The Rancher will always tell you that the ranch is paradise. It’s a little piece of heaven that was left here just for us. He may be biased, but the ranch is a special place for us because it is ours. And it has been since 1938.
The story of our ranch in Holbrook begins with Chester Eliason. Having been raised working with his father on their small ranch and running cows in Locomotive, he knew well the ins and outs of the industry. Learning from his father so young proved to be insightful because at a young age the responsibility of the ranch fell to him and his brother when his father had a series of strokes, leaving him unable to work. Eventually the brothers took on their own operations, Chester staying on in Stone and Bert starting out on his own in Downy, Idaho.
Shortly after the depression Great Grandpa Chester Eliason had the chance of a lifetime. Dave Dille was ready to sell the piece of land that Chester had wanted all of his life- the Rockhouse Ranch, famous and named for the house made of rocks that provided protection from the Indians in the 1860s. Living just a few miles away in Stone had given him plenty of opportunities to see its potential, driving Chester to want it for himself.
Dave Dille, Chester’s uncle, first offered the Rockhouse Ranch to Chester’s brother, Bert. With Bert declining the piece was Chester’s for the taking. He sold all but the 160 acres of the original homestead in Stone, Idaho and their properties in Locomotive and moved his family in their open wagon to their new ranch Holbrook, Idaho.
With the ranch came the cattle, bringing their numbers up to three hundred head. They started with only a few plain sheds and homes, the cows and few fences. Over the years and a lot of hard work Chester was able to develop the land into a successful ranch. He dealt with the ups and downs of ranching through the 1900s- the poor economy, sons leaving for war, and small dividends for what they put in. But through it all he still came out successful.
After his wife passed away, Chester’s interest in the ranch declined and it fell to his two sons, Ray and Don (aka The Ranch Boss), to run the ranch. They too had always loved ranching, loved the land, and took on the opportunity to continue prospering the ranch. Eventually the day came when Ray chose to leave the ranch, turning full ownership to The Ranch Boss.
The Ranch Boss has worked hard over the years to continue to make improvements on the ranch and expand the operation. His sons, Ken (aka Rancher Sr.) and Ron, worked side by side with him for years.
After several years, Ron and his family moved to chase their own adventures. His absence provided the chance for Brayden (aka The Rancher) and I to bring our fresh-from-college family to the ranch to invest our time and efforts in hopes that someday we have to opportunity to run it. Over so many years changes have happened, but one thing has remained the same- this is ours. Each generation has had experiences to learn and grow, developing a love for the work and this industry. And God willing, we pray that for generations we can continue ranching here.