Larkspur historical Society
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Lincoln-Killin Ranch

Joseph & Jotham Lincoln applied for United States Patents in the Spring Valley area in 1867. Spring Valley was a very early settlement in Douglas County when Colorado was still a territory. Located at Spring Valley was a stage stop on the west Cherry Stage Road at the Gile Ranch which was directly north of the Lincoln properties and today is contained in the existing ranch. 

Joseph Lincoln moved to Denver in 1862 where he engaged in the cattle brokering business. His brother Jotham remained on the ranch in Spring Valley where he raised crops and cattle. As he was working the fields he was attacked and killed by Indians in September of 1868.  Joseph married Esther P. Reznor in July of 1868 and they later moved to San Francisco California by 1870. After Jotham’s death the ranch was sold in 1870 as one of the best in Spring Valley. Lincoln Mountain, lying directly north of the ranch was so named for the Lincoln family.  Jotham was an attorney by profession and came to Spring Valley to recover his health.

In 1912 the ranch was purchased by James B. and Olive Killin.  James Bernard Killin, was born in Pettisvillie, Ohio March 23, 1868 and came to Kiowa in 1880 to work as a ranch hand.  In 1898 he married Olive Higby, the first daughter of J.W. and Emily Briley Higby.  Olive was born in Hummeston. Iowa on December 30, 1877.  Before their marriage Olive was employed by the Russell Gates Mercantile Co. in Eastonville, Colorado, one of the first chain stores in the country. J.C. Penney worked for the same organization in Elbert.  It was Olive’s responsibility to take the cash receipts from the rural stores and travel to Denver via the C&S Train to deliver the monies to the main store.  She was entrusted with ten to twenty thousand dollars which she hid in her corset!  In 1894 Mrs. Killin went to the State Normal School at Greeley, Colorado to become a teacher and later returned to eastern El Paso County to teach at Big Sandy and the Plum School for two years.  In May of 1900 the Killin’s moved to Monument where they were engaged in the mercantile business with her father J.W. Higby. Later in 1904 they went to Brush to continue the hardware and mercantile business and also to Kersey in 1906.

When James B. Killin’s health worsened in 1912, he and Olive purchased the Lincoln Ranch in Spring Valley and began a herd of Shorthorn Cattle which they continued to improve over many years. The Killin family eventually acquired over 1438 acres in the Spring Valley area over a period of years. Mr. Killin loved to encourage younger men into the ranching business as he had found success and happiness in the land.  Together Mr. and Mrs. Killin were very active in their community. Olive was President of the Cherry Homemakers Club, served on the school board for Spring Valley School, taught the Cherry Sunday School, was active in the Douglas County Fair and was a reporter for Record Journal of Douglas County. James B. Killin passed away January 12, 1946 and Olive Killin on January 15, 1961.

James Louis Killin was the son of Olive & James B. Killin and the only survivor of three boys born to this union. “Louis,” as he was known, was born in Monument, Colorado January 12, 1904 and after graduating college became a chemist in the sugar beet industry working in Cuba for many years.  He never married but loved to cook and continued the line of Shorthorn Cattle his father started.  He cared for his mother at the ranch after his father’s death in 1946. In addition to ranching, he was involved in the Episcopal Church in Castle Rock. He passed away September 6, 1963 at the age of 59.

James Louis Killin left $75,000 at his death to build the Killin Chapel on Spring Valley Cemetery grounds, in memory of his parents. A dedication of the chapel was done May 21, 1966.

Today the “Red Gate Ranch” is owned by a Colorado Springs attorney and his wife who have spent countless hours restoring the original ranch house, barn and other outbuildings. Cherry Creek flows through the grounds making for rich hay lands and a large native population of beaver and other wildlife.

You can see the work that the beavers have been doing on this part of Cherry Creek at the Red Gate Ranch.