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Louisiana ranchers find a new home in Kansas

Staff writer

When they sold cattle and raised quarter horses in Louisiana, grass grew so rank that they had to use a bush hog to keep it down.

Hot, humid weather kept cattle lying in shade under pecan trees, hindering growth.

So, in the 1970s, Jack Methvin started traveling the country looking for a better ranch. He finally found one near Burdick, at what he and wife, Nancy, later learned had been known as the 101 Ranch.

How the Louisiana couple became Flint Hills ranchers was topic of a presentation Saturday at Pioneer Bluffs, an old farmstead preserved as a historic site and meeting center south of Cottonwood Falls.

The Methvins moved in 1978 to a ranch in the northwest corner of Chase County, next to the Marion County line.

They had lived in Natchitoches Parish and ran a cattle operation started by his parents. His mother’s relatives had been farmers, but in 1962 she married “a man from the hills,” who was mostly a rancher.

Their relocation to Kansas began after owners of Atkinson Ranch, east of Burdick, rented them a house. The couple decided to spend a summer in Kansas and then go back to Louisiana.

Jack hauled a load of quarter horses to the ranch, and the couple brought their belongings in a U-Haul trailer.

“This is God’s country,” Nancy wrote her parents at the time.

They had to learn about the different climate, however.

Jack brought four Brahma bulls from Louisiana. They died during the snowy winter.

One time, lightning struck and started grass on fire. They were able to put it out, but that was their introduction to prairie fire.

As summer turned to fall, their children joined the Burdick 4-H club and enrolled in Centre schools.

“They loved Centre schools,” Nancy said. “They had only known private schools before.”

The family went “home” at Christmas, but the children wanted to go back to Kansas. So, they decided to stay in Kansas for two years. They have never left.

In 1983, the Gene Ronsick ranch, with two ranch houses southeast of Lincolnville, came up for sale.

The Methvins added it to their property, and it became their headquarters. They raised their family there, and their children continued to attend Centre schools although the two youngest, Gretchen and Andy, went to high school in Marion.

Son Brent eventually took over management. Brent’s children graduated from Centre schools. He continues to manage the ranch. His brothers, Jeff and Andy, both live on farms between Aulne and Peabody. Jeff works at St. Luke Hospital, and Andy is a rancher. Brent’s wife, Brianna, is a teacher at Centre Elementary School.

The Methvins have never regretted leaving Louisiana, but they still make frequent trips there to visit relatives.

Natchitoches has a lot of history. It is the oldest city in the Louisiana Purchase. An Indian trading post was located there. The movie “Steel Magnolias” was filmed there.

One of Jack’s distant cousins, Henry Methvin, ran with the infamous Bonnie and Clyde for a while. His father rescued him right before Bonnie and Clyde were shot dead in their car.

Last modified July 5, 2023

 

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