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Comanche County History, Vol. II

Merrill Ranch

Several major changes have occurred on the Merrill Ranch, the former location of the historic townsite of Evansville, since the 1980 edition of Comanche County History, but Larry "Dee" & Phyllis Scherich remain as managers, assisted now by Chris Lawless and Brandon Alexander. Catherin Merrill died in July, 2003. (Harold Merrill had died in 1965.) The Ranch is administered for the Harold A. Merrill Trust and Catherin Merrill Trust by Commerce Bank in Kansas City.

Perhaps the biggest change has been the explosive growth of trees and other woody plants. The encroachment of the eastern red cedar trees in our area has forced us, as well as other ranchers in our area, to implement an aggressive cedar tree-cutting program to retain the rangeland. From the earliest written records of this area, there have been cedar trees in the canyons and along some of the waterways, but now they are spreading everywhere. The adequate moisture of the 1980’s & 1990’s and the lack of fires are some reasons for their rapid spread.

The economics of farming has encouraged us to plant all of the farm ground to native grasses and forbs, which we will complete this year.

We are in the process of converting our Hereford cattle cow/calf herd to Black Angus. Since 2003 we have been in an alliance with other ranchers with similar programs to sell our heifer calves and bred cows at a special sale, named the Profit Proven Sale, held at Pratt Livestock. All the offerings in the sale have Gardiner Angus genetics.

When we moved here from Inman in 1976 we had several friends, most of them in our Sunday School class at Inman Mennonite Church, who had horses they liked to ride. We readily accepted their initial offering to come and help us with fall round-up --- and for 28 years they have come to help every fall. In addition they served as “crew” during each of the eight Benefit Trail Rides held on the ranch. They are Garry Hostetler, Dallas Kirby, Ron Bowman, Jerry Stubby, & Delmar Duerksen. Lynn Hostetler, some “second generation” sons and others from the McPherson/Inman area, as well as several local cowboys, help at various times.

We have located remnants of old dugouts on the ranch, and continue to find more as we learn what to look for. There are buffalo wallows still visible on the ridge tops. Some are over forty feet in diameter and as much as two feet deep. We have marked the location of the old town of Rumsey that still has indentations and remnants of foundations of dwellings.

Submitted by Phyllis Scherich

Also see:

Douglas Alan Scherich

Henry "Hank" Scherich

Kevin Lynn Scherich

Larry "Dee" and Phyllis Scherich

Steven Scott Scherich

Comanche Pool


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Thanks to Phyllis Scherich for contributing the above historical article to this web site!

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