Peter Brannan Ranch aka Ford Ranch, Wallace Turner Ranch
Peter Brannan was born in Ireland and left that country after his parents died. When he was eighteen years old, in 1844, he came to America with his uncle McCabe. After a job driving freight, in 1860, from Leavenworth Kansas to Denver he decided to stay in Colorado.
His first located and built a log cabin on that place where Bear Canon Church and Cemetery are today. Today the church is called St. Philip-in-the-Field and is just south of Wolfensberger road and west of Perry Park Avenue. Peter is also buried in this cemetery.
Before there were any schools in the area of West Plum Creek, Peter helped to organize the first school with friend Benjamin Quick. They hired a teacher and shared putting together her wages.
His ranch was at the head of Spring Creek, which is almost directly west of Tomah road, between it and Devils Head on the Rampart Range. It adjoined the ranch of the Dakan family, and later became known as the Ford place and still later as the Wallace Turner ranch.
In 1867 Peter married Mrs. Elisabeth Swinney, who came from Atchison, Kansas. Elisabeth was the mother of King David Swinney whose biography can be found on this site. They were married for eighteen years. Mrs. Brennan died in approximately 1885 from unknown causes.
The newspaper Castle Rock Journal from July 16, 1890 said this of Peter’s ranch. Mr. Peter Brennan, near Perry Park, has a fish pond well stocked with carp which are doing well. The water comes from some splendid springs a little above the pond. These springs also furnish considerable water for irrigation and one result of this is a fine garden which is the pride of Mrs. McCabe, who lives on the place. Mrs. McCabe or Miss McCabe, there are conflicting reports on her title, was Peter’s cousin. She kept house for Peter until she was accidentally killed in 1896.
Peter died in St. Joseph’s hospital in Denver on September 18, 1897 after suffering from poor health, which was said came with his age and from the hardships of his early life. He was 71 years old when he passed. In Peter’s will he left the following, as reported in the Castle Rock Journal of October 1, 1897.
“The will provided that after all debts and funeral expenses are provided for the property shall be disposed of as follows: To John Burke two horses and two cows; to Rev. J. J. Gibbons in trust for the use of the Catholic Church of Castle Rock, $300; the rest of the estate to go to St. Mary’s Academy of Leavenworth Kansas.”
John Burkewas named as the executor of Peter Brennan’s will. That same paper also said of Peter:
“[he] was of a kindly social nature and greatly beloved by all who knew him. He was open hearted and generous, a kind husband and good neighbor and will be greatly missed by a large circle of friends among whom he has lived for so many years.”
Peter Brannan c. 1870s.
Thanks to the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection, the book “Douglas County a Historical Journey”, the book “Our Heritage the People of Douglas County” and Douglas County Will Records.