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As It Was: 1972 Cattleman of the Year was Third Generation Rancher

Marion Ray Laird was named “Cattleman of the Year” in 1972 by the Siskiyou County and California cattlemen’s associations.  Born in 1894 at Laird’s Landing, he was the third generation of Lairds involved in cattle and stock raising,

The first-generation Laird was William T. Laird who came West from Iowa in 1862, arriving in a wagon train with his wife, Sarah, and two young sons, William H. and Charles. 

Charles Laird drove a stage from Redding to Ashland from 1880 to 1887 before entering the cattle business with his father.  William married Elva Catherine Caster of Bogus, Calif., and the couple raised four children, who each day road horseback 10 miles roundtrip to school.

Ray Laird graduated with a degree in animal husbandry from the University of California at Davis.  He returned to the ranch before joining the army in World War I.  After the war, he expanded the herd to 1,000 cows and 20 brood mares.  He homesteaded in 1928 in addition to managing the herd at Laird’s Landing.  He married Gladys Stanlake in 1929 and their sons became the fourth generation to ranch at Laird’s Landing.

Source:  “Ray Laird, Cattleman of the Year - 1972.” Siskiyou Pioneer, The, vol. 4, no. No 10, 1977, pp. 125-126.

Gail Fiorini-Jenner is a writer and teacher. Her first novel "Across the Sweet Grass Hills", won the 2002 WILLA Literary Award. She co-authored four histories with Arcadia Publishing: Western Siskiyou County: Gold & Dreams, Images of the State of Jefferson, The State of Jefferson: Then & Now, which placed in the 2008 Next Generation Awards for Nonfiction and Postcards from the State of Jefferson.