Larkspur Historical Society

Ranch Samuel Brown ~ Circa 1868

Samuel Brown Ranch

Melvin Brown, JR.
W. H. Ross & Alfred M. Guthrie homesteads

Samuel Brown was born June 11, 1832, in Kentucky. When he matured he traveled across the country from Kentucky to Colorado a couple times and traveled as far east as North Carolina and south to Texas before finally settling down in Douglas County, Colorado, on the Divide close to Spring Valley. Sam married Martha Hobbs while living in Kansas and they had two children, Melvin and Mahala. Martha died in 1867 and in 1868 Sam decided to move his family west to Colorado with a group of seventy other settlers via covered wagon. He settled with the kids, living out of the covered wagon, while he worked at a Divide sawmill. We have no record of a land purchase but in that same year Sam built his small family a log cabin where they lived for another year. There were many problems with Indian attacks at the saw mill and this prompted Sam to move back to Kansas. Later he moved further east to Missouri where he bought a herd of cattle, which he sold for horses and selling these he shipped them to Colorado.

Sometime before 1872 Sam came back to Colorado and purchased logging teams so that he could engage in logging on the Divide. He started ranching in the Spring Valley area, purchased his first 40 acres in 1872 and in 1875 he purchased another 40 acres. In 1884 Samuel once again got the urge to travel and started, possibly with a trip to North Carolina, to visit his married daughter, Mahala, who was now the wife of James Buckner. During this trip he also traveled to Texas and purchased a herd of about 100 horses which he drove back to Colorado and traded for land. W. H. Ross sold Samuel his ranch, in November of 1884, in Spring Valley for $750. We have found no records of W. H. Ross and how many acres his ranch might have been made up of. In 1887 Sam purchased the Alfred M. Guthrie homestead where he had been listed as a boarder in the census of 1880. Again in 1888 and 1916 Samuel purchased more land, another 40 and 80 acres respectively.

Son Melvin married Jane Storm and they had five children. They also lived in Douglas County. Melvin’s son, Melvin Jr., purchased the Guthrie homestead from his grandfather in 1889 and lived there until 1906 when he sold it to Mitchell Lavelett and moved to Wyoming.

Over the years Samuel served as school secretary for his district, county commissioner, juror and ran for judge in 1892. He was also elected sheriff of El Paso County in 1869 and Justice of the Peace in Lynn County, Kansas.

Samuel built a fine stone house in 1896, possibly around the same time as his second marriage. He married Mrs. Jane Cormack (Keene) of Tennessee. Samuel raised cattle, horses, and pigs and grew hay, rye, and potatoes. His dairy cattle produced milk that Samuel kept in his own stone milk house, which was built just before the house in 1893.

The 1922 June 16, Record Journal had this story in their paper celebrating Samuel Brown’s 90th birthday. “Spring Valley – Sunday was Sam Brown’s 90th birthday anniversary, and the friends and neighbors could not let it go by without some kind of a celebration, so they gathered in the Buckner grove for a picnic. At noon the ladies spread lunch under the pines and all joined in doing full justice to their efforts. Nothing in the line of good things was missing, although some of the men asked for more pie when it looked as if they had had enough to make them sick. Despite his being well along in years, Mr. Brown loves to tell of the early days of ’68 and ’70, when he first came to the divide, and many very amusing and instructive incidents he remembers every detail of. The young folks especially are interested in early history as he saw it, and he is equally interested in them. While he cannot see so very well, he never forgets one of them. All last week he visited the neighbors going about with his own horse and buggy. Among those who entertained him last week at dinner were Mr. and Mrs. Walter Schubarth, Mr. and Mrs. Loraine, Mrs. Diebold and Mr. and Mrs. Killin.” This article mentions Sam visiting neighbors, this was something he enjoyed doing, but even at this age Sam liked to walk to his neighbor’s homes.

Samuel died in 1927, at the age of 95 and is buried in the Spring Valley cemetery where other family members can also be found.


This shows what is left of the Buckner home. Samuel’s daughter took over the ranch, with her husband, after her father passed. It is located north and east of Spring Valley.
This was part of the land that Samuel owned but may not be his original home.

Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection; the Ida May Noe History Collection; BLM land records; U.S. Census; the book “Our Heritage the People of D.C. and the D.C. Public Library, local history collection.