By Ed Peck
Special to the Herald Times
The LOV brand is not the oldest brand in Rio Blanco but it does have a unique place in Colorado ranch history. It has been certified as “the oldest brand in Colorado still in the original family.” To put this in context, in 1967, there were only 18 brands originally published in the 1887 Colorado brand book that were still the same family. That was for the whole state! Of those 18, two were in Rio Blanco County. That tells me that RBC has a reputation of hard-working ranch families and has successfully passed on the endurance gene to future generations.
According to Helen Alley Love, Charles Thurston Love first used the brand in Virginia, and later in Illinois before arriving in El Paso County, Colorado Territory in 1874. Charles had ranches around Colorado Springs and one homestead in Teller County before discovering the lure of Piceance Creek in RBC.
Herman Richner of Piceance had died under unusual circumstances in 1908. Charles bought the Richner place from his estate in 1911. The ranch already had irrigation ditches and a cabin. Herman Richner had sold a portion of his ranch to be used for construction of the Rock School. Charles wasted no time in moving his family, cattle and the LOV brand to Rio Blanco County.
In 1914, the Brand was registered by Charles T. Love in RBC. The brand itself is really three branding irons. The “L” is placed on the left shoulder; the “O” is on the middle of the left rib cage; and the “V” is on the left hipbone. Charles T. Love passed on the ranch to his son, Milo “Waddy ” Rowell Love. Waddy and Helen Alley Love had no male heirs, so they passed the LOV brand on to their daughter, Nancy Rose Love and her husband Charles William Brennan. In 1967 the brand was registered to Love Land and Livestock Co. and is now registered to James (Jim) and Beverly Brennan, who live on the home place Charles T. Love purchased in 1911.
Five generations of the Love/Alley/Brennans family have cared for the Piceance ranch, quite an accomplishment. To give it some perspective, the time line encompasses the transition from dusty stage coaches to dusty automobiles; home radios; addition of four States to the Union, WWI; 1918 influenza epidemic; many economic downturns; TV commercials (OK, maybe not the greatest invention); WWII; formation of the United Nations; Korean conflict; Cuban missile crisis; Americans on the moon; Vietnam War; personal computers (and the affliction of IT people to go along with it); the 1990 closing of the Rock School (last rural school operating in RBC); destruction of the Twin Towers; three Middle East occupations; 19 U.S. Presidents and the loss of Queen Elizabeth.
Sources: Land of Tall Grass by Gracie Petrakian 2010; Rio Blanco Historical Society; This Is What I Remember books; Jim Brennan, Mike and Jackie Brennan; RBC Clerk; Centennial Brand Book by Richard Goff; Paul Knowles at the Museum of Northwest Colorado, Craig, CO; Ancestry.com