Yesterday, I came across some old pictures from my mom’s side of the family, and as I looked at the list Aunt Sandy had given me, I had to do a double take. It wouldn’t seem like it was such a big deal, because it just a picture of some unnamed ranch hands from the Flying U Ranch in Rushville, Nebraska. To someone who didn’t know anything about Rushville, Nebraska, this find would be nothing really, but I do know a little bit about Rushville, Nebraska, although I don’t recall ever having been there. I’m sure that seems odd…I mean, how could I know anything about this place if I haven’t ever been there? I could have studied about it I suppose, but for me, it is more about the people who were there at a certain time in history, than it is about the place itself.
I have long known that some of my dad’s family settled in Rushville, Nebraska. In fact, I have written about them several times. My dad’s Great Aunt Theresa Elizabeth Spencer and her husband, William Jonathan Davis lived most of their married life in Rushville, Nebraska, and had a big ranch there. Several of their children also had ranches in the area. The name of the Davis ranch was Pine Creek, and interestingly enough, it is currently for sale, with an asking price of $795,000.00, a fact that I found a bit sad, because it is a bit of my family history, and it will soon be owned by someone new, if it wasn’t already.
I haven’t been able to find the Flying U Ranch so far, but I know that it is…or was…in the Rushville, Nebraska area. The Flying U Ranch was not owned by my mom’s family, but it could have been. The couple who owned the ranch was getting older, and they apparently didn’t have children or children who were still living or able to take over the ranch. They really liked my grandfather, George Byer, and they told him that if he would stay there, in Rushville, they would deed the ranch to him upon their deaths. I don’t know if Grandpa didn’t like the area, or if he thought it was too long to wait and not know when he would inherit the ranch, or if he didn’t really like the ranching life, but for whatever reason, he chose not to take them up on that generous offer. I’m sure they were sorry that he didn’t, but I don’t know who they eventually gave the ranch to or if they sold it, but it did not end up in our family.
As for me, the questions that remain, are more along the lines of…Did Grandpa ever regret his decision to pass on the Flying U Ranch?…and Did he know some of the Davis family, thereby tying the two sides of my family together long before the marriage of my parents in 1953. He obviously had some great times on the Flying U Ranch…after all, it was there that he and some of the ranch hands took pictures of their staged robbery. They must have enjoyed spending time together just goofing off. I also have to wonder how our lives might have been different, had Grandpa taken on the Flying U ranch? I had never really considered what it might have been like if we had descended from a rancher. I don’t know that I would change anything about my life, even if I could, but it is interesting to look at the possibilities when one reflects on the fact that it really is a small world.