By Mark French
Tales of the Little Thompson
In 1916 Berthoud’s Harry Bennett purchased a dry-land farm near Nunn, Colo. Bennett, who had been a farmer in the Little Thompson Valley since the 1870s, was familiar with crops that required regular irrigation throughout the summer. At his High Divide Ranch near Nunn, Bennett grew grain that thrived on natural precipitation derived from winter snows and spring rains.
The interest local farmers held in “dry land” farming dated to the early 1900s when large wheat farms were offered for sale at bargain rates near the new town of Nunn in Weld County. Two of Berthoud town founder Peter Turner’s sons, Jim and “Duck” Turner, got their starts there as young men when they opened a hardware business and established a large wheat-growing operation in the fledgling community. Harry Bennett, a friend of the Turners, also dabbled in farming near Nunn for a few years before he bought two farms that totaled 320 acres in the fall of 1916. Bennett was retired and 60 years of age when he purchased the farms, so his son-in-law, Sid Davis, oversaw the wheat-farming operation.
Davis and his wife, the former Emma Bennett, spent their winters in Berthoud, living with her parents in a house at 626 Seventh St. The couple’s springs and summers were spent at the High Divide Ranch where they planted wheat, hoped for spring rain, and harvested their crop in July. The snapshots that accompany this article, taken from the Ludlow Collection of the Berthoud Historical Society, capture their lives at the High Divide Ranch.