Ben Lomond Ranch
Bennet, Oakes and Daniels
Joseph F. Bennet Family
Harold Higginson Family
The ranch known as the Ben Lomond Ranch was named for Ben Lomond Mountain, in the early 1800s. It is a combination of Scottish terms, with Ben meaning mountain in Gaelic, and Lomond is the name of a lake in western Scotland.
Although the buildings of this ranch were mainly in El Paso County, in the Town of Palmer Lake, the vast acreage of this property involved went well into Douglas County. An article written by Marian M. McDonough of the Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph, dated August 24, 1958 had this to say:
“In 1871 the ranch was joint property of Judge Hiram P. Bennet, his eldest son Hiram P. Bennet Jr. and Joseph F. Bennet, the judge’s brother as well as Daniel C. Oakes and Alvin D. Daniels. All these men were pioneer builders of Denver or Douglas County.”
These men were also friends, with newspaper articles and accounts of them found from the early 1860s.
Later (1885) this ranch was called the “Famous Daniels Ranch,” and it was reported to consist of thousands of acres of land (most of which was in Douglas County) some of which was cultivated in oats, millet and hay. Also, dairy cows were kept, and the place was considered an excellent dairy farm.
Alvin D. Daniels was the brother of Major William Daniels, of the Daniels and Fisher department store in Denver, Alvin was also a property owner in Douglas County who first owned the property that became Greenland Ranch. He was also in business in Denver with a partner and sold groceries and provisions. Daniels Park in north central Douglas County is named for his brother William and wife, Cicely.
In 1861 Hiram P. Bennet ran as a delegate for Congress. The Rocky Mountain News of 1861 reported the Honorable Hiram Bennet’s personality to be:
“most favorable, and his prospects are as flattering as his most ardent friends could desire.”
The Judge was a delegate to the United States Congress from Colorado Territory from 1861 through 1865; he served as secretary of Colorado Territory in 1867 and as member of Colorado State Senate in 1876. Bennet Springs was the name of a post office in the area of Daniels Park, which operated from December 20th of 1862 through September 12th of 1865.
Major Daniel C. Oakes built saw mills in Douglas County. From “Walk with our Pioneers, a Collection by Alice M. Thompson”:
“D. C. Oakes, one of the first sawmill owners to come to our county (Douglas), took out a timber grant west of the Coberly’s (Perry Park). He meant to put his mill there but later decided on East Plum Creek at the north base of Hunt Mountain (in the area of Huntsville along present day I-25) some two miles north from present day Larkspur. The seventh of his eight daughters married into the Bennet family.”
In 1907 Harold Higginson, a Colorado native, along with his brother Arthur, purchased 2,500acres of the Ben Lomond Ranch. At the time it is reported that the brothers together purchased 2,500 acres of the ranch. The book Our Heritage People of Douglas County with an article written by Amelia P. Higginson said:
“Harold and Arthur raised 125 head of Herford cattle…and grew small grains; wheat and oats.”
After a few years Arthur and Harold divided the property, with Harold taking all the land between the railroad tracks and west and Arthur took all the land east of the railroad tracks. Later Arthur sold his land to Gene Higby and moved into the mountains.
In 1908 Harold and wife, Essie May, built a home situated two and a half miles north of Palmer Lake in Douglas county. The Higginson’s five children, Robert, Russell, Esther, Albert and Janet; were schooled in Douglas County, some attending the Greenland School.
As the example above (Higginson) shows the Ben Lomond Ranch was divided and changed hands over the years. Today homes have been built around the base of Ben Lomond Mountain and the property that comprised this ranch has been sold off to other ranchers and settlers of Douglas and El Paso Counties.
Thanks to Palmer Lake Historical society and Lucretia Vaile Museum, Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection and the web site Political Graveyard.