Summit old timers
Frances Long is a true Summit County native – born on her family’s ranch north of Silverthorne in 1920 and still living there with her husband Melvin.
Frances’ grandfather, John Thomas Marshall, came to Summit County sometime in the 1880s and laid claim to the land where the Long’s ranch was first established. Now, some 100 years later, five generations have grown up on the ranch.
Frances went to school at Slate Creek, where she had to ride a horse or sleigh to school the snow was too high in the winter. Growing up, Frances helped her family with a milk cow operation – back then, she said, many families in the Blue River Valley supplemented their income by selling milk and cream to Denverites via the mail stage to Kremmling, then a train to Denver.
Frances went to high school in Kremmling and later worked there in a bank.
Having come back from World War II (where he helped build a pipeline from India across Burma and into China), Melvin Long saw his future bride working in the bank.
“I went to school with her sister, so I knew who she was,” said Melvin, while working out on his ranch Saturday afternoon. “I had had my eye on her for quite a while.”
The couple married in 1947; Frances continued to work at the bank and Melvin worked in a sawmill. In 1950, Frances’ father, Pat Alva Marshall, was getting fed up with the long hours and hard work of ranching and was thinking about selling the ranch (Melvin says for $100,000).
“I thought about him selling the ranch all that afternoon,” said Melvin, thinking back five decades in his still clear mind, and I told Frances to talk to her father about us helping out on the ranch.
They have been there ever since, raising two boys of their own – Tom, who still lives in Summit County and Curtis, who lives in Sterling.
Standing outside the family home and sweeping his arm across the fields and the Gore Range across the valley, Melvin says, “This is the best place in Summit County.”
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