Act the title to 160 acres in Sedgwick County. Here, he and wife Elizabeth raised cattle and Belgian horses. Within a few years they built a house, barn, granary, chicken house and set up a windmill. (learn more...)
Edmond Shapley bought the original 160 acres in Weld County as a relinquishment in 1910. He homesteaded by farming, raising cattle, milking cows and raising chickens. Edmond died in 1930 after which wife Alma ran the ranch with help from their eldest son Lyle who eventually took the ranch over. (read more...)
Joseph Nathaniel Skold acquired his 160 Sedgwick County acres from the US Government through a patent given on March 20, 1911. Family tradition has it, though, that Joseph and wife Esther lived on this property since their marriage in 1909. Their son, Lloyd, was born on May 15, 1911, and his son, Wayne, was born in Ovid in 1945, but has lived on the land all of his life. (read more...)
Johann and Susanna Spomer came to America in 1892 with three young children; Mollie, George and Elizabeth. Their youngest child, John, was born in Lincoln, Nebraska in 1895. By 1900 the family moved to the Globeville area of Denver and in 1911 purchased a farm near Milliken. Johann died in 1929 and Susanna followed in 1933. After that son John and wife Ella farmed until John was killed in a traffic accident in 1941. (read more...)
Addison Thoma was raised in Ohio but at age 43 moved his wife Catherine and two daughters, Bertha and Merle, to Washington County. The family settled on a land homestead which was entered at the Sterling Land office in October, 1909. A few years later son Olen Dave Thoma was born in 1914. Addison died in the late1950’s but Olen remained on and worked the land with his wife Alice. (read more...)
Giovanni Leopoldo Valentini was born in Rollo Austria in 1869. He came to Colorado in 1887 and worked at the Engleville Mine. He decided to change his name to John Lee Valentine. After he convinced Rachale Conter to move from Austria to be his wife in 1893, the couple had six children. John had many talents and interests including being a baker and saloon keeper, but in 1907 he bought a ranch in Las Animas County near Gulnare where he would spend the rest of his life. (read more...)
On July 31, 1911, George F. Walker purchased 240 acres in Custer County near Westcliffe, and George, wife Zaluma and daughter Hazel began the ranching activities typical of the times. Additionally, George also owned a barber shop in Westcliffe, six miles away. Hazel married Willard Walker in 1920 and in 1939 George conveyed the 240 acre ranch to Willard and Hazel. (read more...)
In 1909, Charles (Dade) and Pearl Whomble homesteaded 320 acres 17 miles south of Wray, in Yuma County. In 1917 the new cement house went up – a big two-story with gabled roof. They also added a brooding house, chicken house, hog shed, water house, garage, flower garden and lily pond! In that part of the country, the Whomble farm was considered a "show-place." Dade and Pearl raised 6 children on the farm. The youngest of the kids, Helen Virginia (Peggy), married Troil Welton and moved to the farm in 1937. (read more...)