Everett Ranch is located about twenty-five miles southwest of Pritchett
Colorado. The ranch is about a mile south of the old town of Carrizo Springs,
which existed from 1887 until after 1893. East Carrizo Creek runs through
the ranch on its way to the Cimarron River. All of the original ranch buildings
were made of native stone, which was cut from a quarry near the Carrizo
Springs town site. The original ranch house is the oldest inhabited residence
in Baca County and was put on record in 1875.
Sam and Agnes Collins bought the ranch from John Tanner and came here
in a covered wagon in 1903 from Folsom, New Mexico. It was known as the
Collins Ranch for thirty-some years. They arrived with three daughters
– Roxie, Margaret, and Estelene. Their fourth daughter, Mary, was born
eight years later. When the three older girls reached school age, they
stayed with an aunt in Kansas to attend school because there were no schools
near the ranch. They returned home during the summer, helping with ranch
and household chores. A school was built about half a mile east of the
house at some point, and Mary attended school there. The foundation and
an old cistern are all that remain of that school today.
Mr. Collins ran sheep and cattle, and Mexican herders tended the sheep.
Two herders were killed when lightning struck their tent while they slept.
Sheep shearing and haying were done in the summer. Calves and lambs were
driven to Las Animas and sold in the fall. Mrs. Collins tended a large
garden, an orchard, and picked wild grapes and plums on the creek; canning
those fruits and vegetables was an important part of ranch life. Other
supplies were bought once or twice a year in Las Animas or Trinidad and
brought to the ranch.
The Collins family had one of the few telephones in the area in those
early years. The Estelene Post Office was established at the ranch, and
Mrs. Collins was the postmaster. The post office was moved from a stone
building on the hill above the house down to the bunk house when, it was
said, Mrs. Collins no longer felt like walking up and down the hill. Neighbors
from around the area received their mail at Estelene Post Office. A young
man named Bishop (Fay Nicholson’s brother) rode his horse over to pick
up the mail one day. As the story goes, he had a mail bag tied to his saddle
when his horse began to buck. It bucked through two tall gate posts tied
together with strong wire. The wire caught the young man in the throat,
and after several days, he died at the Collins ranch.
Sometime during the 1930’s, Mr. Collins borrowed $12000.00 from a bank
in Wichita, Kansas to buy twelve hundred ewes. Because of the terrible
economic conditions during those years, Mr. Collins was unable to pay off
the debt. At some point, a Texan named Tom Hughes bought the ranch from
the Wichita bank. Mr. Hughes did not live on the ranch but hired a man
named Woody Gay to take care of things.
In 1941, Tom Hughes sold the ranch to C.T Everett, Sr. and his son, C.T.
(Toots) Everett, Jr. from Vega, Texas when Toots was nineteen years old.
Mr. Everett continued living in Vega, coming to the ranch periodically.
After serving in the U.S. Army, Toots brought his new bride, Mary Jane,
to the ranch in 1945. It was home to Toots and Jane until his death in
November 2002. Jane passed away in August 2005.
When the newlyweds arrived, electricity was provided by a wind-powered
generator. That lasted until 1953 when the REA began to provide service.
In 1950, Toots and several of their neighbors built and maintained the
Kim Mutual Telephone Association. The phone system was a community party-line
that allowed up to ten ranch neighbors to discuss the latest news – or
gossip, as the case might be. This system worked until the 1970s when a
larger company bought the Kim association.
The Everetts ran yearlings and raised Hereford cattle. In the 1960s, Toots
was the first rancher in the area to use Angus bulls with his cows to produce
good crossbred calves – a practice that is common in the cattle industry
today. Neighbors worked together – gathering cattle, branding, building
fence. They also played together – Saturday night card games, dances at
the Kim gymnasium, square dances at the McArthur school house or in someone’s
living room with the rug rolled back to the wall.
Toots and Jane had two children: Terry, born in 1950 and Marylin, born
in 1959. Both kids learned to ride horses almost before they could walk,
and both loved the ranch way of life. Terry’s first two years of school
were spent at Sunderland, one of the last one-room school houses in the
area. Terry and Marylin both graduated at Pritchett.
Through the years, the Everett family improved their ranch. They remodeled
the house to make it modern and comfortable. Toots and Terry rebuilt corrals,
constructed concrete hay barns, put up steel granaries and a feed mill,
built concrete processing and doctoring barns. The small shop with rock
walls and floor ( probably an early-day dwelling) was incorporated into
a large, modern shop. Toots and Terry also built a 3500 head feedlot to
add another facet to the Everett ranch.
Terry married Jennifer Shelton in 1971. They built their home on the ranch.
Marylin married Bemon Chastine in 1989; they live in Hugoton, Kansas. Terry
and Jennifer had two boys, Casey Reid (1976) and Dane Lee (1980). Like
their dad, they learned to ride at an early age. Both boys graduated from
Pritchett School and also from West Texas A&M University. Casey came back
to the ranch; Dane lives in Amarillo, Texas.
Casey married Laneha Beard in 2004. Following Jane’s death, they moved
into her house, which makes things come full circle. The family still runs
yearlings but now raises Corriente cattle, both full-blood Corrientes and
Angus crossbreds, again bringing things full circle. One thing has not
changed since the early days: the Everetts still work and gather their
In early 2008, the Everett family, along with Laneha’s family, renovated
the bunk house that served as the Estelene Post Office. It is a charming
combination of old-fashioned style with modern convenience for the visitor
who stays there. John McArthur, one of the early-day pioneers of this area
who came here in 1903, spoke these words in 1959, ” Lots of people have
moved away. Others moved in. Lots of things we have got now, we didn’t
use to have. But the world goes around just the same.” These words could
describe the history of the Everett Ranch over the past one hundred-plus