By Kay Magruder Hawklee
tree at the Old Headquarters of the Cowden Lazy H Ranch
is approximately 150 years old, and is the only remaining
one of at least two others that were planted around the
same time. Burr Williams of the Sibley Center saw the tree
in the spring of 2004 and believed it was a Mulberry planted
by George Causey, who was a buffalo hunter in the area.
I describe him as "the first land developer" in
our area. Burr believed that in the 1850s Mr. Causey dressed
up properties by building stone houses and planting trees,
then selling the land to settlers. There still needs to
be further research to verify these facts. And to find out
if that is indeed who my great grandfather, John M. Cowden,
purchased the ranch from. My father, Ed Magruder, believes
he purchased that land in approximately the 1880s.
The tree has a giant base trunk that branches out into five
huge branches. The house at Old Headquarters burned down
twice in my Grandfather's, R. B. (Bum) Cowden, lifetime.
Needless to say, the next house he built wasn't at Old Headquarters.
The tree obviously survived both of those fires. On a twelve
section ranch that only has 5 large trees, every tree is
precious! This tree holds a special place in our hearts.
It will always be considered to be the very essence of the
Old Headquarter's location.
My special thanks goes out to Kenn Hill for preserving this
piece of the legacy that was left to our grandfather--R.
B. Cowden; then to my mother--Barbara June Cowden Magruder;
and now to my sisters--Fran Sherpa, Elaine Magruder-- and
myself, Kay Magruder Hawklee.