Wednesday, June 17, 2009


The time is 1908. The place is at Rule Creek, just east of Las Animas, Colorado. The child is my father, Scott Walter Dobbins Jr., the second child of Scott and Susan Maud McConnell Dobbins. Called “Buzz,” a nickname given to him by his sister Dorothy, he was born in July of that year.

I began genealogy research in 1984 and I was fortunate that both my father and his older sister were still living. I knew they had both been born in Bent County, Colorado, but I sure didn’t know much about their early life. Because I lived fairly close to my father in 1984 he and I spent lots of time talking about his growing up. But I also wrote lots of letters to my Aunt Dorothy, who still lived in Colorado, asking so many questions that I’m sure I drove her nuts. She was four years older than my father, so I knew she held the key to many things that he just vaguely remembered.

Within a short period of time – maybe 6 months after I started “bugging” her – she informed me that all my questions made her decide to write down the story of her life. I’d get a copy, she said, as soon as she finished the first part, which was to be from her birth to her leaving home for nurse's training. I had a hard time waiting, but sooner than I expected her story showed up in the mail.

She told of my grandparents meeting in Colorado Springs at a band concert. She told how Grandma was a city girl and how difficult it was for her to learn to live on a ranch out in the dry land farming area of eastern Colorado. She told how they raised turkeys on the ranch and grew wonderful melons that my grandfather intended to show at the county fair – that is until the goat got into the garden and took a bite out of each one of them. Shortly before my dad was born, the family sold the ranch and moved to town.

In her story Aunt Dorothy told me that quite often the family would take horse and buggy rides out into the countryside near Rule Creek, where the ranch that my great-grandpa had homesteaded had been.

The photograph above is one that I came upon by accident not too long ago, tucked between some blank pages of an old family album. The handwriting belongs to my Grandma Dobbins. As best as I could, I cleaned the photo up a little bit. Not many family pictures of the Las Animas years exist and the few that do are in pretty poor shape. I’m so pleased that this one has survived.

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