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As It Was: Woman Runs Large Sheep and Cattle Operation

Austie Barron’s grandfather, Major Barron, arrived in the Rogue Valley in 1851 and took out a donation land claim a few miles south of Ashland, Ore. He built a hotel and stage stop and developed a large cattle and sheep operation.

Although her father inherited the place, Austie Barron ran part of the ranch when she was still a young woman. In 1939, she took over full operation of the enterprise. She ran about 3,000 head of sheep with herders taking the flocks to the Mount Ashland and Hyatt Lake areas. She also had large cattle herds on ranches in the Siskiyous and South Cascades. During World War II, Barron added hogs and fed them cull potatoes from the Klamath Basin.

Barron built her own slaughterhouse and sold sausages and hams. She was known for using the latest equipment and moving the ranch away from horses into the horsepower age.

In 1953 Barron sold all six of her ranches, along with many Federal and Weyerhaeuser Timber Company grazing permits for 7,000 acres she had managed.

Barron retired to Ashland, where she died in 1981.

Sources: ; "Austie Barron." Mail Tribune 12 Aug. 1981 [Medford, Ore.]. Print; “Old Barron Ranch, other properties, purchase revealed." Medford Mail Tribune 1 July 1953: 1 [Medford, Ore.]. Print.

Alice Mullaly is a graduate of Oregon State and Stanford University, and taught mathematics for 42 years in high schools in Nyack, New York; Mill Valley, California; and Hedrick Junior High School in Medford. Alice has been an Southern Oregon Historical Society volunteer for nearly 30 years, the source of many of her “As It Was” stories.