A brand for the ages
Back in the day, polite newlywed brides promptly mailed out “Thank You” cards for generous gifts the happy couple had received. These treasured items like silver serving pieces, fine china, linens, complete towel sets, kitchen small appliances, cookware, and more eventually wore out, were re-gifted, or went unused.
One family, however, retains a very practical wedding gift that has become a family heirloom nearly 100 years later. You might say it’s the family brand. Unlike fragile porcelain tea cups or lacy tablecloths, however, it’s been in continuous use for four going on five generations. Marilyn Whitfield well-knows that part of her family history.
In 1916, husband/wife John and Oris Haworth registered the Diamond Seven livestock brand with the Colorado Brand Board. Then, in 1933, the Haworths created and registered a second brand, the Triangle Seven, derived from the original Diamond Seven one.
Whereas brands generally leave a clear and easy trail, genealogy can take a bit more research. Whitfield explained that John Haworth’s cousin, Clide Thompson, had two daughters. One of them, Betty, married Troyce Edwards in 1951. This couple are Whitfield’s parents.
Next. It’s not simple to wrap a branding iron. But when Troyce and Betty wed, John Haworth gifted them with the Triangle Seven brand, which has remained in Whitfield’s family ever since. (Her grandfather, Clide, never owned the brand. It went directly from John Haworth to Whitfield’s parents to her. Clide, however, ran a custom hay baling business in Fort Collins, Walden and Kremmling in Colorado, plus farmed near Terry Lake in north Fort Collins.)
“I remember John Haworth as a tough but knowledgeable rancher, mainly raising commercial and registered Herefords,” Whitfield said.
That rugged rancher’s skills, as well as his brand, left a lasting legacy. Whitfield used the Triangle Seven in her 1990s Quarter Horse breeding program. Its highlight was Sierra Lavin (aka “Roany”), by Blue Lavin and out of Dixie Sierra (with Hancock and Poco Bueno lineage). Whitfield purchased the bay roan stallion as a yearling from Sonny Gerrard in Kaycee, Wyo. Living to the ripe old age of 30, Roany produced dozens of working horses over the years.
One of his noteworthy progeny, for his unique, registered name as much as for stellar conformation, was Sierra Posthole. Nicknames tend to stick, and this beautiful sorrel earned his right at birth. Born outside, he decided to rise upon his wobbly baby legs for the first time directly beside a posthole; which he promptly fell into. He survived unscathed but Sierra Posthole he became.
Whitfield’s parents had also employed the Triangle Seven brand for many years. While in the Air Force and stationed in Cheyenne, Wyo., Troyce Edwards went on R&R leave in Fort Collins, where he met and fell in love with Betty Thompson. After their marriage, they lived for a time in base housing before leasing a Colorado property southeast of Cheyenne just over the state line. The Triangle Seven brand stamped their livestock.
In 2002, approximately 50 years later, Whitfield bought her current Carr, Colo., property. It was, she declared, only a 10 minute drive from that old place of her toddlerhood.
“It’s amazing how God works; I’ve come home,” she emphatically stated.
She’d been just 3 years old when her folks had that first place and yet she retains vivid memories of some aspects of her very early life there. It’s said that humans remember traumatic events better than they do delightful ones. Whitfield shared one of those bumpier ones.
“My parents owned a buckskin gelding named Badger. I’d learned to put my foot on Badger’s knee to climb onto his shoulder and on up,” recalled Whitfield. “One day, my mother was busy with something; but I wanted to ride.”
So, the feisty girl scrambled up onto the patient gelding’s back, where all went well; at first anyway. Little child on big horse wandered around the pasture until the other horses out there spooked at something and took off.
Being an apparently wise and prudent horse, Badger decided to seek immediate safety in a three-sided shelter in the field. He ran into the low-roofed shed, ducking his head and neck as he entered … but his young rider didn’t.
In the hasty bolt for security, little Marilyn was knocked off and knocked out. Her mother, witnessing the accident, hurriedly picked up and carried her unconscious daughter to the house. She obviously recovered without complications, but did the scary incident squelch the youngster’s passion for riding?
Her simple answer: “No.”
Prior to buying and building her current Carr ranch, Whitfield lived on Shields Street in Fort Collins, where she bred her Quarter Horses, trained and boarded, and raised a few cattle. About 2½ years ago, she completely switched from horses to commercial and registered Boer goats. Now 65, Whitfield said it was time to raise a smaller, more manageable species.
In addition to meat goats, she breeds and sells ranch-raised Great Pyrenees as livestock guardian dogs.
Right across the road from her live Whitfield’s son Chad Sims, his wife Vicki, their 5-year-old daughter Alexis, and son Luke, age 3. The Sims family will retain and implement the Triangle Seven brand, thus being generations four and five to do so. Some 86 years post its inception, the same brand that marked John Haworth’s Herefords now identifies the Sims’ grass-fed Angus cattle.
The Triangle Seven brand, created and registered in 1933, promises to reach its 100-year anniversary in just 14 years. And, wishes Marilyn Whitfield, “May it continue for generations to come.”
For information about Whitfield’s Boer goats or working Great Pyrenees livestock guardian dogs, call her at (970) 581-5330. Regarding Sims’ quality grass fed beef, contact Chad or Vickie Sims at (970) 412-6526. ❖
— Metzger is a freelance writer from Fort Collins, Colo. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.