Taken from the 1906 "People's Reville" Souvenir
Although Graham County points with pride to her many enterprises, she is particularly proud of one institution which is not only the greatest of its kind in the State of Kansas, but in the United States as well. We say particularly proud because no institution could mean more to a stock raising and farming country than this the largest thoroughbred Hereford cattle ranch in the world, feeding at present on it's own 10,000 acres, 900 registered Herefords.
This immense stock farm, known as the Gudgell Ranch, was bought 9 years ago, for F.M. Baker, of the Greenleaf - Baker Grain Co., of Atchinson by A.E. Kerns, and Mr. Wells of Hill City. Mr. Kerns and Mr. Wm. Wells bought the 10,000 acres at an average of $5 an acre, and during the five years in which Mr. Kerns was manager and overseer of the ranch made improvements worth $25,000.
Mr. Baker, who took particular pride in this ranch, held it until his death, when the Baker estate sold it to Charles Gudgell of the Gudgell - Simpson Stock Co., who is the largest breeders of thoroughbred cattle in the world.
This is Mr. Gudgell's third and largest cattle ranch, the other two being in Anderson County, Kansas, and Independence, Missouri, and on the latter Mr. Gudgell makes his home. The Graham County ranch be used for breeding and feeding, the Independence ranch for exhibition and sale.
Mr. Gudgell's manager and overseer is Wm. Hendry who has been in his employ for seventeen years, coming here direct from the Anderson County ranch. Mr. Hendry, because of his keen business insight, good judgment and long experience, is a valuable man in this position.
To the visitor, the Gudgell ranch is a marvel in expanse, beauty and utility. These 10,000 acres form an immense triangle, 4 miles in width and 6 miles in length, the beauty of which beggars description. The gentle undulating lands of waving wheat and alfalfa and rich pasture are broken only by well wooded Bow Creek which with many graceful curves transverses the ranch from east to west, giving it some 6 miles of heavy timber.
1,700 acres of the ranch are under cultivation, 1000 of it being devoted to the raising of alfalfa, which yields three crops a season and averages three tons to the acre, making an average yield of 3,000 tons yearly. Throughout the alfalfa season, 30 men are required to cut and care for it.
The corn which is fed to
the stock during the feeding season is grown on the 400 acres of the ranch
devoted to its cultivation, and 200 acres are sown in wheat.
It would be impossible to
find a farm better supplied with new and improved implements than the Gudgell
ranch. Among the countless machines and mechanical devices are the double
row rollers, an invention of Mr. Gudgell's. These are used after listing
the corn and weigh 2500 pounds each.
The work of the ranch is
carried on chiefly by twelve teams of fine mules. which costs Mr. Gudgell
$500 a team, and twelve teams of heavy horses worth $350 a team.
An interesting feature of the place is several braces of fine stag hounds which protect the stock from wolves and other enemies of the herd.
This season the ranch wintered and fattened 6,000 sheep besides the vast herd of 900 thoroughbred Herefords.
While this ranch is marvelous
in every respect, the feature which predominates is that for which the
ranch is maintained - the breeding of thoroughbred white - faced cattle.
The Hereford is an ideal grazer. The range is appropriating the Hereford
because he suits the conditions and climate. He is naturally a grazer,
with courage and perseverance, a fine traveler, and in many respects more
indifferent to climate than any other beef breed.
Mr. Gudgell, knowing the
advantage of the range to the Hereford, has made this his breeding ranch.
Mr. Gudgell talks enthusiastically
of the future of the ranch and is planning many improvements with the year,
among them a commodious residence for the manager, several fine new barns
and some material changes in the boarding hall for the men.