Volume No. 15 Issue No. 8 August 2018  

  Four generations of ranchers

     Edward Russell and his wife, Elisabeth Kelly, were the original homesteaders of an 80-acre ranch in what is listed as Table Rock, in the Territory of Colorado. The abstract shows the deed was signed June 25, 1869. The property is in Black Forest.
   Table Rock Cemetery is on the property at 20345 Black Forest Road. Along with 20 acres, the cemetery’s property was donated to offspring of the original Russell family. It is a small cemetery, with about 24 people buried there, including the John Russell family and others who died of a small pox epidemic, according to tombstone cemetery.org. Fences surround the tombstones; some have sunk into the ground and others are hard to read because of weather and time. Patricia Neely said an occasional genealogist will come by or call and request to see the cemetery.
   Throughout the years, the property passed through several families. The homesteaded property became part of Patricia Neely’s family when her aunt, Alene French, bought it. On the Table Rock acreage is a plateau near the ranch. “The local Native Americans used to camp on top of the plateau,” Neely said. “You can still see the rings where the tepees were and where they did some of their ceremonies. It was common for them to take some of the cattle to butcher, and the government would just reimburse the rancher.”
   Neely’s father, Van Hollingsworth, bought the then 763-acre ranch from French around 1962. Hollingsworth originally ranched in Pueblo and worked for Mountain Bell; when he moved to Table Rock, he had Herefords, horses and pigs. His wife, Alma, had a large arrowhead collection; and, one day while looking for arrowheads, she found a cave with a bison hump in it, Neely said. She obtained permission from the State Archeological Society to excavate it — then called it the Bison hump shelter.
   Table Rock is a large area with many acres separating the neighbors. Neely said, “My father used to have a yearly hog roast and would invite everyone around the Table Rock area … he had a great sense of humor and a good relationship with his neighbors.”
   Neely lived on the ranch with her family while she was growing up. “I just loved it here,” she said. “I loved being on the ranch, having my own horse, just the different lifestyle.” She and her husband, Pat, live near the ranch and have about 80 cattle that roam the ranch property. They moved there years ago so she could help her father after her mother died. Neely’s daughter Amanda Henegar, her husband Asher, and Neely’s brother, Lee Hollingsworth, now own the property. Neely has kept up with the history of the ranch and owns the original abstract that lists all the owners and dates.
   Neely and Henegar both like antiques; Neely has an original sewing machine and bench from the ranch; Henegar has a couple of original pieces in her ranch home.
   The property and ranch has mostly stayed the same through the years, although a milking barn was added in 1923; Hollingsworth added an enclosed porch. The Henegar’s live there now with their two daughters, which makes four generations of ranchers. Neely said they are remodeling the outside, but the inside will stay the same. A 30-foot well on the property hasn’t been used in three years, but Neely said they plan to get it running again soon.
   “You wouldn’t believe how many people have stopped to ask what she (Henegar) plans to do with the ranch,” Neely said. “There were a lot of people who were afraid she was going to tear it down, and they are all glad to hear it’s going to stay.” Henegar is also planning to have chickens and maybe more cows in the future. Although her husband isn’t a rancher by trade, he said, “I’m a dentist by trade, a rancher by heart.”
   Several pictures of the Table Rock community are shown in the book, “Thunder, Sun and Snow,” by Judy von Ahlefeldt.
Four generations have homesteaded in Table Rock. Photo by Leslie Sheley
Edward Russell and his wife, Elisabeth Kelly, were the original homesteaders of an 80-acre ranch in Table Rock, in the Territory of Colorado. Photo submitted
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