Gunnison County Ranch History of Wilder on the Taylor

This is a history of Wilder on the Taylor as told by the Gunnison County Courthouse Records:

Wilder on the Taylor Gunnison County HistoryIt was thought that the ranch, presently known as the Elsinore Cattle Co. was Homesteaded by Thomas Stevens, but according to records in Gunnison County Court House, he may have indeed planned to file.  Perhaps he died before this transaction occurred.  On November 29, 1897, an application for patent was filed by Harvey W. Stanley, Charles T. Stevens and Lames E. Stevens, son of Thomas Stevens.  Homestead certificates were received by Stanley, Stevens and Stevens on December 23, 1898-3:50 p.m. Gunnison Colorado.  Each was granted 160 acres each.

In 1903, Stanley sold his share to the Stevens’.  Later in 1910, Albert Roper and Joe Isham bought the lower ranch for $2900.00.  Roper lived on that part of the ranch and Isham lived on the upper ranch still owned by Stevens, until 1907.  In 1910, Isham sold his share of the lower ranch to Roper, $6000.00, and he bought the upper part from Stevens.

The original Homestead cabin, three rooms, for the lower ranch was down by Taylor River.  It burned to the ground in 1953.  Cass and Anita Leonard battled the blaze without success.  A fisherman had buried a cigar, thinking he had done the right thing, but after smoldering in the dry manure for 3 or 4 days, it set the cabin afire.

In 1914, Roper built a house up by the Taylor River road, where the barns are located today.  He also built the barns and bunkhouse.  They were able to move into the new house about June 1, 1917.  It was never really finished at that time, but they were able to “camp” in it.

In 1920 Jim and Clara (Haymaker) Boyd were living in the present old log house on the upper ranch.  He worked for Roper, irrigating, haying etc.  Boyd bought 40 acres from Stevens (NE¼ NE¼ NE¼ NW¼, Section 28, Township #15) for $500.00.  In the fall of the same year, Boyd took out hunters to earn extra money.  He was thrown from a horse and killed.  Roper bought the land from his wife for $500.00.  Roper bought the rest of the ranch from Isham, 1921.

Roper lived on the ranch, but his wife and children lived in town to be closer to schools.

Roper planted the big spruce trees by the old house, 1923.  He and his children dug them up on the lower ranch and carried them up on a stone boat.  They were small trees at the time.  He also built the hay barn and cow barns, still standing and good shape today.

In 1920, Roper sold the lower ranch and all the meadow land on the upper ranch to Kate Redden, $25812.50.  (Their loan was for three years @ 5%).  She moved there with her son and his family, William and Agnes Redden.  The Redden built the eight cabins on the river and operated it as a resort.  They finished the house.  About 1938, Redden hired some Mexicans to build the adobe garage.  This was done during haying when the weather would not cooperate.  It remained on the ranch until the present owner had it torn down, 1989.

Redden built the cabin across the road (Known as Jack’s Cabin now) for his mother, Kate Walker Redden.  She lived there until her death.  All the trees around the barn area were planted by the Redden boys, 1938-39.

Redden got the first Spring Creek Range permit, issued to that ranch.

In the summer 1929, Roper sold the log house and 40 acres to Henry and Annie Elmer. (Sect 28 E½ ).  Elmer later bought more land on up the river, and it is known as Harmel’s Ranch Resort today.  In 1947, Elmer’s heirs sold their 40 acres to Robert H. Rowland, Rowland sold to George Weigle, Weigle sold to Charles and Margaret Goshorn, all in the same year.

In 1946, Redden sold the ranch to Sam Wolfe.  He continued to operate it as a ranch and resort.  Wolfe leased the Goshorn place in 1948, for five years, but bought it shortly after, and added it to his ranch.  His plans were to make that part of the ranch headquarters.  He worked on the old log house, built corrals and was in the process of putting in scales, chutes etc.  The house built by Ropers in 1914 had burned to the ground about 1948, and Wolfe rebuilt.  In 1952, it was moved to the upper ranch, where it stands today.

In the spring of 1953, Cass and Anita leased the ranch for the season.  In September 1953, Wolfe sold to Elsinore Cattle Company.  They hired Leonard as manager until they sold in July, 1988.  Leonard and family lived on the ranch until October 1982, when they moved to their own home 8 miles north of Gunnison, but Leonard continued as manager.

Elsinore sold to H.L. “Sonny” Brown Jr. in July 1988.  He is the present owner.  Leonard was employed on the ranch until December 1, 1989.

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6 thoughts on “Gunnison County Ranch History of Wilder on the Taylor”

  1. The genealogy all sounds very interesting and fascinating
    which is enjoyable for reading. What would perhaps be even more enticing and enjoyable is an indepth photo tour of all aspects of the whole ranch.

  2. Thank you so much for sharing the history of “Wilder on the Taylor.” My husband, Tom Conway, is the great grandson of Harvey W. Stanley and Elizabeth I. Stevens. Here’s some information on Harvey W. Stanley from a transcription of “Progressive Men of Western Colorado”

    I know that Tom and all of our relatives will enjoy the family history data you have shared about the Stanley’s, Steven’s, and subsequent owners of the ranch and the photos and videos! Thanks you and best wishes, Colleen

  3. Good morning, my name is Glen Mykytiuk. My mothers maiden name was Carol Roper, my Grandfather and her Father was Albert P. Roper, mother Mabel Roper. She used to tell of stories of their cabin on the Taylor river and how handy her father was with inventing tools and equipment in order to make life easier on the ranch. He built their cabin, that later burned, created equipment to speed up the harvesting of hay, and was always using his hands and mind to create things that made life on the ranch easier. I believe that my mother’s old one room schoolhouse is in the Gunnison Pioneer Museum.

    • Glen, what a great piece of family history. Thank you for commenting and providing insights into the history of this property. We are doing our absolute best to preserve and protect this wonderful ranch and carry on its legacy. If you are ever in the Gunnison Valley we hope you’ll stop by for a visit.

      Much appreciated.

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