Friday, July 22, 2011

My Family. Ridgway, Colorado

The McKean Family circa 1905
Grandma Winniford Lyle McKean O'Connor, the youngest, isn't in this picture. My Aunt Marion gave to me while I was working on my genealogy in the 1980's. The family not shown is the Chandler family and shows Great Aunt Meta, GGrand McKean's sister, her husband, and young son.

July 18th and 19th
This was one of the main highlights of our trip homeward. I was really blessed to see and meet-up with my cousin Patty and her family. She is so young! Patty wasn't even born when I was there last. She's not much older than my oldest children, but we have so much in common, more than family and that's weird. Patty walks just like Grandma O'Connor, so do I.

My great grandma McKean and my grandma O'Connor on the rt.

Patty, Samantha, and I in front of Grandpa McKean's Barn

Richard Winslow McKean
Old records in the Ouray Gazette state that just a year after joining the creamy co-op my great grandfather was one of the top producers in the valley. I knew that they grew wheat, a cable-splicer, and was a member of the Cattleman's Association.

Great Grandma McKean Holding My Uncle Dan
 The picture above has Patty's mother on the left,
and my mom sitting on the ground and
Patty's twin sister Aunt Marion, on the left.

She says things and pronounces everything just like my family. And then the surprise. ACK! She raises goats! Me, too! I just have to put in my journal that it is a very unusual circumstance and coincidence that we both have goats. Steve said as we left, "I knew she'd look like you and probably was raising goats and dogs, too!"

One kid outta' Patty's Fainting Goat Herd

I raise LaManchas, but adore Fainting Goats!
There's so much I want to add here. I missed Colleen so much, Patty's sister, and I talked about her a bunch while were there in Ridgway. We stopped at Grandma McKean's house that now is known as the Elk River Ranch and the owner of the place is such a precious lady. She immediately invited us in. I didn't want to go to the door, let alone drive in the driveway. I didn't want to disturb anyone! Actually, when we were driving down the county road where the house is located, I think she heard me yell, "Stop!" Steve slammed-on the breaks and I was taking pictures through the window, with the window half down, then with the door open. I couldn't believe I found Grandma McKean's house after all these years by "dead reckoning" , but I did.

The same porch that my grandmother rocked my Uncle Dan
My great grandpa barn & great view of Miller Mesa behind.
Miller Mesa is where my grandmother and the kids all went to stay during the summer, while my grandpa worked the mines, sharping tools, moving sheep camps, and also doing any job that was available at the time. They had a good team of horses and a couple mules. The road up to Rossetti's can be seen just a little in this picture on the left-side and in the shadow of the hillside. There are a lot of bears up on the mesa, and still are. The mesa is filled with ponds, streams, and Aspen groves. My great grandmother's property went-up the face to just the top of Miller Mesa and part of the way-up was a small log cabin that was used by Rossetti's hired hand and sheep herder, Joe (Joe was Rossetti, oops, forgot) Louie Picciò time, a bear got into it even though is had boarded it all up and made a crawl space to get in. Mom said that the bear ate everything he had.

Carol told us all about the place and it was the first time I had ever seen the inside. I stood where I know Grandma stood and Steve took a picture of me on the front porch. I saw all the bedrooms, everything but the addition. We ran-out of light.
The pond was added by the new owners of the ranch

The View Out The Window is Amazingly Beautiful!

Me, Where GGrandmother Stood and Grandma's Lilac Bush Right

The View!

Memorizing The Stairs

 Diningroom Now Was My Mom & GGrandmother's Bedroom

Cows, Sheep, and Horse Barns

Hay & Grain Barn (mostly wheat grain)
Aunt Marion, My Mom, center, and Aunt Mary with A Cat

My Mom's first Horse Ride

Additions to the side and back of the Main House

The Right Side is Where The Bottom Photo Was Taken
1st Day of School. Aunt Mary, Mom, Aunt Marion, Uncle Dan digging the dirt.

Carol had Patty's phone number and she came over to see me! I didn't even know what to say, I didn't expect them to even know each other. We stood and talked and I don't think that mosquitoes bothered anyone there, but me. I really filled a lot of bugs tummies that night. We all decided to meet-up the next morning just for about an hour. Carol was so sweet to give us some cookies and help us make-it to a darling Chinese restaurant in Ridgway. We really enjoyed it because our "Lin's" at home had closed and Steve and I really love Chinese food. A perfect night.

Deer In GGrandma's and Grandpa's Pig Pens

A Pair--This is the Doe

We were awake so early, I couldn't go back to sleep. I think we ran through a fast food place for breakfast because I just wanted to get back to see Ridgway and my family. We saw more of the old homestead and we were able to see all of the remodeling done to the hay barn that I've heard about my whole life.

Going Up On The Loft In the Grain Barn

Carol Decorated This Whole Place and It's All Amazing

Mom, Aunt Marion, GGrandmother Mary E. McCarty O'Connor, and Aunt Mary

All the Hay Was Stored In The Loft of  This Barn

Basically, It's the same. My grandpa Milked His Cows Here

The Inside Here Has a Few Extra Modern Things

And I saw the sheep pens, the big barn that my grandfather built himself with the logs still showing, but the outside was beautifully painted and decorated all around. The barn inside was original. I could see right where Grandpa O'Connor milked his Jersey cow. The pig pen had a pair of deer living in the lean-to. What a great surprise to see jump right out in front of  us. The deer are so much bigger in Colorado. Carol added a pond and Steve drove me around in Carol's cute John Deere ATV-type, fast golf cart, people mover around the pond. I walked over the little stream that went through the yard. I know, every place has a stream, but it was real and not at all something we, in Santa Paula would put in for landscaping and then recycle it so it would run by us again with pipes. Fake streams in California are pretty popular, the stream here was real.

Sheep Ramp With Walkway Along-side

Miller Mesa Beautiful

This is the cabin that was up on Joe Rosetti's place on Miller Mesa, Ridgway, Colorado. The way to get there was up the Cold Creek Canyon where the McKean's got there water supply for their home.

This is the cabin where my grandmother almost fought a bear. My mother said that my grandmother didn't t looked scared to her, but I'm sure she was. Grandma O'Connor was cooking and a very hungry bear tried to get in the cabin. My said that she had all her little children sit over by all the bed area, in the one room log cabin and tried to keep all quiet until the bear went away. Mom has said that the "bear incident" seemed like a long time because the bear ran around and around the house and would run across a long piece of tin on one side. The bear sounded like a real noisy pig and kept that running and clawing up, clear into the night. It was a hostage situation and made a lasting impression on their idyllic summer cabin adventures. My thoughts were where the heck is Grandpa O'Connor.

I have to add this is simply, "Kid History" at it's finest. I don't know any if this information first hand, I wasn't there.... and I'm not sure of all the details. Please, if any of The O'Connor's need for me to delete what isn't exact or add more information that would make me really happy, honest.

In this picture is on the left, my mother, Adrian F. (O'Connor). Wellman (Boby to everyone) Then, Aunt Marion (O'Connor) Slivkoff McAndrew behind her, Grandma O'Connor (Winnifred Lyle McKean) and Mary (O'Connor) Gore Phillips on her right. The little red-head boy with the hat is my Uncle Dan O'Connor that my grandma called "Sunny" and the little baby is my Uncle Terry O'Connor. Frank Charles O'Connor, named after his father, isn't in the picture because Grandma wasn't 39 yet. Picture was taken in 1939.

 Everyone returned up for a gathering with their best friends and neighbors the Rosetti's again at the cabin and pond on Miller Mesa. From the left is Uncle Terry, Uncle Dan, Grandpa O'Connor and Joe Rosetti leaning out behind him. My mom, Boby, is the one with the white blouse and in the center. Next, is Hazel Rosetti, Grandma O'Connor holding baby Frankie, and her mother, GGrandma McKean. On the end holding blankets and sweaters is my Aunt Mary. Aunt Marion took this picture, as well as the one below.

Aunt Mary is holding Uncle Terry and Uncle Dan's riding a horse with my mother, Boby. 1945 Rosetti Ranch. Mom said that all the kids loved to ride Snip because he was young and fast, but the older one, Dude, was the better  horse and saved her once.  Snip was dragging mom through the trees. She had hit a low branch and her foot became stuck in the stir-up.  Dude hurried and ran in front and stopped Snip. The only time she thinks that Dude hurried, ever.

We went up on the Dallas just for a few moments and I wished Steve could've seen more of the great mountain range there. My focus was on my great grandparents young baby or child that had died while the family was living on the "Upper Dallas" I wanted to find the grave and record it in my Family History. I took pictures of their gravestones and walked the whole cemetery. Not too much walking around because of the high altitude and the obvious other reason is that it's about as big as our roping arena. We have to come back and Steve promised we would.
Chimney Rock and Courthouse Rock

A Long Range Close-up

I'm Missing The Fall Splendor Mt. Sniffles
Added Oct. 19th, 2011
These three pictures were taken by Patty, my cousin. This is her view of the mountains around her home and that's just down the street from where the McKean ranch or Elk River Ranch is located. I just felt I needed to post them because my camera seemed to be on all that was eye level. I did see Chimney Rock and Courthouse Rock and Mount Sniffles. At the time I was in Ridgway I was anxious to be at the place where my family walked and tried to remember all the details. It was even more fun to match them with the old pictures that were in my mother's and my aunt's photographs.

I think the last time I was in Ridgway, my cousin Cheryl was on a trip with a friend and my cousin, Barbara was at school. I had only gotten to visit and be with her a little while in Silverton at my Aunt and Uncle's wedding. I'm so glad that I was able to meet Patty again and I think, I had just met her briefly only one time before. I was able to meet her darling and beautiful daughter, Sammi, and Patty's husband stopped to visit with us, too. There's a different way back there, people are closer and so genuine. They all didn't know me at all, but took so much time out of their busy schedule to visit and show us around. I will be forever grateful. I didn't call ahead or anything! I was assigned by my Heavenly Father to a very wonderful bunch of kin. What else can I say, but it was absolutely fantastic. Oh, goats!

The town of Ridgway, Colorado
Bits and Pieces

Steve and Susan Wellman Lazenby 7/19/2011

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Tripped across your blog while looking for some info on the McKean's and O'Connor's in Ridgway. Great job putting this together!

My Mother, Jeannine O'Connor, was Vinita McKean O'Connor's daugher (Winniford's older sister). My Mother was born in the same year as Marion and Mary, and spent many summers in Ridgway. I visited Mary and Ken Gore Ridgway ranch twice in the late 50's or early 60's - once with my Grandmother Vinita (Winniford's older sister) and once with my mother. My Mom had fond memories of Mary and family, Ridgway and Mt Sneffels.

I live in Denver, CO. Email: Phone: 303.883.0239. My two sisters live in San Luis Obispo and Stockton, CA.

Ward McNeilly