Jarvie Ranch steeped in history
Scotsman John Jarvie and his wife of three days, Nellie, moved to Browns Park in 1880 to a location near a natural stream crossing on the Green River.
The “Old West entrepreneur,” as BLM ranger Deb Norton calls him, saw a need for a general store in the area. At that time, the nearest stores were in Rock Springs, Wyo., or Vernal, Utah.
Jarvie, an astute businessman, also had mining and livestock interests in the area.
He eventually opened a post office where he was the postmaster, and built a ferry for river crossings.
“All for a fee of course,” Norton said. “He was a businessman.”
The couple had four children.
Jarvie also was acquainted with some of the more colorful characters in Browns Park history, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, of the Wild Bunch, outlaws Matt Warner and Isom Dart, and Ann Bassett, Queen of the Rustlers.
Fifteen years after moving to Browns Park, Nellie died of tuberculosis. Jarvie was robbed, murdered and his store ransacked July 6, 1909, by two transient workers from Rock Springs. His body was placed in a boat and pushed out into the Green River. It was not discovered until eight days later, just above the Gates of Ladore in the eastern end of browns Park. He is buried in the Ladore Cemetery. His murders were never captured.
Five of the homestead’s original buildings still stand: the dugout home, a stone house used for storage, the barn, corral and blacksmith shop. All are filled with items from that period and the house is fully furnished.
The stone house is a one-room, rectangular building, measuring 18 by 20 feet. Outlaw Jack Bennett, using masonry skills he learned in prison, built it.
The blacksmith shop and corral were constructed using hand-hewn railroad ties, which drifted down from Green River, Wyo., during high water.
The general store is a replica of the original, which was built in 1881. It is furnished with many artifacts from the Jarvie period and also contains the original safe, which was robbed the evening of Jarvie’s murder.
Another point of interest is the graves of four men who died violent deaths in the early days of Browns Park two drowned, one was stabbed and
one was shot.
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