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Ellison ranch
Men file the teeth on a horse in this photo taken in 1939 on the Ellison Ranch.

ELKO - This summer the Ellison Ranching Co. is celebrating 100 years.

It was a century marked with harsh winters, hot summers, growth and contraction. There were times that were good and times that were lean.

The company was started in Utah in 1910 by E.P. Ellison and his son, Morris. The next year operations were expanded into Nevada when the company purchased the King River Ranch in Humboldt County.

One of its best known properties, though, is the Spanish Ranch near Tuscarora, which was purchased in 1925.

Margaret Ellison Jones of Spring Creek spent her youth there. In 1935 she was an infant when her family moved to the Spanish Ranch where her father, Stanley, soon took over as manager of the livestock operation.

Jones' mother, Mae, was less enthusiastic about moving to the Spanish Ranch than Stanley Ellison. The worm-filled candy bars they purchased in Tuscarora during her first trip to the ranch had something to do with it.

At that time, their house at the ranch was small, with no electricity or indoor plumbing. A sink drained from a pipe that led straight under the house, so when water wasn't going down sometimes snakes would come up.

But the family made do until they could make improvements, and it wasn't long before Mae Ellison loved the ranch, too.

"She bloomed where she was planted," Jones said, recalling how her mother worked hard on the ranch and despite growing up in an urban area in Utah became adept at the ranch life.

"My dad was very industrious and a very sharp businessman," Jones said. He acquired additional ranches, building up the company after the Great Depression.

Life on the ranch was "a very wonderful way to grow up. I loved my childhood," she said.

Jones' three younger sisters did, too. They each wrote about their childhood in Marie Ellison Kane's book "History of The Ellison Ranching Company A Special Place, A Special Work!"

The book provides a rough outline of the history of the ranching company from its inception 100 years ago through the time the book was published in 1979.

The company was organized in Utah in May 1910. In June 1911, about the same time the King River Ranch was purchased, the company bought the Buffalo, Quinn River and Rebel Creek ranches. In 1912, 2,000 additional acres in Kings River were purchased and the company later added the Nelson Ranch. It was later sold, however, they kept Nelson Field.

In 1917, the company made a purchase from Golconda Cattle Co. and added the Blossom Ranch, Fish Creek Ranch, Cottonwood Ranch and Squaw Valley Ranch, and additional acreage was purchased in 1919 and 1921.

In 1925 they bought the Spanish Ranch. In 1935 money was scarce, and Ellison Ranching Co. sold water rights of the Blossom Ranch to the federal government, but maintained perpetual use of the land.

In 1933, the ranching company was in financial trouble and the four original ranches - Rebel Creek, Buffalo, Twin River and Kings River - were sold.

Stanley Ellison helped turn it around, and in 1948 the company began to expand again with the purchase of the White House Ranch. In May 1952, the company was officially organized as a Nevada corporation.

Since then, the company has acquired additional land.

While the ranching company tends to the land, it's nothing without the people who work there.

To celebrate the 100-year mark, the company plans a celebration Aug. 21 at the Spanish Ranch for current and former employees, their families and friends. Those planning to attend are asked to R.S.V.P. by Sunday at 775-756-6542.

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