Enzelow Chick was born on March 5th, 1850, near Dayton, Ohio. He married Delia McDaniels on New Year’s Day, 1870. By 1915, the family had nine children, and after several moves around the Midwest the Chick family settled in Campo, Colorado. In 1916 the Chicks bought 622 acres where they built a two-story house. On the adjoining land, Dow, the youngest of the Chick children, found his life partner, Elsie Ferne. They married in 1919, operated the farm, and had five children. In 1918 the two farms combined under Dow Chick’s ownership. Dow acquired more land from neighboring farms as they left during the hardships of the Dust Bowl. The family lived together in the house and had an airplane, a motorcycle, and their own baseball team. Many dances were held in the old house where Dow played the fiddle. The Chicks ran cattle, milked cows, sold cream and milk, raised chickens, corn, broomcorn, and wheat. Dow operated a still during prohibition and was very popular in the area. Dow’s son, Claud, took over the farming and ranching while his wife, Belva was known for her wonderful cooking. Trull Chick, Claud’s son and the fourth generation Colorado farmer, lives in the original 1916 house with his wife, Vicki, where they lease the land to young farmers who continue to run a cow and calf operation.
Sanders-Naugle-5NLLC, Wild Horse, Founded 1906
Gustaf Sanders was born in Sweden in 1854 and immigrated to Minnesota in 1881. He settled in Wild Horse in eastern Colorado in 1906 with his wife and six children. Gustaf’s son, Harold, took over the farm when Gustaf passed. In the 1930s a basement house was constructed on top of which the current home was later built. In 1948, Geraldine McEwen Sullivan along with her two children, Jerry and Luanna, came to work for Harold. They later married, with Valeria and Dorian being added to the family along with Geraldine’s youngest brother, Floyd McEwen. All the children attended grade school at Wild Horse School and completed high school at Kit Carson. By the time of his death in 1973, Harold had increased the land to 11,000 acres, raising Hereford cattle, wheat, sudan, and grain sorghum. Allen and Luanna were married in 1967 raising three children, Kris, Ryan and Jeremy. Allen served in the US Navy from June 1964 to June of 1968. Allen and Luanna purchased 2,400 acres and continue to raise Angus cattle. Several of the historic buildings are still in use today including the house, barn, garage, shop, chicken house, and brooder house. The 5NLLC was formed in 2008.
Kochis Farm, Matheson, Founded 1916
Andrew and Lucy Kochis were immigrants from Czechoslovakia, which was under the rule of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time. The two were married in July of 1902, and Andrew left for Ellis Island that October. Andrew worked in the coal mines of Pennsylvania, sending wages back to his wife and son in Czechoslovakia. In 1904, Lucy and their son John sailed to the United States to meet Andrew. After having three more children, the family moved to Matheson, Colorado in 1908. In the same year, the family was allotted 160 acres of land 55 miles east of Colorado Springs, in Elbert County. On their first homestead the family started out with a team of horses, one bull, one cow, and calf, five pigs, and a dozen chickens. In 1916 the family sold their first homestead and moved to a 320 acre plot of land. In 1940 Andrew Jr. married Mildred Evelyn Cirbo and the two purchased a 640 acre plot of land close to Kochis Farms. Their plot of land was eventually added as part of Kochis farms. Andy Jr. and Mildred’s two sons Virgil and Robert took over the farm operation in the 1980’s. Virgil, Kathleen and Michael Kochis now operate the farm. Their major crops now include winter wheat, corn, millet, millet feed, milo, and beef cattle.
Sleepy Hollow near Ramah, Founded 1904
Michael and Anna Dzurovchin acquired the original property near Ramah, Colorado through the Homestead Act on November 15, 1904. The crops raised by the farm included wheat, oats, barley, pinto beans, corn and potatoes. Pinto beans were a cash crop and provided the main source of income. They raised chickens, turkeys, hogs, cows, and horses. The family milked the cows both for their needs, and to sell cream at the market. Horses were used to farm until they were replaced by tractors in later years.
Coe Middle Creek Ranch, La Veta, Founded 1913
John E. Coe and Eleanor A. Russell married in 1892. They then leased a farm near Tercio, Colorado for almost 20 years where they ran a dairy farm. John and Eleanor eventually decided that they wanted land of their own and purchased their own property near the small town of La Veta, Colorado on February 7, 1913. The coal mining strikes in southern Colorado began in September of that same year. Though it was a dangerous time in southern Colorado, the family managed to establish their dairy farm. There, John and Eleanor raised a family of six girls and one boy. Around 1940, John and Eleanor turned the farm over to their son, Clifford. Clifford continued dairy farming until 1975 when he retired. He typically maintained a herd of about 30 dairy cows, selling the dairy to Sinton’s Dairy in Colorado Springs. Today the ranch is owned and operated by Clifford’s son, Jack Coe. Though Jack is 89 years old he still works on the ranch raising beef and hay with the help of his son and grandchildren.
In 1916 Arthur and Dovie Jones purchased their first piece of farmland in the Pine River Valley, east of Ignacio, Colorado. There they had two daughters, Alberta and Evelyn. The two girls rode their horses two miles to the local one-room school house everyday. The family now owns that school house and gives tours to visitors. The family also has been raising sheep for nearly 100 years. To this day, Fox Fire Farms is still a fully functional sheep ranch. In addition to sheep they raised milk cows, hens, beef cattle, pigs and turkeys over the years. They have also recently added vineyards and a winery where they host weddings and special events. A sheep is featured on every bottle of wine in honor of their history.
In 1754, William Saffer received a Lord Fairfax land grant in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. Every following generation, our ancestors moved west with the Western Migration through Kentucky, Indiana, Illinois, Missouri and Kansas, until they settled in Lincoln County, Colorado.
Nathan Saffer purchased a relinquished homestead in 1913 on a farm 18 miles North of Arriba, Colorado. In 1915, S.T. Magill, the father of Nathan’s wife Olive, purchased the land that would become Saffer Farms. The original farm was approximately 300 acres and was used to raise cattle, hogs and horses as well as harvest feed crops, wheat, and corn. Today, the farm is 1976 acres and raises cattle and grows wheat, corn and feed crops.
Daniel E. and Mary Dickinson purchased the farm on October 2nd, 1913. The Dickinson farm is located on the Colorado Nebraska state line, northeast of Crook, Colorado.
Daniel, progressive and industrious, improved the farm. He added outbuildings and installed the first home electric system in the area with a 32 volt wind charger. This was later replaced with an engine-driven system with large glass batteries that provided the standard 110 volt system. He purchased the first Baldwin Gleaner combine in the area and had the most modern tractors and farm equipment. He worked hard and was able to purchase other farm ground. Daniel, his son, Glenn, and his grandson, Daniel worked the farm; Danny, the third generation still raises wheat and feed for their cattle on the farm.
Somewhere between 1909 and 1910, Nina Belle McKelvey moved from Denver to the Eastern Plains of Colorado to teach school to local children needing education in such a remote area. She graduated in 1909 from Colorado Normal now known as University of Northern Colorado. She set up a homesteading/building, a sod house, in 1910 with the help of a few area neighbors. She rode her horse to teach school at several country schools in the area: Hoyt, Antelope Valley, Old Trail and Long Meadow. In 1912 at a Box Social in Hoyt, CO she met Harry Norman Thomas who by trade was a miner. He had worked in the silver and gold mines in Victor, Leadville and other areas. He then started mining in the Hoyt area which provided coal for the local citizens. Harry and Nina got married in 1912, and she received the patent on her ground on June 16th 1916. They had two children, Harry Van Dyke and LulaBelle. Harry Van Dyke stayed on the farm and worked with his dad. In May of 1942 he met and married Maxine L. Hinshaw from Denver, CO. Van enlisted in the United States Navy in September 1942 and fought in World War II. Van was discharged from the Navy in October 1945 and he and Maxine returned to the farm. They had two children, Tommie Van Thomas and Bonnie Louise Thomas. They farmed dryland until 1950 when they drilled an irrigation well. They raised cattle, sheep, corn, wheat, pinto beans and sugar beets. Tommie and his wife Janet had two sons, Shane and Lonnie, who is now deceased. Tom, Janet and Shane still live and farm on the original 320 acres Tommie's grandmother homesteaded. The farm now produces corn wheat and millet and has more than 350 pine and shade trees. Tom, Janet and Shane are so proud to be third and fourth generation Thomas's on the Thomas Farm.
Wacker Farms and Livestock, Brush, Founded 1905
William Vondy came to America in 1871 from the Isle of Man. William homesteaded originally in Kansas. He and Rebecca Bandola Peterson were married in 1877. They purchased the land for the Vondy farm from the City and County of Denver in 1905, where they raised 12 of their 17 children. William planted the fields with the seeds of oats he had brought with him from the Isle of Man and also raised corn, alfalfa, peaches, apples, and the primary livestock were hogs. The farm is currently owned and operated by his great-granddaughter, Debra Vondy Wacker and her husband Chris, and son Jared.
Eric Frederick Noren and his wife Charlotta immigrated from Sweden and settled in Haxtun, Colorado where a small, Swedish settlement called the Fairfield Community was located in the 1880s. At Haxtun they lived in a sod house and had four children. Eric Frederick passed away and Charlotta left Haxtun to obtain the homestead near Holyoke, in 1916. In 1956, after Charlotta passed, her grandson, Delbert Haynes bought the land. Delbert and his wife, Emily married on August 24, 1944, and still own the ranch. They had four sons. Three sons and two grandsons ranch nearby.
Koch Farm, Pueblo, Founded 1914
John and Conrad Wyss immigrated from Switzerland in the early 1900s and settled in Pueblo County, Colorado where they owned and operated “Swiss Dairy.” The two traded land they already owned and cash for the acreage on the St. Charles Mesa in August 1914. There they built their original milk barn where they continued to deliver milk and eggs into town. The original milk barn burned down in 1935 and a smaller milk and horse barn was built in 1936 to replace it. Anton Koch, another Swiss immigrant, came to work on the dairy farm in the early 1920’s and married John Wyss’s daughter, Anna in 1925. Anton and Anna’s son, John, later took on the farm operation in 1961 when his father passed away. At this time the dairy herd numbered around 40 and the farm also had a few beef cows, rabbits, pigs, and chickens. John married Kay Rose in 1958 and the two had three children, Mark, Barbara, and Paul. Mark took over the farm operation after his father. Today the farm now grows alfalfa for hay. Click here for more from the Pueblo Chieftain.
In 1869 Rudolph Knoblauch immigrated to San Francisco after he spent twenty years as a chef on a ship. He left San Francisco for Denver in 1881 where he bought 160 acres where the present day Civic Center stands. There he bought a cafe where he met his wife, Katherine Rausch. The two married and moved to Del Norte where they eventually bought 160 acres west of town and bought another cafe. By 1900 Rudolph Sr. had acquired over 700 acres. As the years went by Rudolph Sr. would sell different portions of the land to his children. Rudolph Jr. eventually married Ina Bell Wills on August 17, 1922. Their son Melvin Rudolph Knoblauch was born a year later. Unfortunately, Rudolph Jr. died of a heart attack leaving Ina a widow with a 3 year old son. Ina then went to work in town and leased the farm for a few years. In 1930, Ina married Carroll Wetherill who took care of the ranch. The family then acquired horses and cattle from older relatives to add to the ranch. As Melvin got older, he would begin to take care of the ranch. Melvin married Irene Marguerites on July 12, 1943 and on May, 2nd 1944 Marcia Joan Knoblauch was born. Melvin served a couple years in the Army Air Corp during World War II before returning home to run the ranch. Melvin Curtis Knoblauch was born on September 30, 1949. Curtis married Jennifer Ann Larson in 1969, and after finishing college, the two moved back to the ranch to take over farming with Melvin. The ranch would eventually become a dairy operation. Today the ranch has milk cows and goats, and the family produces cheese and gives tours of the dairy farm.
HP Bar Ranch was originally homesteaded by brothers, Delos Herrick Parker and Cuthbert Farwell Parker. Their family moved from Gardner, Illinois around 1892 to start a sheep ranch near Holyoke. The family still owns part of this ranch to this day. Delos and Cuthbert then started the "Cottonwood Ranch" near Jumbo reservoir. Delos ran the ranch and owned a small portion. When his brother Cuthbert died Delos retired and ran only his portion of the land. Today the ranch is farmed by Dale Parker, Richard Hartman and Celeste Parker. The ranch currently produces cattle, corn, alfalfa, hay and cover crop forage.
Gates Farm, near Akron, Founded 1914
Henry Gates of Meekton, Colorado applied for a homestead entry on the southwest quarter of section 21: township 2-south, range 51-west on May 8, 1914. He lived in a dugout until he could make improvements and he received the deed to the land on June 6, 1919. In the early years, hogs, chickens, horses, cattle, wheat and oats were raised. After more land was added, both purchased and leased, the main crops focused on wheat and forage sorghum. The livestock portion of the farm consists of a cow-calf operation, and purchasing replacement quality, black/white faced heifer calves to breed and sell.
Ohr Family Farm, near Lindon, Founded 1912
German immigrants Karl Ohr and Karoline Lang came to America on March 1st, 1890 on the steamship “SS Trave.” The couple married the next year and moved to Omaha, Nebraska where they had three children. The family moved to Colorado in 1910 and came by train to Bovina and then by wagon north towards Glen. During the ride north the wind came up and blew off Karl’s top hat, at that point he found out what eastern Colorado wind was all about.
In 1912, Karl made homestead entry number 018030 on land near Lindon, Colorado and constructed a sod house. In 1942, the land was transferred to the eldest son, Fred. Richard Ohr and his wife Barbara purchased the land in the 1960s. The land is now in the Conservation Reserve Program planted back to native grass species; Rocky Mountain Junipers and plums are now present on the homestead. In 2015, Russian honey bee hives produced the homestead’s first ever “Ohr”ganic Honey.
Perlenfein Farm, Yuma, Founded 1916
William and Elizabeth Perlenfein purchased their homestead in Yuma, CO in 1916. They purchased the homestead from Adolph Moser who had acquired the farm through the Homestead Act. The family moved from Wolbach, Nebraska with their five children, two cows, and team of work horses. William and Elizabeth later had three more children after moving to Colorado. When William retired in 1943 his two sons, Wilbert and Alvin took over the farm work. Wilbert and his wife, Delia continued to run the farm until Wilbert’s death in 1994.Today the farm is run by Wilbert’s son, Robert and his wife, Kay. Over the years they have raised wheat, cattle, hogs, chickens and work horses. Robert’s cattle can be traced back all the way to his grandfather’s herd.
Jake and Catherine Allmer purchased Allmer Farm and Ranch on February 14, 1916. After Catherine Allmer died in childbirth, Jake married Clara Knisler on January 14, 1932. The two had nine children, one of which was Floyd Allmer. Floyd purchased the property in 1967 from his parents and owned it until his death in 1969. The property was then left to his wife Lillian Christine and their children: Stephen Dale, Harlene Arnett & Brian Scott. After Harlene passed away, her share of the estate went to her son, Rian August Jenson. Brian Allmer manages the farm today and still produces all of its original products: winter wheat, proso millet, and beef cattle.
Herman G. Peterson Farm/Ranch, near Greeley, Founded 1916
Magnus Peterson, his wife Anna, and their three children homesteaded land on Five Pine Mesa in Routt County in 1903. Thirteen years and three children later, Magnus made a trade agreement with H.M. Fulton, where they traded their land on Five Pine Mesa for a plot of land east of Greeley. The family made this their home and had three more children there. They established a dairy farm, and grew a variety of crops. When Magnus passed away in 1946, Anna and their sons Herman and Buster continued to work on the farm. After serving in the U.S. Army in World War II, Herman married Dorothy Jean and the two continued to live and work on the farm. In 1953 Anna passed away and Buster became the landowner. Buster owned the land until he died, and Herman and Dorothy took over the farm with the help of their son, Randy. Herman passed away in 2015 a year before the farm’s 100 year anniversary. Today, the farm has approximately 200 acres and continues to farm corn, alfalfa, grass hay, and beef cattle.
Cyrilla and Edith Meis, near Yuma, Founded 1916
Conrad and Anna Meis purchased the farm in December of 1915. A year later, Conrad, Anna, and their children: Leo, Clatus, and Cyrilla moved from Elgin, Nebraska to their farm near Yuma, Colorado. They moved machinery, household goods, and livestock by train. The farm consisted of 320 acres, a house and a shed where they stored equipment and livestock. Three additional children were born: Raymond, Norbert, and Edith. Using a team of horses the family raised corn, wheat, and small grains as well as cattle, hogs, and chickens. As the years passed, Conrad built the granary, chicken coop, and barn. Raymond and Norbert served their country in World War II. When Norbert returned from the service he began farming the land, gradually changing crops to wheat only. In 1946, the house burned down and Conrad rebuilt the house. Anna passed away in 1961 and Conrad passed in 1976. Norbert farmed the land until he retired in 2008 at which time the land was rented to others. Edith and Cyrilla continue to live on the farm and operate it.
Born in Invale, Nebraska, William A Noble was the oldest of Scott Noble’s ten children; coming from such a large family, William knew there was not enough land, and he left Nebraska to find his own home. He settled in Yuma, Colorado where he met the school teacher, Minnie Colby. They married and farmed ¼ of their section of land and raised corn. They maintained a cow herd of thirty to forty cows on the pasture land. They raised hogs, chickens, and sold cream and eggs. Their home became a meeting place for neighbors and travelers as three wagon trails converged nearby.
William was always looking for better ways and was not afraid to try new things. He planted some alfalfa even though “those in the know” said Colorado was too dry. It was so successful he had a great rabbit crop; grasshoppers finished what the rabbits left behind, but it was successful. He was recognized with a national DeKalb award for raising the most dryland corn bushels at acre. He went from horses and hand picking corn to tractors and machines.
When William and Minnie passed, the land went to their son, Merrill and daughter, Marleen. When Merrill passed, his son Lanny and daughter Eva inherited the land. Lanny purchased the land and deeded forty acres to each of his sons, Richard and Ryan, whose families represent the fifth generation living on the original homestead.
Stanley and Carol J. Shafer, near Laird, Founded 1910
S.W. Seward migrated to the Laird area from Iowa in a covered wagon. The family acquired the original 160 acres in 1910. G.P. Shafer married, the daughter of S.W. Seward and the two lived on the land until 1927. When Sam Shafer acquired the land he purchased an additional 320 acres and another 900 acres of grassland. In 1956 Sam leased the land to his son Stanley Shafer who had just returned from serving in the Korean War. Stanley Shafer and Carol Shafer now own and manage the land. Since they have operated the farm 1,280 acres have been added. The farm grows wheat, corn, hay and raises cattle.
RLS Ranch LLC, Yuma, Founded 1916
Ray Leonard Smith applied for a patent on a half-section of land in Yuma County in 1909. He arrived by train with his team and his well drilling rig. Ray returned to Nebraska and married Alta Thompson in 1910. They came to the homestead in a covered wagon bringing Ray’s twelve year old brother, Elgin, with them and leading a cow. In 1915 their five years of occupation ended and they received their patent. Their son, Clare, was born in the sod house on the homestead. September 20, 1916 Ray and Alta traded their homestead for the nearby Gerdts Ranch, which was established in 1898. Daughter Vera Mae was born on the ranch. Three barns, a large house and a garage came with the ranch; these buildings are still in use. The barns now have historical designation. In 1942, Ray bought back the homestead land and it is a part of the ranch. Ray and Alta’s son, Clare, married Leta Dunafon in 1951 and they continued to expand the ranch. Clare and Leta’s son, Larry, and his wife Kathy presently raise cattle on the land. RLS Ranch LLC was named for Ray Leonard Smith.