Larkspur historical Society
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Tom Starr Ranch
(also see the Haystack Ranch)

Thomas Starr was born in September of 1886, the son of Harry and Ellen Starr.  Tom followed in his father’s footsteps and became a rancher in Larkspur. After his father’s death Tom’s mother, Ellen, lived with him until her death, which was after 1920, according to census records.

When Tom was twenty-seven years old, in 1914, he purchased the Swinney brothers’ Ranch, and this ranch remained his home for life. Tom’s ranch was on the west side of Raspberry Butte just off of Perry Park Avenue and Perry Park road. Tom helped his neighbors by binding grain, cutting corn and bailing hay. He ran his ranch as a dairy for many years transporting the milk to Larkspur and selling to the Frink Creamery. The dairy continued for many years until the 1920s when restrictions and improvements to dairy farms were enforced making it harder and more costly for dairy farms to make ends meet.

In November of 1920 the Record Journal reported that Tom had shipped a car load of cattle to the Denver cattle yards. It was said that Tom was very proud of the beautiful cattle that he raised and that he pampered them.

When Tom married in 1922 the Record Journal wrote of the event.

”Newly Weds Given Warm Reception at Larkspur
A crowd of two hundred or more neighbors and friends gathered at the Tom Starr ranch home on Tuesday evening to welcome Mr. Starr and his bride, who arrived home that afternoon. The bride was Mrs. Ida May Layman of Canon City, formerly Ida May McClure of Larkspur. The wedding ceremony was performed at Salida Colorado, on Saturday last, after which the newly weds took a short wedding trip before returning to their home at Larkspur. The large assemblage of friends to greet Mr. & Mrs. Starr proves in a very conclusive manner the esteem in which they are held in the community. Music, dancing, refreshments consisting of ice cream, cake, coffee, candy and cigars and a general all-around good time for everybody was the order of the evening, and the guests left at a late hour, each expressing his hearty best wishes for long life, happiness and prosperity for Mr. and Mrs. Starr.”

This marriage did not last and soon Tom returned to the life of a bachelor. Some years later he again married a local widow, Ellen Morrison Finnity. Ellen helped on the ranch but her health began to fail and she passed away in July of 1961.

It wasn’t all work on the ranch; some time for relaxing was had. Tom and friends would picnic on his ranch as well as in Gove Canyon. It seems that Tom enjoyed driving to Canon City as was reported in the local papers, but this might have had something to do with his first wife who had lived in that area. Tom also participated in the county fair.

In 1965, the year of the flood, Tom’s ranch did not escape the ravages that the water brought. He survived the ever increasing water which reached up to a two foot depth, even though he had a rough time telling exactly what was happening because of his failing eye sight. His friends and the Red Cross helped with the clean up.

In 1971 Tom passed away and is buried in the Bear Canon Cemetery beside his wife. This bit of advice was given by Tom and is from the book Our Heritage The People of Douglas County:

“Take vacations and enjoy nature before it is to late, as I kept waiting until next year then it was too late.”

Thanks to; census information, Clara McClure Turner’s 1976 presentation, the book “Douglas County a Historical Journey” by Marr, the Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection and the book “Our Heritage the People of Douglas County”.