185 – A Cattle Ranch

Ralph and Chleo Jarvis bought a ranch southwest of Salina.

Jarvis ranch – 1929

In 1927, they had rented the ranch from C.L. and George Richards.

Deed – R.H. Jarvis from Charles and Della Richards – 1929

Then in March 1929, they bought the biggest part of the ranch from C.L. and Della Richards. In 1931, they bought the final part from George E. Richards.

The land

The ranch was 640 acres, consisting of the west half of sections 15 and 22 in Summit Township in southwest Saline County. It was about 20 miles from Salina.

Jarvis ranch, Summit Township, Saline County, Kansas

The land was pasture in rolling hills and watersheds. It’s in the area called Smoky Hills, west of Salina.

Home movies

Ralph and Chleo had the latest gadgets. Among those were a movie camera and projector. Throughout this story, there are snippets of home movies filmed at the ranch in 1929.

In 1929, Ralph was age 35 and Chleo was 29. Mel was age 8 and Don was 6.

Ralph and Chleo and boys – Jarvis ranch – 1929

Ralph’s mother and brother lived there

As we read earlier, Ralph had invited his extended family to move to Kansas. They would live at the ranch.

Two houses on the ranch

There were two houses on the property, and a barn and corrals.

Ralph’s brother Tom and his wife Lottie would live in the main ranch house with their son Bobby.

Main ranch house – 1929

Two of Tom’s buddies came to Kansas with him – Bill and Raul from New York.

Bill from New York, Tom and Bobby Jarvis, Raul from New York

Ralph’s mother Anna and her husband Sam Stafford would live in the smaller house.

The family

Adults l to r – Unknown man, Sam Stafford, unknown couple, Tom Jarvis, Robert Mounts, Ralph and Chleo Jarvis, Anna Webb, unknown woman, Lottie Jarvis. Children l to r – Bobby Jarvis, Mel Jarvis, Don Jarvis

Anna Webb

Chleo’s mother Anna Webb visited Salina often. Here’s a video of Anna Webb at the ranch with Mel and Don and Bobby. Notice Ralph’s new Ford Model A in the picture.

Anna Webb with Mel, Don, and Bobby – then Chleo and Lottie – Jarvis ranch – 1929

Hereford cattle

Ralph had become interested in raising purebred Hereford cattle. He acquired a herd and a bull. And there were odds and ends livestock – horses, chickens, and a brood sow.

Hereford cattle – Jarvis ranch – 1929
Hereford cattle – Jarvis ranch – 1929

Tom was ranch foreman

Tom Jarvis would look after the ranch and livestock. Bill and Raul would help him. In return, Ralph provided their room and board.

Barn and corral – Jarvis ranch – 1929


Horses and riding became a passion for Ralph and Chleo and their family. They kept horses at the ranch and rode often.

The boys started riding at a young age. Mel’s horse was Sandy, Don’s was Chief.

Mel and Sandy, Don and Chief – c 1928

Riding horses at Jarvis ranch – 1929
Riding horses – Ralph and Mel, Chleo and Don – Jarvis ranch – 1929

City Cowpunchers

The Salina Journal – 1929

Ralph and Chleo made a social event of horseback riding. They and friends drove 130 head of cattle from Wilson to the Jarvis ranch. That’s over 40 miles!

Cowpunchers – Jarvis ranch – 1929

The ranch today

Nibbles Extra Credit – The Roaring Twenties – Politics

In the 1920s, three U.S. presidents governed – Warren Harding, Calvin Coolidge, and Herbert Hoover.

All three were Republican. All three believed the government shouldn’t interfere in big business. Banks and stock markets and utilities were unregulated.

Warren Harding (1921-1923)

When Harding took office in 1921, the U.S. was still in a post-WWI depression, with unemployment around 20% and high inflation.

Harding had a mandate to “restore normalcy.” Americans wanted to forget the war and recession and have peace and prosperity. Normalcy would be achieved under Harding, and the economy would take off. Modern elements like automobiles, telephones, motion pictures, and electricity fueled the boom.

Harding’s policies, his personality, and the return of prosperity made him very popular. His sudden death in 1923 was a shock to the nation. But it soon became clear that his administration had been very corrupt.

Calvin Coolidge (1923-1929)

“Silent Cal” was sworn in at his rural home in Vermont after the sudden death of Warren Harding. Coolidge continued the laissez-faire policies of Harding and cut taxes on the wealthy. The economy soared.

Coolidge famously said, “the chief business of the American people is business.”

Coolidge was a reformer and cleaned up the corruption of the previous administration. Coolidge easily won re-election in 1924.

From 1922 to 1929, stock dividends rose by 108 percent, corporate profits by 76 percent, and wages by 33 percent. In 1929, 4,455,100 passenger cars were sold by American factories, one for every 27 members of the population, a record that was not broken until 1950. 

Herbert Hoover (1929-1933)

Herbert Hoover took office in January 1929. His first eight months in office proved him to be an able administrator. Then the crash of the markets in October 1929 forever linked Hoover’s name with the Great Depression.

Hoover’s efforts to restore people’s faith in the economy failed. The exuberance of the Roaring Twenties gave way to doubt and fear. Hoover was unable to fix things and would be voted out of office in the 1932 election.


  • Newspaper articles – newspapers.com
  • Photos – Jarvis ranch – 1920s – Jarvis family documents – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
  • Photos – Jarvis ranch – 2021 – Mark Jarvis – May 2021
  • Maps – Saline County and Summit Township – Standard Atlas of Saline County, Kansas – Geo. A. Ogle & Co. – 1920 – Kansas Memory – Kansas State Historical Society – https://www.kshs.org/km/items/view/224000
  • Deed – R.H. Jarvis from Charles and Della Richards – 1929 – Deed record 89, page 477 – Saline County Register of Deeds – Salina, Kansas
  • Home movies – Jarvis ranch – Jarvis family documents – Chleo Webb Jarvis collection
  • Photos – Harding, Coolidge, Hoover – Sage American History – http://sageamericanhistory.net/twenties/20spolitics.html

2 thoughts on “185 – A Cattle Ranch

  1. Brenda Teply October 16, 2021 / 12:23 pm

    Loved the home movies. What a family treasure!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Mark Jarvis October 16, 2021 / 9:53 pm

      Yes they are. Glad you liked them. They’re mostly too shaky or blurry, but a few clips are fun to view.

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply to Brenda Teply Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s