Dry land farming at Nunn attracted Berthoud farmer

By Mark French
Tales of the Little Thompson

Ben Green who worked for Sid Davis, paused in the field for a photo on a "Rumley 6" tractor. Davis also used a 1916 Titan tractor in his wheat farming operation. All photos courtesy of the Ludlow Collection/ Berthoud Historical Society

Ben Green who worked for Sid Davis, paused in the field for a photo on a “Rumley 6″ tractor. Davis also used a 1916 Titan tractor in his wheat farming operation.
All photos courtesy of the Ludlow Collection/ Berthoud Historical Society

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.

In 1931 Sid and Emma Davis stand by their car at the High Divide Ranch near Nunn. The couple spent winters in Berthoud and springs and summers at their sprawling wheat farm.

In 1931 Sid and Emma Davis stand by their car at the High Divide Ranch near Nunn. The couple spent winters in Berthoud and springs and summers at their sprawling wheat farm.

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.

 

Sid Davis (left) and Ben Green (right) struck a pose on the machinery used to harvest wheat at the High Divide Ranch. While wheat farming was hot, dry work, it did not require time consuming irrigation over the course of the summer.

Sid Davis (left) and Ben Green (right) struck a pose on the machinery used to harvest wheat at the High Divide Ranch. While wheat farming was hot, dry work, it did not require time consuming irrigation over the course of the summer.